We have recently been bombarded with advertisements from a person called Patrick Holford who makes his nefarious living flogging unnecessary vitamin supplements to the gullible. It’s not surprising, therefore, that he defends the taking of vitamins in large doses for every conceivable ailment that could possibly afflict the human race, and if one happens to be healthy, then he advocates taking them anyway as a prophylactic measure. The problem with Mr Holford’s campaigns is that he is frequently economical with the truth to the point of comedy.
Here are some examples from a diatribe against the UK National Health Service (NHS), in which he criticises the NHS’s stance on vitamin supplementation. He claims that
The essential message is supplements don’t really work. They are probably dangerous and simply not worth the money. If you are sick what you need is drugs.
Which, needless to say, doesn’t suit Mr Holford’s interests. So he goes on the attack.
There has not been a single death from taking high dose vitamin supplements anywhere in the world. In the 35 years I’ve been in this field I haven’t encountered one serious adverse reaction to a vitamin, mineral or essential fat supplement.
Well, this is simply untrue. It is a lie, a porky pie, a whopper and a brazen fib. According to the 2004 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers Toxic Exposure Surveillance System there were 62, 562 instances of vitamin overdose in the USA in 2004, 53 of which were life-threatening and 2 deaths actually occured. I remember doing an arctic survival course many years ago in which we were exhorted not to eat polar bear liver lest we fall victim to vitamin A toxicity, never mind the injuries that might accrue in obtaining the polar bear’s liver in the first place, particularly if it was still in use by the bear. Vitamins can be harmful. Holford goes on
If a supplement has an ‘active’ ingredient (meaning it works) it’s referred to the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority, and classified as a medicine, and banned for over the counter sale.
Well, exactly. The muck Holford flogs isn’t banned for sale over the counter. Draw your own conclusions.
But why is the NHS spending money persuading people not to take supplements?
Um, because they’re charged with protecting the nation’s health, perhaps?
I don’t know about you but I am getting pretty fed up with the money that’s being spent on propaganda to keep the pharmaceutical and medical industry in power while we, the public, get sicker and broker.
I wasn’t aware that the pharmaceutical and medical industries were “in power”, but I can quite understand why you don’t like the NHS’s stance on supplements. It makes Patrick Holford broker (well, slightly less stinking rich).
Holford was also responsible for advocating mega doses of vitamin C as a treatment for HIV infection instead of AZT. This should give you some idea of the extent of either his crackpothood or, depending on how generous you are feeling, his voracious appetite for profit.
Since he isn’t a doctor, I can’t call Holford a quack, but if he were he would be. Don’t waste your money on this flake’s rubbish.
Grumpy Old Man by Mark Widdicombe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License