EFSA on vitamin E: ‘Pregnant and lactating women don’t need more’

By Annie Harrison-Dunn

- Last updated on GMT

Food Supplements Europe clashes with EFSA on vitamin E recommendations for pregnant and lactating women
Food Supplements Europe clashes with EFSA on vitamin E recommendations for pregnant and lactating women

Related tags Food supplements europe Milk Pregnancy Nutrition

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has set dietary reference values (DRVs) for vitamin E as alpha-tocopherol.

Using dietary surveys in children and adults in nine different countries, the panel on dietetic products, nutrition and allergies (NDA) said there was no apparent α‑tocopherol deficiency in the EU.

For α-tocopherol the panel set an ‘adequate intake’ for adults at 13 mg/day for men and 11 mg/day for women. They said there was no evidence that pregnant or lactating women should have a higher dose – something Food Supplements Europe contested in the period of public consultation.

The trade group urged EFSA to use “at least”​ the 2013 recommendations set by D-A-CH for pregnant and lactating women of 13 mg α-tocopherol/day and 17 mg per day, respectively.

“A recent study has also shown a link between low vitamin E intake and miscarriages during the first trimester of pregnancy, pointing to the importance of adequate intake in women of child bearing age,”​ it wrote.

It said it could not agree with EFSA’s conclusion, that "a full compensation of the transitory secretion of alpha-tocopherol in breast milk is not justified for the derivation of DRVs for alpha-tocopherol for lactating women".

For both boys and girls aged 3 to < 10 years this was 9 mg/day and children aged 10 to < 18 years ths was 13 mg/day for boys and 11 mg/day for girls.  For infants aged 7–11 months this was again lower at 5 mg/day.  

Meanwhile the Association of the European SelfMedication Industry (AESGP) said advising lower levels was a dangerous public health move since it would likely reduce the quantity of Vitamin E (α tocopherol) consumed in the population. “This will equate to lower blood and tissue levels of α tocopherol, which has been shown to be correlated to adverse health,” ​it wrote.

The vitamin E opinion received comments from Food Supplements Europe, the AESGP, Cefic​ European Chemical Industry Council, Health Council of the Netherlands, pharmaceutical regulatory affairs specialist ELC and Chemical Vitamin E Producers (CVEP).

The opinion can be found HERE​.

The public consultation comments can be found HERE​.

An opinion on cobalamin (vitamin B12) was also set for publication. This opinion received comments from Serbian pharmaceutical firm Galenika, Health Council of the Netherlands and ELC. 

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