The National Advertising Division (NAD) recently recommended that Trinity Sports Group discontinue several of its advertising claims for its NeuroImpact dietary supplement. Trinity Sports manufactures NeuroImpact, a dietary supplement containing a blend of vitamins, supplements, and herbs that Trinity Sports claimed will aid brain metabolism and help the brain recover after contact sports. NAD identified and evaluated three types of claims made by Trinity Sports: establishment claims, brain recovery support structure/function claims, and testimonials.

Trinity Sports claimed that the product was “clinically tested,” had “proven results,” and was a “patent-pending product clinically proven to support proper neurological function after contact sports.” In support of these claims, Trinity Sports submitted the results of a study it conducted on subjects who used its product after a concussion. However, NAD found the study methodologically flawed, noting the small sample size of 16 subjects, lack of randomization and control variables, and lack of reliable baseline data. As such, it recommended that Trinity Sports discontinue these establishment claims.

Similarly, NAD found Trinity Sports’ study insufficiently reliable to support even general claims that NeuroImpact supports brain recovery and proper neurological function. However, it noted that the emerging research on the ingredients’ role in supporting healthy brain function was established enough for Trinity Sports to make more limited structure/function claims.

Lastly, NAD recommended Trinity Sports discontinue use of a testimonial by Sammy Morris, a professional football player and VP of NeuroImpact, in which he stated, “I can personally say that NeuroImpact is a revolutionary formula that has proven results in my own career and is invaluable to all athletes at all levels of sport.” NAD noted that the advertising that featured the testimonial lacked any disclosure about Morris’ material connection to the company, and also that the company lacked adequate substantiation that Morris’ personal experience was typical of most users.

TIP: The nature and extent of performance and efficacy claims in advertising should reflect the depth and nature of the underlying research that substantiates the claims.  When dealing with emerging science or technology, advertisers should use caution when making claims about the efficacy of the product, and advertising claims should clearly communicate the limited and preliminary nature of the substantiation.