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A Graded Approach for Evaluating Health Claims about Plant-Based Food Supplements: Application of a Case Study Methodology

European Union

Aug 29, 2021

The implementation of REGULATION (EC) No 1924/2006 has led to the formation of a list of health claims that can be used in food supplements (EU 432/2012). However, such supplements are often composed of plant preparations with claims omitted from this list. The peculiarity of plants is related to their long history of use, that could allow claims based on traditionally recognized health effects. In addition, the scientific literature has been enriched over the years through clinical studies that have assessed the bioavailability and efficacy of bioactive components, and investigated their mechanisms of action. Based on existing recognized models which aim to classify research according to the level of scientific evidence, Synadiet developed a three-grade model (A, B or C) for assessing plants health claims. In this paper, the applicability of the model is illustrated through an example for which a Grade B health claim attesting the possible contribution of red clover isoflavones to the improvement of blood lipid levels in postmenopausal women has been attributed. The model appears able to be easily extrapolated to claims pertaining to other plants. If adopted by consensus at European level, this model could initiate the implementation of a positive list of health claims on plant preparations.

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