BBB National Programs Archive

NAD Recommends Vital gNetics Discontinue Certain Claims for FlexSure Supplement, Finds Company can Support Certain Claims

New York, NY – Jan. 14, 2016 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that Vital g-NETICS discontinue certain claims for the company’s claims for the company’s FlexSure Restorative Joint Health dietary supplement, including claims the product is “clinically proven” to be effective.  NAD found, however, that the advertiser could support a claim that clinical trials showed that product users “had significant increases in joint comfort, mobility and flexibility.”

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

As part of its ongoing monitoring, NAD reviewed claims made for FlexSure in Internet advertising and on product packaging advertising, including:

  • “FlexSure doesn’t contain glucosamine, chondroitin, and collagen. Instead, FlexSure provides a more efficient and we believe, effective way of addressing the key issues in joint health: restoring the body’s natural joint repair process and helping to protect against further joint damage and loss of muscle.
  • “FlexSure is clinically shown to restore the body’s ability to produce its own joint health substances!
    • FlexSure is supported by extensive clinical studies.
    • FlexSure restores balance to the systems we have in our body that control joint health!
    • And with the improved joint health, we can improve our quality of life, and enjoy some of our favorite physical activities! Activities we enjoy like running, hiking, working out, biking, golf, tennis, gardening, swimming, and even going for a nice walk!”
  • “Researchers Conclude:
    • FlexSure has been clinically proven to be effective AND safe.
    • Clinical trials showed that FlexSure users had significant increases in joint comfort, mobility and flexibility.*
    • Chondroitin Free!
    • Significant results were seen in 7 DAYS!*”

NAD also reviewed claims made in testimonials, including:

  • HIGHLY recommend this product. I could not play tennis because of weak knees, but after taking FlexSure for just seven days, I was able to play tennis again, and after 2 weeks I was 90% better.

A key issue before NAD was the truth and accuracy of the advertiser’s establishment claims — also known as “clinically proven” claims. Such claims, NAD noted, are held to a high standard of scientific proof because they are, in essence, a promise that there is scientific evidence that “establishes” the truth of an advertiser’s claims.

In this case, NAD found that the advertiser provided a reasonable basis for its claim that “Clinical trials showed that FlexSure users had significant increases in joint comfort, mobility and flexibility.”

However, because this claim was supported by only one study in the record, NAD recommended that the advertiser modify the claim to reflect that it is based on a single study.

NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue its safety claim because there were no long-term studies on FlexSure’s safety in the record, but found that a narrower clam that FlexSure was shown to be safe would be permissible if the advertiser disclosed that this claim is based on the results of a single, 8-week study. NAD also recommended that the advertiser discontinue “chondroitin free” in the context in which it appears in the challenged advertising, as it conveys an unsupported superiority message over glucosamine chondroitin.

However, NAD determined that the advertiser could make a carefully-tailored “chondroitin free” claim that does not convey a superior efficacy message.

NAD found that there was insufficient evidence to support the remaining claims at issue in this matter (including the challenged testimonial) and recommended the advertiser discontinue those claims.

Vital g-Netics, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company “will take into consideration the NAD decision and modify its marketing claims to comply with the decision.”

Note: A recommendation by NAD to modify or discontinue a claim is not a finding of wrongdoing and an advertiser’s voluntary discontinuance or modification of claims should not be construed as an admission of impropriety. It is the policy of NAD not to endorse any company, product, or service. Decisions finding that advertising claims have been substantiated should not be construed as endorsements.