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Magnesium Inflama Spray – ASA ruling

Posted 03 August 2012

A consumer complaint was laid against the respondent’s print advertisement appearing in the “My Tyd” magazine of the Rapport newspaper. The advertisement is headed “Spuit jou PYN weg!” (Spray your PAIN away!) and promotes the respondent’s “Magnesium Inflama SprayTM as a unique product containing magnesium from the Dead Sea, which is absorbed through the skin, and may help reduce “Suur” (Acid), “Verkalking” (Calcification), “Inflammasie” (Inflamation) and “Pyn” (Pain). It also lists, with a tick against each, the following conditions: • “Hoofpyn/Migraine (headache / migraine) • Geswelde Voete (swollen feet) • Sportbeserings (sports injuries) • Hoë bloeddruk (high blood pressure) • Osteoporose (osteoporosis) • Spatare (varicose veins) • Rugpyn (back ache) • Nekpyn (Neck pain) • Artritis (Artritis) • Sinusitis • Allergieë (Allergies) • Alle PYN (All PAIN) • Sooibrand (heartburn) • Cholesterol • Waterretensie (water retention) • Muskiet- of Insekbyte” (mosquito or insect bites)

The complainant pointed out that there is no evidence that magnesium can be absorbed through the skin and alleviate the conditions listed.  The ASA agreed. 

See also this posting regarding the owner of the company, Marcelle du Plessis, and how some of the products are made in unsterile and unacceptable conditions [opens in new window]

Magnesium Inflama Spray / HA Steinman / 19028Ruling of the : ASA Directorate
In the matter between:
Dr Harris Steinman Complainant(s)/Appellant(s)
Platinum Lifestyle Products cc Respondent

 

30 July 2012

http://www.asasa.org.za/ResultDetail.aspx?Ruling=6188 

Dr Steinman lodged a consumer complaint against the respondent’s print advertisement appearing in the “My Tyd” magazine of the Rapport newspaper.

The advertisement is headed “Spuit jou PYN weg!” (Spray your PAIN away!) and promotes the respondent’s “Magnesium Inflama SprayTM as a unique product containing magnesium from the Dead Sea, which is absorbed through the skin, and may help reduce “Suur” (Acid), “Verkalking” (Calcification), “Inflammasie” (Inflamation) and “Pyn” (Pain). It also lists, with a tick against each, the following conditions:

• “Hoofpyn/Migraine (headache / migraine)
• Geswelde Voete (swollen feet)
• Sportbeserings (sports injuries)
• Hoë bloeddruk (high blood pressure)
• Osteoporose (osteoporosis)
• Spatare (varicose veins)
• Rugpyn (back ache)
• Nekpyn (Neck pain)
• Artritis (Artritis)
• Sinusitis
• Allergieë (Allergies)
• Alle PYN (All PAIN)
• Sooibrand (heartburn)
• Cholesterol
• Waterretensie (water retention)
• Muskiet- of Insekbyte” (mosquito or insect bites)

COMPLAINT
The complainant pointed out that there is no evidence that magnesium can be absorbed through the skin and alleviate the conditions listed. The complainant added that many of the claims made are contrary to the provisions of Appendix F. He did not, however, explain which claims he was referring to.

RELEVANT CLAUSES OF THE CODE OF ADVERTISING PRACTICE
The complainant identified the following provisions of the Code as relevant:

• Section II, Clause 4.1 – Substantiation

• Appendix F – References to diseases in advertising

RESPONSE
The respondent submitted that it was advised that claiming that the product “may be helpful” or “may be beneficial” are not medical claims, which is why they were used in the advertising. It also referred to its disclaimer which reads “Platinum Lifestyle makes no claim that our product will cure any disease or that any medications should be stopped. It should be used as a supplement and if you are ill you should consult your doctor!”

Dr Norman Shealy, one of the founders of the Holistic Medical Society and an expert in pain management investigated the benefits of magnesium, and his research informed the advertising and was the basis for the product formulation. Reference was also made to a Dr RH Waring, an article in the My Tyd magazine and studies done by Dr Sarah Nuttall.

The respondent emphasised that it has made no claims that the product is effective for any diseases, and insisted that there was no intention to deceive. In support of its claims, it attached several articles and abstracts relating to magnesium and its medical uses or benefits.

ASA DIRECTORATE RULING
The ASA Directorate considered all the relevant documentation submitted by the respective parties.

At the outset, the Directorate notes that the complainant has not identified the claims that he believes are in contravention of Appendix F of the Code. As such, the Directorate is not able to interrogate this aspect of the complaint at present.

