Dr Organon’s Dietary Advice

February 23, 2008 at 12:02 am (Alternative Medicine, Bad Science, Homeopathic Remedies, Homeopathy, Supplements, Woo) (, , , , , )

What is it about woo-meisters that makes them think they are the best person to give advice on anything health-related? I can (just about) understand why a homeopath would think they were able to advise on homeopathy, but what makes them think they are qualified to, say,  diagnose or to give advice on diet? There is a homeopathy forum named after the Organon and the person who runs it, Dr Organon, has been dispensing advice to all comers. Someone has posted that they have been suffering with the following symptoms: “very tired, lower back in pain, headache, frequent urination at night. Appetite good. Hand and feet clammy, skin and hair dry, ringing in ears”. On asking the client (Milli) about diet, Dr Organon received the reply that Milli was a non-dairy raw foodist. Dr Organon then decided that Milli needed food supplements. Dr Organon followed this advice by stating that “very few leading nutritional experts now believe all our nutrients can be obtained from diet alone, as our need for these have increased exponentially in direct relation to nutrient leaching substances and situations in our environment and lifestyles”. The fact that some people with an interest in nutrition believe this (and broadcast this belief) is perhaps what led to the EU including the following clause in a recent directive: in the European Union, it is illegal for food supplements manufacturers/retailers to suggest on their packaging that a balanced diet cannot provide sufficient nutrients (Article 7 of Directive 2002/46/EC) – 2002/46 PDF. Dr O advises Milli to take a supplement containing “at least 25mg of all 11 B-vitamins (except of course those measured in micrograms)” and also says “I would also include at least 250-500 mg of Vitamin C, and some fish in your diet”. Dr O states that the 11 B Vitamins include choline, inositol and PABA (well they’re not in the 2002/46 Annex showing permitted vitamins and minerals, so I don’t know why Dr O feels they are necessary – presumably he knows better than groups such as EFSA or the FSA’s Expert Group on Vitamins or…).

Dr O then advises eating fish (my emphasis). “Any fish will suffice, although of course fresh is always best”. The Food Standards Agency does advise the consumption of fish – but with caveats. There is a page on mercury in fish, and a page on the ‘Eat Well’ site, fish and shellfish. FSA advice is that:

We should be eating at least two portions of fish a week including one of oily fish.

Dr O hasn’t: stated what their qualification in nutrition is; advised Milli to see a GP or other appropriate health professional (dietitian, anyone?); linked to any respectable sites that provide responsible advice based on the best available evidence (such as the FSA); mentioned that one of your recommended portions of fish should be oily fish; or made any reference whatsoever to the mercury in fish (not that mercury in fish is that big a deal for most adults – as long as they’re not pregnant of course).

Dr O has: advised the use of high dose vitamin supplements without providing any rationale (if you want to know about the benefits and risks of high dose supplements, why not try a Quacksafe search? Or try the FSA website); advised the consumption of fish (any fish) without giving any guidelines or providing links to reliable information; and moved from giving advice on homeopathic woo to giving advice on nutritionista woo.

Dr O occasionally veers off into digressions such as talking about the knowledge of “the ancient Chinese”. Woooo. I’ve included a quote:

food is one of our main sources of heat, especially in the cold winter months, and even the ancient Chinese, who had the most incredible knowledge when it came to medicine and health, advised against the ingestion of cold foods in winter, which is still included in their system even today.

