Introducing the curious world of the Alkaline Diet and Live Blood Analysis

I am understating things when I say I’ve got a bee my bonnet about this.

In fact my drive to do something about it was, albeit indirectly, the reason this blog came into being. I have started writing complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority. I have been writing embarrassingly lengthy comments on forums where I had only previously lurked. I have been trying my hardest to think of what else I can do…

I simply can’t let the matter rest.

It all began when I heard, on the grapevine, of someone I know having a Live Blood Test and going on an Alkaline Diet. I hadn’t heard of either so consulted Wikipedia, which was to say the least, damning.

For a start, the description of the Diet itself is totally at odds with much of what I know about chemistry and biology. It also says one of the most famous proponents of the diet, Robert Young, has come under scrutiny from the National Council Against Health Fraud . Very intriguing.

The Live Blood Analysis article links to a detailed debunking and annihilation of the procedure published on the Quackwatch website and a Guardian article by Edzard Ernst, Professor of Complementary Medicine at the University of Exeter, also discrediting the procedure in no uncertain terms.

And if you thought that was bad, have you looked at ‘Dr’ Robert O Young’s pH Miracle Living website yet? I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I don’t have time to quote and cite every unbelievable and frightening little thing on there but will attempt to summarise.

He has apparently trademarked his own version of biology – New BiologyTM and believes that ‘the over-acidification of the body is the single underlying cause of all disease’.

If you are ‘overly acidic’, it can cause you to be too fat, too thin, suffer from fatigue or develop what are often called symptoms of allergy but are actually caused by an over acidic, oxygen deprived body. The way to remedy this is by going on an alkaline diet. The examples of ‘alkaline foods’ and ‘acid foods’ he gives are numerous but what particularly caught my eye was the inclusion of lemons, limes and grapefruits on his ‘alkaline’ list.

He also says, in one of his Educational Videos that he is ‘probably one of the only doctors in the world who has had success with Type 1 Diabetes’, which he believes can be reversed by following his eating plan.

There are also several testimonials on his website from people who have recovered from cancer without medical intervention and after following his advice. It is gobsmackingly audacious. I can’t believe I didn’t know anything about it.

On his home page, he asks the public to make donations to his Legal Defense Fund.

He sells a vast range of products including books and DVDs, water ionizers (to alkalize, ionize, purify and structure your drinking and cooking water), dietary supplements and beauty products. You can even ‘retreat’ to one of several luxury resorts where you get instruction from Young himself and all manner of treatments, including alkaline infusions up the backside (‘to flush-out toxins’) and ‘nebulizing to infuse alkalinity and nutrition directly into the blood and tissues’. Live (and dried) blood analysis, is, needless to say, part of the deal.

If you have a spare $9995 (plus $8649 for the microscope), you can even become a certified microscopist yourself on a week’s course at his ranch in California.

There are plenty of live blood microscopists operating in Britain, including Errol Denton (of See My Cells and live blood test) who is based in Harley Street and was trained by Young.

Googling ‘Errol Denton’ turns up some interesting hits, including a clip of his phone call to Jeni Barnett (from March 2010) on her LBC show (sent to Ben Goldacre via Twitter). Jeni wrote about Errol in her blog on April 1st 2010, where she described him as a ‘wonderful communicator’.

According to his website www.livebloodtest.com, he has ‘featured’ on the One Show though unfortunately I have been unable to find a clip (EDIT 21/07/11 clip here).

On both his websites and in the clip to Jeni’s programme, he makes a strong implication that the Live Blood Analysis carried out at his clinic is superior to the Complete Blood Count one would have on the NHS (and, astoundingly, implies this is the only sort of blood testing carried out by conventional medicine). He recommends the test for ‘anyone who really cares about their health and wellbeing’ and lists over thirty wide and varied health conditions including asthma, arthritis, diabetes, fatigue, heart disease and liver problems.

He charges £195 for a 60 minute consultation and test, or a 3 month support package starting from £584 – £984, which includes two blood tests (before and after), nutritional guidelines, report and products. The aim is to get your blood clean by using food as a medicine.

On his website www.seemycells.co.uk, it is possible to buy ‘alkaline supplements’ such as Liquid Chlorophyll, at £40 for 473ml (you apparently need to take 20ml a day to ensure perfect health). Here, it states that chlorophyll is the most potent blood cleanser and deodorizer and has the identical chemical structure to haemoglobin in blood (the only difference being the central atom is magnesium instead of iron).

