Leaving this post completely blank would probably have been my funniest punchline yet.
I reckon all these branches of Alternative Medicine would probably benefit from a bit of critical self-appraisal: Homeopathy, Nutritionism, Reflexology, Reiki, Herbalism, Acupuncture, Chiropractic… but I have decided to focus quite narrowly on nutritionism. Further, I have decided to focus on specific UK organisations in this field – in the context of the recent withdrawal of Matthias Rath from a lawsuit against the Guardian and Ben Goldacre.
Goldacre wrote that “The food supplement pill industry is phenomenally powerful, extremely lucrative and incredibly influential, but it has shown itself to be philosophically and commercially incapable of critical self-appraisal.” Matthias Rath pulls out.
I contacted ION (Institute for Optimum Nutrition) and BANT (British Association of Nutritional Therapists) for comment on the Rath case. I really wanted to know what they thought, so I decided to just email them and ask.
I have been reading about the case of Matthias Rath recommending vitamins pills instead of antiretrovirals for HIV positive South Africans. I think it is proper when issues of such importance are in the news that responsible organisations in the field respond appropriately and I wondered if BANT or ION, as (respectively) the main representative body of nutritional therapists in the UK and a major UK educational establishment in the field of nutrition, would be prepared to comment on the actions of Matthias Rath in promoting a speculative treatment involving vitamins above the best currently available treatment for those who are HIV positive? I think his actions were so dangerous it would be remiss of the nutritional therapy industry (the whole industry – from nutritional therapists to pill manufacturers) to remain silent.
Kind regards [etc]
Perhaps you would like to follow this up and send your own email. Perhaps you think that I’ve let the manufacturers off lightly in focussing on an educational establishment and a society for nutritional therapists. If so, you can probably contact one of the trade associations involved in the industry – there’s the HFMA (Health Food Manufacturers Association) and the CRN (Council for Responsible Nutrition) for a start [if you’re in the US, there is an American version of the CRN]. Or maybe you would find it more satisfying to contact the high profile nutritional therapist of your choosing?