ChromaDex drops energy claim, rewords testimonial after NAD challenge

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

©Getty Images - serggn
©Getty Images - serggn

Related tags healthy aging Vitamins product claims

Dietary supplement manufacturer ChromaDex has dropped an energy claim on its Tru Niagen product following a National Advertising Division challenge.

NAD, which is a division of BBB National Programs, said in a statement it brought the challenge as a result of its regular monitoring of advertising communications.

The challenged claim was part of a testimonial by former Denver Broncos player and NFL Hall of Fame member Shannon Sharpe, who is a paid spokesman for the company.  Sharpe has remained in the public eye as a commenter on the Fox Sports network.

The NAD statement said ChromaDex has agreed to drop a specific “increases energy” claim as well as remove a testimonial from Sharpe that read:

“I’ve seen my energy levels go up and I’m able to work out with the same intensity as I once did. I’m even crushing guys in their 20s and 30s at the gym.  I was just tired. I didn’t have that get up and go. Tru Niagen supercharges my cells and helps me refuel my tank.”

Because ChromaDex agreed during the course of the proceeding to rescind the claims NAD did not evaluate their scientific backing, the statement said.

Modified claims still featured on website

At the moment ChromaDex mentions ‘cellular energy’ on its Tru Niagen website as one of the supplement’s benefits.  It also displays a Sharpe testimonial that has been reworded from the one cited by NAD.  In the current testimonial Sharpe says the product has “given me the motivation to maintain my workout schedule.”

ChromaDex has been developing its branded ingredient Niagen, a patented form of nicotinamide riboside, a form of vitamin B3 or niacin, for a number of years after licensing patents from Cornell University, Dartmouth College and Washington University in St. Louis.

The company at first pursued a positioning as an ingredient supplier, and signed up the company Elysium as a finished goods partner.  Elysium used the ingredient in its Basis supplement.

That relationship unraveled, though, and has devolved into competing lawsuits and patent challenges. Following the collapse of that deal ChromaDex has pivoted to marketing its own finished product under the Tru Niagen brand.

In the most recent twists of that tale a judge in Delaware ruled to invalidate two of ChromaDex’s patents​, a ruling that ChromaDex says it will appeal. The company also claims that it has as many as 20 other composition, process and method of use patents relating to Niagen.  Also, earlier this week a split verdict​ was rendered in a breach of contract dispute between the companies with each side claiming it had been vindicated.

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