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Use of Natural Products Including Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Preventive Health Care and for Lowering Health Care Costs Prof. Bruce J. Holub Department of Human Biology & Nutritional Sciences University of Guelph Guelph, ON, Canada. Conference on Seal Oil, Collagen, and Protein Products
Use of Natural Products Including Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Preventive Health Care and for Lowering Health Care Costs
Prof. Bruce J. Holub
Department of Human Biology & Nutritional Sciences
University of Guelph
Guelph, ON, Canada
Conference on Seal Oil, Collagen, and Protein Products
June 7-8th, 2004 - DFAIT, Ottawa
‘Nutraceuticals’ and ‘functional foods’ can be defined as follows by Health Canada:
A ‘nutraceutical’ is a product isolated or purified from foods that is generally sold in medicinal forms not usually associated with food. A nutraceutical is demonstrated to have a physiological benefit or provide protection against chronic disease (Health Canada).
A ‘functional food’ is similar in appearance to, or may be, a conventional food, is consumed as part of a usual diet, and is demonstrated to have physiological benefits and/or reduce the risk of chronic disease beyond basic nutritional functions (Health Canada).
The above definitions for nutraceuticals and functional foods, while helpful, fail to appreciate and allow for the important roles that these can also play in retarding disease progression, enhancing disease management, and offering effective risk factor modification in those with existing disease (as most Canadians have by their fifties).
Americans by Age and Sex
Percent of Population
Partial Listing of Lifestyle-related and other Disorders/Diseases where Nutraceuticals/Functional Foods can play a Major Role in Prevention/Management
Selected Rationale for Introduction of Functional Foods into Marketplace and Health-Care System
Lifestyle (diet)–related chronic diseases/disorders in Canada are major burden on health care costs (particularly with ageing population).
Current: ‘Medical Model’ (later in life)
Medical Management with or without Dietary Advice of Chronic Disorders/Diseases (no Functional Foods/Nutraceuticals
Future: ‘Preventive Model’ (early in life)
Wide introduction and use of Functional Foods/Nutraceuticals for Prevention of Chronic Disorders/Diseases
(~50% eligible for drug therapy)
(~ 40% have CVD)
(< 10% eligible for drug therapy)
(<5% have CVD)
(future if FFoods)
Percentage of Population
Effects of Selenium Supplementation for Cancer Prevention in Patients with Carcinoma of the Skin
A Randomized Controlled Trial
(Clark et al.JAMA. 1996;276:1957-1963)
* 200 ug Selenium/day as nutraceutical supplementation
Some Examples of Natural Blood Triglyceride-Lowering Nutraceutical Ingredients and their Potential to Reduce Subsequent Heart Disease Treatment Costs if Initiated as Preventive Foods in Healthy Individuals
* Includes both reduced dependency on costly triglyceride-lowering drugs later life and the reduced risk for later disease development needing costly medical treatment. Expected decrease (%) in disease risk based on published literature giving blood lipid changes in relation to disease risk. Higher intakes of nutraceutical ingredients in functional foods will give a corresponding lower decrease in later disease and greater cost savings.
Via Disease Prevention = $20 billion/yr
Via Disease Management = $10 billion/yr
Total = $30 billion/yr
Barriers to Functional Foods Contributing to Human Health and Chronic Disease Prevention in Canada
Medical Research Council (CIHR) spends <1% of its research budget on Functional Food – human research (incl. product development, other). This is a fraction of what is spent on research directed at evaluating imported pharmaceuticals (drugs).
Diet-related chronic diseases and disorders (cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, many cancers, other) are of major and increasing prevalence in our population. These contribute to our present and accelerating health care expenditures with this trend continuing as our population ages.
Health care costs in Canada can be reduced by a minimum of $20 billion/yr by early risk factor management and the accompanying disease prevention /retardation along with an additional minimal
A ‘preventive model’ using functional foods and not the regular ‘medical model’ needs to be established as soon as possible using a new breed of ‘preventive health specialists’ from our vast pool of eager, young, and underemployed B.Sc. graduates in life sciences from across Canada. The preventive model should focus on early detection and functional food-based control of ‘moderate’ risk factors in our younger population using the ‘preventive’ specialists without a dependency on physicians.