The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has approved a health claim linking thiamin (vitamin B1) and “normal neurological development and function” in infants and children up to three years of age.
EFSA’s Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) claimed that thiamin could cause, “mental changes, such as apathy, decrease in short-term memory, confusion and irritability as well as polyneuritis and paralysis of the peripheral nerves.”
“Manifestations are seen in the autonomic, the sensory and the motor systems,” the NDA wrote in its opinion.
It also affirmed an article 13.1 opinion issued in 2010 that found in favour of thiamin’s importance to “normal psychological functions” for all population groups.
The opinion followed an application from Hipp, the organic baby food producers. The applicant identified two human intervention studies, seven observational studies, three reviews and one medical position paper on the composition of infant formulae, four opinions of authoritative/scientific bodies and five textbook chapters as pertinent to the claim.
The Panel has already addressed the role of thiamin in the normal function of the nervous system for the general population with a favourable outcome in a previous opinion under Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 (EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products Nutrition and Allergies (NDA), 2009) and it notes that the role of thiamin in normal neurological function is not specific to any population group
Thiamin can be found naturally in Sunflower seeds, peanuts, wheat bran, beef liver, pork, seafood, egg-yolk and beans.