From: Ed Blonz <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Collloidal Quandry: More than you every thought you wanted to hear
Here is a host of info on the colliodal minerals and its chief
To: All Nutrition Detectives
From: Steve Cherniske
RE: Audio tapes making the rounds
Views you can use
Stephen Cherniske, M.S.
Pre-Launch audio tape by Joel Wallach for New Visions.
I've received calls from CEO's of various network marketing companies
complaining that my reviews "make the industry look bad." "No," I
reply, "it is the hype-ridden baloney that many network marketing
companies are foisting upon the public that threatens this industry."
Then they advise me to "paddle my own canoe" instead of trying to sink
others, and I explain that I'm not out to sink anyone. It's just that
nutrition is a science, and it steams me to see the science I love
perverted into a circus side show.
Someone has to blow the whistle sometime. Otherwise the industry will
collapse from the weight of unfounded, insupportable gobbledygook that
spews constantly from fax machines all over the world.
Sorry. I just thought it best to explain myself before giving you more
evaluations. Let's look at a few tapes that have come across my desk
(and no doubt yours) this week. Dead Doctors Don't Lie, by Joel
Wallach, DVM, ND.
Background: It's becoming common for emerging network marketing
companies to send out audio tapes in advance of their launch to
generate excitement and
visibility. The tape by Dr. Wallach is very effective because it is
extremely controversial. The title, Dead Doctors Don't Lie gives you an
idea. And Wallach is a very compelling speaker. His Midwest accent and
down-home manner comes across as believable and straightforward. He is a
veterinarian (DVM) by training and also received a Naturopath (ND)
And now the news:
As I listened to the tape, I became more and more annoyed by the doctor
bashing. Keep in mind that I have no love affair with the AMA, but I
have worked very closely with many physicians over the years and took
offense at Wallach's cynical generalizations and unfair exaggerations.
This was especially bothersome because of the one-sided format. Taking
pot-shots at an adversary when he (or she) has no opportunity to respond
is unprofessional to say the least. So I see this review as an effort to
"keep everyone honest."
Let me begin by saying that I agree with Joel Wallach's basic position,
that nutritional supplements are an effective and reliable way to
improve ones health. I also think that it is best to minimize one's
intake of drugs and reliance upon hospitals and surgery. But I believe
that Wallach goes off the deep end in condemning the entire medical
profession, and I think that much of his information is DEAD WRONG.
True or False
Imagine you just purchased a brand new car, and as the salesman shakes
your hand he informs you that roughly 50% of the information in the
owners manual is incorrect. How would you feel? First of all, it would
be impossible for you to take care of your new car because you wouldnt
know what information was true and what was false. The manual, in other
words, would be useless, and your investment would be in jeopardy.
I think tapes like Dead Doctors Don't Lie are like faulty owners
manuals. The vehicle in this case is your body, which is far more
valuable than any car, and when learning about it, you have to determine
if the material is accurate. Following are my points of disagreement
with Dr. Wallach. Judge for yourself.
1. He is listed on the tape as a 1991 Nobel Prize nominee for medicine.
While that sounds impressive, you have to understand that anyone can
nominate anyone for a Nobel prize. I would like to know what
accomplishment he was nominated for and what level his nomination
reached. After all, I have been nominated for President of the United
States. Impressed? I hope not.
2. Dr. Wallach claims to have performed over 3,000 autopsies on humans.
When I called Bastyr University, the nations foremost Naturopath school,
they informed me that ND's are not licensed or trained to perform human
3. Dr. Wallach states that pica is a disorder in which a person craves
sweets. In fact, it is a hunger for non-food substances such as soil or
4. He states that the average lifespan of a doctor in America is 58
years. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, American
physicians live an average of 69.7 years, less than the national
average, but certainly more than Dr. Wallach would have us believe.
5. Dr. Wallach states that an anti-cancer diet has been discovered. But
his data is derived from a Chinese study in which a large proportion of
the participants were seriously malnourished. It is not reasonable to
conclude that anyone who takes vitamins A, E and beta carotene will have
the same reduction in cancer risk.
6. He states that 50% of 70 year old Americans have Alzheimer's disease.
In fact, careful research shows that the incidence of Alzheimer's
disease in Americans 65 to 74 years of age is approximately 3.9%.
Reference: Evans D. et al. Estimated Prevalence of Alzheimers Disease in
the United States. The Milbank Quarterly 1990; 68(2): 267-287.
7. He talks of preventing Alzheimer's disease in pigs with vitamin E and
a low vegetable oil diet. In fact, pigs don't get Alzheimer's, and there
is no evidence that this approach has any benefit for humans with this
8. Dr. Wallach recommends the use of butter over olive oil for longevity
when a virtual mountain of research supports the opposite view.
9. He states that gray hair at any age and face wrinkles are due to a
copper deficiency. This is absurd and insupportable.
10. His claim that cardiomyopathy is a selenium deficiency is equally
absurd, and illustrates a serious error in thinking. Cardiomyopathy is
not a single disease but a group of disorders that involve the heart
muscle. (cardio= heart, myo=muscle, pathy= disease). Cardiomyopathy can
result from a host of causes including genetic defects, nutritional
deficiency, metabolic disease, infection, trauma and alcoholism. Yet
Wallach lumps all cardiomyopathy into a single disease with a single
cause, selenium deficiency. Even his examples are dead wrong. He goes
on and on about Stewart Berger, a doctor who died of cardiomyopathy, yet
Wallach knows nothing about this doctor. If he had bothered to do even
a little research, he would have learned that Berger had a life-long
weight problem (weighed over 300 when he died) and may also have abused
drugs. Either of these factors can cause cardiomyopathy, but according
to Wallach, Berger was simply deficient in the mineral selenium. In
fact, Berger regularly took an enormous amount of nutritional
supplements, including selenium.
11. He makes the same mistake when talking of aneurysms, the bulging of
an artery. Although medical texts list some 40 different types of
aneurysm, with a variety of causes including atherosclerosis, cancer,
bacterial infection and hypertension, Wallach claims that all aneurysms
are caused by a copper deficiency.
12. He states that male pattern baldness is a tin deficiency. This is
13. He states that Bells palsy is a calcium deficiency when in fact it
is a clear neurological disorder. Many individuals have suffered from
Bells palsy (interruption of a facial nerve resulting in partial
paralysis of the face) after trauma or injury. Did these people all
suddenly become calcium deficient? And if the disorder is a calcium
deficiency, why is Bells palsy so rare?
14. He states that sugar metabolism disorders (diabetes and
hypoglycemia) are a vanadium deficiency when vanadium has not even been
recognized as an essential nutrient for humans.
15. He states that arthritis is osteoporosis of the joint ends of the
bones. This is incorrect.
16. He claims that sodium intake has nothing to do with high blood
pressure, citing the fact that he used to put salt licks out for his
cows and they never got high blood pressure. What incredible reasoning!
Could it be that cows use the salt lick as needed, while humans
routinely consume massive amounts of sodium for taste and as food
additives? In fact, the human body was designed for a high potassium,
low sodium diet through 1.6 million years of hunting & gathering.
Today's highly processed and refined diet supplies minimal potassium and
enormous amounts of sodium, and we suffer as a result.
This is probably my major objection to this tape; the fact that
important points like this are over-simplified and exaggerated. If
Wallach actually did his homework, he would find that fully one-third of
the studies evaluating calcium intake and hypertension actually show no
consistent benefit. REFERENCE: McCarron DA; Hatton D; Roullet JB;
Roullet C. Dietary calcium, defective cellular Ca2+ handling, and
arterial pressure control. Canadian Journal of Physiology and
Pharmacology, 1994 Aug, 72(8):937-44.
This may be due to the fact that calcium supplementation appears to work
best for people whose previous intake of calcium was very low.
17. Wallach dismisses the importance of good oral hygiene in preventing
periodontal disease (receding gums). Instead, he claims the problem is
simply a calcium deficiency. While adequate calcium intake is certainly
important for the maintenance of the bone that anchors the teeth
(alveolar bone), the deterioration of this bone is a late stage in
periodontal disease. The progression of periodontal disease is actually
well understood. First there is the accumulation of bacterial plaque,
masses of bacteria that are actually visible to your dentist. The
infection then spreads to the periodontal ligament which attaches the
tooth to the bone, and finally, the bone begins to deteriorate.
18. One of the most simplistic and nonsensical claims made on this tape
is that people who live to be a hundred drink 40 cups of tea every day
and put rock salt and two pats of butter in each cup. On the other hand,
doctors (who Wallach claims only live to be 58) tell you to reduce salt
and butter. Wallach then asks "Who are you going to believe?"
First of all, I would like to know where these tea, rock salt and
butter consuming people are. I have traveled throughout Asia and have
studied longevity at great length, and have never encountered such
behavior. And even if there are people with such habits, certainly the
vast majority of centenarians do not drink 40 cups of tea each day
loaded with butter and rock salt. So I will ask you the same
question..."Who are you going to believe?"
19. Then there's the hysterectomy issue. Wallach states that "The
medical treatment of choice for PMS is a hysterectomy." This is utter
nonsense. He also claims that doctors perform about 285,000 unnecessary
hysterectomies each year in order to make their Mercedes payments. This
borders on hate mongering, and once again is a gross exaggeration. The
total number of hysterectomies performed in the US in 1993 was 560,000
and the vast majority of there were performed because of ovarian cancer
or other disease. Where does Wallach get his figures? Now there is no
doubt that many hysterectomies are unnecessary, but a careful study
utilizing second opinion data showed that only 8% of elective
hysterectomies (eg. those performed because of ovarian cysts) were
unconfirmed. REFERENCE: Finkel ML; Finkel DJ. The effect of a second
opinion program on hysterectomy performance. Medical Care, 1990 Sep,
28(9):776-83. If you take the approximate number of elective
hysterectomies (124,000) and multiply by 8%, you get 9,920, not 285,000.
Wallach further states that the AMA says that these (285,000)
hysterectomies are unnecessary, but when I contacted the AMA regarding
this, they had no idea what he was talking about. Of course, as you
might have guessed, Wallach states that PMS is really just a calcium
20. Wallach states that all low back pain, "whether you work on a
computer, unload hay or drive big trucks" is due to osteoporosis. This
is absurd, as most low back pain is caused by muscle or ligament
21. Wallach states that he has seen diabetes cured in "hundreds and
hundreds" of individuals simply by taking chromium and vanadium
supplements. Again, it is well-known that these trace minerals are
important in glucose metabolism. It's also true that the medical
community in general underutilizes trace minerals in treating diabetes.
But I know dozens of doctors who include trace minerals intheir
treatment plans, and not one of them would agree with Wallach. They,
along with the entire health care community, would love to see his
patient records to verify his claims.
22. Wallach's treatment of colloidal minerals is also filled with
errors. While any organic chemist knows that soil-based compounds can be
divided into metals and non-metals, he calls all of these "metallic
minerals." He claims that these metallic minerals are only 8 to 12%
absorbable, and after age 35 to 40, that drops to 3 to 5%. Where does he
get these numbers? What happens at age 35 that reduces mineral
absorption by 60% ? Whenever I hear ridiculous numbers like this thrown
around I challenge the speaker to provide documentation. No one ever
In reality, the absorption of minerals depends on an enormous number of
variables, the most important of which is physiologic need. Someone who
is deficient in calcium will absorb a great deal more of the mineral (in
any form) than someone who is adequately nourished. Another variable is
vitamin D status. Someone adequately nourished in vitamin D will absorb
far more calcium (in any form) than someone deficient in vitamin D.
Other variables include nutrient form (calcium citrate is absorbed much
better than calcium phosphate) and meal composition (vitamin C helps the
absorption of iron and zinc).
23. He tells a story of a man who owned a portable toilet company
finding hundreds of intact vitamin tablets in his toilets. Wallach uses
that story to prove that "you can't absorb metallic minerals." In fact,
all that proves is that some vitamins are tableted improperly. To make
the sweeping statement that all vitamin tablets are unabsorbed is like
saying that because Yugos break down all the time, all automobiles are
unreliable. In nutrition as in automobiles, there are the Yugos and
there are Rolls Royces.
