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Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine

Editor-in-Chief: Lui, Edmund

Ed. by Ko, Robert / Leung, Kelvin Sze-Yin / Saunders, Paul / Suntres, PH. D., Zacharias

CiteScore 2017: 1.41

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Phytonutrients as therapeutic agents

Charu Gupta
  • Corresponding author
  • Amity Institute for Herbal Research and Studies, Amity University, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India
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/ Dhan Prakash
  • Amity Institute for Herbal Research and Studies, Amity University, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2014-07-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jcim-2013-0021


Nutrients present in various foods plays an important role in maintaining the normal functions of the human body. The major nutrients present in foods include carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, vitamins, and minerals. Besides these, there are some bioactive food components known as “phytonutrients” that play an important role in human health. They have tremendous impact on the health care system and may provide medical health benefits including the prevention and/or treatment of disease and various physiological disorders. Phytonutrients play a positive role by maintaining and modulating immune function to prevent specific diseases. Being natural products, they hold a great promise in clinical therapy as they possess no side effects that are usually associated with chemotherapy or radiotherapy. They are also comparatively cheap and thus significantly reduce health care cost. Phytonutrients are the plant nutrients with specific biological activities that support human health. Some of the important bioactive phytonutrients include polyphenols, terpenoids, resveratrol, flavonoids, isoflavonoids, carotenoids, limonoids, glucosinolates, phytoestrogens, phytosterols, anthocyanins, ω-3 fatty acids, and probiotics. They play specific pharmacological effects in human health such as anti-microbial, anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-spasmodic, anti-cancer, anti-aging, hepatoprotective, hypolipidemic, neuroprotective, hypotensive, diabetes, osteoporosis, CNS stimulant, analgesic, protection from UVB-induced carcinogenesis, immuno-modulator, and carminative. This mini-review attempts to summarize the major important types of phytonutrients and their role in promoting human health and as therapeutic agents along with the current market trend and commercialization.

Keywords: anthocyanins; carotenoids; flavonoids; glucosinolates; nutraceuticals; phytoestrogens; phytonutrients; polyphenols; terpenoids


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About the article

Received: 2013-06-14

Accepted: 2014-05-20

Published Online: 2014-07-22

Published in Print: 2014-09-01

Citation Information: Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, Volume 11, Issue 3, Pages 151–169, ISSN (Online) 1553-3840, ISSN (Print) 2194-6329, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jcim-2013-0021.

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Javier Torregrosa-Crespo, Zaida Montero, Juan Fuentes, Manuel Reig García-Galbis, Inés Garbayo, Carlos Vílchez, and Rosa Martínez-Espinosa
Marine Drugs, 2018, Volume 16, Number 6, Page 203
Jennette Higgs, Emma Derbyshire, and Kathryn Styles
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Monika Mueller, Barbara Zartl, Agnes Schleritzko, Margit Stenzl, Helmut Viernstein, and Frank M. Unger
Bioprocess and Biosystems Engineering, 2017
Martha Rosales-Castro, Rubén F. González-Laredo, María José Rivas-Arreola, and Joseph Karchesy
Journal of Wood Chemistry and Technology, 2017, Volume 37, Number 5, Page 393
C. Mahendra, G. Manasa, B. L. Kiran, M. Murali, H. V. Girish, and M. S. Sudarshana
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