Designing Bioactive Nanoparticles: The Era of Nutraceuticals
- Pp. 277-340 (64)Clara Grosso, Patricia Valentao and Paula B. Andrade
Two thousand and five hundred years ago, Hippocrates stated ‘let food be the medicine and medicine be the food’, but only in 1989, Stephen DeFelice coined the term nutraceutical to describe the hybrid between ‘nutrition’ and ‘pharmaceutical’. A ‘nutraceutical’ is defined as a supplement to the diet that is composed of bioactive compounds found in foods and botanicals, vitamins, and minerals. It is formulated and taken under the form of capsules, tablets, etc., resulting in beneficial health impacts. Owing to their biological properties, phenolic compounds are considered nutraceuticals with great potential; however, their effects are limited due to their low bioavailability. The rationale for developing an efficient drug/nutraceutical delivery system is to increase the bioavailability and half-time of the drug in the vicinity of the target cells, reducing at the same time, its exposure to non-target cells. Nutraceutical delivery to the brain is a major challenge imposed by physical barriers, such as the blood-brain barrier (BBB). In the last decade, nanotechnology has become a powerful strategy to enable nutraceuticals’ target-delivery to tissues and organs, including the brain. This chapter will present the latest results obtained with phenolic-based nanoparticles, showing the failures, achievements, and most promising routes for future works.