Healthspan Group was told bythe Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) the name implied a cognitive benefit that was not backed by available evidence and that a disclaimer stating the product had not been proven to boost brain function should be added to the name for any future promotional activity.
In its defense, Healthspan said it had sought regulatory advice about the product that was launched in March, 2005. The name had been trademarked.
Healthspan submitted scientific research into the effect of omega-3 on children's concentration and brain function and noted UK government interest in the area of omega-3 fortification for school children.
The company also listed a number of products that were making similar cognitive claims for children.
But the ASA decided that the evidence provided by Healthspan did necessarily correlate with the claims being made for Brain Boosters and so concluded the claim ‘improved concentration and brain function’ “had not been substantiated and was misleading.”
ASA concluded: “Because we had not seen evidence that demonstrated the efficacy of the product, we considered that the name 'Brain Boosters' was likely to mislead. Because the name Brain Boosters was a registered trademark we told Healthspan to include a disclaimer in future ads that made it clear that the product had not been proven to boost brain function. The ad must not appear again in its current form.”
The advertisement stated: "Don't forget the children... Brain Boosters. With your child or grandchild now back to school, give them the best possible chance to fulfil their potential by supplementing their diet with Omega 3. Ideal for children who dislike the taste of fish or have difficulty swallowing capsules, two delicious fruity Brain Boosters provide 180mg DHA and 120mg EPA for improved concentration and brain function".
Brain Boosters contains 180mg of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and 120mg of EPA (eicosapentaenoic).