There was a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority made in October 2010 about a leaflet advertising his blood testing service. The ASA concluded that the ad breached “CAP Code (Edition 11) clauses 3.1 (Substantiation), 7.1 (Truthfulness) and 50.1 (Health & beauty products and therapies)” and should not appear again in its current form.

I have serious concerns about Robert O Young’s activities and about Live Blood Analysis. I think it is shocking that a person such as Denton, who apparently believes chlorophyll and haemoglobin are identical (but for the central atom) has been able to set himself up as an expert in blood testing. Even more shocking is his strong implication that his type of blood testing is better than anything available on the NHS, especially given the wide range of conditions (some of them serious) listed on his website.

This is all just the tip of the iceberg of course. There are countless more practitioners of Live Blood Analysis and equally dubious testing and countless websites full of outlandish unsubstantiable claims.

I recently discovered that since March 2011, it has been possible to complain to the Advertising Standards Authority about claims made on websites. I have so far only managed to get through a couple of such practitioners but I will plough on.

If you fancy having a go at complaining to the ASA yourself, the Nightingale Collaboration give lots of good, useful advice. They even give you ideas of who to complain about by nominating a ‘focus of the month’. As a result of their sterling efforts, the ASA have been inundated with complaints about homeopathy.

I am going to be kept busy with this for some time, I feel. But hopefully not as busy as the ASA.

33 responses to “Introducing the curious world of the Alkaline Diet and Live Blood Analysis

  1. Aaaagh! Groupon are promoting live blood tests! http://www.groupon.co.uk/deals/london-special/live-blood-test/344011

    Back to complaining to the BMA!

    Annie Denny
    BSc Food&Human Nutrition
    MSc Public Health Nutrition

  2. Thanks for the link – it’s shocking, especially since it says 2997 have been bought! I’ve just submitted a complaint to the ASA. Even though the offer has expired, the ad is still there promoting livebloodtest and I think the offer (or a similar one) could be repeated.

  3. Pingback: Are UK Blood Clinic implying cancer can be reversed by following their diet? | Josephine Jones

  4. Wendy Roberts

    I went to see Errol Denton for a Live Blood Analysis on Friday 27th May and it was a total scam. I am appalled and am at a loss of about who I need to complain too. I dont know what body governs his practice. I paid £59.99 through Groupon instead of the £195. I was seen for 15 minutes. Despite them advertising that I would have nutritional testing, allergy testing etc.. all that happened was my blood was taken, he looked at it on a slide and told me he had only seen blood like mine in cancer patients. That my blood is dirty. I have markers for diabetes and I have yeast and mold in my blood. He told me he could clean my blood within 3 months if I used his products. I was traumatised when I left his office. Surely, to imply that someone could have cancer is unacceptable??? I certainly want to report him but I do not know where to start. I have a dictaphone recording of my appointment (which he was unaware of) & I photographed my blood slides with his permission. Can you help? Regards, Wendy

  5. Wendy – I’m sorry to hear of your experience with Errol Denton. As far as I am aware, his activities are not regulated by any governing body. I believe if he has implied you have Cancer and that he is able to treat it within 3 months if you use his products then he may be in breach of the Cancer Act 1939 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Geo6/2-3/13/section/4).

    You need to contact your local Trading Standards office (http://www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/advice/index.cfm). They may tell you to go through Consumer Direct (https://ssl.datamotion.com/form.aspx?co=594&frm=complainform&ri=YH&to=enquiries).

    For your information, the Advertising Standards Authority are currently looking into several complaints I have made about Denton (including a complaint about the Groupon ad). However they simply ask advertisers to either substantiate or remove misleading claims – they do not enforce the law. As they have not yet been resolved, the details of these complaints are confidential.

    I have also recently made a few complaints to Trading Standards about other practitioners of Live Blood Analysis claiming or implying they can treat cancer or other serious conditions (therefore possibly breaching the Medicines (Advertising) Regulations 1994 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1994/1932/schedule/1/made). I have not yet complained to Trading Standards about any of Denton’s advertising as it is only recently that I have become aware of this legislation.

    I would be interested to hear what happens if you decide to pursue this. In light of your comment, I am now considering making my own Trading Standards complaint about his website http://www.livebloodtest.com/who_is_it_for.php

    It is a concern that even if practitioners do not make misleading claims or implications in their advertising, they can say whatever they like once they get a client in their ‘clinic’. To make claims and implications regarding cancer is very worrying and possibly illegal.

