A catch all phrase used to describe foods with purported health benefits in addition to the nutrition they provide. Often Nutraceuticals claim to be an alternative to pharmaceutical medicines. They include nutritional supplements, vitamins, minerals, herbs and herbal extracts, botanicals, enzymes, tissue and glandular extracts, amino acids and various organic and inorganic chemicals, probiotics, and prebiotics.
In Australia any product for animal use and making a therapeutic claim requires registration by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority APVMA which demands scientifically valid evidence in support of the claims. Nutraceutical products often skirt the legislative requirement by avoiding direct claims of therapeutic effect and use phrases such as ‘’may assist with’’ or refer to historical use and anecdotal evidence or small poorly constituted trials and endorsements from well known horsemen etc. In horses as in humans the industry is large, profitable, and confusing containing a myriad products which need cautious evaluation by the consumer to assess the validity of their claims.