The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that MuscleMeds modify or discontinue certain advertising claims for the Methyl Armatest dietary supplement product.
NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, examined claims for the product as part of its ongoing monitoring program and in conjunction with NAD’s initiative with the Council for Responsible Nutrition, an initiative designed to expand NAD’s review of advertising claims for dietary supplements.
NAD reviewed claims that appear in print and Internet advertising and on product packaging. Claims at issue in NAD’s inquiry included:
* “Increases Testosterone to Over 10,000 pg/mL”
· “Clinically Tested”
· “Breakthrough Dual Action ‘Testosterone Looping and Pooling’ Effects”
· “Methyl Arimatest represents the greatest breakthrough in testosterone supplementation history, featuring a level of hardcore potency and effectiveness that has never been experienced before. Even the most elite professional bodybuilders are proclaiming the new Methyl Arimatest to be the most powerful anabolic agent they have ever taken”
* “Put Methyl Arimatest to the test and watch your testosterone levels skyrocket through the roof…”
The product at issue, Methyl Arimatest, is two separate and distinct formulas, each with different dosing instructions and ingredients and separately packaged within the same box. “Formula 1” is the Dihydrotase complex and “Formula 2” is a methylated flavone, 7-methoxyflavone.
In support of its claims that Methyl Arimatest is clinically tested and that the product increases testosterone “to over 10,000 pg/mL,” the advertiser relied primarily on a 2008 clinical study on Formula 1. Formula 1, known as the Dihydrotase complex, is sold under the trade name “Mytosterone” and is composed of a proprietary blend of Saw Palmetto and astaxanthin. The results of the study found statistically significant increases in testosterone.
NAD noted that the advertiser cited studies to support the advertised benefits of Formula 2. However, NAD noted that the studies were done either in vitro or on animals and determined that they could not provide support for claims for a product sold and marketed to humans. NAD also noted that, other than the advertiser’s assertions that Formula 2 enhances the “aromatase inhibiting activity and amplifies the results,” there was no evidence to support the concept that Formula 1 and Formula 2 work together in any significant or synergistic manner.
Following its review of the evidence, NAD determined that the 2008 clinical study provided a reasonable basis for the claim “clinically tested,” as long as the claim is expressly limited to the Formula 1 component of the product. NAD recommended the advertiser modify print advertising to assure that consumers understand that Formula 1, not Formula 2 or a combination of the two formulas, has been clinically tested.
In addition, NAD found that based on how the product works, the claim, “Breakthrough Dual Action ‘Testosterone Looping and Pooling’ Effects” was simply a description of the mechanism of action of Formula 1.
To assure that consumers understand the claims related to testosterone increase, NAD recommended that the advertiser present the results of the 2008 study in a manner that more accurately conveys the increase as demonstrated by the study.
Further, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue two claims that NAD determined overstated the benefits of the product: “Methyl Arimatest represents the greatest breakthrough in testosterone supplementation history, featuring a level of hardcore potency and effectiveness that has never been experienced before. Even the most elite professional bodybuilders are proclaiming the new Methyl Arimatest to be the most powerful anabolic agent they have ever taken” and “Put Methyl Arimatest to the test and watch your testosterone levels skyrocket through the roof…”
Finally, while NAD found that the product packaging makes it clear that the product contains two separate components, particularly because of the two separate ingredient panels for “Formula 1” and “Formula 2,” NAD recommended that the advertiser make its print advertising clearer that the product is two separate, distinct formulas.
The company, in its advertiser’s statement, said that it will take NAD’s recommendations into account for future advertising.
“MuscleMeds appreciates NAD’s fair and balanced review process and continues to support the NAD’s advertising self-regulation program,” the company said.
NAD's inquiry was conducted under NAD/CARU/NARB Procedures for the Voluntary Self-Regulation of National Advertising. Details of the initial inquiry, NAD's decision, and the advertiser's response will be included in the next NAD/CARU Case Report.
About Advertising Industry Self-Regulation: The National Advertising Review Council (NARC) was formed in 1971. NARC establishes the policies and procedures for the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, the CBBB’s Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), the National Advertising Review Board (NARB) and the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP).
The NARC Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the American Advertising Federation, Inc. (AAF), American Association of Advertising Agencies, Inc., (AAAA), the Association of National Advertisers, Inc. (ANA), Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc. (CBBB), Direct Marketing Association (DMA), Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) and Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). Its purpose is to foster truth and accuracy in national advertising through voluntary self-regulation.
NAD, CARU and ERSP are the investigative arms of the advertising industry’s voluntary self-regulation program. Their casework results from competitive challenges from other advertisers, and also from self-monitoring traditional and new media. NARB, the appeals body, is a peer group from which ad-hoc panels are selected to adjudicate NAD/CARU cases that are not resolved at the NAD/CARU level. This unique, self-regulatory system is funded entirely by the business community; CARU is financed by the children’s advertising industry, while NAD/NARC/NARB’s primary source of funding is derived from membership fees paid to the CBBB. ERSP’s funding is derived from membership in the Electronic Retailing Association. For more information about advertising industry self-regulation, please visit www.narcpartners.org<http://www.narcpartners.org/>.