Apr 29 2010

Gary Null – Hoist with his Own Petard

Sometimes the irony is so perfect it could not be better if it were scripted. Gary Null, a notorious health guru, is now suing the manufacturer of his Ultimate Power Meal, claiming that his own health product nearly killed him. His claim is that the manufacturer overloaded the supplement with too much vitamin D, which Null then overdosed on, causing kidney damage.

Null’s career is similar to many other health guru’s, like Mercola and Kevin Trudeau – the pattern is now fairly well established. In each case we have individuals who have dubious scientific or health credentials. Null has a business degree, and then higher degrees in nutrition from “non-traditional” schools of questionable value. He has made a career selling two thing – dubious products and conspiracies.

Worse than just selling vitamins with over-hyped claims, Null has promoted such treatments for serious illnesses. He seems to like any treatment which is rejected by mainstream medicine, justifying this by claiming that scientific medicine is all a scam – what he has called “medical genocide.” Of course, this leads him to accept and promote treatments that are rejected because they are not safe and/or do not work – the usual reason that treatments are rejected.

For example, he has promoted chelation therapy for heart disease, nutritional therapy for AIDS, and many dangerous and useless cancer treatments.

Essentially he tells people not to believe the medical establishment, because they are just trying to sell you something. Instead, believe his miraculous health claims and allow him to sell you something. Null, Trudeau and others have fostered as much distrust of the medical establishment as they could, just to bolster their own sales. It is even hard for me to tell how much people like Null believe their own hype. In my opinion, Trudeau is at one end of the spectrum – a con artist who sees health products and information as lucrative, and nothing else. The others are somewhere along that spectrum from true believer to huckster, but it hardly matters. They foment distrust, conspiracy theories, and bizarre ideas of health, which plays off of and reinforces the “alternative” medicine culture.

Null also uses the marketing ploy of claiming that his treatments are “natural”, implying that they are therefore magically safe and effective. This is the most ironic aspect of his lawsuit – that he claims serious organ damage due to one of his own natural products. He has even advised megadoses of vitamins in the past:

Antioxidants A, C, and E are good for inflammation and free radical damage:
Dosages for C may range from 2,000 to 20,000 mg per day and can be taken in divided amounts throughout the day (according to bowel tolerance)
Orally, 400IU of E and 25,000IU of A (or beta carotene) may be taken to ease arthritis. In severe cases, however, megadoses may be taken intravenously (See your doctor for dosages).

Intravenous megadoses of vitamin A – that’s even more dangerous than vitamin D. I like the disclaimer – “see your doctor for dosages.” Even the oral doses he lists are not safe – perhaps he should have taken his own advice. But wait – I thought all doctors were just committing “medical genocide,” but I guess they are still useful for creating legal deniability.

The fact is, you can overdose on vitamins. There is no proven benefit to megadosing any vitamin, and there are known risks – in fact we are learning more about the risks of megadosing thanks to gurus like Gary Null.

This is a story I hope spreads far and wide, and hopefully it will have the impact that it should have – making people question the legitimacy of self-promoting health gurus selling outrageous claims and railing against the very medical scientists who can see them for what they are.

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12 responses so far

12 Responses to “Gary Null – Hoist with his Own Petard”

  1. mindmeon 29 Apr 2010 at 8:51 am

    Chelation therapy promoted by SCAM types always confuses me. According to wiki it involves administering one of the following:

    * Alpha lipoic acid (ALA)
    * Aminophenoxyethane-tetraacetic acid (BAPTA)
    * Deferasirox
    * Deferiprone
    * Deferoxamine
    * Diethylene triamine pentaacetic acid (DTPA)
    * Dimercaprol (BAL)
    * Dimercapto-propane sulfonate (DMPS)
    * Dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA)
    * Ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (calcium disodium versante) (CaNa2-EDTA)
    * Ethylene glycol tetraacetic acid (EGTA)
    * D-penicillamine

    Now, if a medical doctor in a white coat suggested that, the SCAM types would claim it’s a big pharma push to poison people with a host of man made chemicals. They would list the above chemicals to frighten people and claim all of them are being pumped into a person. But it appears to a-okay if a SCAM guru suggests “Ethylene glycol tetraacetic acid” to cure autism. Errr. And remember they also want to shoot up children with this stuff. But wait. Don’t they claim there’s Ethylene glycol is in children’s vaccines? So in a vaccine, bad. In an intravenous drip administered by a SCAM proponent, good?

