UK watchdog censors immunity, eye, memory ads

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

UK watchdog censors immunity, eye, memory ads

Related tags: Immune system

The UK Advertising Authority (ASA) has ruled an email campaign for a magnesium supplement made misleading immunity claims.

The email campaign from UK company Natures Naturals Ltd’s product Immuno-AID​claimed the colostrums and beta-glucan-containing product could, provide the body with the components that modulate the immune system so that it is healthy, strong and in a constant state of readiness to protect us against pathogenic diseases created by viral and bacterial infections should they occur”.

It went on to claim: “Magnesium Oil Spray helps relieve the symptoms of Insomnia, Restless Leg Syndrom [sic], Night Cramps, Stress and Travel Fatigue, Reduces muscle spasms cramping and relaxes tired bodies”.

Natures Naturals said independent advice had backed the ‘maintenance of health’ claim as outlined by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), and the UK Health Food Manufacturers’ Association (HFMA) and the Intellectual Property Office had also Okd it.

The company had no further product-specific scientific substantiation of the claims as it said it was supplied whole by another vendor, but forwarded data linking magnesium and muscular and immune health.

“Did not show a link”

The ASA said the MHRA did not assess the appropriateness of non-medicinal claims and that HFMA compliance did not guarantee compliance with the ASA advertising code.

“We noted that the Intellectual Property Office had approved the Immuno-AID trademark, but did not consider the trademark to be evidence for the products efficacy,”​ the ASA added, noting the non-specific evidence submitted did not demonstrate efficcy.

“It did not show a link between the use of magnesium oil and the benefits claimed in the ad,”​ the ASA wrote in its ruling.

“Because we had not seen a clear link between the use of magnesium oil, and the benefits claimed in the ad such as the relief of insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and night cramps, we concluded that the claims for Magnesium Oil Spray were misleading.”

On this point the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation), and 15.1 (Food, food supplements and associated health and nutrition claims).

Not so Bright Eyes

Another ASA ruling this week found leaflets distributed by Metabolics Ltd for three products: "Bright Eyes"; "Colon Cleanse" and "Memory Recall" to be misleading.

Bright Eyes, containing lutein, zeaxanthin and bilberry and strawberry, anthocyanadins, claimed to, “keep your eyes healthy" ​and asked, “Is your eyesight deteriorating?” ​In rejecting the claim the ASA said research on the ingredients was not the same as research on the product itself.

“We considered that Metabolics had not proved that a supplement containing these ingredients would be absorbed and utilised by the body in the same way as the ingredients in their naturally occurring states.”

“We considered that, in order to substantiate the claim, we would need to see robust human-based trials that showed that the formulation of the ingredients contained in the Bright Eyes Formula kept eyes healthy.”

The Memory Recall Formula was claimed to possess an ingredient (acetyl-L-carnitine) that improve memory by stimulating a certain neurotransmitter called acetylcholine.

After viewing two studies the ASA determined the evidence insufficient and noted: “…we would need to see robust studies conducted on human subjects that showed the product aided memory recall in healthy adults.”

The firm agreed its colon claims were misleading.

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