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My wife has a little brother confined to an electric wheel chair who suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy; an incurable fatal disease that lessens the quality of life of not only the patient but their whole family. After being assured by medical experts that the disease was incurable and would result in death before adulthood, imagine the surprise of my in-laws when a man with no scientific background at all who had vaguely known the family from years ago, suddenly turned up on their door step out of the blue, announcing that he could offer them hope. This hope came in the form of an audiocassette entitled 'Dead Doctors Don't Lie'; the recording of a lecture given by a supposed Nobel Prize nominee called Dr Joel Wallach, who tells of how he used to be a veterinarian pathologist who single handedly discovered that all diseases are simply the result of a nutritional deficiency; however the medical establishment wouldn't listen to him due to financial interests in drugs and surgery.
Wallach told the story of how all the diseases known to modern man are the result of nutritional deficiencies due to the food supply being depleted of minerals, and how a handful of populations around the world enjoyed unusually long lives, apparently due to their living near mineral-rich water that irrigates their lands referred to as 'glacial milk'. He then told of how there was an area in Utah that native Indians knew of, where the drinking water could cure all ails and a promote long healthy life. The tape ended by telling the listener that this source of American glacial milk has been discovered and that bottles of it are available if you were to just phone the person whose phone number was written on the cassette tape.
Although claims made on this tape seemed a bit too good to be true, Wallach did come across as very believable, so out of interest, I accepted an invitation to a information evening hosted by 'Australian Longevity(AL)', which sounded to me like it was just some kind of health enthusiast group. I arrived at the Australian Longevity head office at Castle Hill in Sydney, to find out that AL was in fact the Australian extension of 'American Longevity'; the Multilevel Marketing (MLM) scheme created by Joel Wallach through which he markets his magic mineral water. I was told all about the wonderful health improvements that AL members had received from taking the 'pig pack'; the name given to an incredibly expensive combination of dietary supplements, among which included this wonderful 'glacial milk' which the DDDL tape had left listeners wondering about. This particular mineral product was promised to be special in that it contained all '60 essential minerals' unlike the small handful that most supplements contain, but most notably, contained minerals in their 'colloidal form' which according to Wallach, was the only form in which our bodies could properly absorb them.
What seemed most interesting to me was the cult-like nature of this group. Many of them I recognised from the Latter Day Saint (Mormon) church, in which I had been brought up. (Apparently, Todd Smith, whom I would later meet in court, was a Mormon who brought the MLM scheme to Australia and had evidently used the church as a vehicle to spread his business.) The meeting involved attendees standing up, giving personal testimonials of how they had been cured of their diseases, and talk of why we should not trust the medical profession when it comes to health care, but instead refer to the teachings of Joel Wallach, who apparently was brave enough to rebel against medical conspiracy to bring us all the wonderful cures we needed to get well and stay well. This ''ours is the true group'' ''we have the true leader'' ''spread faith-promoting testimonials'' nature of the meeting gave it many of the attributes I had become familiar with, growing up in the Mormon church. The man who had originally invited me along even told me that Joel Wallach was similar to Joseph Smith (the founder of the LDS religion) because both were humble farm boys, condemned among mainstream thinking for bringing the truth to the people, spread through a small faithful group.
These meetings were apparently a weekly event, where MLM distributors were to bring along new recruits to encourage them to sign up and join the pyramid; thus beginning the road to financial freedom simply by finding a handful of friends or family members who could do likewise. We were also given lots of health advice advocated by Wallach, which included making sure we consume lots of salt, butter and animal fat, to avoid vegetable oils and fibre, and of course, to purchase their various 'nutritional' supplements, most notably the 'pig pack' (so called because it was the formula Wallach claims to have used to cure arthritis in pigs) which included the all important 'plant derived' colloidal mineral water. Throughout this time I was informed as to the 'real' causes of various diseases such as cardiomyopathy, diabetes and even baldness and grey hair.
Incidentally, the man who originally invited me to the AL meeting (who also drives the van with the 'Dead Doctors Don't Lie' advertisement printed on the windows claiming to be able to treat a plethora of serious diseases), gave me (and presumably others) a written copy of his testimonial in which he claims (among other things) that;
'"My wife noticed my hair which was totaly grey, was returning to it's natural dark brown colour at the back of my neck & through my grey hair."