Which is weird – because I thought that the temperature of food had little to do with how much warmth the food provided. According to my encyclopaedia, Antoine Lavoisier carried out respiration studies with Armand Seguin in the 1780s. Lavoisier and Seguin found increased expiration of carbon dioxide during physical work and concluded that it came from the oxidation of body fat, which was the source of animal heat. From trials with guinea-pigs they concluded that the heat produced by a living system was the same as that produced by external combustion of the same amount of carbon. Of course, the definition of a Calorie (Kcal) given by Wikipedia is “the amount of digestively available food energy (heat) that will raise the temperature of one kilogram of water one degree Celsius”. Wiki_Food_Energy. The Ancient Chinese may well have advised against consumption of cold food in winter and Dr O may believe that this is good advice, but – personally – I’ll be stuffing my greedy fat face with both hot and cold food in an effort to keep warm.*

I suppose if bullshit is your stock-in-trade then you could argue that it doesn’t particularly matter which field of woo you apply it to. The offending thread is here.**

*According to this site, “Keeping your body hotter than the environment requires a constant use of energy and mammals can use up to 80% of their food in this way.” I found this site because I remembered the 80% quote from David Attenborough’s recent documentary on lizards (Life in Cold Blood). Attenborough had quoted the 80% figure for humans and compared it to the percentage of calories from food that lizards used for maintaining body temperature (and when was the last time you saw a lizard using a microwave?).

**Edit: Here, on PDF: Dr O – dietitian and homeopath? for those who can’t view the Organon forum.

 

24 Comments

  1. Nash said,

    To top up your vitamin B just eat Marmite. Much cheaper and tastier than supplements.

    We need 80mg of Vitamin C a day, the body can store 200mg, any excess is excreted out in urine.

    When I had a cold before Xmas and got some de-congestants in Boots, they gave me 1000mg Vitamin C tablets as a free cold-buster. If I had purchased them it would have made my piss expensive.

  2. jdc said,

    Nash – I suggest that you bottle your piss, dilute and succuss it and sell it as a homeopathic antidote to vitamin C poisoning.

    Thanks for the ref to eating marmite – this FSA page has more info on which foods contain which vitamins etc. From the thiamine page:

    You should be able to get all the thiamin you need by eating a varied and balanced diet. But if you decide to take supplements it’s a good idea not to take too much because this might be harmful.

    Boots seems to be one of the more wooish pharmacies. DC’s Improbable Science has some excellent posts on Boots: http://dcscience.net/?s=boots

  3. nash said,

    I will have to get a homeopath to prove my urine first, which means one of them has to drink my raw piss first to see what symptoms develop. I know some, so it might be worth trying just to see them drink piss.

  4. Bill said,

    What is it with you Brits and drinking piss?

  5. nash said,

    hi Bill

    I can assure that I don’t drink my own or anyone elses piss. Like a lot of Brits I enjoy toilet humour.

    For something stomach churning try
    http://www.shirleys-wellness-cafe.com/urine.htm

  6. Dr Organon said,

    To the author of the original post above:

    Aside from your obvious ignorance of the subject matter, and ‘nitpicking’ for the purposes of argument and defamation, neither which really concern me greatly, you have obviously failed to read the copyright information posted on my forum, so it here it is again:
    “PLEASE NOTE:
    Any and all information posted on ANY part of the forum by members of the OH team, including admin, is, and remains the property of Organon Homoeopathy, and may not be reproduced for use elsewhere, except with prior permission, by law”

    Please remove the parts of your post quoted from those made on my forum immediately, or I will be seeking legal representation to have this enforced.

  7. jdc said,

    I believe that the quoted material is justified and that as both the author (i.e., you) and source of the material (i.e., your forum) are mentioned, this use of quotations from the Organon Forum comes under “fair use” and I would like to refer you to the reply given by the plaintiff in the case of Arkell v Pressdram.

  8. Bill said,

    The only people I know of that drink piss are that wacky raw food woman on the Health Food Junkies documentary and a British Rugby team that came through here a few years back.

    Nobody else that I know of. Even the esteemed Dr. Organon doesn’t recommend it.

  9. Jellytussle said,

    Moraji Desai, an Indian Prime Minister in the 1970s famously extolled the virtues of a fresh glass of urine in the morning.

  10. bill said,

    Stop it. You are ruining my hypothesis that only Brits drink urine.

    I therefore modify it to only Brits and Indians drink piss.

