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When I was young, I wanted the shoes that would make me run faster and jump higher. Now, I wish my brain would run a little faster when I can't remember my account passwords. Unfortunately, some shady outfits have been trying to “help” people like me by making some mind-blowing claims to sell their dietary supplements.

The FTC just settled charges against four people and a dozen businesses that sold bottles of “cognitive enhancement” supplements through a collection of websites, including fake news websites. The FTC says the defendants falsely claimed Geniux, Xcel, EVO, and Ion-Z could increase users’ focus, concentration, IQ, and brainpower. The settlement bans them from making false or unsupported health claims and requires them to pay over $600,000.

According to the FTC, the defendants didn’t have proof that Geniux can increase concentration by 312 percent, boost brainpower by up to 89.2 percent, and enhance memory recall. They made these claims on websites designed to look like real news sites and featuring false claims that Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking got dramatic results from Geniux. The FTC also says that customers — who paid up to $57 per bottle — couldn’t get a promised 100% money back guarantee.

If you’re considering a dietary supplement, remember: the government doesn’t review or evaluate supplements for safety or effectiveness before they’re put on the market. Your health care professional is the most important person to ask whether a supplement is safe for you. Even a natural supplement can be risky depending on your health and the medicine you take. If you see an ad with claims about miracle cures, ask a professional about the science behind the claims. If you think a product is being advertised falsely, please tell the FTC at FTC.gov/Complaint.

17 Comments


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Dr. Sheldon Cooper
April 10, 2019
The brain supplement I see advertised the most (by far) is Prevogen. However, Prevogen is not mentioned above. Can you comment on Prevogen?
rikoshea
April 10, 2019
Thanks for the info #1 I would NEVER order polls from an unknown source #2 always consult my own personal doctor or specialist if I had any symptoms.Always consult your doctor first.Do it right the first time or you may not be able to do it when it is too late!
Former Mark
April 10, 2019
What about the memory claims for the "ingredient from jellyfish"? Sorry, I cannot remember the name, but see the ad nearly every evening. Internet reminded me - Prevagen. A 2017 internet article cites FTC with: “The Federal Trade Commission and New York State Attorney General have charged the marketers of the dietary supplement Prevagen with making false and unsubstantiated claims that the product improves memory, provides cognitive benefits, and is clinically shown to work,” the FTC said in a statement." Why are the makers still able to make these claims?
SB
April 10, 2019
Folks, if it sounds too good to be true - it usually is!
Ella H. Oblas
April 10, 2019
The brain supplement I see advertised , as pointed out by Dr. Sheldon Cooper, is a question I too would like to see answered.
Baksh
April 10, 2019
What about the "Nature of Balance" supplements Lot of claims on the radio every day, many many times a day. Has anybody heard about it or had any experience of it?
FTC Staff
April 10, 2019

In reply to by Baksh

Read the Dietary Supplements article if you're thinking about a taking a supplement. Remember:

  • even natural supplements can be risky
  • a product that suggests it can treat or cure a disease is probably a fraud
  • claims that one product will cure a wide variety of health problems are a warning sign of fraud
  • promises of no-risk money back guarantees can be a sign of fraud
Radioguy
April 10, 2019
Why is it taking so long to reach a conclusion about the efficacy if Prevagen? We continue to be pummeled by the commercials year after year.
Vee
April 10, 2019
I am curious how come the government or FDA doesn’t control and review billion dollar business with a dietary supplements ?
FTC Staff
April 11, 2019

In reply to by Vee

This blog is about a federal government case involving a dozen businesses and four individuals that the FTC said were deceptively marketing supplements. The FTC reached a settlement that bans them from making false or unsupported health claims and requires them to pay over $600,000. The FDA has rules for the health claims a company makes on food and supplements. Read more in the FTC Dietary Supplement article, and on the FDA site.

Allie
April 11, 2019
Stop believing in appealing words. Remember that poison and toxins are also "natural".
DF
April 11, 2019
What about Puritan Pride's Neuro-PS (Phosphatidylserine)? It is in litigation, too?
LARRY
April 11, 2019
THE BEST WAY TO TELL A SCAM IS TO LISTEN. IF THE PERSON CONTINUES TO TELL YOU HOW MUCH YOU CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT IT, AFTER ABOUT TEN MINUTES YOU CAN BE PRETTY SURE ITS A SCAM.
Sarah M.
April 11, 2019
Snake Oil Salesmen...this has been around as long as salesmen have existed.
JazzBuster1950
April 14, 2019
In the past, many brain supplements did actually make some difference but they were really just blood thinners. The risks from taking blood thinners are too great to make any small difference worth it. I write things down, keep calendars on my wall, make lists, etc. Things like that become habit after a while and work just as well as anything else. Additionally, you may memorize some passwords you use online, but since you should change them periodically, you need to keep a little notebook by your computer and don't worry about memorizing them. Lost keys? You can get devices that chirp or whistle at you. I put a hook by my door for my door keys. Big thing on the car keys that won't get lost in my purse. You're smart. Think up some stuff for yourself.