"By the end of Week 5, all the above were healed, except hair still darkening. I'm awestruck!"
This photo was taken approximately a year after he was still claiming that his grey hairs were supposedly returning to their natural brown. If he goes around with a head of hair looking like this, claiming that it is changing colour, then I'm sure he would have no reason to object to a photo of it being published along with the claims he makes about it.
Many of the people who had been brought along by distributors were simply old, sick and very desperate people who were either sick themselves or had desperately ill family, who had heard Wallach's DDDL tape (and no doubt received advice from AL distributors) and come along in hope of finding a cure.
For example, one man had a good friend who was close to death with uncontrollable diabetes. He was told that if he signed up and purchased a case load of their 'pig packs' that within a few months, his friends diabetes would be back under control. This man and others first complaint was about the ludicrous price of these magical cure-all products, and were told that they could afford them much easier by joining the pyramid (of course pyramids never use the word 'pyramid') and recruiting family and friends to help spread the business. Out of desperation, many reluctantly forked over their pension money.
At this point, I was very uncertain where to turn for more information. It was plain to see (at least from my perspective) that this was all a bit too good to be true, but more than likely had at least some element of truth to it. I considered asking my GP what he knew about the wonders of 'colloidal minerals' however I had been lead to believe that doctors couldn't be trusted (hence the catch phrase, 'Dead Doctors Don't Lie'.) Not knowing where to go for more info, I took the long road to knowledge and changed my course of study at university to become a nutritionist.
Of course I learnt a bunch of facts about human nutrition throughout this time, but perhaps most importantly, I learned how to examine the evidence behind any claim or belief about something scientific, in this case, health and nutrition. So rather than just believing the bunch of facts and figures that were thrown at me by my lecturers, I approached the claims that Wallach had made by asking 'where is the evidence?' What I discovered was that Wallach's claims were not only inaccurate but they were nothing more than very clever lies, designed to lull vulnerable people into a false sense of security in order to relieve them of their money. I had also come across a handful of people from the church who had been approached by AL distributors claiming to cure them of their health conditions, many of them who had received no benefit but were too shy or ashamed to let their story be heard. Funnily enough, it was only those who for whatever reason, believed that they had been cured, whose testimonials were given at meetings and printed on the plethora of AL's advertising material.
I continued to observe sick, vulnerable people preyed upon by these snake oil salesman, and in an attempt to protect them, I decided I should make the facts behind Wallach's claims publicly known. I under estimated how easy this would be. A web site seemed to be the most easily accessible vehicle to warn the public, but of course, what's the good of a web site if no one knows it's there? I attended a lecture hosted by AL for members and prospective members to come along to see Wallach in his annual tour of Australia, where I handed out leaflets warning people to be skeptical of the claims they were hearing, and to refer to my web site for more information. As soon as Wallach's major AL members became aware of this, I was promptly removed from the premesis by security.
Several days later, I planned on attending the other major seminar in Sydney, only this time decided that if Wallach's henchman were going to have me thrown out, they could explain their actions in front of the rest of the country, so I alerted Channel Sevens 'Today Tonight' of Wallach's meeting.
The plan was that instead of handing out flyers to people who may potentially go and dob me in so to speak, I should simply stand up and ask Wallach why he was misleading people and to question him in front of the audience (of several hundred people) and the cameras. I did of course, which resulted in my swift removal (including being physically dragged out and thrown down a flight of stairs) but this time, occurred in front of the whole audience instead of quietly out the back door as on the previous occasion.
The Today Tonight crew also sought expert opinions from doctors including Professor John Dwyer, one of the worlds leading immunologists and an outspoken critic of medical fraud, who described Wallach as 'just a snake oil salesman with monumental skills in self promotion'.
The television expose' along with the increasing popularity of my web site (which inevitably prevented many potential victims from falling for the scam) lead to a constant campaign of harassment from supporters of Wallach, no doubt with a significant financial interest in his MLM scheme. Not long after, one Saturday afternoon I was presented with an affidavit to appear in the supreme court of NSW first thing Monday morning, apparently because I was being sued for defamation by Joel Wallach and Australian Longevity who were also attempting to claim an interlocutory injunction to, among other things, restrain me from
“ establishing or using a web site for the purpose of publishing any material that refers to or identifies in any way the First or Second Plaintiffs.” (Australian Longevity and Joel Wallach.)
