Published On: Fri, Dec 2nd, 2022

The Latest Developments in Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods: Dairy Products may Have Preventive and Therapeutic Effects on Diseases

In recent years, various factors such as technological innovation, new product development, and enhancement of health awareness have driven the explosive growth of the nutritional and functional food market. Nutraceuticals are defined as “foods that affect specific functions or systems of the human body and provide health benefits other than energy and nutrition”, and have attracted the attention of consumers due to their presumed safety and possible nutritional value and medicinal effects. WEI Yuanyuan, a physiology expert, said nutraceuticals, often referred to as “functional foods”, had sparked fierce controversy because they blurred the lines between traditional diets and medicines.

It is understood that there are a large number of nutritional and health products on the market, not only in a wide variety, but also in different functions they claim. For example, there are glucosamine, omega-3, echinacea, cod liver oil, folic acid, ginseng, orange juice and green tea for calcium supplementation, etc., which are dazzling. Many pharmaceutical and food companies have sensed the business opportunities, seized the key point of benefiting consumers’ health, and started a wave of dumping of value-oriented nutritional and health products.

Nutraceuticals claim to have multiple therapeutic benefits, but there is no substantive evidence for their actual effects, and the corresponding side effects are not listed in detail. In order to improve the public’s understanding of nutrients based on specific disease indications, WEI Yuanyuan conducted relevant investigations and research on dairy products on the market, and compiled the results into a paper What Is New in the Preventive and Therapeutic Role of Dairy Products as Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods? It was published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine and was included by SCI Expanded (SCIE).

As we all know, SCI is the Science Citation Index, and SCIE is SCI Expanded, which is the expanded version of the Science Citation Index (also known as the online version). The two mainly include the most influential important journals in the fields of natural science and engineering technology. SCI can be divided into SCI and SCIE according to the number of source periodicals. SCI mainly refers to SCI print and CD versions with more than 3,700 source periodicals, while SCIE is the extended library of SCI, which includes more than 5,600 source periodicals. WEI Yuanyuan’s paper can be included in SCIE, which is enough to show the research value and industry influence of the paper. At the same time, it is also a testament to WEI Yuanyuan’s solid professional knowledge and extraordinary professional ability.

Success is inseparable from hard work. WEI Yuanyuan is a postdoctoral student at the Xinjiang Institute of Physics and Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences. She has been deeply involved in the field of biological sciences for nearly 30 years. For many years, WEI Yuanyuan has been committed to biological science research and education, published numerous professional papers and books with industry influence, brought a large number of innovative research results to the field of biological science and physiology, and trained countless outstanding students. “In order to complete this paper, I consulted a large number of relevant materials and conducted substantive investigations on most dairy products on the market. Every word in this paper is my painstaking effort.” WEI Yuanyuan said .

(The picture shows Wei Yuanyuan discussing with other researchers, and Wei Yuanyuan is the one on the left)

Through in-depth investigation and research, WEI Yuanyuan made horizontal and vertical explanations and comparisons of “health products”, “functional food”, “nutrients”, and “functional dairy products” from the perspectives of history, definition, function, and category , which clearly lists the differences. In the process of researching dairy products, WEI Yuanyuan encountered a problem—there are so many types and styles of dairy products that it is difficult to simply classify them in a specific range. After repeated research and thinking, WEI Yuanyuan finally created a unique set of research classification methods, which broke the traditional classification limitations and divided dairy products into beverages and non-beverages. Under such a classification method, beverage dairy products can be simply classified into two parts: fortified dairy beverages with probiotics, bioactives, vitamins and minerals and whey beverages containing milk-derived probiotics, juice types and thirst-quenching types, which is very clear.

As early as 2,000 years ago, the Greek doctor Pokrates, known as the father of medicine, once said: “Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.” It can be seen that the mutual relationship between food and medicine has become a topic many years ago. In the research, WEI Yuanyuan found that CALS of nutrition department plays an important role in biological processes such as cell proliferation, antioxidant defense and gene expression. Supplements can slow down the aging process and reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, overweight, high cholesterol, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, insomnia, cataracts, constipation, indigestion and many other lifestyle-related diseases.

“I hope that the relevant research results will inspire medical and health professionals to pay attention to the inherent relationship between food and medicine.” WEI Yuanyuan said. Functional foods containing physiological CALLY active ingredients can improve health. For maintaining health, she prefers prevention rather than treatment. She believes that nutraceuticals and functional foods can not only be powerful tools for prevention, treatment and maintenance of health, but also have unexpected utility to minimize the growing burden on the health care system.

In the future, biological science will continue to occupy an important position in the history of human development, and the boundary between food and medicine will also face a new state to the world. “I look forward to more related research.” WEI Yuanyuan said. (Reporter: Eric Chung)