UK ASA: Regenovex joint care products

UK ASA: green lipped mussel extract and hyaluronic acid joint care

A reader challenged whether the efficacy claims made about the ingredients could be substantiated.

The ASA concluded that: "Because we had not seen robust, scientific evidence to support the claims about the efficacy of the products' ingredients, we concluded that the claims had not been substantiated and were therefore misleading." 

ASA Adjudication on The Mentholatum Company Ltd 
Date: 19 May 2010
http://www.asa.org.uk/Complaints-and-ASA-action/Adjudications/2010/5/The-Mentholatum-Company-Ltd/TF_ADJ_48482.aspx

Ad

A national press ad, for Regenovex joint care products, was headed "Because movement should be a pleasure ". Below, it stated "An advanced formulation for joint health … As you age, your body produces less Hyaluronic acid, a major component of the cushioning and lubricating synovial fluid within your joints. Less Hyaluronic acid, poor quality synovial fluid and damaged cartilage can lead to worsening problems if you don't take action. Regenovex is a new generation of joint care products … Unique Dual-Action Formulation Hyaluronic Acid (HA) Strengthens, lubricates and cushions by improving the quality of synovial fluid in your joints. Natural Marine Bionovex Oil Soothes and eases discomfort in joints by providing a rich source of specialist nutrients".
Issue

A reader challenged whether the efficacy claims made about the ingredients could be substantiated.
CAP Code
3.1
7.1
50.1
Response

The Mentholatum Company (MC) supplied the ASA with a summary of a consumer research trial conducted on their behalf for the Regenovex range, and a summary and evaluation of supporting literature for the product ingredients: green lipped mussel extract (GLM) and hyaluronic acid (HA).
Assessment

Upheld

The ASA considered that the efficacy claims for GLM and HA relating to pain relief, anti-inflammatory properties, improvements in joint function and mobility and joint health maintenance were breakthrough claims, which required robust scientific evidence to support them. We considered that such evidence should consist of product-specific, controlled, double-blind clinical trials conducted on people.

We noted the report provided by MC was not a clinical trial, but an uncontrolled, un-blinded consumer-use study, in which participants used the advertised products over specific periods of time, and then gave their opinion as to the joint care products' effectiveness via a self-completion questionnaire. However, we considered that the consumer-use trial was not sufficient substantiation to support the type of claims being made in the ad.

We noted the supporting literature for the efficacy of HA and GLM consisted of general information about their use in joint health, but we considered that, because the evidence was not product specific, it did not demonstrate that GLM and HA were present in sufficient quantities in Regenovex products, or would be absorbed and utilised by the body via those products, in order to produce the claimed effects. We also noted that some of the studies for the efficacy of HA and GLM were carried out on frogs and rats, and we therefore considered that they were not appropriate to support a claim relating to humans.

Because we had not seen robust, scientific evidence to support the claims about the efficacy of the products' ingredients, we concluded that the claims had not been substantiated and were therefore misleading.

The ad breached CAP Code clauses 3.1 (Substantiation), 7.1 (Truthfulness) and 50.1 (Healh and beauty products and therapies).
Action

The ad must not appear again in its current form.

Adjudication of the ASA Council (Non-broadcast)

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