BBB National Programs Archive

NAD Finds DSE Healthcare Can Support Certain Claims for ‘Prelief’ Supplement, Recommends Advertiser Modify, Discontinue Certain Claims

New York, NY – Sept. 13, 2016 – The National Advertising Division has determined that DSE Healthcare can support certain claims for the company’s Prelief dietary supplements, but recommended that the advertiser modify or discontinue certain claims.

NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

NAD opened its inquiry into claims made for the product as part of its ongoing monitoring program and in conjunction with an initiative with the Council for Responsible Nutrition to expand the review of advertising claims for dietary supplements.

“Prelief” is a brand name for calcium glycerophosphate or CGP, a form of calcium that is soluble in the presence of acids. Prelief is promoted as a dietary supplement that is intended to remove acid from foods that irritate the bladder and cause occasional heartburn or indigestion. The advertiser maintained that Prelief’s benefits are most noteworthy for individuals with interstitial cystitis, a chronic condition where people experience bladder pressure, bladder pain, urinary frequency, and sometimes severe pelvic pain.

Following its review of the evidence in the record, NAD determined that the advertiser had provided a reasonable basis sufficient to support claims that Prelief helps reduce the acidity of food and beverages.

NAD determined, however, that the evidence presented was insufficiently reliable to support the advertiser’s claims that Prelief completely removes or neutralizes acid entirely and, consequently, recommended that the advertiser discontinue its unqualified acid neutralization claims such as:

  • “Prelief takes out the food acid as you eat”
  • “Prelief removes acid irritant from foods and beverages;”
  • “By removing the acid in the food while it is being consumed…
  • “But here’s the good news: you can turn to Prelief, the OTC dietary supplement that instantly … neutralizes the acid in offending food.”

NAD noted that nothing in its decision precludes the advertiser from making modified claims more carefully tailored to its acid reduction evidence. Further, given the advertiser’s efficacy testing of Prelief on 99 food products and beverages, NAD determined that the advertiser had provided a reasonable basis for its claim “acid reduction – how much Prelief to take per serving,” and the accompanying chart of quantified acid reduction claims of a variety of foods and beverages.

NAD also determined that the advertiser had provided a reasonable basis for its claim that Prelief is “designed” to help reduce acids in food.

Following its review of consumer testimonials, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue certain testimonial language or modify the language to clearly and conspicuously disclose the results typically expected from taking Prelief. NAD also recommended that the advertiser discontinue the testimonial claim from that Prelief may allow the bladder to “heal.”

NAD determined, however, that the advertiser had a reasonable basis for testimonial claims that “at this very moment I am happily sipping coffee, which is normally one of the worst possible things for an IC patient. While I can still feel some discomfort, it is a fraction of what I would normally expect. In the week since I started regularly taking Prelief I have felt more normal and happy than I have in years. … Prelief lets me eat normal foods while knowing that I’m taking most of that irritating acid out of them… .”

DSE Healthcare, in its advertiser’s statement, said it agrees to comply with NAD’s recommendations and … will take NAD’s recommended modifications to certain broad acid removal claims and testimonials into account in future advertising.”