• Open Access

Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of a health claim related to barley beta-glucans and lowering of blood cholesterol and reduced risk of (coronary) heart disease pursuant to Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006

Authors

  • EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA)


  • Panel members: 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
  • Correspondence: nda@efsa.europa.eu
  • Acknowledgement: The Panel wishes to thank 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 for the preparatory work on this scientific opinion.
  • Adoption date: 23 November 2011
  • Published date: 8 December 2011
  • Question number: EFSA-Q-2011-00798
  • On request from: Competent Authority of Belgium following an application by Cargill Incorporated

Abstract

Following an application from Cargill Incorporated submitted pursuant to Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 via the Competent Authority of Belgium, the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies was asked to deliver an opinion on the scientific substantiation of a health claim related to barley beta-glucans and lowering of blood cholesterol and reduced risk of (coronary) heart disease, referring to disease risk reduction and including a request for the protection of proprietary data. The food constituent that is the subject of the health claim, barley beta-glucans, is sufficiently characterised. Lowering blood LDL-cholesterol concentration is a beneficial physiological effect by decreasing the risk of coronary heart disease. The applicant identified a total of 16 references as being pertinent to the health claim. These references comprised three meta-analyses, 10 human intervention studies, two animal studies and one mechanistic study. In weighing the evidence, the Panel took into account that one meta-analysis including 11 RCTs and one additional RCT which investigated the effects of barley beta-glucans at doses of at least 3 g/day showed a decrease in total and LDL-cholesterol concentrations in both normo- and hypercholesterolaemic subjects, and that the mechanism by which barley beta-glucans could exert the claimed effect is biologically plausible and supported by the animal studies provided. The Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has been established between the consumption of barley beta-glucans and the lowering of blood LDL-cholesterol concentrations. The following wording reflects the scientific evidence: “Barley beta-glucans have been shown to lower/reduce blood cholesterol. High cholesterol is a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease”. At least 3 g of barley beta-glucans should be consumed per day in order to obtain the claimed effect. The target population is adults who want to lower their blood cholesterol concentrations.

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