Juice up your immune system. Watch out for marketing claims.

U.S. wide class action suit against Mott’s for Tots juice.

Dr Pepper ‘stands by’ Mott’s for Tots immune support claims.

The claim is that the company “sought to capitalize on parents’ desire to offer their children a healthier juice alternative that allegedly supported the immune system”.

It was a higher-priced product as well.

What does that even mean, “supports your immune system”?

The wording suggests a health benefit. But adding extra vitamins is not validated to be helpful at all. Is it just misleading or was it false and deceptive?

I don’t know, this kind of stuff is sold ALL OVER the place with the same ridiculous claims. A good lawsuit goes far to put a stop to it.

Or, you can do your own research and not get taken by these marketing claims.

Science-Based Medicine » Boost Your Immune System?.

Most people apparently think that the immune system is like a muscle, and by working it, giving it supplements and vitamins, the immune system will become stronger. Bigger. More impressive, bulging like Mr. Universe’s bicep. That’s the body part I am thinking about. What they are boosting is vague, on par with chi/qi or innate intelligence. They never really say what is being boosted.

The other popular phrase is “support”. A product supports prostate health, or breast health or supports the immune system. It sounds like the immune system is sagging against gravity due to age and needs a lift.

The immune system, if you are otherwise healthy, cannot be boosted, and doing those things you learned in Kindergarten health (reasonable diet, exercise and sleep), will provide the immune system all the boosting or support it needs.

Someone is going to write in and say Americans have a lousy diet and don’t exercise and can benefit from better food and exercise. And that’s true. If you are not taking care of your self, your immune function can be improved to its best function. But if you are at your optimal baseline you cannot make your immune function better.

So, bottom line, eat a healthy diet, get sleep and exercise. So, parents, you can’t make up for your kids diet of chicken nuggets and chips by supplying them with expensive vitamin juice.

  2 comments for “Juice up your immune system. Watch out for marketing claims.

  1. RDW
    January 29, 2013 at 5:08 AM

    The immune system has everything to do with white blood cells. Vaccinations are the only way to boost an immune system that I can think of. If there were some way to trigger your body to produce more white blood cells, or to make your white blood cells perform more efficiently, that would be swell, I’d Love it. But I don’t know of a way to do that.

  2. Adam
    January 29, 2013 at 8:02 AM

    The US has the most appalling standards for health claims on products. It is not uncommon to see diet pills (for example) claim in bold letters that the product increases metabolism, or “binds” to fat molecules or some other nonsense. Seemingly definite testable claims but in small print it says that none of the statements have been evaluated by the FDA. So basically they lied and they’re waiting for the FDA to call them out, which won’t happen unless there is an investigation because it contains ephedrine or whatever. Even worse, places like Walgreens and CVS which are US pharmacy chains will sell this junk often mixed in with products which do have some clinical evidence of efficacy. It’s ethically and morally repugnant behaviour but I expect both justify it on the basis that it makes them a lot of money.

    The UK isn’t a whole lot better mind. Boots sells all sorts of alt health nonsense though fortunately it tends to be off in its own section. The wording also resorts to vague claims and weasel words. e.g. “Boots Health Bracelet believed by many people to help with a stressful lifestyle, pain relief and circulatory problems. Based on the ancient Chinese principles of Acupuncture and Universal Energy, these bracelets are believed to work by restoring the balance of negative and positive Ions (Yin and Yan) in the body.”. So as long as you can find people who “believe” something (idiots basically) you can strongly imply the product has some effect without saying exactly what that might be.

    IMO chemists / pharmacies should not be allowed sell products which make unproven health claims within 2 meters of products which have been proven, or within 5 meters of the pharmacy counter.

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