ASA rules gut nutritional approach no substitute for medical treatment

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

©iStock
©iStock
The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority has upheld concerns that a specific nutritional approach targeting the gut discouraged medical treatment for conditions such as autism and depression.

The Authority agreed that a web page promoting the natural protocol ‘Gut And Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) Nutrition,’ offered by alternative therapy provider Elle Fox (trading as Bubbling Life) would encourage consumers to seek this therapy in place of medical treatments.

“We considered that the claims made in relation to GAPS therapy discouraged essential treatment for the conditions referred to on the page and were therefore in breach of the CAP Code,”​ said ASA, referring to the offending web text seen on 25 February 2018.

“We expected Bubbling Life to provide a body of robust scientific evidence in order to substantiate the claims.

Because Bubbling Life did not provide a substantive response to the complaint, we had not seen any evidence to support those claims, and therefore concluded that they were misleading.”

London-based Bubbling Life acknowledged receipt of the complaint, but did not provide a substantive response, merely stating they were certified by the General Regulatory Council for Complementary Therapies (GRCCT).

What is GAPs Nutrition?

GAPS Nutrition focuses on removing food that is difficult to digest and may damage the gut flora. The approach involves replacing these foods with nutrient-dense foods giving the intestinal lining a chance to “heal and seal”.

Revised and expanded by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride, author of ‘Gut And Psychology Syndrome - Natural Treatment for Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Depression and Schizophrenia,’ the GAP protocol claims to meet the needs of those suffering from intestinal and neurological conditions as a result of imbalanced intestinal microbiome.

Despite text on the web pages that recommended consulting a qualified health professional and stating the material on the website was for “education and information purposes only,” ​ASA said that autism, ADHD/ADD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, depression and schizophrenia were conditions for which medical supervision should be sought.

Offending statements

ASA also raised objections to statements that claimed, “GAPS is particularly effective in cases of compromised intestinal function, allergy presentation or other gastrointestinal damage to due autoimmune issues, medications, surgery or vaccinations”​, and “The GAPS protocol can be successful combined with CEASE therapy, particularly in cases of severe iatrogenic or vaccine damage”.

“Notwithstanding the disclaimer at the bottom of the page, we considered the claims above implied that Bubbling Life offered specific advice on and/or treatment for the conditions referenced above,” ​ASA said in its ruling.

“We had not seen any evidence that those were conducted under the supervision of a suitably qualified health professional.

“In addition, we considered that the claims that GAPS therapy was effective in treating the referenced conditions, the causes of which the ad attributed to medications, surgery, vaccinations, and “severe iatrogenic or vaccine damage”, would encourage consumers to seek GAPS therapy from Bubbling Life for those conditions in place of medical treatments from qualified health professionals.”

ASA instructed Bubbling Life that the ad was not appear again in its current form, adding that action had to be taken to ensure that their ads did not discourage essential treatment for conditions for which medical supervision should be sought,

“We also told Bubbling Life to ensure that they did not make efficacy claims in relation to GAPS therapy in treating ​chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), ​myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and anxiety, unless they held adequate evidence to substantiate the claims.”

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1 comment

ASA have no Guts

Posted by Robert Redfern,

Good job the ASA has no guts and all they can do is put pressure on media outlets not to take your adverts. Unless you have to advertise in the media then ignore them completely.

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