NAD Recommends UltraBotanica Discontinue Challenged Claims for ‘UltraCur’ Curcumin Dietary Supplements, Including Bioavailability Claims

New York, NY – Feb. 14, 2017 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that UltraBotanica, LLC, the maker of UltraCur Dietary Supplements, discontinue all of the advertising claims challenged by Europharma, Inc., the maker of competing products, with the exception of a claim that notes curcumin, a key ingredient in UltraCur, is extracted from turmeric.

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

At the outset of NAD’s inquiry, the advertiser asserted that the following claims had been permanently and voluntarily discontinued:

  • “High Absorption: most advanced Curcumin available – speeds absorption in less than 20 minutes.”
  • “Potency Strength: Achieve clinically relevant serum levels, with 15,000 times the bioavailability of standard curcumin and 100 times the bioavailability of piperine curcumin combination products.”
  • “Ease of digestion: UltraCur is easy to digest and won’t upset your stomach like many prescription drugs.”
  • “Only curcumin complex to achieve clinically-relevant serum levels.”
  • “15,000 the strength of standard curcumin.”
  • “First and only curcumin on the market that can reach clinically relevant doses, greater than 1,000 nanograms per milliliter of blood, from a single capsule.”
  • Curcumin has been studied as a powerful anti-inflammatory, pain reliever, and antioxidant. However, because curcumin is so poorly absorbed, these studies required massive doses of curcumin to achieve blood levels necessary to make a difference.  “UltraCur curcumin complex can achieve the same levels with only 1 to 2 capsules a day.”
  • “Competitive Landscape Chart: UltraCur bioavailability is 250 to 250X greater than pure curcumin and 10-100X greater than most competitors.”

Given that assurance, NAD did not examine the claims on their merits, but noted that the voluntarily discontinued claims would be treated, for compliance purposes, as though NAD recommended the advertiser discontinue the claims and the advertiser agreed to comply.

In support of its remaining superiority claims, the advertiser relied on studies done on mice. NAD noted in its decision that the advertiser’s superior absorption claims are health-related claims that must be supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence.

“Generally, for health-related claims, competent and reliable scientific evidence are human clinical trials that are methodologically sound and statistically significant to the 95% confidence level,” NAD stated. “The results should translate into meaningful benefits for consumers that relate directly to the performance attributes promised by the advertising.   NAD determined that the Murine studies involving the absorption of UltraCur in mice are insufficient to support the advertiser’s claims of absorption in humans.”

NAD noted that, in support of its strong, broad, and quantified claims, the advertiser offered bioavailability studies that consisted of 1 to 3 human participants with wildly variable peak curcumin concentration results.  In the first study, with only two people, one participant’s peak curcumin concentration was twice that of the only other participant.  The advertiser used the much higher result to support its claim that UltraCur “up to 14,000 times more available than standard curcumin.”

Following its review, NAD further determined that the advertiser’s human studies were insufficiently reliable to support such claims. NAD recommended the advertiser discontinue the following claims: 

  • “High Absorption: most advanced Curcumin available – speeds absorption in less than 20 minutes.”
  • “Potency Strength: Achieve clinically relevant serum levels, with 15,000 times the bioavailability of standard curcumin and 100 times the bioavailability of piperine curcumin combination products.”
  • “Ease of digestion: UltraCur is easy to digest and won’t upset your stomach like many prescription drugs.”
  • “Only curcumin complex to achieve clinically-relevant serum levels.”
  • “15,000 the strength of standard curcumin.”
  • “First and only curcumin on the market that can reach clinically relevant doses, greater than 1,000 nanograms per milliliter of blood, from a single capsule.”
  • Curcumin has been studied as a powerful anti-inflammatory, pain reliever, and antioxidant. However, because curcumin is so poorly absorbed, these studies required massive doses of curcumin to achieve blood levels necessary to make a difference.
  • “UltraCur curcumin complex can achieve the same levels with only 1 to 2 capsules a day.”
  • “Competitive Landscape Chart: UltraCur bioavailability is 250 to 250X greater than pure curcumin and 10-100X greater than most competitors.”
  • “up to 14,000 times more available than standard curcumin.”
  • “on average 6,500 times more available [than standard curcumin].” 
  • “achieves on average 610 ng/ml ± 152.6 ng/ml per capsule.”
  • “fast acting: peak curcumin levels in 20-40 minutes.”
  • “In head-to-head Murine studies we showed a 5.5X time over nanoparticle formulations and an estimated 148x-185 x improvement over regular curcumin”
  • “Potency Strength: More bioavailable than nano-particle Curcumin formulations. In comparative Murine studies have shown a 5.5X improvement over Theracurmin.  UltraCur does not use or need to use black pepper extract.”
  • “5.5X more bioavailable than nano-particle emulsion formula (Theracurmin) based on AUC.”

NAD further noted that any use of the Murine mouse study should be clearly and conspicuously qualified to expressly note that the data was obtained from mice, and there is no evidence that the results will be obtained in humans.

UltraBotanica, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company “agrees to comply with NAD’s recommendations in its future advertising.   We appreciate the efforts of the NAD in bringing scientific rigor to the advertising community. While we disagree with some of the conclusions made by the NAD we support the self-regulating process and will abide by the decisions.”

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.