EFSA health claims opinion

EFSA approves vitamin B metabolism health claim

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Health claim, Nutrition, Thiamine

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has given the thumbs up to a health claim linking the vitamin thiamine with normal carbohydrate and energy metabolism.

The article 14 children’s and disease reduction health claim, submitted by the dietary industry association IDACE, proposed the health benefit in children from birth to three years.

EFSA’s three basic criteria when evaluating health claim dossiers are:

  • The food or constituent must be sufficiently characterised
  • The claims effect must be sufficiently defined and is a beneficial physiological effect
  • There must be pertinent human studies to substantiate the claim

Ticking the boxes

Thiamine, or vitamin B1, is a well recognised nutrient that EFSA’s Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies considered to be sufficiently characterised and measurable in foods by established methods.

The claimed effect was: “Vitamin B1 plays and important role in the carbohydrate and energy metabolism of food”​, which EFSA said it considers to be a beneficial physiological effect.

As supporting evidence, the dossier provided four opinions of authoritative/scientific bodies and two review papers. EFSA said one of the reviews dealt with the role of B-vitamins in mitochondrial energy-yielding metabolism, but that the other did not address the role of thiamine in carbohydrate and energy-yielding metabolism

Cause and effect established

The opinion, published yesterday, states: “It is well recognised, that thiamine pyrophosphate, the active form of thiamine, is a cofactor of several enzymes involved in energy-yielding, branched-chain amino acid and carbohydrate metabolism.”

“On the basis of the data presented, the Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has been established between the dietary intake of thiamine and normal carbohydrate and energy-yielding metabolism.”

EFSA’s panel proposed a modification to the health claim wording as follows: “Thiamine contributes to normal carbohydrate and energy-yielding metabolism.”

Click here​ to access the full opinion.

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