Nutraceuticals and Cosmeceuticals, FDA
The “Ceuticals” Boom
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There are some new words around, all ending with “ceutical.” For example, there are nutraceuticals and cosmeceuticals. The former are just supposed to be “good for you”, the latter are claimed to make you healthy and “looking good,” or at least “feeling better.”
Irrespective of your personal need for one or the other, what’s behind these claims?
Most of the cosmeceuticals are for skin, hair, eyelash and eyebrow preparations. The products come with fancy names, titles, descriptions and so forth. A few examples follow: replenishing nutrient complex, regenerating serum, nourishing body oil, professional damage therapy, live clean cream. The sky is the limit when it comes to suggestive advertising gimmicks.
The websites of the manufacturers or vendors of such products typically come with personal testimonials, such as “It worked for me…” Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. How could you possibly measure it, prove or disprove it?
When it comes to neutraceuticals, the claims are generally more subtle. They usually include such terms as nutritional “supplement” and the like but avoid mentioning any specific claims. Of course, they are also accompanied by personal statement of “since I began using it…. my health or wellbeing improved.” After all, the existence of such claimed improvements by individuals would be difficult or impossible to prove or disprove. Even if there were solid statistics, involving thousands of volunteers, showing that – on average –there is nil effect, the possibility that some individuals may have experienced positive and others negative effects could be quite correct.
So, you may ask, what gives?
While there are numerous laws and regulations covering that field, there are still many outfits trying to make a living by selling modern versions of snake oil.
The FDA’s View
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises that the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) does not recognize the term “cosmeceutical,” which the cosmetic industry uses to refer to cosmetic products that have medicinal or drug-like benefits. Furthermore, the FDA has a slew of Warning Letters posted on their web site about such claims and vigorously pursues websites in contravention of their regulations.
Most of the claims by the beauty- and health- vendors are difficult to prove or deny. Feeling good is a subjective personal matter.
If it makes you feel good or better spending your money on any of these products, you are certainly helping the economy.