EFSA: la caffeina per lo sport funziona, altre sostanze no

In data odierna il gruppo di esperti dell’EFSA ha pubblicato i risultati della valutazione di 442 claim sulla salute proposti per l’uso nei prodotti alimentari.

Solo poche opinioni possono essere considerate positive nel campo della nutrizione sportiva,  in particolare sono stati accettati claim relativi al consumo di caffeina e aumento dello stato di allerta/attenzione, diminuzione della percezione dello sforzo durante l’esercizio fisico ed aumento della capacità in esercizi fisici di resistenza. Gli esperti dell’EFSA hanno dato inoltre parere positivo per il claim relativo alle maltodestrine resistenti affermando che c’è una relazione di causa effetto tra il consumo di questi carboidrati e il miglioramento della funzionalità intestinale. Altri esiti positivi sono riscontrabili per claim relativi alla Colina (‘contribuisce al normale metabolismo lipidico’) e ai polifenoli dell’ulivo (‘Idrossitirosolo protegge le LDL dal danno ossidativo’).

Gran parte dei claim valutati sono stati respinti, tra cui i principali relativi al consumo di caffeina e tè verde che riguardano ‘mantenimento e controllo del peso corporeo’ non potranno più essere utilizzati per prodotti ed integratori alimentari, a meno che il processo a livello comunitario abbia un esito diverso e solo quando i pareri diventeranno legge, con lo specifico regolamento di attuazione. Nessun parere positivo per quel che riguarda i claim  sugli aminoacidi come arginina, lisina, triptofano e derivati aminoacidici quali taurina, carnosina: infatti i principali claim sulla massa muscolare, attività di tipo tonico e vasodilatazione sono stati bocciati.Numerosi altri claim sono stati valutati e bocciati, in particolare molti relativi a Quercetina, Luteina, Acido Alfa Linoleico (ALA), FOS e i PUPA DHA/EPA (Omega 3) generalmente per carenza di dati sufficienti.

“Non bisogna dimenticare che EFSA ha ampiamente riconosciuto i benefici di vitamina e minerali che sono i tipici principi degli integratori alimentari, anche per lo sport (come per vitamina C e sistema immunitario dello sportivo)” ha commentato Luca Bucchini, direttore gestionale di Hylobates “Per le altre sostanze ha usato uno standard di prova molto diverso e a volte discutibile, anche se riteniamo un processo trasparente e scientificamente qualificato come quello di EFSA sia importante e necessario. Il riconoscimento per la caffeina è importante ed univoco; sarà importante bilanciare l’effetto positivo dei pareri EFSA con la necessità di portare sul mercato prodotti equilibrati, indirizzando attentamente la ricerca. Su un piano più squisitamente tecnico è importante, che con l’opinione sulla caffeina, EFSA ha confermato la possibilità di claim sulla salute nel quadro del Regolamento 1924/2006 riferiti ad attività sportive”.

Le indicazioni fornite dal Ministero della Salute sul proprio sito, fino all’entrata in vigore di un regolamento applicativo (atteso per metà 2012), restano permesse.

– Armando e Jacopo, Sport Nutrition Team –

Aggiornato alle ore 18:03 dell’8/4 con riferimento al Ministero Salute

Astaxanthin: a new remedy against oxidative stress in muscle?

Astaxanthin is a natural pigment content in algae Haematococcus pluvialis, which might have some good antioxidant properties. In this regard, the scientific community is not unanimous: some studies (e.g., Aoi et al, 2007) put the focus on a potential antioxidant effect which has a positive impact on muscle health; on the other hand other studies (Bloomer et al, 2005) suggest that astaxanthin supplementation does not benefit the muscle, because it does not reduce the risk of muscle damage.

The Italian Health Ministry accepts that astaxanthin has antioxidant properties and does not place restrictions on its use; but at European level, EFSA gave a negative opinion concerning a number of health claims for astxanthin including maintenance of normal joints, tendons or connective tissue, and protection of DNA, proteins or lipids from oxidative damage.
Use of the substance in sports nutrition may be increasing: recently, GNC has used astaxanthin with β-alanine, to create a blend named ‘Muscle Buffering System ‘, included in formulations of the new line of products ‘GNC Beyond Raw’.
Use of astaxanthin in the formulation of products should be carefully evaluated.

– Armando, Sport Nutrition Team

Republic of San Marino and Italy: protocol of cooperation on food supplements is being implemented

The General Direction of Food and Nutritional Safety (DGSAN) of Italy and the Department of Prevention of the Institute of Social Security for the Republic of San Marino (DPRSM) are now working together to facilitate cooperation in product and manufacturing conformity to EU community legislation. The protocol, which recently entered into force, specifically looks at the entrance of new products to the market and the verification of manufacturing facilities and processes situated in San Marino.

Before this accord took place, a food supplement importer residing in San Marino, which is not a EU Member State, had to notify the Italian Ministry of Health of the product that was to be imported and sold in Italy. What has changed is that now, the same Italian importer that resides in San Marino must add “RepSM” in the subject line of the notification form (found on the website: www.salute.gov.it). Also, if a note of reply is requested from the Italian Ministry of Health, the same “RepSM” must be present in the subject line. All communications to and from the Italian Ministry of Health will also be forwarded on to the DPRSM. If food supplements have a positive review from the DGSAN, the product will be included in the specific registry on the website located above.

It is important to note that both offices will be collaborating in the area of misleading advertising that does not conform to EU / Italian standards. DGSAN will make note of any advertising that is misleading / illegal on websites located in San Marino and will communicate this to the DPRSM and the DPRSM will do the same for Italian websites.

The second major impact of this collaboration is the control of production facilities by Italian authorities (DGSAN) with assistance from the DPRSM within San Marino. If an inspection takes place and the production facility is given recommendations on how to conform to legislation, the DPRSM will verify that the recommendations have been implemented. If and when they have been put into place, the DPRSM will communicate to the DGSAN to close the procedure on said production facility.

In practice the protocol, which enforces a previous agreement, means that the Republic of San Marino is relying on the Italian authorities, regulations and administrative practices for the assessment and management of food supplements and dietetic products, and that there should be no differences in the products marketed in the two countries.

While the general procedure is relatively straightforward, specific situations should be analyzed on a case-by-case basis, especially for sports nutrition products.

The Sports Nutrition Team

Italy notifies Decree on Plants Permitted in Food Supplements

Decreto Ministero della Salute Piante e Integratori

On February 3 2011 the Italian Ministry of Health has notified the European Commission and other Member States, under Directive 98/34/EC, that it intends to adopt a Decree on plants and plant extracts that can be used in food supplements, as defined by Directive 2002/46. The text of the draft Decree is available here.

The Decree includes around 2000 plants that can be used in Italy and that are not currently considered Novel Foods under Regulation 258/97. A specific reference to mutual recognition is made under article 4.

Those familiar with the earlier draft of the Decree will notice that other substances, like amino acids, carnitine or creatine, have been eliminated, as well as references to the uses of the different plants, in order to facilitate the adoption process at the European level. The indication of traditional uses may have conflicted with the claims regulation, Reg. 1924/2006.

A decision on the Decree is expected within the next three months and, if positive, may provide welcome support for the use of botanicals in food supplements.

Sports Nutrition Team

NB: links are not necessarily to the current version of the legal document cited.

%d bloggers like this: