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FTC Clamps Down on Aging-Reversal Claims

Company that pitched products in infomercial agrees to stop unless human testing backs up assertions

A jar of cream and a supplement bottle

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The FTC said there was no science behind the claim that Telomerase Activation Sciences products reversed aging.

A company that pitched products that allegedly would reverse the aging process has agreed to stop making such claims unless they are backed up by human testing.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reached the agreement with Telomerase Activation Sciences and its CEO, Noel Thomas Patton.

The FTC said the company had claimed that one of its products — TA-65MD — could prevent and repair DNA damage, restore aging immune systems, increase bone density, improve vision, and prevent or reduce the risk of cancer. Its other main product, TA65 for Skin, is a topical lotion the company said improves skin elasticity.

A three-month supply of TA-65MD cost as much as $2,000, while an ounce of TA-65 sold for $500, according to the FTC.

The products have been marketed on “The Suzanne Show,” an infomercial hosted by Suzanne Somers, as well as in online ads and at conferences and seminars where health professionals were recruited to tout the products.

The FTC noted that the company used phrases like “research-based” and “clinically tested” in its pitches.

Compound structures at the ends of chromosomes are called telomeres. They protect cells when they divide. But they shorten with each division. The company claimed that “an ingredient in its products would activate the enzyme telomerase, which in turn would lengthen telomeres, extend the lifespan of normal cells, and thereby provide" health benefits, the FTC said, but there was no science behind the claim.

The company also failed to disclose payments in the form of free products to its endorsers. In a notice announcing the agreement, the FTC reiterated that unsubstantiated claims about reversing the aging process “are antithetical to the FTC Act. … If you represent expressly or by implication that your product can prevent or treat diseases or serious medical conditions, back up your promises with human clinical testing.”

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