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Posts Tagged vitamins

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

 

Cellular health

Our bodies are made up of cells and it is therefore essential for cells to develop normally and remain healthy to ensure overall health.

Health claims are now authorised across the EU for nutrients which have a role in cell division and specialisation, protection of cells from oxidative stress, and normal formation of red blood cells and haemoglobin, which resides in the cell. All of the nutrients for which these health claims have been approved are either vitamins or minerals, notably:

Health claim Vitamin or mineral
Role in cell division Calcium, Folate, Iron, Magnesium, vitamin B12, vitamin D, Zinc
Role in cell specialisation Calcium, vitamin A
Protects cell from oxidative stress Calcium, Copper, Magnesium, vitamin B2, Selenium, vitamin C, vitamin E, Zinc
Formation of  red blood cells Iron, vitamin B12, vitamin B6
Maintenance of normal blood cells Vitamin B2
Formation of haemoglobin Iron

A separate health claim has also been authorised for vitamin C and its role in improving iron absorption, which is important for vegetarians – as plant iron is less easy to absorb than iron from meat – and also those who may be on a low intake of meat, which is often the case in the elderly and people on special diets.

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

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.

 

 

 

Nutrition claims & conditions governing their use

LOW ENERGY

ENERGY-REDUCED

ENERGY-FREE

LOW FAT

FAT-FREE

LOW SATURATED FAT

SATURATED FAT-FREE

LOW SUGAR

SUGAR-FREE

WITH NO ADDED SUGARS

LOW SODIUM/SALT

VERY LOW SODIUM/SALT

SODIUM-FREE or SALT-FREE

SOURCE OF FIBRE

HIGH FIBRE

SOURCE OF PROTEIN

HIGH PROTEIN

SOURCE OF (NAME OF VITAMIN/S) and/or (NAME OF MINERAL/S)

HIGH (NAME OF VITAMIN/S) and/or (NAME OF MINERAL/S)

CONTAINS (NAME OF THE NUTRIENT OR OTHER SUBSTANCE)

INCREASED (NAME OF THE NUTRIENT)

REDUCED (NAME OF THE NUTRIENT)

LIGHT/LITE

NATURALLY/NATURAL

SOURCE OF OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS

HIGH OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS

HIGH MONOUNSATURATED FAT

HIGH POLYUNSATURATED FAT

HIGH UNSATURATED FAT

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.

 

 

 

 

Vitamins

Carotenoids are found naturally in foods such as fruit, spinach, carrots and eggs.

The importance of certain ingredients in the diet for maintaining health has been known since ancient times. But the need for what we now call vitamins was first realised in the mid-18th century, when the Scottish surgeon James Lind found that citrus fruit helped to prevent sailors on long voyages from developing the disease scurvy.James Lind found that citrus fruit helped to prevent sailors on long voyages from developing the disease scurvy.

Vitamins are organic chemicals that were first isolated in the first half of the 20th century, and while the body is able to make some of these itself, we rely on our diet for the rest. Our bodies also need a number of inorganic chemicals in tiny amounts, mostly metals, and these are called minerals.

Many processed foods are fortified with vitamins and minerals, which helps us to consume enough of these vital substances.

Most governments issue lists of recommended daily amounts – RDAs – of each vitamin and mineral that should be supplied by the diet. Many people already eat sufficient in their normal diet, but there are still large groups in each country who do not. In the UK, fortification of margarine with vitamins A and D is compulsory as it is a substitute for butter, which is a good source of these vitamins. Fortification of bread flour is also compulsory in the UK, as milling the flour removes several of the useful B vitamins. Generally, fortification is carried out at no more than 50% of the RDA per daily serving.

Carotenoids are found naturally in foods such as fruit, spinach, carrots and eggs.Vitamin A, also known as retinol, is important for healthy eyesight and bone growth. It is made in the body from precursor chemicals called carotenoids, or ingested directly from meat and dairy products. Carotenoids are found naturally in foods such as fruit, spinach, carrots and eggs.

Vitamin B1, or thiamine, is important in many of the processes carried out by our cells. Some of the most important sources include meat, vegetables, cereals, rice and yeast. The disease beri-beri results from a deficiency in this vitamin, as does Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome in alcoholics. Most cases of deficiency in the UK occur in alcoholics, causing confusion, ataxia and coma.

Vitamin B2, or riboflavin, is another vitamin that is important in metabolism. It is found in foods like milk, liver, yeast and green vegetables, and can also be used to add colour to foods.

