Recently, we received a submission to the FAQs section of this blog from a very unhappy customer, Dan. Dan was upset about a prior FAQs blog post that talked about the different niacin supplements we have for sale and our claim that all of them, as labeled, provide support for healthy cholesterol levels already within the normal range.
Dan also lodged another complaint—one which we actually hear quite often—that we don’t publish negative reviews or negative comments about our products. Well, that’s both true... and false. Let me explain...
Due to FDA and FTC regulations in our industry, there are things we simply cannot say or print or publish. Any reference to diseases or claims about treating, curing, helping or even hindering said diseases or health conditions are off-limits. These rules not only apply to what we can say as a company, they also apply to whatever we publish on our website or in our catalog... even if those words come from our customers.
So, while we have tens of thousands of published customer reviews on our website, we also have tens of thousands of reviews we were forced to reject to remain within the standards set by the FDA and FTC. If we were to publish those reviews, both positive and negative, we’d risk being shut down. All customer reviews, again both the positive and the negative that are compliant with the regulations set for our industry in regards to claims are published. We do not censor, alter or otherwise change a customer’s review, but we must reject the ones that would leave Swanson Health Products at risk of violating governmental regulations.
If you'd like some examples of negative reviews, there are two categories in particular that are primed for negative reviews... categories that have pretty clear goals and pretty high expectations:
Now, after that overly long explanation, here are Dan’s original comments—unaltered and unchanged—and our follow-up...
You state below: "they will all provide the cholesterol support benefits when you follow the daily recommendations listed on the label"
That is an outright LIE and I will NEVER purchase from Swanson Vitamins again. Your company is deceitful for profit. You also won't post comments on products if they speak against them even if true.
"We offer the variety of options because different people have different preferences, but whether it’s a sustained-release Niacin, a straight Niacin with the flush, or the flush-free Niacin, they will all provide the cholesterol support benefits when you follow the daily recommendations listed on the label (and your doctor's guidelines as well)."
The effectiveness of inositol nicotinate (flush-free niacin) vs. niacin is indeed controversial, with existing research often contradicting itself. Some evidence suggests that inositol nicotinate does not produce serum-free nicotinic acid levels high enough for a significant clinical effect. But some preliminary clinical evidence suggests that inositol nicotinate may support healthy cholesterol levels, which is exactly how we describe our niacin supplements—flush-free niacin, in the amounts delivered and following the label recommendations, may support healthy cholesterol levels already within the normal range.
Remember, the main role of supplements has been, and always will be, exactly what the name implies: supplementing the nutritional profile of your daily diet. Dietary supplements are not drugs and cannot claim to treat health conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc.