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Posts Tagged minerals

Nutrient metabolism

Certain nutrients are essential for basic bodily functions, and a wide range of health claims have been authorised by the EU in this area. They include:

Health claim ‘contributes to normal…’VitaminMineralOther
Macronutrient metabolismBiotinChromium, Zinc
*Homocysteine metabolismFolate, vitamin B12, vitamin B6Betaine, Choline
Energy-yielding metabolismPantothenic acid, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin CCalcium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus
Lipid metabolismCholine
Sulphur amino acid metabolismMolybdenum
Synthesis and metabolism of steroid hormones, vitamin D and some neurotransmittersPantothenic acid
Metabolism of ironVitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin C
Protein and glycogen metabolismVitamin B6
Acid-base metabolismZinc
Carbohydrate metabolismZinc
Fatty acid metabolismZinc
Vitamin A metabolismZinc

*The homocysteine metabolism claims are of special interest as this involves the metabolism of homocysteine, seen as a marker for chronic illnesses such as heart disease, to methionine, a beneficial amino-acid. Vitamin B12 is necessary for this metabolism but is only present in animal products such as meat and milk, and is missing from strict vegetarian or vegan diets. This should be corrected by supplementation or foods fortified with vitamin B12.

Vitamin C enhances iron absorption by the body, and this is again important for vegetarians as plant iron is less absorbable than haem iron, which comes in the main from meat. Thus a vegetarian diet should include vitamin C rich foods.

The claims may be made for a single nutrient or several nutrients.

The EU Health Claims Register is dynamic in nature and should be checked for updates.

Mental health

Numerous health claims have been authorised by the EU in this area. They fall into three major categories – psychological, cognitive and neurological claims. Many claims submitted for memory and its enhancement were rejected.

Health claim ‘contributes to’ Vitamin Mineral
Psychological Normal psychological function Biotin, Folate, Niacin, Vitamin B1, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin C Magnesium
Cognitive* Normal cognitive function Iodine, Iron, Zinc
Cognitive development in children Iron
Mental performance Pantothenic acid
Neurological Contributes to functioning of the nervous system Vitamin B12, biotin,  niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin C
Copper, Iodine, Magnesium, Potassium
*A claim has also been authorised for water as it ‘contributes to physical and cognitive function’..
There also two important claims authorised for DHA (dodecahexanoic acid), a component of fish oil which can also be manufactured by fermentation. They are:-

  • ‘contributes to the maintenance of normal brain function (general population)’
  • ‘maternal intake (of DHA) contributes to normal brain development of the foetus and breastfed infants’.

A claim may be made for a single nutrient or several nutrients.

The EU Health Claims Register is dynamic in nature and should be checked for updates

Immune system

The immune system is a complex collection of organs, cells and tissues that work collectively to protect the body against disease caused mostly by pathogens (bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi).

Parts of the immune system include the tonsils, lymph nodes, appendix, spleen, thymus, skin and mucous membranes.

The lymph nodes in particular produce lymphocyte cells (white blood cells) whose role is to destroy invading pathogens.

Eleven claims have been authorised by the EU for contributions to the normal function of the immune system, and these are:-

Health claim Vitamin Mineral
Contributes to the normal function of the immune system Vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin D Copper, Iron, Selenium, Zinc

The claim may be made for one of the nutrients or several of the nutrients.

The EU Health Claims Register is dynamic in nature and should be checked for updates.

 

Hair, nails and skin

Several claims have been authorised by the EU for vitamins and minerals that help maintain healthy hair, nails and skin. These include:

Health claim ‘contributes to the maintenance of…’VitaminMineral
Normal hairBiotinSelenium, Zinc
Normal hair pigmentation Copper
Normal skinNiacin, vitamin AIodine, Zinc
Normal skin pigmentation Copper
Normal skin and mucous membranesNiacin, vitamin B2 
Normal mucous membranesVitamin A 
Normal collagen* formation for the normal function of skinVitamin C 
Normal nails Selenium,Zinc

*Collagen is the elastic net that helps to give the skin suppleness

The claims may be made for a single nutrient or several nutrients.

