Lonza’s hopes of an L-carnitine health claim dashed by EFSA

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

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©iStock/

Related tags: Nutrition, Efsa

Lonza’s assertion that L-carnitine contributes to normal lipid metabolism was rejected by EU authorities, who could not find a link between the supplement and a ‘beneficial physiological effect.’

The European Food and Safety Authority’s (EFSA) ruling foils Lonza’s hopes of achieving a coveted health claim that has proved limited for this ingredient under the strict nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR).

“On the basis of the data presented, the Panel concludes that the food/constituent, L-carnitine, is sufficiently characterised,”​ the ruling stated.

“The Panel considers that the evidence provided does not establish that dietary L-carnitine is required to maintain normal lipid metabolism in the target population, for which the claim is intended.” 

 “A cause and effect relationship has not been established between the consumption of L-carnitine and contribution to normal lipid metabolism.”

EFSA dismisses L-carnitine claims

Under the strict NHCR, EFSA has previously rejected claims that L-carnitine plays a role in faster recovery from muscle fatigue after exercise, skeletal muscle tissue repair and increase in endurance capacity.

The instruction also extends to maintenance of normal blood LDL-cholesterol concentrations, contribution to normal spermatogenesis, and/or decreasing free fatty acids in blood during pregnancy.

Lonza’s plans

The decision is the latest update in a process that began in July 2017 in which additional information was requested by EFSA on September of that year.

In December, the EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA), having evaluated the data submitted, gave their opinion on the scientific validity of the health claim.

Details given in the health claim application​ in accordance with Article 13(5) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 revealed that Lonza intended to target the general population proposing a daily dose of 0.1–1 gram (g) per day via supplementation.

This would be administered either in the form of food supplements or fortified foods such as protein shakes/powder, beverages and bars.

L-carnitine can be synthesised by the human body from methionine and lysine. Because if this it is not considered an essential nutrient. No dietary reference values have been set for L-carnitine.

L-carnitine in sports nutrition

Despite this latest setback, Lonza’s confidence in the nutrient remains undiminished. Its flagship product Carnipure has been available for over thirty years, establishing itself as a key ingredient in many sports nutritional products.

German-based firms Weider and BodyAttack recently made available new product ranges for the sports nutrition market that contain Carnipure as an ingredient.

Weider products includes bars, capsules, protein powders and ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages. Meanwhile, BodyAttack makes available Carnipure-containing protein powders, shots and shakes.

Carnipure is a main ingredient for US firm Gaspari Nutrition’s multivitamin mineral formula, Anavite—formulated with two grams of elemental L-Carnitine per dose to boost vasodilation and reduce recovery time.

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