Totally Nourish: “Don’t waste your money on supplements”

We were delighted to see Totally Nourish (who sell lots of pills with pictures of Patrick Holford’s face on the bottle, and are lucky enough to have Holford as one of their ‘experts’), advising those on their e-mail mailing list not to waste money on supplements. We agree wholeheartedly with this. However, we were disappointed to read the rest of the e-mail: advising readers to not only buy supplement pills, but to buy relatively expensive supplement pills. To quote part of the e-mail:

with so many different options available, it’s hard to decide what’s right for you and always too easy to choose the cheaper option.

But that age old saying “you get what you pay for” applies to supplements too. Which is why choosing a supplement that has been formulated by a leading nutrition expert such as Patrick Holford means you can be confident of its quality and strength.

Always read the label!

Supplements differ so much in their strength and quality. Make sure you choose a supplement strong enough to fit your needs.

With the increasing awareness of how supplementing your diet may support your health, you can now buy vitamins & minerals almost anywhere – from supermarkets and pharmacies to hundreds of mail order and online retailers. But with so many different options available, it’s hard to decide what’s right for you and always too easy to choose the cheaper option.

But that age old saying “you get what you pay for” applies to supplements too. Which is why choosing a supplement that has been formulated by a leading nutrition expert such as Patrick Holford means you can be confident of its quality and strength.

ImmuneC is a high strength Vitamin C supplement that gives you 1,800mg of Vitamin C per day, which is substantially more than many other products and in line with what Patrick Holford describes as “optimum nutrition”. Additionally, it also includes 6mg of Zinc and potent anti-oxidants Black Elderberry, Ginger and Bilberry Extract. Order ImmuneC today and make low-strength supplements a thing of the past.

Firstly, we don’t see any need for typical people to take high dose Vitamin C tablets: you can get plenty of Vitamin C through a healthy diet rich in fruit and veg. High dose vitamin C tablets will, generally, be a waste of money.

Secondly, if you are going to take such large quantities of Vitamin C, there is no reason to buy such expensive pills. While we have concerns about many aspects of Linus Pauling’s work on Vitamin C, we are impressed by his strong ethical stance on expensive vitamin pills. In the 1970 edition of Vitamin C and the Common Cold (p. 89) Pauling argues that

There is only one vitamin C. It is the substance L-ascorbic acid, which is also called ascorbic acid…So-called synthetic ascorbic acid is natural ascorbic acid, identical with the vitamin C in oranges and other foods. [More expensive forms of Vitamin C bring] no advantage whatever…In fact, there is a disadvantage that you would waste your money if you bought them, rather than the ordinary ascorbic acid.

Pauling argues (p. 90 that Vitamin C should cost between about $5-7.50/kg, and suggests (p. 95) that appropriate multivitamin supplement would only cost dollars per year. Pauling (p. 91) is scathing about

the jargon used by health-food promoters in making their excess profits, often from elderly people with low incomes.

We would recommend that readers save money by avoiding unnecessary supplementation – such as (for most of us) high dose Vitamin C supplements. Buy food, not pills. However, if you do choose to supplement your diet with far more Vitamin C than you need, we would follow Pauling in arguing that there is no need to buy expensive pills. There is certainly no need to buy branded pills with Holford’s face on the bottle (ImmuneC is £8.76 for 30 days’ supply).

On Holford’s website, he is described as “a disciple of Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling”. I wonder how Pauling would feel about some of his present-day followers and disciples?

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Totally Nourish: “Don’t waste your money on supplements”

  1. UK dietitian

    Holford describes himself as “a disciple of Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling”.

    The dictionary definition says-

    noun
    1. Religion.
    a. one of the 12 personal followers of Christ.
    b. one of the 70 followers sent forth by Christ. Luke 10:1.
    c. any other professed follower of Christ in His lifetime.
    2. any follower of Christ.
    3. a member of the Disciples of Christ.
    4. a person who is a pupil or an adherent of the doctrines of another; follower: a disciple of Freud.

    Now, I know how Patrick likes to use affiliative words to prove his ‘worth’. His insistence of description as a ‘Leading Clinical Nutritionist’ when he is actually none of these three terms.

    Promo’ing his acolytes in organisations such as The Russell Partnership – a body to push the IONista version of healthy eating to universities. Word-play on the Russell Group, a guarantee for lesser institutes to be dutifully impressed of the faux-gravitas of this Holford enterprise by virtue of name alone..

    Now, if we had to attribute the qualities of one of the ‘original’ disciples to Patrick, which one would he be?
    the taking of monies
    the deceit

    Got to be Judas.

  2. Nah, how about St Matthew the tax collector who loved money?

    St Thomas who, like Patrick, doubts everyone else?

    St Peter who was a fisherman which could tie in well with Patrick’s description of himself as smoked salmon vegan?

    Or best of all, Saint Matthias who came on the scene rather late when all the work was done and no one has heard of him

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