Following an application from Pierre Fabre Dermo-Cosmétique, submitted pursuant to Article 13(5) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 via the Competent Authority of France, the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies was asked to deliver an opinion on the scientific substantiation of a health claim based on newly developed scientific evidence related to iron and maintenance of normal hair growth. Iron is sufficiently characterised. The claimed effect is “reduction of excessive hair loss”. The target population proposed by the applicant is non-menopausal women, aged between 19 and 49 years, presenting with excessive hair loss. The Panel considers that maintenance of normal hair growth is a beneficial physiological effect. The applicant identified a total of five observational studies and one review as pertinent to the claim. The narrative review contained no primary data. In two observational studies no tests were performed to exclude individuals with raised serum ferritin owing to inflammation/infection. No conclusions could be drawn from these studies for the scientific substantiation of the claim. Two further observational studies provided no evidence for a relationship between iron status and hair loss while a third study showed an association between low iron status and hair loss. In weighing the evidence, the Panel took into account that two observational studies showed no relationship of iron status with hair loss and that one observational study showed an association. The Panel notes that these studies were not controlled for environmental and physiological factors which might have influenced iron status besides iron intake, or for factors other than iron status which might have influenced hair loss. The Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has not been established between the intake of iron and maintenance of normal hair growth.
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