Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to water and maintenance of normal physical and cognitive functions (ID 1102, 1209, 1294, 1331), maintenance of normal thermoregulation (ID 1208) and “basic requirement of all living things

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Article
EFSA Journal 2011;9(4):2075 [16 pp.].
doi
10.2903/j.efsa.2011.2075
EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA)
Panel Members
Carlo Agostoni, Jean-Louis Bresson, Susan Fairweather-Tait, Albert Flynn, Ines Golly, Hannu Korhonen, Pagona Lagiou, Martinus Løvik, Rosangela Marchelli, Ambroise Martin, Bevan Moseley, Monika Neuhäuser-Berthold, Hildegard Przyrembel, Seppo Salminen, Yolanda Sanz, Sean (J.J.) Strain, Stephan Strobel, Inge Tetens, Daniel Tomé, Hendrik van Loveren and Hans Verhagen.
Acknowledgement

The Panel wishes to thank for the preparatory work on this scientific opinion: The members of the Working Group on Claims: Carlo Agostoni, Jean-Louis Bresson, Susan Fairweather-Tait, Albert Flynn, Ines Golly, Marina Heinonen, Hannu Korhonen, Martinus Løvik, Ambroise Martin, Hildegard Przyrembel, Seppo Salminen, Yolanda Sanz, Sean (J.J.) Strain, Inge Tetens, Hendrik van Loveren and Hans Verhagen. The members of the Claims Sub-Working Group on Mental/Nervous System: Jacques Rigo, Astrid Schloerscheidt, Barbara Stewart-Knox, Sean (J.J.) Strain and Peter Willats.

Contact
Type
Opinion of the Scientific Committee/Scientific Panel
On Request From
European Commission
Question Number
EFSA-Q-2008-1841
EFSA-Q-2008-1945
EFSA-Q-2008-1946
EFSA-Q-2008-1947
EFSA-Q-2008-2032
EFSA-Q-2008-2068
Adopted
28 January 2011
Published
8 April 2011
Affiliation
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy
Note
Article (250.37 KB)250.37 KB
Summary

Following a request from the European Commission, the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies was asked to provide a scientific opinion on a list of health claims pursuant to Article 13 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. This opinion addresses the scientific substantiation of health claims in relation to water and maintenance of normal physical and cognitive functions, maintenance of normal thermoregulation and “basic requirement of all living things”. The scientific substantiation is based on the information provided by the Member States in the consolidated list of Article 13 health claims and references that EFSA has received from Member States or directly from stakeholders.

The food constituent that is the subject of the health claims is water. The Panel considers that water is sufficiently characterised.

Maintenance of normal physical and cognitive functions

The claimed effects are “hydration, e.g. body function, physical and cognitive performance”, “adds to fluid intake and supports hydration”, and “hydration”. The target population is assumed to be the general population. The Panel considers that maintenance of normal physical and cognitive functions is a beneficial physiological effect.

Loss of body water of about 1 % is normally compensated within 24 hours. Without compensation and with further increase of body water loss, physical and cognitive functions are impaired.

The Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has been established between the dietary intake of water and maintenance of normal physical and cognitive functions.

The Panel considers that, in order to obtain the claimed effect, at least 2.0 L of water should be consumed per day. Such amounts can be easily consumed as part of a balanced diet. The target population is the general population.

Maintenance of normal thermoregulation

The claimed effect is “regulation of normal body temperature”. The target population is assumed to be the general population. The Panel considers that maintenance of normal thermoregulation is a beneficial physiological effect.

Water is particularly important for thermoregulation. To protect the body's core temperature the body produces sweat, and thereby dissipates metabolic energy in the form of heat. A rise in body temperature is a consequence of both reduced sweating and reduced skin blood flow induced by dehydration.

The Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has been established between the dietary intake of water and maintenance of normal thermoregulation.

The Panel considers that, in order to obtain the claimed effect, at least 2.0 L of water should be consumed per day. Such amounts can be easily consumed as part of a balanced diet. The target population is the general population.

“Basic requirement of all living things”

The claimed effect is “Basic requirement of all living things. Without water, biological processes necessary to life would cease in a matter of days. Solvent for minerals, vitamins, amino acids, glucose, and many other small molecules so that they can participate in metabolic activities. Transportation of nutrients to cells, wastes from cells, and substances, such as enzymes, blood platelets, and blood cells. Structure of large molecules such as proteins and glycogen. Direct metabolic role represented by hydrolysis”. The target population is assumed to be the general population.

The claimed effect is not sufficiently defined and no further details were given in the proposed wording or the clarifications provided by Member States. From the references provided it was not possible to establish which specific effect is the target for the claim.

The Panel considers that the claimed effect is general and non-specific, and does not refer to any specific health claim as required by Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006.

Keywords
Water, physical function, cognitive function, thermoregulation, health claims
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Number of Pages
16