The NAD recommended that DSM discontinue certain advertising claims for the rose hip-derived ingredient, including performance, comparative and ‘green’ claims.
According to the advertiser’s statement, DSM said that while it “respectfully disagrees” with the NAD's findings, “DSM believes in the self-regulation process and agrees to make its advertising and marketing for i-flex consistent with the NAD's decision.”
The request comes as part of NAD’s ongoing monitoring program and in conjunction with NAD’s initiative with the Council for Responsible Nutrition to expand the review of advertising claims for dietary supplements.
The ingredient was launched in the US in 2008, at which time a spokesperson for DSM noted that the benefits of the ingredient over glucosamine and chondroitin are that it is exclusively plant-sourced, therefore suitable for vegetarians, and it also does not contain allergens, unlike the shellfish-derived glucosamine.
The spokesperson also added that a number of clinical studies have shown i-flex to show improvements on joint health after just three weeks, compared to 1.5- 3 months for glucosamine. It has also shown efficacy in up to 82 percent of study populations, she added, whereas glucosamine is thought to be effective in 40 percent of study participants.
The ingredient was developed over a decade ago in Denmark by Hyben Vital, which has its production facilities for the rose hip powder on the Danish island of Langeland.
It has already been marketed in Europe for over six years under the label LitoZin. The LitoZin brand name is owned by the firm Axellus, and the ingredient is sold in European countries through local distribution partners.
In the US, until DSM took over the licensing, the ingredient was available though Europharma. DSM purchased the exclusivity for distribution from Europharma.
DSM is now marketing i-flex - its own brand name - as both a dietary supplement ingredient and a finished product, which it is selling through the website ICanFlex.com.
The rose hip ingredient contains vitamin C, vitamin E, carotenoids and galactolipids.
According to the NAD review, the research on rose hip powder was sufficiently reliable to support general claims that i-flex provides ‘a joint health benefit’, and the cited research was also supportive of general claims made about joint health experienced by a musician described in the testimonial.
Being based on rose hips, the claim “i-flex is truly unlike any other joint product out there” was fine, found the NAD review.
On the other hand, NAD considered that other claims, including those comparing the efficacy as ‘better’ or ‘faster’ than glucosamine, and the that “i-flex from Patented Danish Rosehips Gives Rapid Joint Relief and Comfort to 4 out of Every 5 People” and “And the longer term effect is also impressive”, should be discontinued.
Regarding the claims that suggest i-flex is made of a “green and sustainable” ingredient, NAD recommended the advertiser discontinue this claim.
To read the full statement from NAD, please click here.