Systematic Literature Reviews
on Functional Substances
for Foods with Function Claims
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Japanese have had the highest average life expectancy worldwide since 2000. The Japanese diet is a nutritionally balanced diet, consisting of rice as a staple food and various side dishes made from fish, meat, milk/dairy products, vegetables, seaweed, beans, fruits, tea, and other ingredients. The diet has been shown to reduce cardiovascular disease-related mortality (1). Our systematic literature reviews aimed to clarify the health function of food components commonly consumed in Japan and expand the market of fresh and processed foods as Foods with Function Claims.
Under the food business operator's responsibility, Foods with Function Claims can be labeled with function claims based on scientific evidence in Japan. Evidence of the safety and effectiveness of the food product is submitted to the Secretary-General of the Consumer Affairs Agency before the product is marketed to the public. The scientific evidence for the proposed function claims must be explained by one of the following methods: clinical trial with a finished product (equivalent level of study required for Foods for Specified Health Uses); or a systematic literature review on a finished product or functional substance. However, unlike Foods for Specified Health Uses, the product is not individually pre-approved by the Secretary-General of the Consumer Affairs Agency (2). We conducted systematic literature reviews on functional substances for Foods with Function Claims to support food business operators (https://www.naro.affrc.go.jp/org/nfri/yakudachi/sys-review/index.html, in Japanese). These reviews are in accordance with "Guidelines on Notification of Foods with Function Claims" (3) issued by the Consumer Affairs Agency. Our reviews were adopted by numerous food business operators in their submission of relevant details regarding their products for the notification of Foods with Function Claims to the Secretary-General of the Consumer Affairs Agency. Two of our systematic literature reviews (on procyanidins in apples and quercetin) and some chapters including a commentary on systematic literature review in "Guidelines on Notification of Foods with Function Claims" translated into English are presented below.
Systematic Literature Review on Procyanidins in Apples
Procyanidins, condensed tannins, are oligomers and polymers of flavan-3-ol. We systematically reviewed the effect of procyanidins found in apples on the reduction of body fat mass in humans.
Systematic Literature Review on Quercetin
The flavonoid quercetin is present in onions, tea, green vegetables, and fruits. We systematically reviewed the effect of quercetin on positivity and motivation, which tend to deplete with age.
Some chapters including a commentary on systematic literature review in "Guidelines on Notification of Foods with Function Claims" (3) were translated into English by the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) and the translation is not authorized by the Consumer Affairs Agency.
- Shirota M, Watanabe N, Suzuki M, Kobori M. Japanese-Style Diet and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies. Nutrients. 2022;14(10):2008. doi: 10.3390/nu14102008.
- https://www.caa.go.jp/policies/policy/food_labeling/foods_with_function_claims/assets/foods_with_function_claims_220401_0002.pdf, in Japanese