BBB National Programs Archive
NAD Recommends Pursuit of Research Discontinue All Challenged Claims for Supplement Marketed as ‘Cures’ for Brain Injury, ADHD, Autism
New York, NY – June 19, 2014 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that Pursuit of Research, LLC, discontinue all challenged claims for the company’s Nutriiveda dietary supplements, which are marketed as “cures” for conditions that include attention deficit disorder, apraxia, autism, diabetes, dyspraxia, seizures, traumatic brain injury and stroke. The advertiser said it will appeal NAD’s decision to the National Advertising Review Board (NARB.)
The claims at issue were challenged by Nourishlife, LLC, manufacturer of a competing product, Speech Nutrients.
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 noted in its decision that the advertiser sells Nutriiveda Original on its Pursuit of Research website. The advertiser also is the founder of the Cherab Foundation, “a world-wide nonprofit organization working to improve the communication skills and education of all children with speech and language delays and disorders. …”
The Cherub Foundation site features information on Nutriiveda links to the Pursuit of Research website.
NAD examined advertising claims that included:
- “It’s now been a few months on the Nutriiveda and there are many others seeing the same surges in their children (of all ages from 2 years old to teens to adults) with diagnosis of apraxia, autism, TBI, global delays, ADHD. The following is a list of all the area we are seeing surges in, and almost all cases within 3 to 5 days:
- SPEECH: articulation, complexity and sophistication of sentence structure.
- LANGUAGE: better understanding of written and spoken word, development of better reading and writing skills.
- FINE AND GROSS MOTOR SKILLS: improvements in various activities reported, including riding a bike, swimming to buttoning pants.
- AWARENESS OF SURROUNDINGS: (for autism) reported following gaze and more interactions.
- FACIAL EXPRESSIONS: more non-verbal communication, for oral apraxia more expressions instead of blank stares when not engaged in conversation.
- MULTI-TASKING: for those with motor planning impairments such as apraxia as this is something typically not done well prior to NV.
- BEHAVIOR: normalization reported in a few cases of those with severe behavioral issues of head banging, butting, hitting, aggression and anger issues.
- DEVELOPMENTAL CATCHING UP: for those that never went through stages – reportedly going through them for the first time.
- DECREASE IN SEIZURES: so far in several cases elimination of any seizures and headaches and decrease and elimination in seizure meds as well.
- SENSORY: improvement in sensory awareness for those affected with sensory integration dysfunction.”
- “Nearly 100% success rate.”
- “Begin seeing results within a few days.”
- “Nutriiveda for therapeutic use for autism, apraxia, etc.”
- “Seizures reduces and then stopped, medications were lowered and then eliminated.”
At the outset of NAD’s review, the advertiser agreed to permanently discontinue the claim “Taking Nutriiveda (NV) has resulted in improvements that are far more effective than any drugs or treatments on the market for conditions ranging from autism, stroke, and epilepsy to cognition and Alzheimer’s. These positive effects are not limited to any specific age groups, with results seen in ages ranging from toddlers through seniors. For example, we have numerous reports of individuals coming off various medications for seizures due to Nutriiveda, only to have their seizures return when these same people stop taking the original Nutriiveda.” NAD noted that the advertiser’s action in discontinuing the claim was necessary and appropriate.
The advertiser explained that Nutriiveda Original is an all natural gluten-free and casein-free food product that provides essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals and soluble fiber. The advertiser posited that protein and essential amino acid deficiencies and changes to gut bacteria through diet are linked to autism, apraxia and other neurological disorders.
The advertiser has not conducted any clinical trials on the efficacy of Nutriiveda Original, but maintained that the essential amino acids and whey protein in Nutriiveda are responsible for the claimed health benefits. The advertiser offered as support a number of research articles on amino acids and testimonials from its website.
NAD determined that none of the articles submitted by the advertiser described studies that constituted competent and reliable evidence sufficient for claim support.
With regard to its seizure claims, the advertiser argued that nutrition can assist in reducing the frequency of seizures. The evidence submitted by the advertiser in support of its position was related to high-fat, low carbohydrate or ketogenic diets for people with epilepsy. The evidence, NAD noted, was not relevant to the target population – children with apraxia, autism, traumatic brain injury or children with global delays. Further, there was no evidence that the nutrition in Nutriiveda amounts to, or is part of, a ketogenic diet.
NAD noted that the advertiser’s evidence on traumatic brain injury and nutrition – a report on TBI in the military – was not relevant to the target population. NAD further noted that military investigation between nutrition and recovery resulted in no clinical recommendations because, while research on specific nutrition approaches was found to be promising, the results were too preliminary to warrant adopting any specific nutritional clinical guidelines.
NAD found that the results of amino-acid testing on mice – relied upon by the advertiser – were not sufficient to support its health claims regarding the benefits of Nutriiveda in children with autism, apraxia, traumatic brain injury and global delays. Further, NAD found that testimonials of parents could not serve as claim support.
Finally, NAD recommended that the advertiser clearly and conspicuously disclose on its Cherab Foundation website the connection between the Cherub Foundation and the Nutriiveda product that it promotes. NAD recommended disclosure of that material information on every page and on every post.
The company, in its advertiser’s statement, said that while “PursuitofResearch.org is a place to buy Nutriiveda but more than anything it is a place of hope and education. While all claims have already been removed from the site, I feel it would be a huge disservice to remove vital parental and professional anecdotal information (testimonials) which documents real families that many parents so desperately need. Consumers should know what is available, and then they are free to make educated decisions. As such, PursuitofResearch.org has decided to appeal NAD’s decision to the National Advertising Review Board.”