1. Health
Trisha Torrey

Have You Heard the One About the Self-Styled Supplement Guru Who Sued Himself?

By May 6, 2010

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Those in the know about health supplements will throw out a handful of names when you ask them who they think the alternative health and anti-aging gurus are...

  • Dr. Andrew Weil
  • Jack LaLanne
  • Kevin Trudeau
  • Gary Null...

Why are those the recognized names? Because they have written books. They have infomercials. They have extensive presence on the Internet. And they make money by selling you all those products they recommend. Each of these men has promoted himself well and built credibility in order to cash in on the products he sells you, whether or not that credibility is well-founded.

Andrew Weil at least has a medical degree. He understands how the body functions and has made a study of how vitamins, minerals and other "natural" ingredients affect the human body. His education and experience provide him with credibility.

Jack LaLanne has a track record. He's a man in his 90s who has been touting exercise and nutrition for more than 50 years. He seems fit and healthy! There's his credibility.

Kevin Trudeau? He's a self-promoter who writes health fiction, who knows a lot about how to dupe people into believing his schlock, who has been sanctioned by the FTC for scamming people out of their hard-earned money, who faces jail time for spamming a judge, and who is back on the infomercial airwaves after being banned for several years. Credibility? Not so much.

Then there's Gary Null. He's been around for a long time, too, and like Kevin Trudeau, is a grand self-promoter. He claims to have a PhD - but when you look behind THAT headline, you find out that it's one of his own making, not one that's recognized by any accredited education institution. He's been writing books and selling his own supplements for years.... until....

It turns out Gary Null is in very bad health now -- from taking his own supplements. He has kidney damage and blood in his urine from his two-doses a day of "Gary Null's Ultimate Power Meal" -- which has so overdosed him on Vitamin D that he is reportedly just now coming back from the brink of death.

And now Gary Null has sued himself - or at least the company that manufactures Gary Null's Ultimate Power Meals. A major dent in HIS credibility.

Here's my take:

First -- if you have purchased and/or consumed any of these Gary Null's Ultimate Power Meals - stop! And stop NOW. Then check in with your doctor, take him or her the power meal packaging so they can see what you've been ingesting, and ask to be tested for any problems that may have cropped up.

And second -- understand that this is just one more example of why one needs to follow the money when it comes to information that compels you to spend your money and risk your health. Smart patients make sure those claims have real credibility - and are not artificially manufactured.

There are many ways to promote our health that don't require extra supplements, fancy juicing machines or whiz-bang equipment! Following good advice about exercise and eating healthy foods is far less expensive to your wallet and your body.

I do hope Gary Null regains his health and lives a long happy life. And I hope all those others who have been harmed by his supplements the same.

But most of all, I wish all of us the wisdom to learn to separate the good from the snake oil and frauds.

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Learn more or join the conversation!


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Photo BrandonHot - Fotolia.com

May 6, 2010 at 10:01 pm
(1) frank says:

your 100 % wrong, call in on the LIVE Gary Null show, but I’m sure you won’t and hide.

May 11, 2010 at 9:51 am
(2) Cindy says:

It is one thing to report on someone getting an accidental overdose on Vit. D; it is quite another to write an obviously biased article with hyperbole that attempts to paint all nutritional supplements as dangerous and/or ineffective and those who promote them as quacks.

Your disdain is glaringly obvious and dripping with each sentence. Not a shred of objectivity here. Thousands of us have taken supplements for years and have benefited greatly, this is clearly an aberration and the result of a mistake on the manufacturer’s part, it is disingenuous of you to cheaply smear Null as the culprit and create excess fear of supplements. Your time and efforts would be better spent exposing the numerous, documented cases of harm and death caused by pharmaceuticals prescribed by doctors rather than focus on the uncommon cases of vitamin overdose.

May 15, 2010 at 8:04 pm
(3) Lisa says:

“Natural” is such a deceptive word. Uranium is natural, but causes a horrible death from overexposure. Arsenic is natural, and has a morbid reputation as a tool for poisoning . Vitamin B6 is natural, although too much causes severe, and sometimes irrerversible nerve damage. Too many people believe that just because something is natural, or recommended by an “alternative practitioner” (whether that individual is qualified or not,) it’s safe. Sure, many intelligent people learn all they can about something, even if it’s natural, before they ingest it. But a lot of people are very, very naive, and believe that just because something is natural, rather than synthetic, it is harmless. I have a serious autoimmune disorder. For years, people constantly recommended that I take echinecea as a means of boosting my immune system. But I was leary…I didn’t know enough about it, even though it was all the craze for a couple of decades. Now, research shows that it is a huge no-no for those of us with autoimmune disorders. Echinecea overstimulates the immune system, and seriously aggrevates autoimmune disorders. And it is surprising how many super-supplements contain echinecea, listed in the very fine print on the back of the bottle.

Tricia, thank you for pointing out the dangers of assuming that natural is by definition inherently good. And thank you for warning us about following the advice of those who promote supplements, as powerful and appropriate, often with ulterior motives. People have to stop being so naive. Yes, many things natural are very good for us, but just being natural doesn’t automatically make them so.

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