The EU Health Claims Register is dynamic in nature and should be checked for updates

Energy and exercise

Sports nutrition is a huge and growing market, with an array of products and ingredients authorised to claim that they boost physical performance.

Energy, which is essential for stamina, is produced by the metabolism of food by the digestive system, with several vitamins and minerals involved in the process.

A total of 20 health claims have been authorised in this area and may be summarised as:-

Health claim Vitamin Mineral Other
Contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism Biotin, Niacin, Pantothenic acid, vitamin B1, vitamin B2,vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C* Calcium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese*
Maintenance of endurance performance Carbohydrate/electrolyte solution
Enhances water absorption during exercise Carbohydrate/electrolyte solution
Increases physical performance in high intensity short bursts Creatine
Contributes to the maintenance of a normal immune system during/after intense exercise Vitamin C
Contributes to oxygen transport in the body Iron
*Claims may be made for a single nutrient or several nutrients

The EU Health Claims Register is dynamic in nature and should be checked for updates

 

Muscle & joint health

Several claims have been authorised for muscle and joint health. These include:-

Health claim – ‘contributes to…’
Normal muscle function Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, vitamin D*
Growth in muscle mass Protein
The maintenance of muscle mass Protein
The maintenance of normal connective tissue Copper
The formation of normal connective tissue Manganese
Normal sulphur amino-acid metabolism Molybdenum
*A claim may be made for a single nutrient or several nutrients

Glucosamine, chondroitin and fish oils do not have claims authorised in this area but are widely used with joint health in the mind of the consumer, and may materialise in the future.

 

 

 

Bone and dental health

Calcium and vitamin D are needed for normal growth and development of bone in children.

Several vitamins and minerals are essential for our bones and teeth to grow and remain healthy. It’s crucial, for example, for children to consume sufficient calcium as it’s needed for the growth of strong, dense bones and teeth, and as we get older it’s needed to keep them that way. This is why children are encouraged to drink milk, which is a great source of calcium. It is also important in post-menopausal women, who have a high risk of developing osteoporosis. This causes bones to become brittle and prone to breaking.

Calcium is not alone in this – we also need sufficient vitamin D and  vitamin K. Vitamin D is required by the body to enable the absorption of calcium. As an example, products that contain sufficient levels of both calcium and vitamin D can carry this health claim:

Calcium and vitamin D are needed for normal growth and development of bone in children.

This is because it is recognised that calcium and vitamin D are both essential for the normal growth and development of bones, and some children and adolescents may not consume sufficient to ensure that their bones develop properly.

Certain minerals which are important in the maintenance of normal bones and teeth comprise magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc, and claims have been authorised for use in products for the general population.

Vitamin C is also important for the formation of the elastic collagen net which forms the base upon which calcium is deposited to form bones and teeth, thus giving bones and teeth an elastic quality and  claims have been authorised for this.

The claims can be summarised as below:

Health Claim Nutrient
Maintenance of normal bones Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, vitamin D, vitamin K, Zinc
Maintenance of normal teeth Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, vitamin D
Maintenance of normal collagen formation for the normal function of bones Vitamin C
Maintenance of normal collagen formation for the normal function of teeth Vitamin C
Needed for the growth and development of bone in children Calcium, vitamin D, Phosphorus, Protein

The claims may be made for a single nutrient or several nutrients.

 

 

 

 

Minerals

wp-minerals

Many different minerals are essential for health, often in tiny amounts. Some of the most important are:

Calcium has long been associated with formation of bones and teeth but has a wide role in human health, and claims have now been authorised for the maintenance of normal bones and teeth and also for the maintenance of normal blood clotting, energy-yielding metabolism, muscle function, neurotransmission, function of digestive enzymes and also a role in cell division and specialisation.

Cobalt is an essential component of the vitamin B12. It is not authorised for use as a food additive but it is available from the diet in adequate quantities.