  6. Wendy Roberts

    Hi,
    Thanks for your email. I have now made a complaint with all 3!! Take that Errol Denton!! Its appalling that they are allowed to practice. I would like to see his service shut down!! Thanks again, Wendy

  7. Pingback: My first ASA adjudication: chlorophyll possibly not ‘the most potent blood deodorizer’ after all | Josephine Jones

  8. Hi

    Live Blood Test Harley Street certainly seems like a scam to me too. After paying my money in advance I wasn’t even able to make an appointment and when I finally got through to someone they quickly hung up on me.

    BEWARE!!

    • Portia,

      Hi, I was so angry about my whole experience with this crook that I emailed Groupon an account of what happened following the purchase of my ticket and Groupon gave me a full refund!! Its appalling that this guy is still practising, imagine he led me to believe I had cancer and diabetes!! I have since been to a reputable blood analysis called Stephen Ferguson, visit his site, he knows all about Errol’s practices and has had lots of people visiting him after a poor experience with Errol. So sorry to hear what you have been through!! Wendy

      • Portia and Wendy

        It’s distressing to hear how you have been treated by Errol Denton, who is clearly a poor businessman as well as a practitioner of bogus health analysis methods. I suspect that Mr Denton under estimated the response an ad on Groupon would generate.

        It looks like Stephen Ferguson may be benefiting from Mr Denton’s clear incompetence. However, please be aware that while Mr Ferguson’s manner maybe more professional, his services are no more credible than the ones offered by Mr Denton. Live blood analysis is not a valid method of diagnosing the conditions detailed on his website. Mr Ferguson also offers many other incredible services, none of which you would see being taught in UK University Medical School or practised in the NHS and private conventional health sector. The reason being that none of these methods have been proved to work. Please don’t be misled by Mr Ferguson’s credentials, despite the many letters he chooses to put after (and before) his name is not a qualified medical doctor. According to his website, he has never attended Medical School.

        It’s sad that you have health concerns, but I would urge you to visit your GP instead of practitioners of unproven medical techniques. If you are unhappy with the service you receive from the NHS, ask to see another GP, sometimes you have to push the NHS to get what you want. There is always the option of visiting a private GP who may be able to give you more time than the NHS.

        Good luck to you both.

  9. Portia – That is shocking. I hope you are able to get your money back without too much stress. If you booked through Groupon it may be worth getting back to them about it.

  10. I have big concerns about Live Blood Analysis in general, not just about Errol. The practice is based on a nonsense theory (pleomorphism – the idea that your own cells change into bacteria and fungi). Practitioners imply live blood testing is superior to conventional blood tests (in fact modern conventional diagnostic tests (including blood tests) are far more sophisticated than just looking at the blood). Furthermore, live blood practitioners give out medical advice yet lack medical qualifications.

    If you are concerned about your health it would be advisable to consult a suitably qualified medical professional, such as your GP.

    It is worrying that Stephen Ferguson also lists cancer and diabetes on his website (which to my mind implies he is able to treat or prevent them). It is also potentially misleading that he uses the title ‘Dr’ when he is not a medical doctor.

    There is more information on Live Blood Analysis on Wikipedia here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Live_blood_analysis. There is also an article from the Guardian here http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2005/jul/12/health.science written by Edzard Ernst, Professor of Complementary Medicine. He believes ‘it is fraudulent; those who promote ineffectual diagnostic methods for financial gain are charlatans, and patients who try them are being ripped off.’

    I feel for you both (Wendy and Portia) and wish you all the best in your complaints against Errol and with your health worries. Situations like this make me angry and spur me on to make my own complaints.

  11. Pingback: ASA not able to pursue all my Live Blood Analysis complaints… Hopefully compliance action across the sector to follow. | Josephine Jones

  12. Pingback: My third ASA adjudication: Groupon’s Live Blood Test claims exaggerated, misleading and unsubstantiated | Josephine Jones

  13. I am not one of those people who believes in miracle cures, but after looking at the Live Blood Test website and seeing the offer on Groupon, I thought maybe the blood test could tell me what the dreaded standard allergy test could not and maybe identify potential health issues. I thought that Errol Denton appearing on television made him credible (not sure why I thought that, given that television also brings us the likes of Cheryl Cole and Colleen Rooney…).