Vitamin B3, better known as niacin, is a vital component of metabolic processes. Deficiency Vitamin B5, now referred to as pantothenic acid, is important in metabolism. It is widespread in foodstuffs, including whole grains, eggs, meat and legumes. It is a familiar ingredient in cosmetics, where it is normally used in the more stable alcohol form, panthenol.causes the disease pellagra. It is commonly found in foods like meat, fruit and vegetables and various nuts and cereals.

Vitamin B5, now referred to as pantothenic acid, is important in metabolism. It is widespread in foodstuffs, including whole grains, eggs, meat and legumes. It is a familiar ingredient in cosmetics, where it is normally used in the more stable alcohol form, panthenol.

Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, is important in the production of red blood cells and various hormones. It is found in milk, meat, brown rice, whole-wheat grain and nuts.

Vitamin B7, better known as biotin, is again important in metabolism and cell growth, and is widely available in egg yolk, liver, kidney, meat and some vegetables. As a result, deficiency is rare.

Vitamin B9, now usually listed as folic acid or folate, has numerous functions in the body, mainly in amino-acid metabolism. It also has an important role when the body is growing rapidly during pregnancy, resulting in a reduction in the likelihood of neural tube defects such as spina bifida if it is ingested in the right quantities pre-and post-conception. It is found in foods such as green vegetables, peas and beans, and liver as folate. Supplements are important for pregnant women.

Vitamin B12, is a group of related substances, the most important of which is cyanocobalamin. Vitamin B9, now usually listed as folic acid or folate, has numerous functions in the body, mainly in amino-acid metabolismIt is essential for healthy blood and nervous system, and a deficiency ultimately leads to pernicious anaemia. It is found naturally in milk, eggs and meat, but not in vegetables,  so vegetarians need to ensure that they either eat foods fortified with B12, or take a supplement.

Vitamin C is familiar on food labels under its chemical name of ascorbic acid as it is commonly used as an antioxidant. It is needed by the body to synthesis collagen, the protein that makes up much of our connective tissue, and if we don’t get enough, we will develop scurvy. It also helps iron to be absorbed, and works as an antioxidant in the body, helping to protect against the onset of many chronic diseases. It is found in many fruits, and is particularly abundant in citrus fruits. Potatoes are also an important source in the UK diet.
Vitamin D is one of the few vitamins our bodies can make itself, which it does in response to sunlight, but many foods are fortified with it to make sure we get enough. It is actually a group of related chemicals, the calciferols, and has aVitamin E is another group of related chemicals, the tocopherols. These antioxidants are found in many foods, especially oils from sources such as wheatgerm, sunflower, olive and various nut oils. number of functions in the body. These include healthy bone growth, and a deficiency in this vitamin will result in a softening of the bones, or rickets, in children. Good natural sources include oily fish, liver, milk and eggs.

Vitamin E is another group of related chemicals, the tocopherols. These antioxidants are found in many foods, especially oils from sources such as wheatgerm, sunflower, olive and various nut oils. It is vital the integrity of membranes, and the dietary requirement tends to increase with the amount of polyunsaturated fats ingested, so it is often added to margarine. It is also used as an antioxidant.

Potatoes are also an important source for Vitimin C in the UK diet.Vitamin K is a group of quinone chemicals that are important in the blood clotting process, and the maintenance of healthy bones and cardiovascular system. Sources include green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, cabbage and broccoli, and also some fruits such as avocado. K vitamins are also found in fermented dairy products such as cheese.

Claims

More than 80 health claims for the vitamins have been authorised in 2012 by the European Commission, and they demonstrate the important synergy between the different vitamins (and minerals) as several vitamins (and minerals) are noted to carry similar claims
ClaimVitamin or mineral
Maintenance of normal bonesVitamin C, Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus,Vitamin D, Vitamin K
Maintenance of normal hairBiotin, Copper, Selenium, Zinc
Maintenance of normal energy-yielding metabolismVitamin B1, B2, Niacin, Pantothenic acid, Vitamin B6, Biotin, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C
Maintenance of normal functioning of the nervous systemVitamin B1, B2, Niacin, Biotin, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C

Vitamin C carries extensive claims for the maintenance of normal collagen (elastic net) formation in blood vessels, bones, cartilage, gums, skin and teeth.

The EU Register can be searched very simply by nutrient and/or health condition

 

 

 

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.