Amino acids have a fundamental role in nutrition and numerous research studies support their role in general health as well as enhancing both mental and physical performance. There is a wealth of peer reviewed scientific data on healthy humans demonstrating the benefits of amino acid supplementation. Despite this, a report from the Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) concluded the addition of amino acids to foods was not necessary except to improve protein quality. The SCF report titled on ‘Composition and specification of food intended to meet the expenditure of intense muscular effort, especially for sportsmen’ was submitted to the European Commission and as a consequence they released directive (SANCO D4/HL/mm/D440182). This stated :-
‘The addition of amino acids is permitted solely for the purpose of improving the nutritional value of the proteins and only in the proportions necessary for that purpose’
If written into EU law this would have been potentially catastrophic for the functional food industry and consumers, as it would have removed amino acid supplements from the European market. It would also have meant that many products with added amino acids would need to be reformulated to remove them and their associated health claims. Such products include mainstream fat loss supplements, ready to drink energy products, recovery drinks, energy bars, energy gels and protein bars.
As experts in amino acid metabolism and regulatory issues relating to dietary supplements, Maximuscle approached Alimentarius to write their position statement on the amino acid fortification of foods. We prepared this document using peer reviewed scientific data and highlighted numerous cases where amino acid fortification of foods was required for reasons other than improving the nutritional value of proteins. The position statement provided by Alimentarius was subsequently adopted by the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance (ESSNA) to overturn EU directive (SANCO D4/HL/mm/D440182). This has allowed health, energy, sports performance, recovery and muscle building products to remain on the market without reformulation. It has also ensured that foods and supplements can continue to be fortified with amino acids. A full copy of the position position statement on amino acid fortification can be obtained here.