The voluntary advertising watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), told Nature’s Best to remove the ads for ‘Eeywise’ from a catalogue after it received a public complaint.
Nature’s Best said there was substantial evidence to back its catalogue claims and noted that it did not specifically cite age-related macular degeneration (AMD) to avoid making disease-reduction claims.
But it admitted the use of phrases such as "age-related changes in the eye" could deceive some consumers into thinking they were purchasing an AMD treatment.
The ASA said there was not enough specific evidence backing the principle claim, "Protect your eyes with Eyewise, with high strength lutein".
Robust, product-specific, clinical trials were required to back such a claim, it stated, and these were lacking.
“We considered that we had not seen evidence that demonstrated that the lutein formula contained in Eyewise was bio-available and would protect eye health, and because of that we concluded that the claim was misleading,” the ASA said in its judgement.
In regard to the bilberry, blackberry and grape seed extract content, the ASA noted that Nature’s Best provided three studies on frogs, rats and hamsters that assessed the antioxidant properties of bilberries and other fruits, but these did not assess eye health effects.
Two other studies looked ay the effect of bilberry extracts on night vision in humans, but the results were inconclusive.
The ad ran a headline that stated: "Protect your eyes with EYEWISE with high strength lutein".
Follow-up text stated,in part: "The research on lutein and its importance to the health of our eyes just keeps on piling up! ...Extensive research has shown that eating diets that are low in lutein can result in diminished levels of lutein in the macular, and it is believed that this is a contributory factor in age-related changes in the eye … Eyewise provides 10mg of pure lutein per tablet, a level that is certainly enough to support any diet and enough to replenish the body's stores if they are below optimal.”