/ Health

No more misleading health claims for one prebiotic

Vitamin pills exploding

Last year we investigated health claims made by supplements and whether these claims were authorised. After we reported it to the ASA, a prebiotic powder has been told to stop making misleading health claims.

While researching for our ‘Don’t believe the hype’ investigation, I came across a prebiotic powder by Bimuno that made the claims ‘feeds good gut bacteria’ and ‘helps maintain digestive balance’ on the packaging.

The website for the product also claimed that the powder ‘increases your bifidobacteria levels, helping to maintain a healthy intestinal balance’; ‘reduces bad bacteria levels’ and ‘supports overall well-being’.

However, none of these claims were on the authorised EU register of nutrition and health claims, so we put in a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

‘Helps to protect against bad bacteria’

Clasado, the company that manufactures Bimuno, had submitted evidence for four claims to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for authorisation. These were that Bimuno:

• Helps maintain a healthy gastro-intestinal (GI) function.
• Supports your natural defences.
• Helps to protect against the bad bacteria that can cause travellers diarrhoea.
• May reduce intestinal discomfort.

On the evidence submitted, none of these claims were authorised. The first three of these claims had been rejected in 2010 and the last one was still being assessed. Since then this claim has also been rejected, and yet Bimuno prebiotic powder was still making these claims on its website and on the product’s packaging.

ASA upholds our complaint

Today the ASA announced that it has upheld our complaint and also noted that Bimuno was making claims that had not even been submitted for authorisation. It instructed Clasado to remove these and other unauthorised claims from its website. Bimuno has also been instructed not to make claims that food could prevent, treat or cure disease.

Is it naïve of me to expect companies to act responsibly and not make claims that aren’t backed up? Maybe it is. That’s why we’ll continue to pull up companies that we think mislead consumers.

What do you think about dubious health claims on supplements? Oh, and if you know of any other spurious claims made on foods or supplements let us know.

Comments
Keith Hepppenstall says:
30 September 2018
ShelBL says:
21 October 2018

I’m astounded by the comment in the article that Bimuno has been instructed to remove the claim that food could prevent treat or cure disease. Many diseases are being proven to be caused by inflammation – the prevention of which is hugely influenced by nutrition. What we eat affects every cell and organ – how could it not? People are reversing Type 2 Diabetes, Acid Reflux, High Blood Pressure all through adjusting the food they eat. It’s right to ensure that people aren’t taken for a ride but important to keep an open and balanced perspective.

W. Minsterspin says:
13 December 2018

And this stuff costs and arm and leg to buy. Still, it’s a bit like faith healing. Have faith you mugs!

Dave says:
8 April 2019

I consumed 4 sachets of the 14 provided as part of a trial of Bimuno between Monday and Thursday of last week. A splitting headache, nausea, lightheadedness started on the Thursday and I slept almost constantly between getting home from work on Thursday through to Sunday until the morning.
I have felt truly awful. I had to rush to the toilet twice at work on Saturday, not making it in time once. I had to go to the toilet 3 times at work on Sunday, twice at a friends house on Sunday, then 4 times in the night too. It’s been absolutely awful and I couldn’t recommend Bimuno to anyone. I’d actually class it as dangerous, and I stopped after 4 sachets! 10 to go (not a chance).
I initially just decided it just plain didn’t agree with me, but it’s gotten ridiculous. I’m still suffering today (monday) and can’t wait to get this poison out of my system. Tread very carefully if you’re thinking of trying it.

I always say it’s best to speak as you find. Having had chronic health problems for more than 20 years i can say that using Bimuno over the last 2 years has helped a little. I am not able to tollerate the recommended dose of 1 sachet per day as that upsets my stomach but 1/2 a sachet every other day helps settle things and i always find that i sleep better on the night when i’ve taken it that morning, even if it’s only the first few hours that are deeper sleep, that’s still very welcome. This also reduces the excessive cost. I’m not the type of person to be affected by the placibo effect as i tend not to believe that this sort of thing can work but having seen it on the BBC’s ‘Trust Me I’m a Doctor’ program i thought i’d give it a go. If you and you’re gut are healthy it wont benefit you but if not try it and see before saying it can’t work or calling people mugs for trying !

Ian Walsh says:
3 November 2019

I first bought Bimuno early last year.
The quality of my sleep immediately improved, though I still awoke several times during the night due to medical conditions.
I ran out of supplies some weeks ago and ceased taking it.
Since then the quality of my sleep deteriorated and I was constantly tired.
I started taking it last Monday and the quality of sleep that I do get improved greatly that night and has continued since.
I can’t comment on the prebiotic claims, but I have just started to ferment my own milk Kefir to increase my good gut bacteria.

This is the first time I have heard of this product , my wife cannot take it as it contains lactose .
On accessing the official website I have to warn –its full of trackers and not just normal ones but web trackers who follow you round the web gathering data this brings in money for the website .
As a product this will only suite people who don’t have a lot of allergies but certain types of stomach problems of digesting the stomach contents and converting it to power the body through the bloodstream .
As such it will help some people but positively harm others its all down to your DNA .
My wife went through a whole series of hospital allergy tests and is one of the most allergy prone person they had come across , every needle test produced swellings and lumps some pretty serious and I have seen my wife near death -blue lips- throat constriction -sweat pouring off her just from taking the wrong food so I take this subject very seriously .

Please do not condemn those who are different from others in their biological make up , its “horses for courses “.

Looked at by Which? and the ASA back in 2014 – not good news!
https://conversation.which.co.uk/health/asa-complaint-prebiotic-health-supplement-claims-bimuno-clasado/

Some properly-conducted independent study might be best in its support.

Thanks for the link Malcolm.

I had a gut feeling this had been mentioned before, duncan.