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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