Antagolin, ASA agrees, no evidence it works!

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Posted 07 March 2014

Dr Goldstein lodged a consumer complaint against a Medical Nutritional Institute’s television commercial promoting Antagolin. The commercial features a very overweight female in underwear, stating “I don’t want to look like this anymore. What is happening to my body? Why can’t I lose weight?” A male voice-over the states “You may be suffering from insulin resistance. Measure your waist. Females measuring more than 88cm may have insulin resistance. Antagolin combats insulin resistance and will help you to lose weight effectively. Antagolin, developed by the Medical Nutritional Institute”.

The complainant submitted, in essence, that there is no evidence that the product with its ingredient mix has any benefits as made in the claims. She explained that the ingredients listed for the product have been scarcely researched, and are potentially toxic. The dosage used in the product is also well below what was researched.

The Medical Nutritional Institute’s “experts” were not able to supply any proof that the product works, and the ASA ruled against the claims. Readers may be aware from my previous posting, that I has shared the data with you why the claims for this product appear to be bogus.  And the “experts” behind this scam? Dr Conrad Smith and the pharmacist Mariaan du Plessis.

Read DietDoc’s similar conclusions on Health24

[note note_color=”#effcb5″]Antagolin / S J Goldstein / 22891
Ruling of the : ASA Directorate
In the matter between:
Dr SJ Goldstein Complainant(s)/Appellant(s)
Medical Nutritional Institute (Pty) Ltd Respondent[/note]

28 Feb 2014

http://www.asasa.org.za/ResultDetail.aspx?Ruling=6807

Dr Goldstein lodged a consumer complaint against a Medical Nutritional Institute’s television commercial promoting Antagolin. The commercial was flighted on MNet television channel.

The commercial features a very overweight female in underwear, stating “I don’t want to look like this anymore. What is happening to my body? Why can’t I lose weight?”

A male voice-over the states “You may be suffering from insulin resistance. Measure your waist. Females measuring more than 88cm may have insulin resistance. Antagolin combats insulin resistance and will help you to lose weight effectively. Antagolin, developed by the Medical Nutritional Institute”.

COMPLAINT

The complainant submitted, in essence, that there is no evidence that the product with its ingredient mix has any benefits as made in the claims. She explained that the ingredients listed for the product have been scarcely researched, and are potentially toxic. The dosage used in the product is also well below what was researched.

RELEVANT CLAUSES OF THE CODE OF ADVERTISING PRACTICE

In light of the complaint the following clauses of the Code were considered relevant:

Clause 4.1 of Section II – Substantiation

Clause 4.2.1 of Section II – Misleading claims
RESPONSE

The respondent acknowledged that “… there is no published peer reviewed study that our product, ‘i.e. the mix of ingredients’, has any medical benefits”. It does, however, have documentation that includes outcome based trials on human subjects, demonstrating various benefits including weight loss, a reduction of waist circumference, a reduction of elevated blood sugar levels and a decrease in blood lipid levels.

The six trials in question were done both in South Africa as well as the United States of America. Although they were not published in the public domain, they were reviewed by medical scientists at the United States of America’s patent office, during the respondent’s application for a United States of America patent. This patent was granted in 2013 (a copy thereof was attached to the response). The point was made that much of the research relied on is not freely available in the forums searched by the complainant.

The respondent further argued the effectiveness of each of the ingredients, and attached what appear to be abstracts research articles published in various journals. In addition, the following full articles were submitted:

“Antidiabetes and Anti-obesity Activity of Lagerstroenia speciosa” by Guy Klein, Kaekyung Kim, Klaus Himmeldirk, Yanyyan Cao and Xiaozhuo Chen, published in eCAM (2007),

“Biochemical and Molecular Action of Nutrients” by Fang Lui, Jae-Kyung Kim, Yunsheg Li, Xue-Qing Liu, Jing Li and Xiaozhuo Chen, published in The Journal of Nutrition (2001),

“Berberine inhibits 3T3-L1 andipocyte differentiation through the PPAR? pathway” by Cheng Huang, Yuebo Zhang, Zhenwei Gong, Xiaoyan Shen, Zhongmeng Li, Wei Zhang and Ying Qin, published in Elsevier (available online at www.sciencedirect.com) (2006),

“Efficacy of Berberine in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes” by Jun Yin, Huili Xing and Jianping Ye as an NIH Public Access Author Manuscript (2008).
ASA DIRECTORATE RULING

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

Clause 4.1 of Section II states, inter alia, that before advertising is published, advertisers shall hold in their possession documentary evidence as set out in Clause 4.1 to support all claims, whether direct or implied, that are capable of objective substantiation. It is trite that such evidence has to:

Emanate from, or be evaluated by a person/entity that is independent, credible, and an expert in the field to which the claims relate,

Confirm unequivocally that the claims made in the advertising are adequately substantiated and correct for the product as a whole, as available on the market, when used at the recommended dose.
The advertised product is promoted as having the ability to combats insulin resistance, and help people to lose weight effectively. This is clearly something capable of objective substantiation as referred to above.

The documentation submitted by the respondent contains published material from various scientific and medical publications dealing with the efficacy of individual ingredients that the complainant has listed as being part of the advertised product. It draws conclusions that are highly technical and scientific in nature, which the Directorate is not equipped to interpret or extrapolate. It is exactly for this reason that independent expert verification is required by the Code. The respondent has, however, provided none.

The Directorate also perused the copy of the patent submitted, and notes that it does not bear the name of the advertised product. Even if the Directorate accepts that this is the patent that was registered (the Directorate has no reason to pronounce on this at present), it should be noted that a patent relates to the registration of a products and its ingredient mix as a means of protecting the respondent’s invention against its competitors, and providing protection for something novel. A patent is not acceptable as proof of a product’s efficacy.

Clause 4.1.2 of Section II states, inter alia, that documentary evidence “shall have market relevance”. Clearly the respondent is not promoting or selling individual nutrients and extracts in isolation, but rather its own combination of such ingredients and extracts as contained in its product. For its evidence to have “market relevance” it would have to apply to the actual product available on the market under current conditions.

As matters currently stand, the substantiation is lacking for the following reasons:

Nothing before the Directorate appears to relate to the product as a whole as advertised and sold to consumers, and

No unequivocal verification from an independent and credible expert has been presented to show that the claims are true for the product as a whole when used at the recommended dose.
Given this, the Directorate is not in a position to accept the substantiation relied on by the respondent. Accordingly, the claim that “Antagolin combats insulin resistance, and will help you to lose weight effectively” is currently unsubstantiated and in contravention of Clause 4.1 of Section II of the Code.

In light of the above decision it is not necessary to consider clause 4.2.1 of Section II of the Code at this stage.

Given the above:

The claim “Antagolin combats insulin resistance and will help you to lose weight effectively” must be withdrawn;

The process to withdraw this claim must be actioned with immediate effect on receipt of this ruling;

The withdrawal of this claim must be completed within the deadlines stipulated by Clause 15.3 of the Procedural Guide;

The claim may not be used again in its current format in future unless new substantiation has been submitted and accepted in accordance with the provisions of Clause 4.1.7 of Section II of the Code.
The respondent’s attention is drawn to Clause 15.5 of the Procedural Guide.

The complaint is upheld.

[note note_color=”#f8fddd”]CAMCheck posts related to Antagolin

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