As part of an important sector wide project, today our Compliance team will be contacting marketers who offer Live Blood Analysis (LBA) to emphasise the strict rules that are in place and that are designed to protect often vulnerable consumers from misleading and potentially harmful claims.

A quick analysis of the problem

Live Blood Analysis (LBA) is also known as dark field blood microscopy, live cell analysis, live blood testing, nutritional microscopy and hemaview. It involves the observation of “live” or “active” blood through a microscope, not to be confused with traditional laboratory blood testing which isn’t carried out in a live fashion.

Why has this practice come to our attention? We’ve picked up on various ads by LBA practitioners who have claimed that by observing the size, shape and structure of red and white blood cells, assessments can be made about nutritional deficiencies, dysfunctions, abnormalities, general health and medical conditions.

We’re concerned because claims of this nature have not been proven. Advertisers offering LBA should avoid referring to general health, medical conditions and being able to identify the quality of blood cells. To date we are unaware of any scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of this therapy. See CAP’s guidance on Live Blood Analysis.

ASA action

One practitioner in this sector, Errol Denton has broken the rules for making many irresponsible health claims. Among other things, he claimed that “If a person has cancer opting for chemotherapy, surgery or radiotherapy is a dumb move when there are dozens of safe natural alternatives”. He also stated that he helped people with medical conditions such as “Arthritis…Diabetes, Eczema, Gout, Hypertension, Psoriasis, Hypertension” and that “Crohn’s disease is not a disease at all but the result of poor dietary habits causing inflammation to its unwitting victims…”

We considered the ads were misleading because no evidence was provided to support those claims (rule 12.1), the ads made effectiveness claims for conditions for which medical supervision should be sought and the service was not offered by a suitably qualified health professional (rule 12.2). Read the rulings on Live Blood Test (April 2013) and Live Blood Test (February 2013).

In the Steps To Perfect Health (March 2013) ruling another advertiser ran into trouble for claiming that LBA could identify abnormalities in the blood, such as “toxic metals, parasites, inflammation, anti-oxidant deficiencies, amino acid profile”. The ad also stated that LBA could be useful for long or short term health issues, and overall good health – all of which can’t be proven and prohibited by the rules.

Testimonials aren’t evidence

Testimonials and the visual impression given by before and after photos don’t count as count as adequate proof to back up claims. Any claim made for the effectiveness of LBA still needs to be supported by robust scientific evidence. We considered that the before and after images in one case implied that the "alkalizing" process referred to in the ad had removed "abnormalities" which had the potential to result in illness or disease in the future.

Advice for advertisers

Our Compliance team will be advising LBA marketers to stick to claims which describe how the service provides an opportunity for consumers to observe blood cells, platelets and other structures in the blood, at high magnification. However, effectiveness claims for the therapy should not be stated or implied, and the service should therefore be promoted on an availability-only platform.

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