Patrick Holford fails Science 101 (or is a bare-faced liar)

Posted 02 September 2011

On the 1st September 2011, Patrick Holford released the media statement below in response to the media release by the NGO Equal Education, which pointed out that taking a nutritional supplement will not help pupils achieve at school and advertisers should not claim this.

Is Patrick Holford an incompetent “scientist” or simply a bare-faced liar?

MEDIA RELEASE                                                                     1 SEPTEMBER 2011 


It is an undeniable scientific fact that supplementing vitamins increases the non-verbal IQ of children, especially in poorly nourished children, but also in those considered well nourished. There are more than a dozen well designed placebo controlled trials that show this to be true (see attached). 

Encouraging all children to be optimally nourished gives them the opportunity to reach their full academic potential. The first trial, published in the Lancet medical journal, was part of a BBC documentary, was based on

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8 comments to Patrick Holford fails Science 101 (or is a bare-faced liar)

  • Natalie Ribeiro

    I  only have a few things to say . I have read alot of these articles and wonder why the person that is writing here is so clearly bent on attacking the alternative world as a whole . I wonder why he is not questioning the doctors more who are using drugs marketed to them by the drug companies as safe , when in actual fact they are only used, as the benefits supposedly outway the risks . The real scam is the huge drug companies that are making an absolute fortune out of us . I say that  the public themselves should take more responsibility for themselves anyway . Diet and excercise for one is the first step to a healthier lifestyle . Start educating yourself as much as possible , hopefully not through sites like this.  Learning about preventitive medicine and taking the right supplements is effective in staying healthier and read , read , read . The question marks lie with the drugs we are being prescribed by old school doctors who do not  try and look for other alternatives themselves . Sadly most doctors are tought in medical school to rely on marketing from the drug companies who tell them which drugs work . How many of these doctors are concerned what the side effects of, for an example , statin drugs or anti depressants. Do they tell you just how hard it is to come off these addictive drugs, once you have taken the leap to go on to them.  I  have personally witnessed a loved one go through this , watched her doctor prescribe more and more drugs , which did not get to the route of the problem. It was only through an integrated medical physician , did she come right .  This is not the only example I could mention , and I could find myself plummeting in to long winded argument with whom ever writes these articles , but I would not as I can clearly see there is an intent to discredit the supplement industry . Patrick Holford is an amazing nutritionalist who has done so much good . He has written another great book called Food is better medicine than Drugs . He has written this with in investigative journalist . Read for yourselves …

  • Harris

    This site is not anti-CAM: it is anti ALL health products making unjustifiable claims with no evidence/proof. This site happens to focus on CAMS – other sites take care of Big Pharma. Patrick Holford does not sell his books or supplements as an act of charity. CAMS, like Big Pharma, also make large fortunes out of consumers. There as many incompetent doctors and “integrated medical physicians” – one needs to find a competent health professional even if it means getting a second opinion. 

    The point of this article is simply to give consumers who have little knowledge of science/evidence enough information to make an informed choice. Patrick Holford claims that using this product will enable your child’s IQ, cognitive ability, to increase. But this requires you spending R149.95 a month (R 1,800/year). The claims clearly tug at parent’s emotional need to want to do the best for their children. The issue here is that Holford declares that 50 clinical studies support the claims for this product. This is done in order to seduce parents into spending this amount of money. I am simply helping consumers to make an informed decision by simply evaluating Holford’s evidence and showing why and how the claims are bogus. I have not fabricated the evidence; I have evaluated the exact studies that Holford put forward as supporting evidence. If you wish to support Patrick Holford following this glaring proof of incompetence/lying, this is your choice. 

    Consumers are entitled to make informed choices based on the truth. Is this not your opinion?

  • Louis von Broembsen

    I am so pleased to see that at last 'Professor' Holford is being exposed for what I believe he really is – a despicable juggler of the truth. Having read  chapter 9 of Ben Golacre's brilliant dissection of Holford's misleading claims about his qualifications and snake oil remedies in the book 'Bad Science', I am thrilled to note that others are taking up the cudgel.
    I am a horticultural scientist (a real one with a Masters Degree from a reconized university) who headed up the research division of the SA Co-operative Citrus Exchange for many years. Holford's claim in Goldacre's book that 'there are now oranges with no vitamin C in them at all' struck a chord. This is clearly untrue -aimed, it seems, at getting the gullible to buy his concoctions.
    Radio 702 had Holford on for two afternoon talk radio sessions earlier this year where he was given free reign to mislead the public at large. I wrote to the presenter Jenny Crwys-Williams asking how a reputable radio station could do such a thing. She replied.'…..thanks for the pointer, I will bear it in mind should we be asked to speak to him again' .   

  • Taryn Ackerberg

    Thank you Dr Steinman for this response.  As a registered dietitian I would like to say that I am also not anti-CAM products or supplements.  However I feel the public has the right to information about products that is based on good quality research, to help them make informed decisions.  Not everyone needs supplements and often it can be a waste of money with no real benefits.  It is sometimes unbelievable the claims that are made regarding supplements in the media, and the public are so easily misled by it.  Patrick Holford is a good businessman and that is why he will continue to be popular.   We, as healthcare professionals, cannot keep silent and allow false or inaccurate claims to be made!


    well i am intrigued.i am buying all sorts of off the shelf medication.who is right or a tv watcher i am getting information from every point. must i as an ordinary person be a chemist.i suggest change the rules on labels and be absolute.

  • Pet

    I know one thing for sure. Dead doctors do lie!! And good nutritinists living to great old age, also says something! Especially looking at them, and see how young they still look and how active they still are. I belief the proof is in the pudding.

  • Pet

    Sorry I was Interupted! What I meant to say is: Dead doctors do not tell lies!

  • Pet

    On average, doctors do not live long healthe lives, where as good Nutritionists do. And look young and helathy for many years. Patrick Holford looks good for his age, Dr. Vogel lived well past 80 , he was a homeopath,and died from an accident. I am 70, and have been drug free for 50 years! And my children all followed my exmple and all my grandchildren were brought up drug free with supplements. And all of them are well and flourishing.

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