Patrick Holford’s US web shop has closed

A range of products (supplements etc.) used to be sold in the US at the Patrick Holford’s Wellness Advisor store, but this online shop has recently closed. From contacting Healthy Directions (where the Wellness Advisor site directs former customers) I gather that that the closure will be permanent and Patrick Holford has decided to focus on other areas now. It will therefore be interesting to see if his UK web shop suffers a similar fate.

It’s always a shame to see businesses closing – but Holford Watch has criticised a number of the supplements sold by such stores, and I would be glad to see many ‘nutritional supplements’ withdrawn from sale, or at least sold with appropriate warnings and without unjustified health claims.

Maybe such businesses could move away from selling and promoting pills, and instead focus on providing good, evidence-based diet and lifestyle advice?

Advertisements

5 Comments

Filed under patrick holford, Patrick Holford's Wellness Advisor, supplements, US, web shop

5 responses to “Patrick Holford’s US web shop has closed

  1. Shinga

    It’s interesting, Jon. Sandy of Junkfood Science regularly highlights the lack of an evidence base behind many of the assumptions about food and the ‘obesity epidemic’ – if you were to restrict your advice to a strict evidence base then there really would be very little left.

    However, there is obviously a huge need for appropriately qualified dietitians to advise parents on elimination diets to establish whether or not a child has food allergies/intolerances/sensitivities. Ditto, I have elderly neighbours who are flummoxed by the effort of preparing and eating a healthy diet when they have arthritic hands, reduced appetite etc. and would benefit from guidance.

    I don’t understand why the MHRA allows conditions to be named for some of this gubbins but there is no requirement to prove bio-availability, or the dosage recommendation or the clinical therapeutic level of dosage.

    Regards – Shinga

  2. Jon

    “if you were to restrict your advice to a strict evidence base then there really would be very little left.”

    Sure – this would leave you with very minimal diet advice (along the lines of Ben Goldacre’s advice to ‘eat your greens’), and probably a few other pieces of lifestyle advice (e.g. don’t smoke, exercise regularly, don’t drink to excess, etc.) This would very likely create challenges for those trying to charge the general population for nutritional advice (though, as you say, there is a need for qualified dieticians to advise on allergy/intolerance, and other issues e.g. diabetes). The Treatment Action Campaign’s factsheet on nutrition for those with HIV/AIDS might be an interesting example of the type of basic nutritional advice which could be well-justified?

    “I don’t understand why the MHRA allows conditions to be named for some of this gubbins but there is no requirement to prove bio-availability, or the dosage recommendation or the clinical therapeutic level of dosage.”

    You’ve been blogging a bit about homeopathy lately. The MHRA also allow claims to be made about homeopathic pills (without even a plausible mechanism of action) so I guess it’s not altogether surprising, though it is disappointing, that claims are also allowed for some other ‘gubbins’.

  3. Shinga

    There was an interesting piece by Michael Pollan recently in the NYT which came down to “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants”: Unhappy Meals.

    I do find the role of the MHRA confusing. I must write this up at some point – but it does seem clear that there is a section of the population that believes that because something is on sale, and makes a particular claim (e.g., boosts the immune system; weight loss), then somebody will have assessed it and it must work. After all, you can’t buy a bag of peanuts without being warned, “May contain nuts”. So there is a market in which some manufacturers and distributors are obliged to tell you the stunningly obvious and yet others are allowed to mislead you – as Ben Goldacre said: “people are almost universally sharp witted. Where they are misled, someone has worked hard at the job”.

    Regards – Shinga

  4. Jon

    Thanks – I think part of the issue (as the Pollan article you link to points out) is that evidence-based healthy eating advice would often be very (almost embarassingly) brief and simple.

    re. MHRA – yeah, this is interesting. There seems to be quite a complex politics around the regulation of ‘border’ products like medicinial herbs and nutritional supplements.

  5. Pingback: Prof. Patrick Holford’s CV « Holford Watch: Patrick Holford, nutritionism and bad science

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s