Cortisol Claims Stopped by FTC

Medical Authors and Editors: Barbara K. Hecht, Ph.D. and Frederick Hecht, M.D.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed a law suit to stop two companies from making health claims about two dietary supplements called CortiSlim and CortiStress. CortiSlim is promoted as producing a quick 10-50 pound weight loss. CortiStress claims to prevent a whole range of medical conditions including osteoporosis, obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, cancer and cardiovascular disease. According to the FTC, "...the defendants' infomercial claimed that persistently elevated levels of cortisol are the underlying cause of 'every modern lifestyle disease that is associated with this fast-paced 21st century lifestyle.' "

The FTC is hoping to negotiate a settlement that not only results in a permanent injunction against advertising claims but also monetary reimbursement for consumers who have purchased the CortiSlim and CortiStress.

Comment: Cortisol is the major natural glucocorticoid. (A glucocorticoid is a hormone that predominantly affects the metabolism of carbohydrates and, to a lesser extent, fats and proteins in the body. The term glucocorticoid also applies to equivalent hormones synthesized in the laboratory.) Cortisol is the primary stress hormone.

CortiSlim and CortiStress are not the only dietary supplements out there. There are a number of products (Corti-something-or-other) which claim to interfere with cortisol production and control cortisol levels in the body. The FTC has also begun sending warning letters to more than 25 Web site operators and others who are marketing products with claims that the products will affect cortisol and thereby cause weight loss, reduce the risk of or prevent disease, or produce other health benefits.

Conflict of Interest: We typed "cortisol" into the MedicineNet search engine and noticed that there are "sponsored results" (ads) for some of these Corti-something-or-other products. So this may be a good time to state (or restate) the basic fundamental principle that the health information (the "content") on MedicineNet is independent of the advertising.

Other products investigated and charged by the FTC:

Information about choosing products safely on the Internet


FTC Targets Products Claiming to Affect the Stress Hormone Cortisol

Agency Alleges That Marketers of CortiSlim and CortiStress Made False or Unsubstantiated Claims

The Federal Trade Commission has charged marketers of two dietary supplements with claiming, falsely and without substantiation, that their products can cause weight loss and reduce the risk of, or prevent, serious health conditions. According to the FTC's complaint, Los Angeles-area marketers Window Rock Enterprises, Inc. and Infinity Advertising, Inc., their principals, Stephen Cheng and Gregory Cynaumon, and business partner and product formulator Shawn Talbott have sold "CortiSlim" and "CortiStress" through a number of widely aired infomercials and short TV commercials, as well as radio and print advertisements and Internet Web sites. "The Window Rock defendants' weight-loss and disease-prevention claims fly in the face of reality," said Lydia B. Parnes, Acting Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "No pill can replace a healthy program of diet and exercise."

The FTC's complaint alleges that the Window Rock defendants violated the FTC Act by making deceptive efficacy claims for CortiSlim and CortiStress. In addition, the complaint alleges that the defendants violated the FTC Act by using a deceptive format in at least two of their infomercials to suggest falsely that the infomercials were independent television programs, rather than paid commercial advertising. The complaint seeks permanent injunctive relief, including redress for consumers who purchased the products.



STAY INFORMED

Get the Latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!