Metabolism is a cellular process for energy formation from food sources by
using a multitude of interdependent pathways with the help of thousands of enzymatic
machinery. Encyclopedia of genetics defines metabolic diseases as the inability of metabolism,
including improper functioning of enzymes for metabolism of carbohydrates,
amino acids derived from proteins, and fatty acids liberated from lipids, respectively.
Most of these are typically inherited, but a person may remain asymptomatic for years
before the disease could get triggered. An interesting characteristic of these diseases is
that their occurrence would be considered rare when individual statistics are studied but
the same diseases could be considered common when studied in a group of people with
unifying genetic features. A few metabolic diseases could be acquired and have their
origin in malnutrition, such as Kwashiorkor and Marasmus, or diseases that could be attributed
to endocrinal malfunction of which diabetes mellitus and obesity are classic examples.
Treatments for these diseases are as varied as the causes and can range from
simple dietary changes to organ transplants. Biopharmaceuticals such as proteins, peptides,
as well as antisense oligonucleotides, and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) preparations
for gene therapy could provide a viable, non-invasive mode to treat most of these
inherited diseases, whereas nutritional supplements along with herbal and synthetic
drugs would be the way to treat the acquired ones. Nevertheless, formulating biopharmaceuticals
with excellent efficacy, optimal shelf life and the ability for large scale
manufacturing have still eluded the pharmaceutical industry. Nanotechnology can maneuver
the structure of original therapeutic materials into a new nano range materials,
which demonstrate incredible property differences compared to those of original materials.
Hence, nanomedicine could be the way forward to deliver a plethora of drugs ranging
from biological, herbal, and synthetic nature as compared to traditional methods. A
wide spectrum of nanoparticulate based systems such as inorganic particles like quantum
dots, dendrimers; polymeric systems utilizing biodegradable polymers of natural or
synthetic origin, lipid-based systems like liposomes, solid lipid nanoparticles, etc has
been employed successfully in the delivery of the aforementioned classes of drugs. This
review will encompass a brief introduction to various metabolic disorders and would focus
on the available and possible nano-based treatment options for each of them.