The Compliance Team is carrying out an important sector compliance project. Today, we’ll be contacting marketers offering Live Blood Analysis (LBA) to bring CAP and the ASA’s position to their attention, and to ensure that problematic claims are amended or removed. Marketers should avoid referring to general health, medical conditions or being able to identify the quality of blood cells.
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.
LBA marketers 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.
Avoid claims that you can diagnose, treat or cure in relation to a person’s health
If you’re offering LBA you should avoid referring to general health, medical conditions or being able to identify the quality of blood cells because to date, CAP and the ASA have seen no scientific evidence to support the efficacy of this therapy. See our guidance on Live Blood Analysis and Substantiation for health, beauty and slimming claims which sets out the type of evidence we would expect to see.
Errol Denton was found to breach the Code twice in 2013 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…”
The ASA concluded that the ads were misleading because no evidence was provided to support those claims (rule 12.1), the ads made efficacy 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 ASA rulings on Live Blood Test (April 2013) and Live Blood Test (February 2013).
The ASA also ruled against an advertiser claiming that LBA could identify abnormalities in the blood, such as “toxic metals, parasites, inflammation, anti-oxidant deficiencies, amino acid profile”. The advertiser also claimed that it could be useful for long or short term health issues, and overall good health, Steps To Perfect Health (March 2013).
Testimonials aren’t evidence
Testimonials and the visual impression given by before and after photos don’t count as adequate substantiation. Any claim made for the effectiveness of LBA still needs to be supported by robust scientific evidence. The ASA 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.
CAP advises that LBA marketers stick to claims which describe how the service provides an opportunity for consumers to observe blood cells, platelets and other structures in their blood, at high magnification. However, efficacy claims for the therapy should not be stated or implied, and the service should be promoted on an availability-only platform.