Woolrest Biomag's claim that its magnetic mattress pad could produce a sleep-regulating chemical has not passed muster with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
In a decision released today, the authority found the claim that the pad helped the body create melatonin lacked "sufficient rigour".
Melatonin, which occurs naturally in humans, plays a role in regulating the sleep-wake cycle by chemically causing drowsiness.
A complainant referred to only by surname, Edmondson, took issue with the claim, which said "BioMag's scientifically engineered magnet system stimulates nerve endings which increases your body's blood flow and helps produce a chemical called melatonin."
Edmondson's own research found no evidence to support the claim, but plenty to counter it.
"There certainly appears to be no evidence that magnetic fields increase melatonin as claimed in this advertisement," the complainant said.
"If Biomag cannot justify these claims with reliable evidence, then it is unreasonable and unethical to promote products and make money off of these claims."
Biomag responded with a host of international studies backing the assertion, and said it did not intend to mislead consumers or misrepresent its products.
However, the ASA noted those same studies said the link between magnetic energy and the production of melatonin was yet to be verified and should not be used to support claims about the influence of the mattress pad on it.
"Given the high standards of social responsibility required for therapeutic claims... the evidence supplied by the advertiser was not of sufficient rigour to substantiate the claims about melatonin on the FAQ section of the website," said the authority.
Its complaints board upheld the complaint.
- © Fairfax NZ News