LISTEN NOW: Sports nutrition, Codex on probiotics, EMA on omega-3 ... and the UK on energy drinks - The Nutra News Review

By Nathan Gray contact

- Last updated on GMT

It's not easy to keep up with the fast pace of the news, but the weekly Nutra News Review is your best shot. Our editors run down their weekly news highlights - giving you the inside track on the top news and analysis from the last seven days.

Listen to Will Chu, Nikki Cutler and Nathan Gray rundown their highlights of the week's news...

1. Codex to consider probiotic harmonisation

Earlier this our US-based colleagues reported that The Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses will continue to explore work on harmonized probiotic guidelines – despite opposition from some delegations and industry trade associations.

The story started just over a year ago when the International Probiotics Association introduced a proposal at the 39th session of the of Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses meeting in Berlin – which recommended harmonising probiotic guidelines for use in foods and dietary supplements (see here​).

Argentina then committed to leading the work and subsequently prepared a discussion paper, and during a recent meeting – which took place in Berlin in late November this year multiple delegations voiced their support, and noted that, “harmonized global guidelines would benefit the Codex community in light of the significant increase in global trade of probiotics for use in foods in foods and dietary supplements in recent years and would assist national authorities in evaluating foods/supplements containing probiotics”​. Click here to read more.

2. EMA says omega-3 medicines are ‘not effective’

A report by the European Medicines Agency has said omega-3 fatty acid medicines are not effective in preventing further heart and blood vessels problems after heart attack – meaning medicines containing DHA and EPA for this purpose will no longer be authorised for use.

In its December meeting, the EMA’s human medicines committee (CHMP) concluded that omega-3 fatty acid medicines are not effective in preventing further heart and blood vessels problems in patients who have had a heart attack.

These medicines have been authorised at a dose of one gram per day, for use after a heart attack, in many European countries since 2000. And lots of major Consumer health and pharma companies including Pfizer, Mylan, Teva and BASF owned Pronova BioPharma currently hold market authorisation for omega-3 medicines.

But that looks like it will all change very soon since the CHMP conclusion – which was based on a review of data accumulated over the years since authorisation, means that the medicines will no longer be authorised for such use. Click here to read more.

3. Probiotics for sports nutrition

Lallemand revealed this week its Lafti L10 probiotic may provide natural antioxidant defence for athletes.

The company’s findings, which noted a decrease in oxidative stress markers and an increase in a defence marker against oxidative stress in the Lafti probiotic group, pointed favourably towards probiotic supplements as a product suitable for sports nutrition.

The antioxidant properties exhibited by probiotic strains such as lafti, rosell and harmonium, give rise to products designed for pre- and post-workout purposes to increase endurance and boost immunity.

But where probiotics could come into its own is the protection afforded from respiratory tract infections, which athletes seem particularly sensitive to.

In this regard, it could be argued that probiotics have more use as a complementary supplement targeting overall health and well-being.

This supporting role can further be emphasised by firms currently looking into mixing probiotics with other sports ingredients such as whey protein to fit into an athlete’s diet. Click here to read more.

4. Natural food-based supplements

NutraIngredients went along to the Health Ingredients Europe and spoke to professional athletes, Joe Welstead and Marc Rink on the nutritional and diet demands of their sport

With interest in following a healthy lifestyle a focus for consumers, professional athletes are held up as examples of peak physical conditioning and as such their diets are held up as examples to emulate.

However, one consideration is how sports nutrition products affect professional athletes’ training and performance.

A large number contain flavourings, colourings and other unwanted ingredients that make the product look and taste nice but must not do all that much for sporting performance.

Welstead said the products he used contained unhealthy, unnatural ingredients giving him the short-term gains. But in the longer term they were filling his body with chemical compounds.

As consumers look to adopt healthier lifestyles and diet, maybe the issue of using natural food-based supplements to fuel the body must now factor into this new regimen.

With the advent of organic, natural ingredient firms like Motion Nutrition, maybe we are now seeing an interest towards healthy food products over simple supplements, where the focus is on functional foods rather than individual nutrients. Click here to read more.

5. Mum knows best with Growing Up Milk

This week also saw market research commissioned by Arla Foods catch our editors eyes. The research revealed that mothers have quality front of mind when choosing infant formulas, and will happily pay more for products with their specific ingredients and health benefits.

YouGov surveyed more than 5,500 mothers across seven countries and when asked what purchasing influencers were most important to them, most said that quality and health benefits were most likely to influence them, while price was the least important.

When asked whether they knew about specific ingredients, lactose topped the list followed by probiotics. Ingredients from whey were also widely known about and nearly four in ten of the mothers (38%) said they would prefer a product that contained whey proteins. Click here to read more.

6. UK to consider energy drinks?

Finally, the UK’s Government has been advised to use Brexit as an opportunity to enforce more prominent health warnings on energy drink labels.

The Science and Technology Committee published a report last week in response to the discovery that young people in the UK are the biggest consumers of energy drinks in Europe for their age. So the Committee researched the issue and questioned whether the decision taken by some retailers to ban their sale to under 16s should be extended to all retailers by law.

The Committee said there is not currently enough evidence to warrant a statutory ban. But it also added that the committee recommends the Government should use the opportunity of leaving the EU to introduce additional labelling requirements to ensure that advisory messages are not merely in 'the small print', therefore enabling more informed decision prior to purchase. Click here to read more.

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