Category Archives: antioxidants

Not-so-super Times article on Holford and superfoods

We were disappointed to see Peta Bee in the Times with an article on “Anti-ageing superfoods”: giving an article over to the uncritical discussion of some of Holford’s dietary beliefs. It’s worth quickly going through some of the problems with the article here. Continue reading


Filed under antioxidants, patrick holford, superfoods, The Times

Can you get 23 portions of fruit and veg in a single glass of juice: Patrick Holford Ponders, Briefly, Before Suggesting a Product

Patrick Holford on ITV Lunchtime 16 April 2008
Former Visiting Professor Patrick Holford and Head of Science and Education at Biocare has many enthusiasms to which he continues to express slavish devotion, justifying his partiality by claiming that there is scientific evidence to support his stance. Uncannily, and in a way that has fortuitously contributed to his financial wellbeing, it is not unusual for Holford to be able to recommend a niche product to meet the supplementation levels that he recommends or the tests that he declares to be essential. So, it is perhaps understandable that Holford cleaves to some enthusiasms irrespective of research that shows there is no basis for his claims or that his hyperbole is far in advance of the actual evidence. Continue reading


Filed under antioxidants, patrick holford

Alternative Nutrition bingo: we predict industry responses to the JAMA trial of vitamin C and E

The Journal of the American Medical Association has recently published a good quality, placebo-controlled, randomised, double-blind trial looking at whether vitamin C and E supplementation can reduce cardiovascular events. It ran for 10 years, and included “14 641 US male physicians enrolled, who were initially aged 50 years or older, including 754 men (5.1%) with prevalent cardiovascular disease at randomization.” The trial concluded that “[t]hese data provide no support for the use of these supplements for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in middle-aged and older men.”

I was surprised to see that the alternative nutrition industry has not yet responded to this – I was waiting with bated breath for Sir Cliff Richard’s definitive critique of the science – so I thought that I would respond on their behalf: frankly, the alternative nutrition industry’s response to such trials has become tediously predictable so there seems to be little point in waiting.

I will list a number of likely industry responses below; I will then enjoy the small satisfaction of ticking them off when they appear in industry press releases: Continue reading


Filed under antioxidants, supplements, vitamin c, vitamins

Anti-oxidants and Supplementation: Not As Straightforward As It Is Made Out To Be

Former Visiting Professor Patrick Holford is Head of Science and Education at Biocare and both he and several other media nutritionists have a relationship with anti-oxidant supplements that mirrors the behaviour of Margaret Thatcher and her Cabinet. She slapped them around (metaphorically), she promised them some huge benefits but didn’t deliver them, she occasionally humiliated them and, through it all, she inspired devotion right up until the coup that followed a groundswell of grumblings that no matter what Those Up Top thought, things were not working so well for Everybody Else. Continue reading


Filed under antioxidants, cancer, patrick holford, supplements

Dear Terence Kealey, About Natural v. Synthetic Vitamins

Dear Vice-Chancellor Terence Kealey,

Your comment piece in The Times triggered some tristesse: The limitations of peer review. If Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards had been capable of making leaps on a similar scale to yours then Britain’s medal haul in the Winter Olympics would be a cause for celebration rather than derision. Continue reading


Filed under antioxidants, supplements

Irish Association of Nutritional Therapy: Giving the Facts About the Cochrane Review of Antioxidant Supplements

You may remember that Miriam Barry of the Irish Association of Nutritional Therapy (IANT) offers a Response to the recent media coverage regarding antioxidants. She opens her response with these words:

As nutritional therapists we feel compelled to give the public the facts of this case. Please click here to inform yourself of the facts regarding this study.

Continue reading


Filed under antioxidants, nutrition, nutritionists, supplements

Prof Patrick Holford makes a basic error about antioxidant side effects

Despite the general low standard of responses to the recent Cochrane review on antioxidants and mortality, Holford characteristically manages to stand out from the crowd. Aside from errors already discussed on this site, Professor Patrick Holford of Teesside University makes a very striking error about antioxidant side effects: he claims that

“there are no known or reported short-term side effects of antioxidants”.

This is simply wrong, at a very basic level. Continue reading


Filed under antioxidants, Holford, patrick holford, supplements, vitamin c