The supplement, called NerveRenew, is a blend of R-alpha lipoic acid, B vitamins, vitamin D and extracts of the herbs Feverfew, Passionflower, Skullcap and Oat Straw. The product also contains benfotiamine, a lipid-soluble derivative of thiamin.
Claims on main ingredient challenged
The manufacturer, Neuropathy Treatment Group, which does business under the name Life Renew, has been making the following claims for the supplement, which is marketed as a treatment for consumers who have suffered nerve damage. The claims were challenged by CRN in a National Advertising Division proceeding:
- "100% Stabilized R-Alpha Lipoic Acid (R-ALA) is our most important ingredient.”
- "It contains the most powerful and clinically studied forms of B vitamins, Stabilized R Alpha Lipoic Acid, anti-oxidants and herbal extracts. All the ingredients have been included in clinical studies and provide a synergistic effect when taken together.”
- "3X Greater Bioavailability."
The NAD panel found that the ‘important ingredient’ claim implied that R-ALA plays a critical role in nerve health. However, the panel found that the studies the manufacturer submitted as evidence did not back up that claim in that they related to ALA’s effects on diabetic neuropathy and did not prove that ALA and R-ALA are functionally equivalent. In addition, the amount of ALA used in the studies was 4 to 12 times more than what is contained in the NerveRenew supplement.
As for the second claim, NAD found the advertiser submitted no evidence that the forms of the vitamins used in the product were in fact the ‘most powerful and clinically studied’ forms of those substances. In addition, none of teh studies submitted by the advertiser related to diabetic neuropathy, nor did they, in teh panel’s view, support the idea that there was a synergistic benefit to the product’s combination of ingredients.
Bioavailability claim also not supported
NAD also found the greater bioavailability claim was not supported by the evidence supplied by the advertiser. This was a mechanistic study that compared the performance of benfotiamine to that of thiamine hydrochloride (another form of Vitamin B1).
The advertiser said in a statement that it "plans to comply with the decision of the NAD."
As of this morning, the Amazon sales page for supplement does make antioxidant claims for the product, which NAD found were supported. But it also continues to make the following claim: “Faster absorption rate: Nerve Renew may be absorbed 3 times faster than comparable neuropathy support products due to proprietary vitamin-antioxidant-herbal extracts blend.”