    Anyway, I really should have known something wasn’t right when the receptionist who gave me the appointments wouldn’t send a written confirmation, and then tried to upgrade my £59 Groupon voucher to a £495 ‘extra nutritional consultation’. I kindly refused and later told my husband it was a bit weird that they were trying to sell me nutritional supplements without even having seen us yet. As I’d bought the vouchers though, I felt I should just attend the appointment despite my concerns.

    I booked the appointment in July for 8 October (this past Saturday). We organised the babysitter first thing in the morning and went all the way into Harley Street (we live in Kent, an hour and a half journey). When we got there, we couldn’t even get into 1 Harley Street. No one answered the buzzer at any of the entrances. I knew something was really off when the name plate on the buzzer said Errol Denton with a different company name rather than Live Blood Test. We called both numbers from the Groupon voucher, which went straight to voicemail. No one called back.

    I contacted them by email and have received no response. I contacted Groupon and got an email back within the day to apologise and state that Live Blood Test was no longer honouring vouchers and that Groupon would give me a full refund: “I am really sorry that you have not had contact with Live Blood Test. I have investigated this deal and they had cancelled their Groupon offer. A mass refund is being given to all customers. I have now cancelled your Groupons for Live Blood Test and refunded the amount of £118 back to your method of payment. Our partner has already been informed that this Groupon is no longer valid. Please allow up to 5 working days for the payment to clear back to your account.”

    Groupon has been very very good in dealing with my problem, but it doesn’t help the fact that Live Blood Test continues to advertise and take bookings. They didn’t even bother to call me to say my appointment was cancelled, which is a basic thing to do with any client appointments.

    The moral for me is clear- if it looks too good to be true, it probably is!

  14. Caroline – I’m sorry to read of your experience.

    Hearing this has made me even more angry and frustrated that his website seems not to have changed since I first reported it to the Advertising Standards Authority in March. I have also written to the One Show about this but had no reply (I didn’t make an official complaint as Denton’s appearance on the programme was so long ago). I am now considering writing to the BBC and ASA again.

    The ASA did not investigate my complaint about his website fully because they have been overstretched recently. They did say though that following one or two adjudications, they may start ‘compliance action’, which would mean contacting people like Denton about their advertising and advising them on how it may need to be amended in order to comply with CAP Advertising Codes.

    The ASA did uphold my complaint about the Groupon promotion: http://josephinejones.wordpress.com/2011/09/07/my-third-asa-adjudication-groupons-live-blood-test-claims-exaggerated-misleading-and-unsubstantiated/).

    Sadly, there is so much unreliable health information around (in advertising and newspapers) that I think you are probably right about the moral of this story.

  15. Josephine, a few more things note to anyone who might think that Errol Denton’s practice is legitimate- take a very close look at his website. His blog hasn’t been updated since 2010, the Live Blood Test News has no updates since 2010, and testimonials are mainly from 2006 to 2009.

    Further, a reputable practice will not put you straight to voicemail with no one calling you back during the day. A reputable practice that charges so much for testing will ensure that you are sent information prior to your test.

    I hate to admit I was fooled, but I was. Hopefully others will pay more attention to the signs than me!

  16. Caroline,

    I think the whole thing is scandalous and hearing stories like yours spur me on to do something about it. The way you, Wendy, Portia and presumably many others have been treated is unacceptable.

    Furthermore, the claims of medical efficacy made on Denton’s website and in the Groupon deal are misleading, exaggerated and unsubstantiated (as the ASA adjudication made against the Groupon ad made very clear).

    Unfortunately, the Groupon ad is *still* visible online, months after adjudication and Denton’s site, as you say, has not been updated in a long time.

    I was also shocked to find yesterday that Groupon are currently running a promotion for another Harley Street Live Blood Analyst, Stephen Ferguson – who I have also complained about and who I feel is also making misleading health claims on his website and on the Groupon ad.

    I find all this appalling and will continue to complain to whoever is willing to listen.

  17. Pingback: Another bloody disgrace from Groupon! | Josephine Jones

  18. I think this site is a SCAM.I am going to report this bogus site to the necessary authorities.You are trying to defame Robert Young and Errol Denton.It’s based on pure opinions and you based your information from bogus biased websites from con men like Stephen Barrett etc who LOST many lawsuits and is the real quack.You are promoting dangerous ideas from conventional treatments.By the way,there have been over 65000 lawsuits AGAINST pharmaceutical companies for the drugs causing deaths worldwide.

    You are very suspicious since you are not objective in thinking.It’s clear you have a nasty agenda.However,there are people that will DEAL with you and I hope you end up in court for defamation of character.It’s easy to spot pharma shills and the ones who have been paid to post nonsensical attacks against alternative therapies.

