BBB National Programs Archive
Schiff Nutrition Group, CRN Participate In NAD Forum
New York, NY – March 3, 2009 – The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that Schiff Nutrition Group modify or discontinue certain claims for MegaRed Omega-3 Krill Oil, following a challenge by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN). NAD determined that the advertiser provided reasonable support for certain claims.
NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, examined advertising for MegaRed pursuant to NAD’s ongoing monitoring of advertising in the dietary supplements marketplace and in conjunction with an initiative with CRN.
NAD requested substantiation for claims that appeared on product packaging and in Internet advertising. Claims at issue included:
- “better, faster and more powerful than fish oil”
- “3x better than fish oil for supporting cardiovascular health”
- “Just One MegaRed™ softgel = three fish oil softgels for supporting Cardiovascular Health”
- MegaRed™ omega-3s are several times stronger than larger amounts of fish oil omega-3s
- Superior nutritional support when compared to the very best fish oils
- Clinically shown to support cardiovascular health
- Maintain healthy cholesterol levels already within the normal range
- Promotes joint health and flexibility
Following its review of the evidence submitted by the advertiser and CRN, NAD found that the advertiser provided a reasonable basis for claims that krill oil has been clinically proven to provide a heart-health benefit by reducing the blood levels of a recognized marker of heart health, C-Reactive Protein (CRP).
Although NAD accepted that CRP is recognized as a marker for cardiovascular health, NAD determined that the advertiser is making unqualified superiority claims which imply that CRP is the best marker, or even that it is a more efficient and accurate marker than any other of the heart health markers.
Fish oil works by affecting and improving other “markers” of heart health. Accordingly, to make a quantitative comparison between krill oil, which provides a benefit by lowering CRP levels and improving cholesterol, and fish oil, which improves other markers, is likely to convey a message to consumers that there is a proven comparative efficacy of the two products. By making these quantitative comparative claims, the advertiser is essentially claiming that CRP is the gold standard marker for heart health, and the single best predictor of future cardio events. However, there is no evidence to support this message.
NAD recommended the advertiser discontinue claims that include “better, faster and more powerful than fish oil,” “3x better than fish oil for supporting cardiovascular health,” “MegaRed omega-3s are several times stronger than larger amounts of fish oil omega-3s,” and “Superior nutritional support when compared to the very best fish oils.”
Further, because there is no established dosage that is optimal for supporting cardiovascular health, and because all of the studies presented as evidence tested different amounts of oils, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue the claim that “just One MegaRed™ softgel = three fish oil softgels for supporting Cardiovascular Health.”
NAD recommended that the advertiser modify the claim “Maintain healthy cholesterol levels already within the normal range,” to clearly communicate the results of the research – specifically that studies have shown that dosages higher than three MegaRed capsules have been shown to “Maintain healthy cholesterol levels already within the normal range.”
NAD determined that the advertiser provided a reasonable basis for performance claims that detailed results of the clinical studies and found that the advertiser provided a reasonable basis for its general claims that MegaRed is “Clinically shown to support cardiovascular health” and the general claim that MegaRed “Promotes joint health and flexibility.”
Schiff Nutrition Group, in its advertiser’s statement, said that the company appreciated the opportunity to participate in the self-regulatory process “and thanks NAD for its consideration of this matter.”
While the company “respectfully disagrees with certain aspects of the NAD’s decision, it will nevertheless take into account NAD’s comments and recommendations in its future advertising.”