From food to nutritional support to specific nutraceuticals: A journey across time in the treatment of disease

Christian Klein, Tomoi Sato, Michael M. Meguid, Go Miyata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Hospitalized patients who are unable to eat or cannot eat enough to meet their metabolic needs are given parenteral or enteral nutritional support. This form of therapy is now also given to patients at home. Nutritional support is a recent development, prior to which the value of food was recognized for its medicinal benefits as nutraceuticals. The value of such ″alternative″therapy is now being rediscovered by many patients who enhance their dietary intake with these traditional remedies. In Western culture, conventional medicine until recently has largely rejected the use of such ″alternative″ therapeutic intervention. Based on an increasing database, though, insight has been gained concerning the scientific validity of many previously termed established nutraceuticals. We focus here on the effects of honey, green tea, ginseng, and vitamin supplementation on the immune system. Honey has proven antimicrobial activity. Green tea enhances humoral and cell-mediated immunity while decreasing the risk of certain cancers and the risk of cardiovascular disease. Ginseng enhances production of macrophages, B and T cells, natural killer cells, and colony-forming activity of bone marrow. Vitamin supplementation is associated with increased antibody titer response to both hepatitis B and tetanus vaccines as a result of macrophage and T cell stimulation. Because of these findings, nutraceuticals are becoming more widely accepted as an adjunct to conventional therapies for enhancing general well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of gastroenterology
Issue numberSUPPL. 12
Publication statusPublished - 2000 Mar


  • Ginseng
  • Green tea
  • Honey
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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