    Yet,the pharma industry and the drug doctors/md’s who are only qualified in drugs and surgery would protect their interest and profits.It’s all lies and scams.You prefer to put people on expensive schemes and suppress symptoms.I have seen the drugs you people offer eg Actos for diabetes that the side effects include bladder cancer and heart failures ! Live blood analysis is simply a screening and it is not diagnosis.There are many alternatives that you will obviously bash since you prefer to base your information from the dubious wikipedia.The same website that is edited by anonymous biased pharma peddlers and athiests.You are not fooling anybody here.You should be in jail you con artist.

  19. Hey Melissa, It’s *DOCTOR* Robert Young. Show the man some f*cking respect will you?

  20. My friend is a hematologist and went to school with Young.He has helped thousands of people worldwide.He got qualified as a medical microbiologist from the university of Utah.He is not the only one that came up with different theories of health.However,defamers and liars like Josephine Jones aka fake person is a nobody.I am currently issuing a warning to the people she is spreading FALSE information about.You cannot draw conclusions from asanine opinionated websites.

    She is just a damn pharma shill peddler and needs to get a life.I will be happy to see her in court just like the conspiracy with the AMA vs chiropractors.The AMA was trying the same shit and the judge ordered them to stop the conspiracy and judged them as being biased and unworthy of credibility.The so-called doctors Josephine would mention are the pharma doctors who by the way cause more deaths than the wars.She should write about that.Eg.Barbara Starfield,MD , 106000 deaths per year because of prescriptions and deadly side effects.

  21. Caroline, Portia, Wendy – I have written a new post summarising the current situation regarding live blood analysis, Groupon and my anger and frustration at the way you have been treated and the response to complaints so far. I hope this is OK. I will probably report any further developments in that thread:

    http://josephinejones.wordpress.com/2011/10/12/another-bloody-disgrace-from-groupon/

  22. In response to Melissa’s comments, I assure you that this is not a spoof.

    Worryingly, I have had several commenters of this nature from several different IP addresses. I am considering setting up a ‘Testimonials’ page with some of the more entertaining of these.

  23. You do seem to be taking an awful lot of ‘stick’ from the supporters of quackery. On the plus side this would suggest that you’re making an impact and I’m reassured that you seem to be able to treat such ‘frothings’ with the contempt they deserve.

  24. Pingback: ASA adjudicate against ‘Dr’ San Gogana’s Optimum Health UK | Josephine Jones

  25. Errol Denton now has a total of FOUR ASA adjudications against his advertising after the latest was published today, regarding some claims for nutritional microscopy which appear on the See My Cells FAQ page (http://seemycells.co.uk/store/index.php?act=viewDoc&docId=11).

    This adjudication can be read in full on the ASA website here: http://www.asa.org.uk/ASA-action/Adjudications/2011/11/Fitalifestyle-Ltd/SHP_ADJ_156679.aspx

    Jo Brodie, the original complainant, wrote about it on her blog here: http://brodiesnotes.blogspot.com/2011/11/errol-denton-fitalifestyle-fourth-asa.html

  26. Has anybody reported them to the police for being fake doctors? That is a crime,and they will definitely find themselves in prison.

  27. I had a rotten experience with Stephen Ferguson. Do not trust anything he says. He is not qualified, though he boasts the most qualifications of any alternative practitioner in the whole world. Unfortuanately, I have a real illness, and when I asked a few simple medical questions, his answers made clear he was bluffing and didn’t really know what he was talking about!
    His main focus seemed to be to sell me supplements. In fact I think that’s what this is all about. These live blood analysers are really glorified supplement salesman. Beware! It’s sickening really, cos they get people when they’re ailing and so at their most vulnerable.
    Luckily I when I complained to Groupon I was given my money back.

  28. Dear Josephine, keep up the good work. Hopefully today’s feature on the matter will raise it into public debate. I would also advise contacting your MP, and the AAPG on primary care. As for the comments supportive these two ‘gentlemen’, they smell too much like either the rantings of the deluded, or planted comments from friends of the doctors.

  29. Pingback: Radio 4 You & Yours investigate unregulated ‘live’ blood tests | Josephine Jones

  30. Pingback: London Evening Standard promote live blood quackery | Josephine Jones

  31. Pingback: Live Blood Analysis and the ASA: a catalogue of complaints | Josephine Jones

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