24. Wallach states: "If you read the labels on those multiples, they say
your iron comes in the form of iron oxide. What is iron oxide? Rust!"
While this point is dramatic, it is also patently false. In the last ten
years, I have reviewed more than a thousand different multimineral
formulations, and not one of them used iron oxide.
25. Wallach's calcium lactate story also contains multiple errors. He
states that in a 1,000 mg tablet, 250 mg is calcium and the remaining
750 mg is lactose or milk sugar. In fact, calcium lactate is a compound
of calcium and lactic acid, which is an organic acid found in apples,
tomatoes and other fruit as well as beer and wine. He then states that
you'll only absorb 10% of the calcium in such products, but that claim
26. His claim that colloidal minerals are 98% absorbable is probably the
most important statement on the tape (since hes selling colloidal
minerals) but I could find no documentation in the medical or
agricultural literature to document that. As mentioned in # 22 above,
the absorption of minerals depends upon a host of factors, only one of
which is the fo
Subject: RE: [healthfraud-discuss] [Fwd: Re: Dr. Joel Wallach - 1991]
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 96 05:17:12 UT
From: "john renner" <email@example.com>
To: "healthfraud-discuss" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Here is some more info about Wallach
Some information that maybe of interest about J. D. Wallach. He has been
a vet. pathologist in the past and has 35 publications that I have
located. You will not believe the titles but this is true. Foot Care for Captive
Elephants, Environmental and Nutritional Diseases of Captive Reptiles, Management and Medical Care of Goldfish, Nutritional Diseases of Exotic Animals,
AngioedemaAssociated with Strawberry Ingestion by a Gorilla,
Steatitis in Captive Crocodilians, The Mechanics of Nutrition for Exotic Pets, there are others. I have several tapes of his from past speeches of his at the
National Health Federation. I have talked to several vets that he has worked with at various zoos. He has been at Yerkes Primate Center and Memphis and St Louis and NY Zoos. He has left a trail not to be envied at every location. He was on 20/20 a few years back, I believe it was about Selenium deficiency and Cystis Fibrosis. He is well known to the Medical Director of the Cystic
Fibrosis Association in DC. He has recently become the publisher of Health
Consciousness the old publication of Kuspinel of the AQA American Quack
Association. Joel Wallach was not nominated for a Nobel Prize the
nomination process can be downloaded from the Nobel Website. I have talked to staff at Nobel and had it faxed to me before they had a website. There are several quacks who claim to be Nobel Nominees from private letters. Would any of you like to be nominated for Senator of you state, step right this way throught
the doorway to your left etc. etc. Joel does not handle controversy
very well, he has recently had a bodyguard at certain of his meetings. I
have heard him several times he is so angry at the medical profession he
looses some of his potential audience. If I can be of help to anyone about him
email me. I have reviewed his Website on my column Internet Health Watch
J Renner MD
Re: author of DEAD DOCTORS DON'T LIE tape
Sat, 16 Nov 1996 15:07:40 -0800
America Online, Inc.
SUBJECT: Re: author of DEAD DOCTORS DON'T LIE tape
I went to hear the author of the DEAD DOCTORS DON'T LIE tape
when he passed through my hometown recently--Joel Wallach, D.V.M., N.D.
(from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland). It was
crowded, so I wound up all the way down front and center, in the second
row. From that vantage point, I was surprised to see he's 30-40 lbs.
overweight, mostly in the gut, and working seriously on a double-chin.
makes claims about the superior absorbability of colloidal minerals over
solid forms, but offers no studies to back his claims. In fact, the
college wrestler, now in his grandfatherly 60s, had his "security" throw
man out our audience, simply for having the audacity to question him.
He's also rather selective in those included in his
"longest-lived humans" category, so that they align with his
colloidal-mineral theory. He includes Tibetans, who actually are NOT
(despite his claim they are, from drinking "glacial milk"), while
excluding Japanese of the Ryukus chain, who are (with no "glacial milk"
in sight). Unbelievably, he actually lauds couch-potatoism (perhaps
because most in his elderly audience appear to be), while promulgating some
*very* specious high-cholesterol, high-protein nutritional advice, topped off
with a claim that "a day without a hamburger is like a day without
sunshine." His dietary advice sounds like Adelle Davis revisited--heavy
on the meat and dairy, with "two eggs every morning fried in butter."
