≡ Menu

Why has Fox banned GNC’s Super Bowl Advert for Sunday?

GNC's Super Bowl Advert

Fox has banned GNC’s Super Bowl Advert for this Sunday’s super bowl.  Why?

If you are like me, you watch the Super Bowl more for the commercials than the football.  I come from South Africa and England where  “football” means something different!  So Super Bowl Sunday has come to mean Tacos and amazing commercials for me.

GNC is not my favorite health retailer.  But my issues with GNC have nothing to do with the banning of their Super Bowl advert.

As an alternative health professional, I carefully research the ingredients in every product I promote.  Most retail health supplements contain expedients.  Excipients are binders, fillers and “”glues” that are typically non-nutritive substances used in the manufacture of dietary supplements.  Yes, just because it says “health”, doesn’t mean it is actually going to help you! This is why we recommend you always work with a health professional who understands nutrition. They can advise you professionally.

The cheaper the product, the more likely it has binder and fillers because they have to rely upon cheap manufacturing processes.  You do get what you pay for when it comes to health supplements.  But that’s not the issue here.

There is lots of press about GNC’s Super Bowl Advert being banned.


Because GNC sells dietary and nutritional supplements that contain ingredients other than vitamins and minerals.  GNC sells products with 3 substances that are banned by the NFL.  There are 162 substances banned by the NFL.  They are banned because of a possible performance enhancement effect.   The offending ingredients are the naturally occurring anabolic steroid DHEA and two chemically-related stimulants, synephrine from bitter orange and octopamine.

“What made it problematic is GNC is listed under “prohibited companies” on a memo from the NFL and the players union – a warning for NFL players not to endorse or have a business relationship with it because it has been “associated with the production, manufacture or distribution of NFL banned substances.”

DHEA, synerphrine and octopamine

We use DHEA in our clinic everyday.  It is an anabolic steroid and we use it in clinically proven doses as part of our energy management and anti-aging balancing program.  DHEA is a precursor for testosterone and estrogen and since we make less of it as we age,it is very helpful for balancing hormones as part of any anti-aging program.

Synephrine is a stimulant derived from oranges.   A molecule that is similar to ephedrine in mechanism, but less potent. Commonly referred to as ‘bitter orange’, synephrine appears to be a less potent fat-burner relative to ephedrine. Octopamine is  a metabolite of synephrine.

Octopamine is a stimulant compound that is also thought to have minor fat burning effects.  Synephrine and Octopamine are banned by the NFL due to their stimulatory effects.

So the question here is that a retailer sells products with banned substances in them. However, the ad that GNC are showing has nothing to do with these substances and is motivational in nature.  GNC says that only 3% of their products have these substances in them.

GNC is now threatening to sue the Fox network who is responsible for Sunday’s broadcast.

So should GNC’s Super Bowl Advert be allowed to run or should they have had their advertisement banned?  What do you think?