ASA cracks down on brands claiming to treat ADHD and autism  

Ads from three different brands have been banned by the advertising watchdog to protect “vulnerable” consumers.  

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has today (3 July) banned three ads from three different brands who claimed their unlicensed food products could treat autism and ADHD.  

Unlicensed supplements cannot claim to help prevent, treat or cure disabilities or health conditions, in line with the CAP code.  

One of the ads shared on Facebook by Drop Supplements told consumers to “get ready to experience a truly unique elixir that will take your mental performance to the next level…”. The ad states it was for people with stress, anxiety, brain fog and ADHD.  

The specific claims relating to mental performance were not against the rules, but claiming to help ADHD is.

People twice as likely to trust ads after seeing watchdog’s awareness driveA similar ad from another food supplement supplier, Spectrum Awakening, made claims about helping children with language disorders, autism and ADHD. The company did not respond to the ASA’s ruling.  

Another ad from Aspire Nutrition, a supplements retailer, also claimed to help children with autism. Responding to the ASA, the business said it was a retargeting ad for those who had visited its website, and that it did not currently advertise to UK residents.  

Since the complaint was raised, the company has stopped ads being directed to UK residents completely.  

The rulings come a week after the ASA banned a range of supplement ads claiming to help with menopause symptoms, as part of a wider crackdown.

“Our rules make it clear that food supplements can’t be advertised as preventing, treating or curing any conditions or diseases,” says James Craig, head of regulatory projects and casework at the ASA.  

“This is to protect vulnerable audiences, including those with conditions like autism and ADHD or loved ones with those conditions. These three examples clearly break our rules, and we’ve taken decisive action in banning them and removing them from circulation,” he adds.