Editors: María Victorina Aguilar Vilas, Cristina Otero Hernandez

Series Title: Frontiers in Bioactive Compounds

At the Crossroads between Nutrition and Pharmacology

Volume 2

eBook: US $149 Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $253
Printed Copy: US $179
Library License: US $596
ISSN: 2468-6395 (Print)
ISSN: 2468-6409 (Online)
ISBN: 978-1-68108-430-5 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-68108-429-9 (Online)
Year of Publication: 2017
DOI: 10.2174/97816810842991170201


Functional foods (foods with known bioactive properties) have shown potential for preventive and therapeutic treatments. However, this potential must be safely determined before they enter the commercial market. At the same time, nutrition research is transforming into a data driven field with reference to the identification and development of functional food products due to the large number of variables affecting food biochemistry in the human body. This volume presents reviews of recent advances in food chemistry, food technology and nutraceutical research (for diet therapy and cosmetics).

Chapters in this volume cover a broad spectrum of topics:

  • - drug discovery and development in the modern nutraceutical industry,
  • - recent developments in the extraction, identification and quantification of bioactive peptides in foods,
  • - concepts of bioavailability, bioaccessibility, bioactivity, bioefficiency and bioconversion of bioactive foods,
  • - synthetic routes for obtaining bioactive compounds,
  • - the role of nutrigenomics to identify key cellular functions by specific genetic and epigenetic interactions with a nutrient,
  • - anti-cancer properties of important bioactive components of medicinal plants,
  • - the effect of a diet based on different bioactive foods on prevention and treatment of diabetes,
  • - antioxidant effects on cardiovascular disease,
  • - beneficial effects of bioactive foods on metabolic syndrome,
  • - the potential of tauroursodeoxycholic acid on prevention and recovery of neurodegenerative diseases,
  • - the effects of natural phytochemicals in prostate cancer,
  • - the effects of methylxanthines (caffeine and others), and culinary methods on physiological and toxicological effects of the bioactive food constituents.

The volume is an ideal reference for pharmacy students, nutritionists, healthcare providers and nutraceutical R&D specialists interested in functional foods.


Nutrition is the science that deals with the role of nutrients and other substances in food in relation to growth, development, metabolism and function, often in the context of health and disease. Pharmacology is the science of the study of drug action; a drug is a molecule which has a biochemical or physiological effect within an organism. Typically, in the context of pharmacology, the molecule (i.e., the drug) is used to treat, cure, prevent, or diagnose a disease or to promote well-being and is referred to as a medicine. It is important to note that many drugs are natural substances or derivatives of natural substances. It is immediately evident that there is likely to be some overlap between nutrition and pharmacology, since both are concerned with molecules that exert biochemical and physiological effects within the organism. However, in modern times, neither the teaching nor the scientific practice of nutrition and pharmacology have been considered to have much in common, and they exist quite separately from one another. This is different from earlier times, where the boundaries between these two academic disciplines were not clear and indeed may not have even existed. For example, many foods, food extracts and food-based potions have been used in traditional medicine to prevent and treat diseases and to promote well-being; this practice continues today in many, perhaps most, non-Western cultures. In other words, food can be medicine (i.e., a drug) and medicine can be food. Fortunately, the artificial barrier between nutrition and pharmacology is once more being removed. The pharmaceutical industry is becoming increasingly interested in food components as functional agents that have potential as drugs, while the food industry and nutrition scientists are expected to mainly adopt the practices of pharmacology and the pharmaceutical industry as part of their normal research and development activities.

This blurring of the boundaries is likely to become greater over the next years, and will certainly increase the chances of new discoveries being made by both the food and pharmaceutical industries and of translating those discoveries into new products, new claims, new preventative strategies and new treatments for human disease. In the contexts of these changing research and regulatory environments “At the Crossroads Between Nutrition and Pharmacology” is a timely offering. It brings together a series of articles dealing with bioavailability and bioactivity of a range of natural substances found in foods, suggesting that these nutritional substances have properties that will make them useful in health maintenance, disease prevention and, in some cases, disease treatment. The disease contexts being considered include those that pose an ever increasing threat to the global population, including diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. Thus, the contents of this book are extremely relevant, making it the most welcome addition.

Dr. Philip C. Calder
Faculty of Medicine
University of Southampton, Southampton
United Kingdom