  11. Dr Organon said,

    “I believe that the quoted material is justified and that as both the author (i.e., you) and source of the material (i.e., your forum) are mentioned, this use of quotations from the Organon Forum comes under “fair use” and I would like to refer you to the reply given by the plaintiff in the case of Arkell v Pressdram.”

    I could not care less what you ‘believe’ to be honest Mr JDC, you are in total violation of the copyright rules as detailed on my forum, as it is not stated this is permissable if the source is cited. I’m really not that stupid, and again, unless it is removed, I will be pursuing this further.
    Also if you think the kind of biased illinformed nonsense, and carefully manipulated information above represents ‘fairness’ in any way, then maybe we should have this looked into too, just to point out to you the difference.
    As for your reference, this is not an episode of Judge Judy, and you are not a solicitor. This isn’t a ‘game’ Mr JDC, the internet is a changed place, and no longer an unregulated stomping ground for those who have no other means of self-empowerment to defame others for their own amusement.

    Personally, I couldn’t care less what you kiddies argue about amongst yourselves, but I will not be dragged into your strange little world.

    You have until 12AM, Monday 10th March to remove the above, and then the matter is going to be taken further.

  12. jdc said,

    1. “to defame others for their own amusement” – why are you referring to defamation? I thought this was supposedly a copyright issue.

    2. “biased illinformed nonsense” – do you realise how hypocritical it is for a homeopath to accuse anyone of writing biased, ill-informed nonsense?

    3. I don’t give a monkey’s what your forum rules say about copyright – I am claiming that my use of the quotes is fair and that I cite both author and source and that this was, therefore, a fair use of the material published on your forum. What on earth makes you think that my quotations do not come under ‘fair use’?

    If you have any legal basis whatsoever for requesting that this post be removed then please either email me at the below address or ask your lawyers to do so: 325jdc325@googlemail.com

    You have until 12AM, Monday 10th March. (GMT)

    Edited by jdc at 5pm on 5/3/08 (fair use – replaced comma with “and that”).

  13. Rob Hinkley said,

    Is Dr Organon going to address the substance of the criticism, or just make blustering noises about an alleged copyright violation? Talking of which, as JDC is in the UK the relevant law is probably the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, in which case Section 30 (Criticism, review and news reporting) is worth considering: “Fair dealing with a work for the purpose of criticism or review, of that or another work or of a performance of a work, does not infringe any copyright in the work provided that it is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement.” JDC was clearly using the Dr Organon Forum material for criticism or review, and he clearly acknowledged authorship.

  14. jdc said,

    Thanks for the comment Rob – the 1988 Act is indeed the statute I checked. Re your question – personally, I can’t see Dr Organon addressing the substance of the criticism.

    PS – I’m pleased to see that the massive dose of Lycopodium hasn’t taken its toll. :)

  15. Dr Organon said,

    “I don’t give a monkey’s what your forum rules say about copyright”

    Tsk tsk tsk Mr JDC, you would do well to seek some proper legal advice before making such statements, as that which you are receiving at the moment, is obviously quite flawed.

    “You have until 12AM, Monday 10th March to remove the above, and then the matter is going to be taken further.”

    Tick tock…

  16. Dr Organon said,

    “Is Dr Organon going to address the substance of the criticism, or just make blustering noises about an alleged copyright violation?”

    No mere ‘noises’, I can assure you, but I’m sorry, my only concern is Mr JDC’s copyright infringement and the purely manipulative manner in which he presents his ‘take’ on things, for the purpose of supporting a flawed argument. I do not engage in argument with mainstream pseudo-intellectuals who are incapable of thinking for themselves.

  17. jdc said,

    1. There has been no copyright infringement. My use of the material from your forum comes under “fair dealing”.

    2. Do you think that your forum rules take precedence over statute law? If so, I am afraid that you are mistaken.

    3. You wrote: “I do not engage in argument with mainstream pseudo-intellectuals who are incapable of thinking for themselves.”
    That’s an interesting phrase. Do you engage with non-mainstream pseudo-intellectuals who are incapable of thinking for themselves?

