Category Archives: illnesses

‘Dr’ Holford on the immune system in the Galway Advertiser

Here at HolfordWatch, we were interested to see the Galway Advertiser referring the ‘Dr Patrick Holford’: Holford is not a doctor.  The paper has been contacted about this – and we are sure that Holford himself will be keen to see this error corrected. However, there are also a number of other significant problems with the article: two many to analyse in one post, but we will look at a couple here.

Firstly, Holford claims that the immune system

fights off viruses, bacteria and other organisms which try to attack you and cause illness, from the common ones that cause cold…to the more rare but often deadly ones like…AIDS.

AIDS is not a virus, bacteria or organism: it can be defined as “a set of symptoms and infections resulting from the damage to the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus”. AIDS is also – with apologies for stating the obvious – a serious condition. People who have developed AIDS, or are concerned about HIV/AIDS, should discuss this with a qualified doctor rather than taking the advice of a self-described nutritionist. Continue reading


Filed under AIDS, cancer, HIV, illnesses, patrick holford, vitamin c

Help! I’m dying!

Up until this evening, I thought I was in pretty health – I’m young, get plenty of exercise, eat a good diet, am about the right weight, and normally feel ‘well’. That was up until I filled out an online questionnaire on the website of Holford’s Food for the Brain Foundation. This online questionnaire apparently “analyses your symptoms, diet and lifestyle factors to work out the probability that you have a biochemical or nutritional imbalance that may be contributing to your mental health.”

To give this some context, I should say that (while I’m not qualified to make a diagnosis, and some friends might wish to disagree) my mental health is generally good. I do occasionally have trouble sleeping – I’m writing this post at 2am :( – and have mild dyspraxia (the questionnaire also asked allergies and coffee intake – I told it that I have occasional hayfever and drink coffee every day). However, you don’t want to know what my common sense tells me about my health: what Food for the Brain tells me is much more interesting.

Apparently, I’m actually at a high risk of loads of terrible health problems. So that all of you can feel my pain, I’m going to list the different illnesses that this Food for the Brain questionnaire tells me I’m at risk of:

Blood Sugar Imbalance 40%
Allergies 42%
Underactive Thyroid 36%
Need for B Vitamins 38%
Need for Essential Fats 42%
Heavy Metal Toxicity 38%
Pyroluria 30%
High Histamine 35%
Low Serotonin 36%
Adrenal Excess 36%
Adrenal Exhaustion 29%
Low Acetylcholine 33%
Detox Overload 33%
Stimulant Dependence 45%
High Homocysteine 36%

Some of these would be seriously nasty if I really were suffering from them (heavy metal toxicity generally ain’t a barrel of laughs). I’m also at a relatively high risks of diseases I’ve never heard of (surprisingly the pubmed search engine, which indexes the peer-reviewed medical literature, has no mentions of ‘detox overload’, and I can only guess what this might mean). Wow, I could be an exciting medical case history – suffering from a range of relatively rare conditions, including some which aren’t even described in the medical literature yet!

Now, I could go to my GP with this long list of potential problems. However, aside from the risk of me being revealed as a freak of nature and taken into custody for lab tests, it is also possible that Holford’s Foundation may have been giving out dodgy information. I filled out a long questionnaire – I make it a couple of hundred questions. I noted what could be viewed as three health problems (the aforementioned insomnia, dyspraxia and drinking coffee), and aside from that said my health is fine. I don’t know the algorithms that the Foundation’s website used to come to these conclusions – however, suggesting such a long list of potential problems from so few symptoms (accompanied by generally good health) suggests that this is not a reliable diagnostic tool. You know, I’m probably not dying after all ;)

One other thing – I’d be interested to see how different answers to this questionnaire can generate reports of risks, illnesses etc. Post your results in the comments sections below – if anyone gets it to tell you that there’s a high probability you’re missing a limb (no cheating, now!) there’s a pint in it for you.


Filed under commonsense, dying, dyspraxia, Food for the brain foundation, Holford, illnesses, insomnia, online medical advice