In its ruling, ASA rebuked Health Solutions Ltd and its leaflet, which promoted its Joint Plus supplement and alleged ability to relieve pain and reduce inflammation amongst other claims.
The leaflet also included claims about an ingredient called Desmosine, which the firm said was a “virtually unknown amino acid responsible for helping with the elasticity of joint tissues.”
In the firm’s defence, Health Solutions Ltd stated the leaflets had not been mailed in the UK for some time due to poor market conditions, though they intended to distribute similar marketing communications in the future.
ASA added that Health Solutions Ltd did not provide a substantive response to the complaint.
The issue centred on these claims that also included information on isodesmosine, a lysin derivative found in elastin and Growth B factor, which the leaflet said could helps with cell regeneration and joint pain immunity.
In describing the nutrients contained in Joint Plus, further text stated, “Turmeric is one of the most potent natural anti-inflammatories available,” and “Ginger has been used to treat conditions including: nausea, heartburn and arthritic pain.”
Similar text included, “Devil’s claw has been used internationally for centuries to help relieve muscle pain (myalgia), back pain, tendonitis, joint pain and headache pain,” and “Boswellia inhibits the formation of prostaglandins which cause inflammation.”
White Willow, another nutrient was described as “providing COX inhibition, which reduces pain and inflammation in your joints. It appears to be much safer than aspirin.”
ASA upheld the single complaint saying that claims which stated or implied a food could prevent, treat or cure human disease were prohibited in The CAP Code.
“The claims that a food supplement could relieve pain due to inflammation, pinched nerves, cramps, stiff joints, muscle tightness, sore bones, heartburn, nausea, arthritis, tendonitis, headaches and sciatica, as well as the claims for turmeric, Devil’s claw and Growth B factor were claims to prevent, treat or cure human disease.
“Because the ad claimed that the product prevented, treated or cured human disease, which was prohibited under the Code, we concluded that it breached the Code,” ASA stated.
Regarding claims for Desmosine and Growth Factor B, ASA said that they had not seen any evidence which demonstrated that those claims were authorised on the Register.
They also had not seen any proof that Health Solution Ltd’s product met the conditions of use associated with any authorised claims.
Because the ad made specific health claims that were not authorised on the Register, ASA concluded the ad breached the Code.
Boswellia and White Willow
ASA also considered the claims “Boswellia inhibits the formation of prostaglandins which cause inflammation” and “White Willow provides COX inhibition, which reduces pain and inflammation in your joints” were likely to be interpreted as reduction of disease risk claims.
“However, these claims did not appear on the Register and we had not received any supporting evidence which explained the basis on which the claims were made.
“Because the ad made reduction of disease risk claims which did not appear on the Register, we concluded the ad breached the Code,” ASA concluded.
The Authority ordered the firm to ensure the ad did not appear again in the form complained about.
“We told Health Solutions Ltd to ensure that their future ads did not state or imply that their food supplements could prevent, treat or cure human disease.
“We also told them not to make reduction of disease risk claims that did not appear on the EU Register, and to ensure that any specific health claims made in their future advertising were authorised on the EU Register and met the associated conditions of use. We referred the matter to CAP’s Compliance team.”