Nutraceuticals--an emerging era in the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular diseases

Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2006 Feb;7(1):15-23. doi: 10.2174/138920106775789647.


Foods and nutrients play a vital role in normal functioning of the body. They are helpful in maintaining the health of the individual and in reducing the risk of various diseases. Worldwide acceptance of this fact formed a recognition link between "nutrition" and "health" and the concept of "nutraceuticals" was evolved. Nutraceuticals are medicinal foods that play a role in maintaining well being, enhancing health, modulating immunity and thereby preventing as well as treating specific diseases. Thus the field of nutraceuticals can be envisioned as one of the missing blocks in the health benefit of an individual. More than any other disease, the etiology of cardiovascular disease reveals many risk factors that are amenable to nutraceutical intervention. The scientific literature shows that several ingredients marketed for use in dietary supplements address each of these. The ability of nutraceuticals to positively influence cardiovascular risk factors should be recognized as an enormous opportunity in the treatment of a highly prevalent disease. Nutraceuticals hold promise in clinical therapy as they have the potential to significantly reduce the risk of side effects associated with chemotherapy along with reducing the global health care cost. In this review, an attempt has been made to summarize some of the recent research findings on garlic, omega-3-fatty acids, soy products, dietary fibres, vitamins, antioxidants, plant sterols, flavonoids, prebiotics and probiotics that have beneficial effects on the heart, in order to update the practising clinician on the benefit of using nutraceuticals for the management of cardiovascular diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / prevention & control
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / therapy
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Food, Organic
  • Humans
  • Nutrition Policy*
  • Nutrition Therapy*
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology*
  • Treatment Outcome