Commercial antioxidant health products in Singapore: compositions and claims
Keywords:Antioxidants, health products, health claims, non-health claims, additives
AbstractOxidative stress has been implicated in the pathogenesis of numerous chronic diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Increased antioxidant intake may help alleviate oxidative stress and delay disease progression. This study evaluated the demography, antioxidant compositions, health claims, and non-health related claims of antioxidant health products commercially available in Singapore. The required data of the selected products were extracted from the product labels. The 74 selected products were chosen equally from physical stores and e-commerce platforms, and originated from Asia, Australia/New Zealand, and the United States. They were predominantly delivered in swallowable forms and cost S$2.07±1.84 daily. Most of the products (79.4%) specified the antioxidants on their labelling but only 29.8% stated their compositions. Vitamins (vitamins C, E, and A) and minerals (zinc and selenium) were the more prevalent antioxidants. Other antioxidants included carotenoids and flavonoids/phenolics/polyphenols. All the surveyed products stated health claims on their labels. Antioxidant, immunity, skin health, cardiovascular health, and gut health made up the top health claims. The absence of gluten and wheat, artificial flavouring, dairy, preservatives, and artificial colourings were the most common non-health related claims. When information about the composition of the antioxidants on the label is incomplete, the credibility of the product and its health claims is severely discounted. Titanium dioxide was the most popular colourant. This is concerning as a recent review by the European Food Safety Authority concluded that titanium dioxide can no longer be considered safe as a food additive. The choice of colourings should be reconsidered to prioritize consumer safety.