EFSA issues opinion on nutrient sources containing vanadium

EFSA’s AFC Panel[1] has issued an unfavourable opinion on vanadium containing compounds[2] which may be used in certain types of foods including food supplements[3]. The AFC Panel is currently assessing a number of chemical compounds that are used for nutritional purposes.

At the request of the European Commission, the AFC Panel has provided a scientific opinion on the safety and bioavailability[4] of six vanadium-containing compounds[5]. The AFC Panel concluded that the non-vanadium constituents of these sources of vanadium are of no safety concern at the levels considered in this opinion. The safety evaluation of vanadium itself was outside of this mandate as this has previously been considered by EFSA’s NDA Panel[6], which noted various toxic effects caused by vanadium. The NDA Panel also concluded that the available data were inadequate to derive a tolerable upper intake level.

The bioavailability of vanadium from five of these six compounds is higher than that of vanadium absorbed from the normal diet. Consequently consumers could be exposed to higher levels of vanadium through products containing these five compounds than from a normal diet.

There were no data on use levels and food categories provided for Vanadium citrate, bismaltolato oxo vanadium and bisglycinato oxo vanadium, all three of which were proposed to be used in products for particular nutritional purposes. Based on the available information on bioavailability of vanadium and the conclusions of the NDA panel, the AFC Panel concluded that the safe use of the six sources for vanadium added to foods intended for the general population, including food supplements, and foods for particular nutritional uses, could not be established. 

These sources for vanadium are not included in the list of vitamin and mineral substances which may be used in certain foods including food supplements. However they have been allowed to remain in use in Member States of the European Union as a result of national derogations following submission of dossiers on their safety which EFSA has now assessed.

[1] Panel on food additives, flavourings, processing aids and materials in contact with food.
[2] Vanadium is a metallic chemical element that is never found in its pure state, but in combination with various minerals.
[3] These foods are: foods intended for the general population including food supplements and foods for particular nutritional uses
[4] Bioavailability is the effectiveness with which the mineral or vitamin is released from the source into the blood and tissues of the body.
[5]Vanadium citrate, bismaltolato oxo vanadium and bisglycinato oxo vanadium added for nutritional purposes in foods for particularly uses and foods (including food supplements) intended for the general population; and vanadyl sulphate, vanadium pentoxide and ammonium vanadate added for nutritional purposes to food supplements.
[6] Opinion of the Scientific Panel on Dietetic products, nutrition and allergies [NDA] related to the Tolerable Upper Intake Level of Vanadium