Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of a health claim related to collagen hydrolysate and maintenance of joints pursuant to Article 13(5) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006
Following an application from Gelita AG, submitted via the Competent Authority of Germany, the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies was asked to deliver an opinion on the scientific substantiation of a health claim related to collagen hydrolysate and maintenance of joint health. The scope of the application was proposed to fall under a health claim based on newly developed scientific evidence and including a request for the protection of proprietary data. The food constituent that is the subject of the health claim is collagen hydrolysate. The Panel considers that the collagen hydrolysate is sufficiently characterised. The claimed effect is “maintenance of joint health”. The target population as proposed by the applicant is physically active people. The Panel considers that the maintenance of joints is a beneficial physiological effect. The applicant provided one narrative review, three intervention studies in humans, one animal study, two in vitro studies, and two bioavailability studies as pertinent to the claim. The narrative review did not contain any primary data which were pertinent to the claim. One of the human studies was conducted in patients while another study was not controlled and no scientific conclusions could be drawn from these studies for the substantiation of the claimed effect. One trial in 147 active student athletes evaluated a total of 15 parameters related to joint pain/discomfort. There were no significant differences between groups for any endpoint when significance levels were adjusted for multiple comparisons. In weighing the evidence, the Panel took into account that one study in physically active humans did not show an effect of collagen hydrolysate on joint discomfort, and that studies in animals and in vitro do not predict an effect of collagen hydrolysate on maintenance of joints in humans in vivo. The Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has not been established between the consumption of collagen hydrolysate and maintenance of joints.