Vitamin O is a dietary supplement which has been marketed and sold by Rose Creek Health Products since 1998. It is not recognized by nutritional science as a vitamin and the manufacturer has been fined by the Federal Trade Commission for making false claims of health benefits of the product. The false statements included claims that taking the supplement has a beneficial effect on a wide variety of ailments, including angina, anaemia, and various forms of cancer, as well as increasing vigour and improving state of mind. In addition, it was claimed that vitamin O is "a special supplemented oxygen taken in liquid form and produced through electrical-activation with a saline solution from the ocean," and that the substance increases the amount of oxygen present in the blood.
As a result of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, the product could be sold without approval by the Food and Drug Administration, provided claims were never made by the producers of the supplement about its medical efficacy. Rose Creek complied, instead collecting statements from users who attributed wide-ranging benefits to taking it. However, later ads also ran statements from "experts", who provided anecdotal evidence from small-scale clinical trials showing positive results in several patients. Because of this, the Federal Trade Commission filed an injunction in March 1999 against Rose Creek Health Products Inc., stating that the ads being run in both print and online sources, including USA Today, were "blatantly false". Studies run on vitamin O showed it to be composed largely of salt water as well as a small quantity of germanium, which would provide no benefits not attributable to the placebo effect.
On April 28, 2000, Donald L. Smyth, CEO of Rose Creek Health Products Inc., agreed to pay a cash settlement of $375,000 for consumer redress, and to abstain from making claims as to the scientific accuracy of beneficial effects attributed to the supplement, or promoting its efficacy in treating life-threatening illnesses.
As of 2010, the product contains a disclaimer stating "This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease".
- The Wolfe Clinic, accessed January 3, 2006
- FTC files complaint against 'Vitamin O' makers, CNN, published March 16, 1999. Accessed January 3, 2006.
- Hall, Harriet A. (Spring/Summer 2003), "Analysis of Claims and of an Experiment to Prove That Oxygen is Present in "Vitamin O"", Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine 7 (1): 29–33
- Marketers of "Vitamin O" Settles FTC Charges of Making False Health Claims; Will Pay $375,000 for Consumer Redress, Federal Trade Commission, accessed January 3, 2006
- "Bunnies' tiny carbon footprints". New Scientist. 24 March 2010. Retrieved 25 March 2010.