In recent years, the field of nanotechnology has been making remarkable strides in revolutionizing various industries, and healthcare is no exception. Nanoparticles, tiny structures with dimensions on the nanoscale, have shown immense potential as carriers for therapeutic cargos in health products. Their unique properties and capabilities make them ideal candidates for targeted drug delivery, enabling improved treatment outcomes and reduced side effects. This article explores the applications of nanoparticles for health products and provides examples of their use, including natural extracts and traditional Chinese medicine.
One area where nanoparticles have found extensive application is in the delivery of natural extracts as health products. Natural extracts, derived from plants, animals, or microorganisms, often contain bioactive compounds with therapeutic potential. However, the delivery of these compounds to their intended sites of action can be challenging due to poor solubility, stability, or rapid metabolism. Nanoparticles can encapsulate these extracts, protecting them from degradation and facilitating their transport to the desired locations. For example, curcumin, a potent anti-inflammatory compound found in turmeric, has been successfully encapsulated in nanoparticles, resulting in improved bioavailability and targeted delivery to inflamed tissues.
Figure 1. Schematic presentation of applications of various nanosystems in allied healthcare sectors. (Anjum S, et al.; 2021)
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), with its long history and holistic approach to healthcare, also benefits from nanoparticle-based delivery systems. TCM often utilizes complex mixtures of natural compounds that can pose challenges in terms of standardization, dosing, and targeted delivery. Nanoparticles can overcome these obstacles by encapsulating TCM formulations, allowing for controlled release and targeted delivery. In a study, researchers encapsulated a TCM herbal extract used for liver protection in nanoparticles, leading to increased cellular uptake and improved therapeutic efficacy.
Nanoparticles used in health products possess unique characteristics that make them well-suited for various applications. These characteristics include:
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1. Anjum S, et al.; Emerging Applications of Nanotechnology in Healthcare Systems: Grand Challenges and Perspectives. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2021, 4(8):707.
2. Tolulope Joshua Ashaolu, et al.; Nanoemulsions for health, food, and cosmetics: a review. Environmental Chemistry Letters. 2021, volume 19, pages3381–3395.