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Kootenay lake near Nakusp

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Nutraceuticals -- what are they?

This is a relatively new term for me and I was curious enough to research a bit of the background as to how this term came about.
Definition is at Wiki here:
According to one report, it's the consumer that's driving growth in nutraceuticals. In the last 10 years people have become more concerned for their health and are increasingly inclined to self medicate. Health providers too are keen to shift some of the burden of health care costs on individuals and recognize that functional foods may provide alternatives for medication.
With the ever burgeoning government regulatory bodies popping up like dandelions is becoming increasingly difficult for beneficial products to reach the market without incurring huge costs in order to substantiate any health benefits.

Conducting studies to syndicate health claim applications in the European Union costs in excess of $7 million dollars per product.
Without question, those costs are similar if not higher here in North America where we have 2 bureaucracies doing the same task independently of each other and without any reciprocity whatsoever.

It should come as no surprise that getting a $1.50 a 1/2 pint of blueberries freeze-dried crumbled and encapsulated into a pill drives the cost of this beneficial fruit up to the $25-$30 level.
Partly because of our belief in folklore, most Westerners have a strong attraction to any "potion" that can be manufactured in pill or capsule form. Most recently new health claims are popping up in the form of soft drinks, green teas, strange berries, even gum and the list goes on.
If their benefits could be considered cumulative one could consider living a healthy life for 1000 years just like Methuselah.

As always, there has been keen interest by charlatans, pseudo-health practitioners, snake oil salesman, and of late, both the food and the drug industry.
I'm not in a position to say that what they are encapsulating, bottling and selling does not have a health benefit but I must question why those benefits are not clearly identified in the "public domain" by these bureaucracies who claim to administrate them.
Unless of course this is just another tax grab by greedy government. It seems, increasingly, that big government thinks it knows what's best for you.
What was designed as a "Service" has become a "Regulatory body" with the full force of the law behind it. I believe that with that should come responsibility. They are on the lawn, how much longer till they are in our gardeesn?

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