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There are dozens of nutritional supplements out there, all claiming to improve your health in one way or another (often ignoring the basics of a healthy diet and exercise). Sites promoting them abound in cyberspace, but one to especially watch out for is at

ElectricLife is proud to promote "the new science of Nutri-Physics." Master herbalist David Elliott, we’re told, has merged quantum theory (the physics of subatomic particles) with nutritional science, to create four costly new products that "have proven helpful" for 90 different ailments, including obesity, back pain, fatigue and depression.

Elliott provides some musings that have you nodding in agreement: "Never before has there been so much talk about health. Never before have people been so unhealthy ... Is it possible that our health ‘experts’ are missing something?"

Then comes the science: Everything you learned in chemistry class is wrong!

Elliott (he’s not a real doctor; he has a master’s degree in herbology) says the body doesn’t use chemical reactions to make nutrients usable. No, "Nutri-Physics provides a much more accurate model to account for transmutation phenomena."

This includes such notions as, "In cases of disease, which always begin with the decline of electrical integrity within the body, the red blood cells frequently lose their electrical charge and begin to stick together, creating chronic congestion and stagnation in the bloodstream that can lead to ever more serious conditions."

Sluggish blood – isn’t that what they used to use leeches for? What’s more, Elliott says you don’t need to take in potassium, for example, because your cells can "transmute the first 20 elements of the periodic table at the subatomic level."

Elliott says that our bodies convert two elements, sodium (as in salt) and oxygen, into potassium. That’s why, perhaps, his Electric C pills contain 18 milligrams of sodium. And here’s proof that human beings don’t need calcium supplements: Horses and cows don’t take them, and you never heard of a cow with osteoporosis!

I showed ElectricLife’s materials to a couple of friends (they’re not real doctors – they have bachelor’s degrees, in science).

"This isn’t science," said one. "It’s religion, and faith-healing is usually a lot cheaper than this" ($39.95 for half an ounce of Renee Skin Cream, $49.95 for 60 caps of Electric C, containing 190 milligrams of vitamin C per cap, or far less than the usual tablet).

Company president James Lee Van Patten, who describes himself as a "health practitioner" specializing in blood analysis and nutritional consulting (i.e. "not a degree as in standard medical degrees") admitted to me that his company has done no research on its products.

"Double-blind studies are not usually done on this type of product," he explains. "They’re usually done on products that are closer to the pharmaceutical industry. But we do have stunning testimonials."

Patients quoted on ElectricLife’s site gained relief from panic attacks, constipation, PMS, scoliosis, "fibroid cystic something-or-other, where the mammary glands swell up," wrinkles, cold sores, candida, liver spots, allergies, stretch marks, sinus problems, cataracts, dizziness and minor burns. They experienced improved posture, strength, memory, endurance, sleep, skin tone and recovery from stroke.

Laura Clausing of Washington state says she had chronic neck problems for 37 years before taking ElectricLife products for three days. "David (Elliott) says that all the toxins held my bones in the wrong place. With his product, my body began cleaning them out. I was floored!"

You may laugh, but there’s a big market for nutrition in a capsule: One-quarter to one-third of Americans take daily vitamin pills, and it’s a $6 billion-a-year business. If you’re going to add your bucks to that number, talk to a nutritionist (as in degree in nutrition) first.

About The Author

Jane Slaughter

When she's not reviewing restaurants, Jane Slaughter also writes about labor affairs, having co-founding the labor magazine Labor Notes. Her writing has also appeared in The Nation, The Progressive, Monthly Review, and In These Times.
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