Upon arrival at court, I requested the judge grant me permission to have more time to seek legal council. I was then approached by Todd Smith (the person who had brought Wallach's pyramid to Australia) and his barristers, who informed me that they would not seek damages if I were to hand control of the web site over to them then and there. Their alleged concern was that potential customers may mistake my site for an official AL site, and that they needed to amend it for this purpose, as it contained incorrect information, ie, that I was warning that customers would be 'sucked into the pyramid' (Smiths exact words, and probably not too far from the truth.) I had previously offered to sit down with AL bosses and go through the statements I had made on my site, and amend any incorrect information so long as they could provide me with the evidence to support their argument. (As well as discussing this with another one of Wallach's 'triple diamond' distributors, I even made this abundantly clear on the web site) I told them that if it was truly their concern that customers may mistake my site for theirs, I would be happy to print a disclaimer, clearly visible on the site somewhere. If you now go to the index page of 'wallachism.com', you will see the disclaimer which I am legally obligated to keep there, as well as the one printed at the top of every subsequent page.
Since then, other than constant hate mail from AL members and supporters, the only retaliation AL has offered is a 'rebuttal' to my web site to which I have posted a reply. Occasionally I see a car drive by with 'Dead Doctors Don't Lie, call Joe Blow on 0414 blah blah blah'. Every now any then, I even see a building or road sign with the DDDL message printed on it with a contact phone number. I know I'm sure to see them with a stall at the 'Mind Body Spirit' festival twice a year, and I'm even told they have been spotted from time to time at Parklea markets in Sydney. Unfortunately, I have also been informed that many chiropractors have been abusing their position as a trusted health professional, by introducing their patients to Wallachs lies in an attempt to increase their income and lighten their patients wallets. No doubt, you will see one of them trying to grab your attention somewhere, somehow (if you have a family member with an incurable disease, you may even be unlucky enough to have one turn up to your doorstep). I am by no means suggesting that you follow them and run them over. (That would be wrong.)
Below are a few snippets of hate mail from Wallach supporters, which my website has attracted over the past few years. Fortunately, most of the feedback I recieve is supportive - it's just far less entertaining.
Wallach completed his B.S. degree followed by his D.V.M degree to become a vetinarian, which lead him to become an animal pathologist for the St Louis Zoo in the late 1960's. In a few rehusus monkeys whose mother he claims was deficient in fatty acids and selenium, Wallach identified pancreatic lesions which were apparently similar to that seen in cystic fibrosis patients. He then concluded that what he was observing was in fact the first case of cystic fibrosis identified in animals, and that therefore, the disease itself was simply caused by a congenial deficiency of fatty acids and selenium. Although at the time it was thought that cystic fibrosis was due to a genetic fault, the exact genome had not been discovered.
The hypothesis attracted some research, however it was soon found that CF patients, although often having impaired absorption of fatty acids, generally had a selenium status no different from that of healthy controls (people without the disease).[3,4] It was soon established that selenium deficiency played no role in the pathogenesis of the disease, however Wallach persisted in trying to prove his theory correct; a persistence that saw him fired as the zoos pathologist, and instead head to the Keshan region of China (an area notorious for its selenium deficient soils) to conduct further research.
Wallach reported to have identified pancreatic lesions in those with 'Keshan disease' (a condition thought to be caused by susceptibility to a virus that occurs in extreme selenium deficiency) as those in CF; an observation which he insists was supportive of his original theory. Wallach's hypothesis had no credibility, and was (rightly) not taken seriously by the scientific community. Firstly, similar pancreatic lesions could be reproduced under various circumstances, and were not unique among CF patients.[6,7] Secondly, if a congenial selenium deficiency was responsible for CF, then there would be an epidemic of CF in the Keshan region of China, not an epidemic of Keshan Disease; the pathology of which varies significantly from CF.
