Posted by: Doug Henwood | November 20, 2010

Gary Null nearly killed by own product

Someone posted this news to the comments, so I had to find out if it was true. Yes, it is true—Gary Null nearly died from consuming one of his products.

Null is suing the manufacturer for negligence, specifically for allegedly including 1,000 times the recommended dosage of vitamin D. When Null first got sick, he consumed more of the stuff, hoping it would make him better. While he was suffering, his phone was ringing off the hook with complaints from irate consumers.

At first, Null’s website denied anything was wrong. When a Los Angeles Times blog noted that this claim contradicted his own lawsuit, he modified his condition report to say he was feeling better. More here.

I suppose a manufacturing error like this could happen to anyone. But that’s just the point—these natural guys are just like everyone else, except more opaque.

Daily News: Gary Null suit vs. supplement manufacturer claims Gary Null’s Ultimate Power Meal nearly killed him

ABC News: Alternative Health Guru Sues Company Over His Own Product, Claiming It Nearly Killed Him

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Responses

  1. Doug. I would deny the suggestion that “they” are “more” opaque. I’m not sure who the comparison is to, but are you suggesting that “they” are more opaque than big pharma?? If so, I have to say, “really”? I think you should look a little more closely into how our supposed protections are circumvented by the best talent that money can buy. In that department, I’d offer an excellent reference, “Doubt is their Product” by David Michaels. I particularly savored a quote from Ron Smith, 25 year editor of the BMJ, describing how it took him 25 years to “wake up” to the manipulations being employed in pharma (irony quotes ahead) “research”, and that medicine is becoming “cloud cookoo land”.

    I would also fault you on the dangerous political implications of your post. What will it lead to? A return to the time when we have to get a prescription from an MD to get vitamin C? If I wanted higher than the US RDA of vitamin D (400IU) – and I’ll point out that Canada has recently raised the recommendation to 1000IU and that most of us who have studied the issue take upwards of 5,000IU – would I have to beg and plead some idiot MD who had no more than a week studying nutrition in medical school and disdains the notion that it has any effect on health?

    What pharma really wants, and what political positions like yours will lead to, is expensive and unnecessary testing of vitamins on the basis of their being “drugs” that will lead to supplements being controlled by the only large operators that can afford such testing. That being big pharma, the very group that is trying to destroy out access to vitamins because they are the only things that work. In that latter regard I’ll offer the savory quote from the CEO of Galaxo, “Our drugs don’t work on most patients” – http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/1208-02.htm Wish that that were all that were so. In fact, JAMA itself reports that patients’ reactions to drugs are the fourth highest cause of death in the US! And those are only drug reactions occurring in patients in the hospital and that are reported by MDs – add those unreported and those that happen outside of the hospital, and credible estimates put it at the highest cause of death.

    Now I ask you, just what kind of comparison are you making between supplements whose rare problems are blasted all over the news and parroted by people like yourself, and these dangerous pharma products? And just who is it that you want to control our access? I’m an educated guy, I do my own research, I work out who I can depend on and who I can’t, and I take responsibility for my own decisions. As a person already damaged by the medical world, I’ll thank you to not turn your particular beef with Gary Null and WBAI into a regressive political position, and to keep your hands off of the only thing that I’ve ever found to help.

    Thank you.

  2. He He, I did read about this.
    The thing that impressed me was that Null actually seems to believe in his own products!
    I wonder if he’d let someone collect his hair clippings to see if there is hair dye on them…

  3. Sheesh, poor guy.

    Eat mostly locally grown and raised organics and you’ll be fine. No need at all for supplements!

  4. You will not find a more implacably hostile foe of NullHeads than me, but… I have to agree with DiagonalArg to an extent. Here’s an example of collaborative “misreporting” (marketing?, lying?) by Big Pharma and peer-reviewed journals:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/17/health/17depress.html

    The question of “cognitive authority” in science and medicine isn’t always easy to answer. In the face of institutional hubris, occasional screw-ups, and systematic capitalist deception and exploitation, paranoia seems to be a perfectly rational position to take. But there is a reality, and some things have achieved a practical, usable consensus: i.e., HIV exists and causes AIDS. 5000+ noncorporate researchers signed the Durban Declaration to that effect, and if you think they’re all lying or deluded – you better have damn good evidence (and not just a list of insipid “questions” or the suspicions of a few cranks) to back up that charge. The reason is clear enough: the practical effect of denialism in this case is nothing short of catastrophic.

    The NYTimes link’s anti-depressant article hits close to home. The “effectiveness” of these drugs had achieved consensus truth among psychiatrists and therapists and social workers. Doctors were, in my opinion, handing these pills out like candy… and I was one of those recipients. The results were awful for me, to put it mildly. And when the pills didn’t work, the doctors, etc blamed me. But this points again to DiagonalArg’s discussion about taking responsibility and listening to your body. My HIV+ friends who seroconverted back in the late 1980s and early 1990s faced few treatment options and what there was could be very destructive. Every one I know who survived that time took less AZT than the doctor prescribed (not NO AZT, just much less), plus augmented it with supplements, yoga, stress reduction, change in diet and sexual behavior, etc. Today, they all use the cocktails with even better results. As for me, I stopped taking anti-depressants (the doctors all said, “You need to be on these pills for the rest of your life”), and I’ve never felt better with a healthier diet, exercise, etc.

    Popular confusion and fear about the messy process and progress of scientific inquiry and medical application (which is often compounded with the greed and arrogance of doctors, corporations, etc)… this is just a marketing opportunity for hacks and gurus like Null and WBAI, much as it provides a culture-war opening to GOPers re evolution vs creationism.

  5. Doug, you’re off by two orders of magnitude. That’s how insane Null is.

    To clarify, current RDA of vitamin D is 200 IU a day, and being outside for several hours can cause someone to produce 100 times that, so the number is considered a minimum “recommended” level rather than a ceiling, and some public health surveys have suggested raising the level substantially.

    BUT… BUT… 60 million IU in a month? That’s 2 million IU a day! This is a compound that the body stores, and he was getting over 100 times what a day in full sun might be for someone working outside. “Not the substance but the dose makes the poison…”

    Assuming Null is in good faith on the manufac’g error, it still goes to show–he’s part of a $30 billion/year industry in a capitalist system, an industry prone to externalizing costs, even lethal ones.

    For giggles, I listened to Null’s show this morning. He was going on about the dangers of caffeine consumption. It would be hilarious if there wasn’t one program on economic topics on Pacifica. I think it makes your brain more sensitive to chemtrail-caused cancers, or something like that. This is a charlatan who takes advantage of others’ ignorance and their own dissatisfaction with a confusing medical regime.

  6. to provide a little more ammunition, PBS has likewise faced trouble with Gary Null, an apparent fund-raising genius: http://www.current.org/mo/mo901n.html


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