BBB National Programs National Advertising Division Finds that Certain Cellular Health Claims for Basis Dietary Supplement are Supported

For Immediate Release

Contact: Laura Brett, Director, National Advertising Division

212.705.0109 / lbrett@bbbnp.org

New York, NY – Jan. 27, 2020 – The National Advertising Division determined that Elysium Health, Inc. had submitted evidence sufficient to reasonably demonstrate that nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (“NAD+”) plays a key role in cellular metabolism and mitochondrial health, and that NAD+ levels decrease with age.  Further, the National Advertising Division determined that the advertiser produced competent and reliable scientific evidence demonstrating that a daily serving of its Basis Dietary Supplement (“Basis”) raised whole blood NAD+ levels in people 40-60 years old, thus supporting truthful, narrowly tailored claims describing cellular metabolism and the role that nicotinamide riboside (“NR”) (a natural precursor of NAD+) and pterostilbene supplementation can play in the cellular metabolism of aging. The Basis supplement is a B3 vitamin (250 mg of NR) combined with pterostilbene (50 mg).

The National Advertising Division is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and is a division of the BBB National Programs’ self-regulatory and dispute resolution programs.

As part of is routine monitoring program, the National Advertising Division opened this inquiry to review digital advertising for Basis.  The challenged claims were culled, in part, from the advertiser’s recommendation widgets, tweets, Elysium company website (often in the form of testimonials), and Facebook posts, some of which also link readers to independent articles about Elysium and Basis and draw readers’ attention to news articles that positively describe Basis, the science behind cellular metabolism, and the scientists that founded Elysium Health. The National Advertising Division noted that health-related statements about the effectiveness of a dietary supplement that Fast Company of Scientific American, for example, choose to publish in their own articles, on their own websites, are not advertising claims that must be supported by the advertiser.  However, by virtue of quoting or summarizing media articles in its tweets, widgets, Facebook page, Instagram, or company website, etc., those same statements become advertising claims made by the advertiser.  In such instances, the advertiser must possess competent and reliable scientific evidence to support the health-related statements.

During the pendency of the National Advertising Division’s inquiry, the advertiser stated in writing that it had elected to permanently discontinue making the following challenged express and implied claims (including some claims that had been discontinued years ago):

  • Taking Basis will provide a noticeable effect on consumers’ energy, cognitive function, sleep, and overall feeling of health.
  • Taking Basis is scientifically proven to counteract the natural human aging process.
  • Taking Basis provides noticeable physical health and anti-aging benefits without the need for diet and exercise.

The National Advertising Division, relying on the advertiser’s representations that these claims have been permanently discontinued, did not review the claims on their merits.  However, the voluntarily discontinued claims will be treated, for compliance purposes, as though the National Advertising Division recommended their discontinuance and the advertiser agreed to comply.

In support of the challenged claim that “the cellular level benefits of taking Basis are scientifically proven to be effective in humans,” the advertiser submitted many in vitro studies and animal studies, human trials, including bioavailability studies such as a clinical trial conducted on Basis, medical literature reviews, and expert reports.  The National Advertising Division reviewed this evidence and determined that it reasonably demonstrated that NAD+ plays a key role in cellular metabolism and mitochondrial health, and that NAD+ levels decrease with age.  Additionally, pterostilbene, another ingredient in Basis, reduces oxidative stress, an important component of cellular metabolism.  Further, the National Advertising Division determined that the advertiser provided competent and reliable scientific evidence in the form of a randomized, placebo-controlled bioavailability study of people 40-60 years old that demonstrated that a daily serving of Basis raised whole blood NAD+ levels.

The National Advertising Division noted that while the advertiser had provided many studies and articles demonstrating health and longevity benefits from NAD+ supplementation in yeast, flies, and rodents, the fact of whether supplementation in humans will have similar results is still very much a work in progress.

The National Advertising Division concluded that the advertiser had provided a record sufficient to establish (1) that the ingredients in Basis raise NAD+ levels, and (2) a scientific consensus around the role of NAD+ and sirtuins in cellular health. Therefore, the National Advertising Division stated that nothing in its decision prevents the advertiser from making truthful, narrowly tailored claims describing cellular metabolism and the role that NR and pterostilbene supplementation can play in the cellular metabolism of aging.  In doing so, the National Advertising Division recommended that the advertiser should make clear that any noticeable aging-related benefits of taking Basis or the ingredients in Basis has not been shown in humans.

In its advertiser’s statement, Elysium Health stated that agrees to comply with the National Advertising Division’s recommendations.

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About the National Advertising Division (NAD): National Advertising Division (NAD), a division of BBB National Programs, provides independent self-regulation overseeing the truthfulness of advertising across the U.S. NAD reviews national advertising in all media and its decisions set consistent standards for truth and accuracy.

About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs fosters trust, innovation, and competition in the marketplace through the development and delivery of cost-effective, third-party self-regulation, dispute resolution and other programs. The programs were formerly administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. BBB National Programs is the home of industry self-regulatory and dispute resolution programs that include the National Advertising Division (NAD), National Advertising Review Board (NARB), BBB EU Privacy Shield, BBB AUTO LINE, Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), Children’s Confection Advertising Initiative (CCAI), Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC), Digital Advertising Accountability Program (Accountability Program), and the Coalition for Better Advertising Dispute Resolution Program (CBA DRM). The programs are designed to resolve business issues and advance shared objectives by responding to marketplace concerns to create a better customer experience. To learn more about industry self-regulation, please visit: BBBNP.org