    4. I am still waiting for either you or your lawyers to get in touch (you already have my mail address) and explain what material should be removed from this page and why it should be removed. I will not remove material from this blog on the basis of unspecified allegations.

  18. Rob Hinkley said,

    On March 3rd, Dr Organon gave a threat display instead of addressing the substance of the criticism:

    you have obviously failed to read the copyright information posted on my forum, so it here it is again:
    “PLEASE NOTE:
    Any and all information posted on ANY part of the forum by members of the OH team, including admin, is, and remains the property of Organon Homoeopathy, and may not be reproduced for use elsewhere, except with prior permission, by law”

    Please remove the parts of your post quoted from those made on my forum immediately, or I will be seeking legal representation to have this enforced.

    But Dr Organon himself has obviously failed to read the copyright rules of his forum, which are in full as follows:

    Any and all information posted on ANY part of the forum by members of the OH team, including admin, is, and remains the property of Organon Homoeopathy, and may not be reproduced for use elsewhere, except with prior permission, by law (copyright laws of the forum owners withstanding).

    We will, from this point on, be closely monitoring threads, and especially articles which appear on other forums, particularly those written by other Homoeopaths, to ensure this is adhered to, and no matter how ‘cleverly’ reworded these posts/articles may be. Wherever it is found by a member of the team that such work is their own, or contains their own theories and ideas as presented here, yet these are being passed off as the work of another, we will seek legal advice.

    This is primarily to protect us from the actions of those who may simply be here to collect such information for their own forums, and present this as their own work, or that of their respective ‘teams’, which of course is completely dishonest.

    (My emphasis). As JDC clearly hasn’t tried to pass the Dr Organon Forum material off as his own, then by Dr Organon’s own clearly-stated standards he has no reason to seek legal advice. People passing others’ work off as their own is indeed dishonest, and that’s what the Dr Organon’s copyright statement is about. But it’s got nothing to do with what JDC wrote.

    I eagerly await Dr Organon’s next move. This has comedy goldmine potential.

  19. Bill said,

    Passing another homeopaths work off as one’s own is rather like trying to tell one homeopathic remedy from another.

  20. Rob Hinkley said,

    Dr Organon said:

    You have until 12AM, Monday 10th March to remove the above, and then the matter is going to be taken further.

    That deadline expired three weeks ago – has the matter been taken any further?

    * I can’t get the idea out of my head that Dr Organon sounds like a very minor Marvel Superheroes character (Dr Organon: he can dilute virtually anything to nonexistence!).

  21. jdc325 said,

    “That deadline expired three weeks ago – has the matter been taken any further?”
    Not that I know of. It’s a shame Dr O has gone quiet – I was quite enjoying his abuse. Here are my personal favourites:

    obvious ignorance of the subject matter, and ‘nitpicking’ for the purposes of argument and defamation

    biased illinformed nonsense, and carefully manipulated information

    purely manipulative manner in which he presents his ‘take’ on things, for the purpose of supporting a flawed argument

    I do not engage in argument with mainstream pseudo-intellectuals who are incapable of thinking for themselves.

  22. Mike Litorus said,

    I would just like to say that I hereby defame Dr. Organon. And I defame Uri Gellar for good measure.

  23. Legal Chill and Other Threats « Stuff And Nonsense said,

    […] have been used by several others in the field of Alternative Medicine. I once had a visit from a homeopath who threatened to sue me for copyright […]

  24. Freedom of Speech and the Internet « Stuff And Nonsense said,

    […] My reply to the person who complained of copyright infringement, Bad Science and LBC, The Quackometer on web hosts good and bad, Catherine Bennett on Liddle, my thoughts on Bennett’s article, the Streisand Effect. […]

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