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 alpha-lipoic acid and “protection of the nerve system” and increase in insulin sensitivity. 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 alpha-lipoic acid. The Panel considers that alpha-lipoic acid is sufficiently characterised.
“Protection of the nerve system”
The claimed effect is “protection of nerve system”. The target population is assumed to be the general population.
From the references provided, which reported on the treatment of neurological complications of diabetes (i.e. diabetic polyneuropathy), the Panel considers that the claim is related to the treatment of a disease and does not comply with the criteria laid down in Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006.
The Panel notes that the clarifications provided by Member States mention lipid peroxidation. A claim on alpha lipoic acid and protection of body lipids from oxidative damage has already been assessed with an unfavourable outcome. The references cited for the current claim did not provide any additional scientific data which could be used to substantiate the claim.
Increase in insulin sensitivity
The claimed effect is “glucose metabolism”. The target population is assumed to be the general population. From the references provided, the Panel assumes that the claimed effect refers to an increase in insulin sensitivity. The Panel considers that an increase in insulin sensitivity is a beneficial physiological effect.
No references were provided from which conclusions could be drawn for the scientific substantiation of the claim.
On the basis of the data presented, the Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has not been established between the consumption of alpha-lipoic acid and an increase in insulin sensitivity.