FTC: ‘Clinically Proven’ Menopause And Weight Loss Supplement Helps With Neither

LADYBRAINAmerican consumers have spent $65 million on Amberen, a supplement meant to ease the symptoms of menopause and perimenopause. These symptoms can include hot flashes, insomnia, irritability, and weight gain. Did Amberen help with these symptoms, as promised? No, the Federal Trade Commission says: it mostly helped to lighten customers’ bank accounts, and has filed a complaint against the company that sells it.

While it’s harder to quantify changes like “fewer hot flashes” and “less irritable,” one promise that the maker of Amberen makes is easy to quantify: weight loss. Either someone who uses the product loses weight or she doesn’t, and Amberen promised effortless weight loss. The FTC quotes one ad where a female announcer tells potential customers, “Amberen restores hormonal balance naturally, so the weight can just fall right off. Even that stubborn belly fat.” There is no magical blend of substances, natural or not, that can simply “melt” adipose tissue, a message that the FTC keeps trying to get through the American public’s heads.

One of the things it promised to do––help users lose weight––is pretty easy to track:
“Lunada marketed Amberen to women over 40 as ‘clinically proven’ to cause weight loss,” the head of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection said in a statement. “But their own studies didn’t support those claims. The best way to lose weight is still diet and exercise.” How disappointing.

Here’s a sample Amberen ad, which gives an overview of how menopause happens, and promises that Amberen can help.

Here’s another spot where a friendly middle-aged lady extolls the magical powers of Amberen.

It focuses more on shriveling ovaries than on weight gain, but the solution is always Amberen. In fact, the company claimed in another ad that their product is “the ONLY product on the market today clinically proven to cause sustained weight loss for women over 40.” The problem? Those clinical studies, performed in Russia more than ten years ago, didn’t show any weight loss among Amberen users at all.

As of this writing, Amberen’s website is still live.

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Worse still, the FTC says that “free trials” of Amberen weren’t what they seemed: people who signed up for the trial actually signed on to get a 90-day supply of the supplement for $100, and had to send the two unused packages back after a month if they didn’t like it.

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