Although his tape/talk includes sufficient factual evidence
about the lethal, uncaring and self-serving aspects of modern
medicine--designed to rope in those of us equally disaffected--I came
away unconvinced, feeling that he's simply positioned himself atop a
multi-level marketing scheme to rake in millions selling colloidal
minerals, while bad-mouthing everything from vegetarianism and yoga to
organic food and solid vit./min. supplements.
I'd gone, primed to accept him as an ally in America's Healing
Revolution. But sadly, viewing his fat face, double-chin, spare tire,
gold bracelet, and diamond rings on each hand, left feeling that his 'proofs'
are selective and not backed by studies; his ridiculing of EVERYTHING
but colloidal minerals and right-wing Republicans are merely a marketing
ploy and prejudice, respectively, and that he's surfing the massive wave of
America's discontent with modern medicine for his own enrichment (as
opposed to the way Dr. Linus Pauling challenged it, for example).
Most Americans now see, I believe, the lethal, uncaring and
self-serving aspects of Symptomatic Medicine which Joel rightfully rages
against. However, he unfortunately seems to have over-compensated in
throwing out the life-enhancing and compassionate aspects, as well. .
.everything, in fact, but the colloidal mineral formulas he's bottled
and multi-level-marketed for years now.
A happier medium, it seems, can be found in the Healing
Revolution John Robbins speaks to in his l996 book, RECLAIMING OUR
HEALTH: EXPLODING THE MEDICAL MYTH AND EMBRACING THE SOURCE OF TRUE HEALING.
Robbins, who walked away from the Baskin-Robbins fortune at 21--two
decades later writing DIET FOR A NEW AMERICA--has spent the past decade
researching his newest book, which the entire hierarchy among America's
disaffected M.D.s supports with unbridled enthusiasm. I do, too, and at
55, am healthier than anyone I've met over the past 30 years, including
living 9 years outside the U.S. in 45 cultures, including a number of
those which are TRULY among our world's healthiest and most long-lived.
I've never taken colloidal minerals in my life, my chin has
not doubled, and as a LIFELONG athlete, I still maintain a flat stomach with
washboard abs. Intuitively, looking closely at this rotund Portland N.D.
who even rags Nobel chemist Linus Pauling for "only" living to 93, may
well experience the same "shock" Adelle Davis did when she discovered
cancer would end her life LONG before 93!
Subject: 12/5 column
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 1996 16:45:36 -0500
Being a health nut, I'm a big fan of your column and look forward to
reading it each week. Today's column on colloidal supplements was
especially interesting to me since I just recently ordered the
supplements from the company who issues the cassette with the vet. I
received the product last month and was surprised to see that it looked
like big bottles of muddy water. It occurred to me that it COULD be
muddy water, and I'd never know the difference. So I decided to call
the Better Business Bureau in Arizona that has a file on the company,
"New Visions" located in Scottsdale AZ.
Well, the complaints filed against the company were so numerous that
they had to fax me their file since it was too long to review over the
phone (I believe I have since thrown it away). The complaints ranged
from illness from the product to not being able to get their money back,
to other questionable business practices. The BBB rated them as
"unfavorable" and said New Visions is not cooperating with the BBB, and
is no longer responding to customer complaints at all! I called New
Visions directly and told them due to my asthma, my doctor had advised
me against taking an unknown product (not true, but I thought I'd have a
better chance of getting refunded this way). I mailed the minerals back
last month, and have yet to be credited for my $75 cost. I called them
yesterday and they said it may take a few more weeks to process the
refund. I'll be watching to see if it actually ever comes through.
So maybe there is some benefit to colloidal minerals, but due to this
company's sleazy reputation, I for one would now be too skeptical to try
I am still looking for a quality mineral/vitamin supplement. I feel the
ones in grocery stores are too cheap in quality to be effective, and am
looking in health food stores. I was taking Bodywise vitamins/minerals
(out of Carlsbad, CA) and loved them, but due to my allergies,
eventually became allergic to the herbs contained in the supplements,
and had to go off of them. Any suggestions as to a brand you recommend?
