Nutraceuticals for health and exercise. Is there an optimal combination?

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Nutraceuticals are compounds within foods that have beneficial effects on human health, in particular, disease prevention and treatment. Many of these compounds are extracted from foods that are considered “functional” such as fruits and vegetables consumed to prevent certain cardiovascular diseases or forms of cancer. Preparations of such nutraceutical, containing the active ingredients found in functional foods, involve extracting, purifying, concentrating and assaying. The Mediterranean diet (MD) is considered one of the healthiest diets for human longevity and disease prevention. More evidence still emerges about the MD adherence association with living beyond a century in some parts of the Mediterranean. The healthy food MD components (MDC) contain numerous nutraceuticals within its macro- and micronutrients. Components such as olive oil, tree nuts, seasonal fruits and vegetables, legumes and fish contain polyphenols, terpenoids, flavonoids, alkaloids, sterols, pigments and unsaturated fatty acids. Those provide a number of anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, insulin resistance and sensitivity and anti-cholesterol properties. Despite the recent interest on the MDC and their derived nutraceuticals, the physical activity and exercise part of a Mediterranean lifestyle (part of the MD pyramid) remains under-investigated. Exercise is an established primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease, and regular exercise is associated with lower risk of mortality. Regular aerobic exercise training also promotes anti-oxidant defense system. Combining regular exercise with regular MD intake is likely to trigger or augment additional functions such as reduced lipid peroxidation and anti-inflammatory functions, which reflect a better vascular function in sedentary older populations. MD plant foods (fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, wine, olive oil), especially fresh green leafy vegetables are rich in polyphenols, terpenoids, flavonoids, alkaloids, sterols, pigments and unsaturated fatty acids, play an important role in maintaining wellness, and contribute to preventing cancer, depression, colorectal cancer, diabetes, obesity, asthma, and cognitive decline. Whether the disease-preventative functions of one or more MD component could be further triggered acutely or chronically with exercise training is unknown. Single component supplements such as fish oil (omega-3 fatty acids), vitamin C, tyrosol (within olive oil) have been shown to enhance exercise related outcomes through chronic effects on aspects of neuromuscular function, immunological function and oxidative stress resistance, thermotolerance and metabolic weight loss outcomes. Exercise and consuming MDC may have reciprocal functions in terms of promoting health outcomes. However, it is still unclear whether and how the benefits of supplements containing several MDC ingredients can be augmented through exercise training.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2016
Event15th Global Diabetes & Obesity Conference
- Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Duration: 14 Nov 201615 Nov 2016


Conference15th Global Diabetes & Obesity Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Arab Emirates


Dive into the research topics of 'Nutraceuticals for health and exercise. Is there an optimal combination?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this