Nutraceuticals Functional Foods

Section Lead: Dr Gordon Lowe 


There is an abundance of scientific evidence that indicates that certain naturally occurring, non-nutritive and nutritive chemical components of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, tea, seeds, herbs and spices may prevent or reduce the risk of some chronic diseases such as various cancers and cardiovascular diseases. These natural compounds are often referred to as nutraceuticals or, if incorporated into food, as functional foods.

This section is involved in the following:

  • The identification and screening of nutraceuticals for their biochemical and pharmacological activities. This can include a general screen or in-depth studies which can be incorporated into either our PhD programmes or as short discrete areas of research
  • We also have experience of conducting small-scale clinical trials in support of investigating the efficacy of nutraceuticals. We have in the past conducted trials involving aged garlic extract and green tea extract for their cardioprotective and immunostimulating properties, respectively
  • We have contacts within UK or overseas-based nutraceutical companies, and are actively involved in research collaboration with international groups

Some of the nutraceuticals, which have been investigated by our section, include garlic (for cardio-protection, involved in inhibition of platelet aggregation and reducing oxidative stress), green tea (immune-stimulating properties), ginger, Echinacea, and the carotenoids (which have cardio-protective properties). Our work involves isolation, identification, pharmacological properties and the mechanisms of action of nutraceuticals, both in in vitro and in vivo settings.