Copper is part of many of the enzymes the body uses. Several claims have been authorised for copper, ranging from the protection of cells from oxidative stress to the maintenance of normal hair and skin pigmentation.

Chromium is needed by the body in the metabolism of sugars and lipids.

Claims have been authorised for the maintenance of normal macronutrient metabolism and normal blood glucose levels when in its trivalent state.

Iron is at the core of haemoglobin, the chemical that transports oxygen around the body in the blood, and is also part of numerous enzymes. A wide range of claims have been authorised, from the maintenance of normal cognitive function to the normal formation of red blood cells and the reduction of fatigue.

Manganese is required by many enzymes, and is important in the way the body processes toxic superoxide. Authorised claims include the maintenance of normal bones and connective tissue to the protection of cells from oxidative stress.

Magnesium is essential for a wide range of fundamental cellular reactions and is involved in at least 300 enzymic steps in intermediary metabolism. Claims have been authorised for the maintenance of normal bones and teeth, muscle function, nervous system and psychological function as well as reduction in tiredness and fatigue.

Molybdenum is present in several enzymes and can carry a claim for normal sulphur amino-acid metabolism.

Nickel is in a number of enzymes, notably urease which processes urea. Like cobalt, it is not authorised for use as a food additive.

Selenium containing chemicals work with various important enzymes, particularly peroxidases, and is important in thyroid function. Selenium in the British diet is generally low as our soils have low contents of the element, so levels in the plants grown on that soil are also low.  Various claims have been authorised, including the maintenance of normal hair, nails and thyroid function, and also the protection of cells from oxidative stress.

Zinc is an important component of several important enzymes, including carbonic anhydrase in the eye, and the dehydrogenase which breaks down alcohol in the liver.  A wide range of claims have been authorised, including the maintenance of normal DNA synthesis, cognitive function, fertility, macronutrient metabolism and also the maintenance of normal  hair, skin, nails and vision.

It should be noted that several minerals (and vitamins) have in many cases been authorised to carry health claims. The claim in that case can be made for one or several of the relevant nutrients contained in a few product.

Examples are:

Health claim Vitamin Mineral
Contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism Biotin, Niacin, Pantothenic acid, vitamin B1, vitamin B2,vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C* Calcium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese*
Maintenance of normal bones Vitamin D, vitamin K Calcium,Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus,Zinc

 

 

Vitamin D deficiency a ‘major problem’

VitaminD

A quarter of all toddlers in the UK are lacking Vitamin D, according to new research. A recommendation that all children under five should take Vitamin D supplements, 74 per cent of parents know nothing about the guidelines. And more than half of health professionals are also unaware of them.

Dr Benjamin Jacobs, consultant paediatrician at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, describes the vitamin deficiency issue as a ‘major problem’.

“We see about one case of rickets a month in our hospital, but that’s the very severe end of the disease,” he says. “There are many other children who have less severe problems – muscle weakness, delay in walking, bone pains – and research indicates that in many parts of the country the majority of children have a low level of Vitamin D.”

However, it is not only children who are at risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency. Anyone who doesn’t get enough sunshine, possibly because they are unable to go outside, or people whose diet is lacking in Vitamin D, could also be at risk.

Those who don’t go out in the sun are advised to eat plenty of oily fish and take supplements to ensure a sufficient intake of Vitamin D.

Global additives market on the up

news-ontheup

Global sales of food and drink additives reached £17.3 billion last year, according to a new report.

The best performing sectors include enzymes, acidulants and hydrocolloids, says Leatherhead Food Research’s report The Global Food Additives Market, with a growing demand for low fat, salt and sugar products – as well as functional health benefit products – driving demand for a host of additives including emulsifiers, hydrocolloids, sweeteners, vitamins and minerals, soya ingredients, omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, prebiotics and plant stanol esters.

The report also says that while the global additives market has not been immune to the effects of the global economic downturn, a period of modest growth is forecast for the world food additives market over the next few years.

Some of the better performing sectors are likely to include natural flavours and colours, food hydrocolloids, enzymes and functional food ingredients.