Clause 4.1 of Section II specifies that advertisers must hold in their possession acceptable proof that either emanates from, or was evaluated by an entity that is regarded as an independent and credible expert in the field to which the claims relate. It is also trite that substantiation should relate to the product being advertised, when consumed at the recommended dose, as this is ultimately what the consumer purchases and how it is applied.

Although the respondent relied on a substantial list of references dealing with the benefits of magnesium or the complications of deficiency in magnesium, it provided no information as to why all these researchers should be regarded as independent and credible experts. Notwithstanding this, however, the Directorate notes that various of the articles and abstracts cited are claimed to have been published in peer reviewed professional journals. This on its own, however, is not sufficient.

The advertising creates an overwhelming impression that the respondent’s product, which is sprayed on (the advertisement is headed “Spuit jou PYN weg!” and promotes the new and convenient spray nozzle for the 200ml bottle) will provide relief from pain associated with the various conditions listed. It also claims that Dr Shealy’s research proved that magnesium that originates from the Dead Sea is absorbed better through the skin. In addition, the advertisement specifically makes the point that magnesium supplementation is often not enough. Finally, it shows images of people severely afflicted with conditions such as psoriasis, osteoarthritis, gout and diabetes.

The only likely conclusion would be that using the respondent’s products would alleviate these conditions.

The research submitted, however, does not appear to relate to the respondent’s product or combination of products. In addition, many of the research relied on appears to only deal with the consequences of magnesium deficiency, and is therefore largely irrelevant insofar as substantiating efficacy claims is concerned. The Directorate also notes that the majority of articles dealing with the benefits of additional magnesium refer to magnesium that was either ingested, administered intravenously or added at cellular level or to the calcified areas under local anaesthesia. None of these methods accord with the respondent’s product and as such none of these articles would appear to support the advertising claims.

Insofar as Dr Shealy is concerned, the respondent has provided nothing to show why the Directorate should consider him as an independent and credible expert in this particular field. The Directorate also notes that, according to http://www.normshealy.com, Dr Shealy himself promotes and sells various magnesium products which arguably negates his independence in this matter.

Likewise, the respondent has provided no explanation why the Directorate should accept Dr RH Waring or Dr Sarah Nuttall as independent and credible experts in the field. From information obtained at www.epsomsaltcouncil.org, it appears that research cited by the respondent as two separate instances were actually one and the same study, and was done with Dr Nuttall as the “Clinician in charge” and Dr Waring as the “Scientist in charge”. The study involved 19 subjects that had to soak in a tub filled with magnesium sulphate for 12 minutes at a time. It concludes that “Bathing in Epsom salts is a safe and easy way to increase sulfate and magnesium levels in the body”. It is unclear how this conclusion would support the respondent’s efficacy claims if at all, and the respondent has not provided anything to show that the findings of this study can automatically apply to its product.

Given the inadequacies highlighted above, the Directorate does not accept the substantiation relied on by the respondent, and accordingly finds the respondent’s advertising as a whole unsubstantiated and in contravention of Clause 4.1 of Section II of the Code.

In light of the above finding, the respondent is required to:

withdraw the advertisement in its current format;

action the process to withdraw the advertisement with immediate effect on receipt of the ruling;

complete the withdrawal of the advertisement within the deadlines stipulated by Clause 15.3 of the Procedural Guide; and

refrain from using the advertisement again in its current format unless new substantiation has been submitted, evaluated, and accepted by way of a subsequent Directorate ruling.

The complaint is upheld, and the respondent’s attention is specifically drawn to the provisions of Clause 15.5 of the Procedural Guide, which requires offending advertising to be removed from any media in which they appear.

 

6 comments to Magnesium Inflama Spray – ASA ruling

  • het verkalking in my aorta wat kan ek gebruik om my are skoon te maak en vir erg kotasem drs kry geen fout

  • PH balans normaal te kry getoets met papierstrokie 5.0 is dit normaal

  • Harris

    @Agnes
    Dit kan wel wees dat jou dokter baie goed is maar dat jou simptome effens anders is en dat jy deur ‘n spesialis moet gesien word vir die regte diagnose. Tot dan gaan jy jou geld mors op moeitlike verkeerde medisyne of bog produkte.

  • Willie

    This Spray i.e. Inflama Spray works and alleviates pain I have and am using it No matter what other people say.

  • Liné

    Ek glo die produk werk. Dit verlig pyn en op die stadium is dit al wat tel.

  • Nici

    I suffer from Fibromyalgia and have started using miracle magnesium, yes I would say it is a miracle to me, as I haven’t felt this good in a long time. And most probably as with all products that is affordable and work it will be taken off the market to protect Huge Pharmaceutical Companies selling short term ineffective medicines at massive prices. Money talks and we suffer.

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