DSM responds to EFSA review of vitamin E Dietary Reference Values

EFSA) has concluded that the current Recommended Daily Amount (RDA) of vitamin E should be replaced by a newly defined Adequate Intake

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has concluded that the current Recommended Daily Amount (RDA) of vitamin E should be replaced by a newly defined Adequate Intake (AI).

DSM is responding to this by highlighting the most recent scientific studies, as well as emphasising that more research into the micronutrient is needed to precisely define the vitamin E requirement in humans.

In particular, this includes the role of vitamin E in protecting polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) from being oxidised in cell membranes and the beneficial effect of adequate blood levels of vitamin E on cardiovascular health. The new research suggests that individual requirements vary in view of the critical interactions between vitamin E and PUFAs and differ for specific groups, such as pregnant and lactating women, as well as being dependent on factors such as age.

'Whilst we appreciate the work done by the EFSA panel in reviewing the Dietary Reference Values (DRV) for vitamin E, it is important to consider all scientific evidence when defining the value. This should include recent research that had been accepted by other well recognised agencies, such as the Institute of Medicine in the US and the D-A-CH report for Germany, Austria and Switzerland,' explains Prof. Manfred Eggersdorfer, Senior Vice-President, Nutrition Science and Advocacy at DSM and Professor for Healthy Ageing at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands.

'Achieving an optimal status of vitamin E is associated with a number of positive health benefits. Outcomes from the main epidemiological studies show a risk reduction of 24% for cardiovascular events, when comparing high versus low vitamin E concentrations. These results suggest a beneficial effect of vitamin E at a plasma concentration of 30µmol/L. An increase of the intake recommendation would secure that the general population can reach this status.'

The recommended daily intake of vitamin E varies according to the age, gender and criteria applied in individual countries. In the European Union, adult recommendations previously ranged from 4 to 25mg of alpha-tocopherol equivalents (alpha-TE)/day for men and from 3 to 12mg of alpha-TE/day for women.

The German-speaking countries (D-A-CH, 2013) have only recently set the recommendation at 12-15mg of alpha-TE/day for men and 11-12mg of alpha-TE/day for women according to age. As part of its written response to the EFSA panel, DSM highlighted results from a number of observational, prospective studies that suggest that a serum tocopherol concentration of 30µmol/L and above has beneficial effects on human health in the field of cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and carries an approved EFSA health claim for ‘contributing to the protection of cells from oxidative stress.’ Emerging data also suggest that vitamin E in higher doses holds promise beyond these recognised benefits of vitamin E as an essential nutrient.

For selected individuals and population groups, vitamin E is understood to help maintain cognitive function in those at risk of Alzheimer’s disease and to help to maintain liver and lung function in individuals who are overweight or exposed to air pollution.

'Intake of vitamin E is generally low in Europe. For example, the results of a micronutrient intake panel demonstrated that more than 75% of the population in the UK does not meet the recommended intake,' adds Prof. Eggersdorfer. 'With individual needs varying depending on factors such as age, it may be more appropriate to consider a range of values rather than a fixed intake requirement.'

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