  2. ccbowerson 29 Apr 2010 at 8:57 am

    I am perplexed by Kevin Trudeau’s repeated success. He has a huge creep factor, and comes across as a con artist even on his own commercials (or fake talk shows). I wish there was a recording of him describing what he really thinks of the people who buy his crap. Not that sales would be affected.

    Its interesting to see the vitamin doses from Null. Its interesting that most megadose promoters still use 400 Units of vitamin E. Its the one they don’t jack up in comparison to the others. Then again I don’t know of a reason anybody should be taking this vitamin at all in supplement form. The vitamin C doses are insane – have fun with those GI effects. Vitamin C absorption is saturable, so higher doses will never leave the GI tract and cause diarrhea.

    Whatever happened to ‘practicing medicine without a license.’ I understand and value that we need free speech, but why has the bar for this crime gone so high that no one gets charged for this crime?

  3. eeanon 29 Apr 2010 at 9:45 am

    What a great name! Null missed his true calling as a software programmer.

  4. jonny_ehon 29 Apr 2010 at 9:49 am

    Exactly mindme! WTF is so natural about chelation?

  5. banyanon 29 Apr 2010 at 12:42 pm

    My sister is a huge fan of Mercola. We’ve butted heads once or twice on alt med claims, mainly I’ve argued against homeopathy since that’s really easy to do. I haven’t had the energy to do a thorough debunk of any of Mercola’s articles, but he fits the pitch-man mold you describe above.

  6. Ashon 29 Apr 2010 at 12:47 pm

    I love the irony of an advocate of vitamin mega-dosing being affected by vitamin toxicity – ties in nicely to an entry I was working on for my own (toxicology-oriented) blog today about the supposed safety of “natural” substances. Unfortunately I doubt if it will make his followers think twice.

  7. ccbowerson 29 Apr 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Doesn’t his lawsuit leave him much more open to law suits against himself? His suit indicates that he believes that his own product is harmful, which is something that would otherwise have to be argued or demonstrated in court if someone wanted to sue him. His lawsuit weakens his ability to deny that other people were harmed by his product. Of course the manufacturer may be liable, but he also appears to be leaving himself vulnerable.

  8. Neuroskepticon 03 May 2010 at 4:59 am

    From the original article:

    “Null would later be told that if he had not flown back to New York and seen his doctor, then he could have died within a short period of time,” the suit says.”

    When push comes to shove, many woos will go running to a real doctor…

  9. KGellingon 05 May 2010 at 8:46 am

    It’s ironic that 2,000 IU/d of vitamin D is the one part of Null’s Power Meal that may actually be of benefit.

  10. hadronon 06 May 2010 at 11:50 am

    I have three words for Gary Null:

    “doctor” – cure thyself!

    :)

  11. shannonburnetton 24 May 2010 at 8:39 pm

    I am very dissappointed in the article. The claims you are saying about Gary Null being sick are NOT TRUE. This is from his own mouth to my ears. It is normal that the media will take any opportunity to slam someone that is doing so much good in the lives of thousands. And to compare him to Kevin Trudeau. COME ON!!! Give me a break. I invite you to read the truth about Gary Null on his website at GaryNull.com and you can see 100′s of videos on Youtube sharing information for FREE. He has NEVER charged anyone for a health consulation.

    I invite you to do your OWN due dilegence.

  12. Steven Novellaon 25 May 2010 at 8:04 am

    Shannon – I do a great deal of due diligence. You, on the other hand, appear to have swallowed Null’s propaganda hook, like, and sinker.

    Really – the “truth” about Null on his own website? You think he is an objective source of information about himself.

    Null has make a lucrative career out of selling supplements and services. He is not doing this for free. Don’t confuse marketing for truth.

    Here is a good resource: http://www.quackwatch.org/04ConsumerEducation/null.html

    Of note, it gives an update on the lawsuit:

    “During the next few days, Null’s Web sites posted at least three reactions to publicity about the suit. One said that he was “completely and totally healthy and everything is fine.” Another said that “none of the retail product reached the market” and he had “returned to complete health.” But after a Los Angeles Times blog noted that these statements contradicted what the lawsuit said, Null replaced them with one that said he was “feeling substantially better.” Two weeks later, he filed an amended complaint that omitted all of the allegations related to his own alleged illness and claimed only that his company had suffered damage to its reputation [18]. That same day, Null, his company, and the suppliers were sued by a man who got sick after using the product [19]. It should be interesting to see what the legal proceedings uncover.”

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