Garlic cancer advert was misleading, ASA said

By Alex McNally

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Garlic supplements Nutrition

An advert which claimed garlic supplements have a plethora of
benefits including inhibiting cancer cell growth has been removed
following an Advertising Standards' Agency (ASA) probe.

Simply Supplements said in its Summer Catalogue garlic also has a cardiovascular health benefit and could reduce cholesterol level. The ASA investigated after the Health Food Manufacturer's Association complained, and asked whether Simply Supplements could substantiate the claims. In conclusion, the agency said that because the claims had not been substantiated the advert was misleading. Health claims is a massive subject across Europe, as the Commission moves to make sure that any claim can be substantiated by scientific studies. Under the health claims regulation, companies that want to make a claim about what a product can do must have it supported by science. The European Food Safety Authority is evaluating thousands of dossiers before a final decision for an approved list is taken in 2010. Garlic supplements are worth more than $100m (€79.5m) in the US and are also one of the biggest sellers in the UK market. Simply Supplements - which was selling odourless capsules in 2mg, 500mg, 1,000mg and 5,000mg - claimed:

  • garlic helps keep your cardiovascular and general health at its optimum

  • a 12 week trial in America showed that garlic reduced the overall cholesterol level of its participants by 6 per cent

  • garlic could help to reduce the number of chemicals that the DNA holds which set the stage for cancer

  • trials have shown that garlic actually inhibits cancer cells to try and stop them from producing

In response to the ASA investigation, Simply Supplements said it would remove the advert and not use it again. Garlic rows ​ Garlic has been at the centre of attention before, when in November Germany lost a court case filed after restrictions on capsule imports were imposed by the country. The German authorities consider garlic capsules as a medicinal product not a foodstuff, and were concerned about the risks connected with taking garlic in general, and therefore refused to market them as a supplement. But the European Court of Justice ruled against this move in a landmark hearing. Inconclusive scientific papers have also been published over the last year. A pilot study in March published in Nutrition Research​ suggested a combination of garlic supplements and vitamin C reduced blood pressure back to normal levels in people with mildly elevated levels. Researchers, however, admitted further study was needed. A previous trial published in the Archives of Internal Medicine​, reported that garlic, both raw and from supplements, had no effect on the cholesterol levels of 192 adults with slightly elevated cholesterol levels.

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