Thanks for your informative column!
San Diego CA
Dear Dr. Blonz, I was hoping you might help me make sense of some
confusing claims. I've recently heard a cassette tape that made a lot
claims about the superiority a special liquid supplement that contains
colloidal minerals. These supplements are relatively expensive but if
it's as good as the tape says, it would be worth it. The doctor on the
tape that talks about the products was nominated for the Nobel prize.
The products are sold by multi level marketing and the tape was sent to
me by someone involved in the program so I tended to discount some of
what they say as sales hype. I was hoping that you might offer some
AW, San Diego, CA
Dear AW, You were right to question exorbitant health claims made by
those selling health products through multilevel marketing. For those
unaware of this sales approach, it involves not only selling products,
but trying to sell others to sell the same products for you. They
become part of your sales organization and you profit by their sales and
anyone else they might be able to attract. Because there is a monetary
as well as a promised health benefit, substantiation for health claims
is often given short shrift.
I have already received six cassette tapes for a colloidal
mineral product. I've also fielded a number of questions from readers that are
confused about colloidal minerals and mineral supplements.
The tape contains an entertaining lecture by a veterinarian who
is also a naturopath (an alternative health practitioner) who is said to be a
"Nobel Prize nominee." It may sound impressive that he's a "Nobel
Prize nominee" but this has no meaning according to the Nobel folks as
there's no real nomination process. I guess anyone can "nominate"
anyone for any prize.
In the brief space we've got, let's take a quick look at
minerals and then move to the topic of what "colloidal" minerals may or may not have to offer.
Minerals are all considered inorganic elements because, unlike
protein, fat, carbohydrates and vitamins, they do not contain the element
carbon. A unique thing about minerals is that they cannot be
synthesized or changed by the body. Like vitamins, minerals are only
needed in trace amounts and they don't provide any calories.
Of the 15 required minerals, six are required in relatively
large amounts. These include calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium,
chloride, and sodium. The remaining nine are equally essential, but are
needed in only trace amounts: iron, zinc, iodine, manganese, selenium,
copper, fluoride, chromium, and molybdenum
The minerals in our diet are distributed throughout the foods we
eat. For example, calcium is present in milk, green leafy vegetables and some
nuts, magnesium is present in nuts, bananas, legumes and whole grains,
and zinc is present in meats, whole grains and seafood. The best way
to assure a good intake of minerals is to eat a varied diet containing
foods from all the food groups. Some people may choose to take one or
more minerals in supplement form to make sure they get the minerals they
need. Calcium is perhaps the most widely used mineral supplement.
Whether in foods or in a supplement, minerals have to pass
though the wall of our digestive tract before they can be used by the body. The mineral has to be in solution for this to happen. The body takes care
of this because the digestive system breaks apart the foods we eat to
make them ready for absorption. With supplements, however, the pill has
There's no question that minerals are essential. And many
people have poor diets in this country. The questionable argument behind the
advantage of colloidal mineral supplements is that the minerals area in
liquid form and are therefore more absorbable than the nutrients in food
- up to 98 percent absorbable, according to the tape. There's
absolutely no data offered to support these grand claims. How well a
nutrient is absorbed depends on a host of factors. Some supplement
pills may indeed dissolve better than others, but I have a problem
accepting the superiority of colloidal minerals simply because the
proponents say it's so. What's more, it goes against what we know.
(Note: A quick and convenient test to see if you're getting the
nutrients out of your supplement is to put the pill in a half glass of
vinegar. The pill should break apart within 30 minutes.)
I have heard from some folks that say they feel better when they
take these products. But is it due to the colloidal supplement, or just due
to the fact that the body is starting to get the minerals that may have
been lacking in the diet? Colloidal minerals may be OK as a mineral
supplement, but it's certainly an expensive alternative. In my opinion
they offer nothing special. And finally a balanced diet is always
preferable to poor diet with added supplements. (copyright 1996,
Maintaining a positive attitude may not solve all your
problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worthwhile.
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