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Published on August 20th, 2013

0 Immunotect

From the continuing chronicles of supplements making outrageous claims: pitched its Immunotect dietary supplement with claims that it could attack “cancerous cells” and had “anti-cancer effects.” The Council for Responsible Nutrition challenged those claims and others, including the following:

– “Astragalus extracts have been found to increase proliferation or enhance that activity of several immune cells including macrophages, T-cells, and natural killer (NK) cells, and promote immune system anti-tumor activity.”

– “Astragalus has been reported to reduce oxidative stress and improve cardiac function following heart attack, and improve angina symptoms in patients with heart disease.”

– “Immunotect includes a carefully selected combination of ten whole, dried organic mushrooms, each of which has immune-supporting and anti-cancer effects (Maitake, Reishi, Himematsutake, Cordyseps sinensis, Turkey Tail, Shiitake, Lion’s Mane, Zhu Ling, Meshimakobu and Chaga).”

– “Reishi and Turkey Tail mushroom extracts are often used in cancer treatment as an adjunct to chemotherapy – to diminish the side effects and immunosuppression due to chemotherapy drugs and activate the immune system to attack cancerous cells…Maitake and Himematsutake mushroom may have similar effects.”

– “Blueberry, raspberry and goji berry extracts provide antioxidant activity and may provide additional protection against cold and flu.”

NAD investigated the advertising, but pulled all the claims under investigation and modified its advertising for Immunotect before NAD could issue a decision.

Supplements are not drugs, and they are not regulated or tested like drugs. If a supplement is advertising itself with over-the-top or drug-like claims — like that it attacks cancer cells — save your money. There’s probably little or weak evidence to support the claim. Read more about supplements in our previous article.

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The National Advertising Division, or NAD, is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. NAD asks advertisers to substantiate or change their claims in advertisements. As part of a voluntary system of self-regulation, however, its recommendations can be ignored by the offending advertisers. In those instances, NAD refers the offender to federal consumer protection agencies.

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