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