Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to L-theanine from Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze (tea) and improvement of cognitive function (ID 1104, 1222, 1600, 1601, 1707, 1935, 2004, 2005), alleviation of psychological stress (ID 1598, 1601), maintenance of normal sleep (ID 1222, 1737, 2004) and reduction of menstrual discomfort (ID 1599) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006

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Article
Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies
EFSA Journal
EFSA Journal 2011;9(6):2238 [23 pp.].
doi
10.2903/j.efsa.2011.2238
Panel members at the time of adoption
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
Acknowledgements

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 Willatts.

Contact
Type
Opinion of the Scientific Committee/Scientific Panel
On request from
European Commission
Question Number
EFSA-Q-2008-1843
EFSA-Q-2008-1960
EFSA-Q-2008-2334
EFSA-Q-2008-2335
EFSA-Q-2008-2336
EFSA-Q-2008-2337
EFSA-Q-2008-2443
EFSA-Q-2008-2473
EFSA-Q-2008-2668
EFSA-Q-2008-2737
EFSA-Q-2008-2738
Adopted
8 April 2011
Published
30 June 2011
Affiliation
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy
Note
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Abstract

No abstract available

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 L-theanine from Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze (tea) and improvement of cognitive function, alleviation of psychological stress, maintenance of normal sleep and reduction of menstrual discomfort. 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/constituents that are the subject of the health claims are Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze (tea) and L-theanine. The Panel considers that while Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze (tea) is not sufficiently characterised in relation to the claimed effects, L-theanine from Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze (tea) is sufficiently characterised.

Improvement of cognitive function

The claimed effects are “physical and mental stimulation (hydration and caffeine)”, “mental and cognitive health”, “cognitive function”, “neurological functions”, “physiological antagonistic against caffeine”, and “cognitive performance: focussed attention”. The target population is assumed to be the general population. In the context of the proposed wordings and clarifications from Member States, the Panel assumes that the claimed effects refer to improvement of cognitive function. The Panel considers that improvement of cognitive function is a beneficial physiological effect.

In weighing the evidence, the Panel took into account that the three human studies from which conclusions could be drawn for the scientific substantiation of the claim did not show an effect of L-theanine on improvement of cognitive function.

On the basis of the data presented, the Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has not been established between the consumption of L-theanine from Camellia Sinensis (L.) Kuntze (tea) and improvement of cognitive function.

Alleviation of psychological stress

The claimed effects are “relaxation” and “neurological functions”. The target population is assumed to be the general population. In the context of the proposed wordings, clarifications from Member States and references provided, the Panel assumes that the claimed effects refer to alleviation of psychological stress. The Panel considers that alleviation of psychological stress might be 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 L-theanine from Camellia Sinensis (L.) Kuntze (tea) and alleviation of psychological stress.

Maintenance of normal sleep

The claimed effects are “mental and cognitive health”, and “relaxation”. The target population is assumed to be the general population. In the context of the proposed wordings and clarifications from Member States, the Panel assumes that the claimed effects refer to the maintenance of normal sleep. The Panel considers that maintenance of normal sleep 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 L-theanine from Camellia Sinensis (L.) Kuntze (tea) and maintenance of normal sleep.

Reduction of menstrual discomfort

The claimed effect is “menstrual health”. The target population is assumed to be women with premenstrual syndrome. In the context of the proposed wordings, clarifications from Member States and references provided, the Panel assumes that the claimed effect refers to reduction of menstrual discomfort. The Panel considers that reduction of menstrual discomfort is a beneficial physiological effect.

No references were provided from which conclusions could be drawn for the scientific substantiation of the claim.

The Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has not been established between the consumption of L-theanine from Camellia Sinensis (L.) Kuntze (tea) and reduction of menstrual discomfort.

Keywords
Camillia sinensis (L.) Kuntze, tea, L-theanine, cognitive function, stress, sleep, menstrual discomfort, health claims
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Number of Pages
23