EFSA health claim opinion

EFSA says no to vitamin E skin and hair health claims

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

EFSA scratches vitamin E hair and nail benefits
EFSA scratches vitamin E hair and nail benefits

Related tags: Nutrition, Antioxidant

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) says that evidence supporting the dietary intake of vitamin E as a way of helping to maintain normal skin, hair and nails is not sufficient.

This latest opinion, one of the most recent from EFSA as part of its health claims regulation, is bad news for beauty food, drink and supplement manufacturers which often include the vitamin in various products that claim skin and hair benefits.

Before releasing its opinion EFSA's health claims panel looked at the evidence supporting the use of vitamin E for a number of claims including the maintenance of a normal immune system and normal bones and teeth, as well as the maintenance of normal skin, hair and nails.

However, according to the panel, very little of the data submitted supported the claims made.

Maintaining normal hair of beneficial physiological effect

In the case of the maintenance of normal hair, while EFSA decided this is a beneficial physiological effect (meaning it does fall under the health claims regulation), the data submitted did not establish ‘a cause and effect relationship’ between the ‘dietary intake of vitamin E and the maintenance of normal hair’.

Similar conclusions were made for skin and nails with EFSA deeming them to be beneficial physiological effects but with little data submitted to back them up.

International marketing director for beauty supplement brand Imedeen, Marie-Louise Haxthausan, said the EFSA’s opinion was not what the company had been hoping for.

“Of course we hoped for and expected a positive opinion on vitamin E and skin health,”​ she told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com.

“However, Imedeen contains a number of other active ingredients on which we will be able to claim in compliance with published EFSA opinions, therefore, this opinion will not change our plans dramatically,”​ she added.

Antioxidant effect

While EFSA’s opinion on skin, hair and nails was negative, the authority did say that vitamin E can help protect DNA, proteins and lipids from oxidative damage, proposing the wording ‘Vitamin E contributes to the protection of cell constituents from oxidative damage’.

According to EFSA, on the basis of the data presented, there is a cause and effect relationship established between dietary intake of vitamin E and protection of DNA, protein and lipids from oxidative damage. This opinions provides some hope for companies who may wish to make claims on the vitamin's antioxidant effect.

Haxthausan confirmed that Imedeen would be using the positive opinion on vitamin E and its antioxidant effect in relation to its products.

The opinion can be found here.

NutraIngredients Health Claims 2010

These matters and more will be discussed at the second NutraIngredients Health Claims 2010 conference to be held in Brussels on December 1. The conference will deconstruct the latest article 13.1 claim opinions, hear first-hand experience from players like Kellogg’s, outline regulation-coping marketing strategies, and feature comparison with the US claims system from leading industry figure, Dr Andrew Shao.

For more details click here.

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