BBB National Programs Archive

Iovate Health Sciences, Wellnx Particpate In ERSP Forum

New York, NY –August 29 , 2007 – The Electronic Retailing Self -Regulation Program (ERSP) has determined that Iovate Health Sciences International, Inc., has provided a reasonable basis for certain claims for the Aplodan body-building dietary supplement, but recommended the company modify or discontinue certain claims. The marketer’s advertising was challenged by WellNx Life Sciences, a competing manufacturer of nutritional supplements.

ERSP,  the  electronic  direct-response  industry’s  self-regulatory  forum,  is  administered  by  the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) with policy oversight by the National Advertising Review Council (NARC).

Claims at issue in the ERSP inquiry included:

  • “allowing you to train with unprecedented strength and build muscle like never before”
  • “Scientifically Researched in over 30 Independent Studies”
  • “…activate high threshold dormant fibers and achieve 83% more muscle fiber activation for rapid gains in muscle size and strength”
  • “The World’s First and Only Dormant Muscle Fiber Activator” “Aplodan’s  ability  to recruit  dormant  myofibers  earlier  increases  the efficacy of your training to stimulate muscle growth.” [Dr. Victor Prisk] “I wish Aplodan had been available when I started bodybuilding. I could have built muscle so much faster! Now that I take Aplodan everyday my muscles have literally exploded with new growth. It feels like my chest, delts, back and arms have doubled in size” [Jay Cutler, Mr. Olympia]

ERSP  determined  that  general  product  performance  claims  were adequately  supported  by the evidence  in the record, which included the results of two clinical  trials on Aplodan’s  primary ingredients.

ERSP recommended that the marketer modify its “Scientifically  Researched in Over 30 Studies” claim to specify that creatinol-O-phosphate  (COP) and not the product itself has been the subject of the published research. ERSP further recommended the marketer discontinue both the use of the term “dormant muscle fibers” and depictions in the context of the current advertising.

While acknowledging  that the marketer’s testing demonstrated  increased levels of muscle  fiber activation, ERSP concluded that the evidence did not provide adequate support for the quantified claim that Aplodan provides “83% more muscle fiber activation” or its claim to be “The World’s First and Only Dormant Muscle Fiber Activator.

ERSP concluded that the patented  blend of ingredients in Aplodan  is unlike other competitive products  on  the  market  and  found  that  the  marketer’s  claims  regarding  the  unique  nature  of Aplodan are supported by the evidence in the record.

ERSP agreed with the marketer that Dr. Prisk’s credentials qualified him as an expert endorser pursuant to the  FTC Testimonial  and Endorsement  Guide but recommended  that the marketer discontinue  the  claim  that  “Aplodan’s  ability  to  facilitate  activation  of  dormant  myofibers increases the efficacy of your training to stimulate muscle growth.”

ERSP determined that Jay Cutler’s statements endorsing Aplodan were appropriate and that the marketer need not disclose that the endorser used other muscle building supplements and engaged in a separate training regimen.

The company, in its marketer’s statement,  said “Iovate is pleased that ERSP found the general product performance claims for Aplodan to be substantiated by the COP and Gaggino studies.”

The company noted that it agrees with ERSP “that the sophistication of the bodybuilding target audience  was  a fundamental  principle  in this  case.  This  is precisely  why  Iovate  respectfully disagrees  with ERSP’s  determination  that bodybuilders  will misinterpret  the ‘dormant  muscle fiber  concept,’  the  claim  for  ‘83%  more  muscle  fiber  activation,’  and  certain  claims  by  the Aplodan celebrity endorser. Nevertheless, out of deference to the forum, future advertising will be consistent with the ERSP decision on these issues.”