Several years later, significant advances had been made in the field of molecular biology, and by this time, the specific gene for cystic fibrosis had been discovered, which subsequently allowed potential carriers to be screened. With Wallach's years of research being obviously shown to be irrelevant, and his theory obviously proven wrong, Wallach then ceased conducting scientific research, and instead completed a N.D degree to practice as a naturopath, where he could put his unproven theories to use on human patients without having to worry about rejection from the medical / scientific community. To this day, Wallach still insists that CF is caused by a deficiency of fatty acids and selenium, and is not a genetically inherited disease. Despite recent molecular biology advances which have identified the gene responsible for the CF disease, Wallach still insists that the evidence which the medical establishment bases the genetic theory of CF comes from two studies published in the early half of last century, and that modern day medicine rejected his claims due to a conspiracy against him.
In the early 1980's, Wallach practiced as a "Manner Metabolic Physician'' a term given to those who treat cancer patients by administering 'laetrile', also known as vitamin b17; a cyanide containing substance which is derived from apricot pits, clinically proven to be ineffective against cancer (many criminal charges have been brought against people selling laetrile as a cancer treatment, ripping off thousands of desperate patients. Moreover, laetrile is one of the more popular choices of cancer therapy among infamous Tijuana cancer clinics operating outside of U.S. legal jurisdiction.)
Several years later, Wallach worked at Tijuana's infamous 'Hospital Santa Monica' (the 'alternative medicine' clinic which recently gained notoriety when Coretta Scott King died there) operated by the infamous Kurt Donsbach, well known for his long history of criminal activities including practicing medicine without a licence, drug smuggling, tax evasion, making false health claims, using phony diagnostic devices, and more. 
In 1991, a Naturopathic group allegedly attempted to nominate Wallach for a Nobel Prize in Medicine, for his CF research. The Nobel committee do not inform nominees of their nomination, and apparently, they denied that Wallach was ever a legitimate nominee to begin with. Despite this, Wallach's 'Dead Doctors Don't Lie' tapes, as well as Wallach's other promotion material, boldly state '1991 Nobel Prize Nominee in Medicine'.
Two years later it was reported that Wallach was involved in selling vitamins and hydrogen peroxide in an MLM scheme. In 1995, a relative of one of Wallach's patients reported their concerns to the National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF) when the patient died in Wallach's care where he was dispensing chelation therapy (a treatment used to treat heavy metal intoxication) for heart disease; a notorious misuse of the treatment. The relative expressed concern that Wallach had convinced the patient not to be treated by his regular physician; thus he did not seek proper medical help and died. 
In the early 1990's, Wallach's now infamous lecture entitled 'Dead Doctors Don't Lie' was recorded, and used to promote T.J.Clark's brand of Colloidal Minerals. T.J.Clark and Co soon severed business relations with Wallach, apparently due to the unwanted reputation brought about by the absurd lies made throughout his DDDL presentation. Wallach then switched to another colloidal mineral company, this time Soaring Eagle Ventures, who also terminated their business relationship in 1997, after which time Wallach started his own line of Colloidal Minerals (which he now insists is the only reliable brand, despite being derived from the same mine as Soaring Eagle's) though a Multi Level Marketing venture he created called American Longevity. American Longevity is apparently controlled now by his son Steve Wallach, who incidentally has an uncannily similar idiosyncratic writing style (characterized by, among many other tell-tale attributes, the constant incorrect placing of question marks at the end of sentences; something that came to my attention because many people who had contacted AL for advice were replied to by Steve Wallach, before forwarding me his reply) to someone who, when my web site first appeared, constantly sent me threatening and harassing emails. The IP address of this annonymous pig-packer funnily enough seemed to shift from different states of Australia before ending up in California at around the same time that Wallach Jnr was traveling the country giving promotional seminars to AL members before returning home. I'm sure its just a coincidence.
N.B. American Longevity has since changed their name to Youngevity® USA. Australian Longevity has also changed their name to Youngevity® Australia. I highly suspect that at least part of the reason behind their name change was to avoid people searching the internet for "American Longevity" and "Australian Longevity" from coming across websites such as this.
Wallach still tours the world giving hundreds of seminars (which don't seem to have changed that much since the 1991 version) to promote his MLM scheme. The first exposure most people will probably have to AL is by being handed a copy of the DDDL recording, though there are copious other recordings of his other lectures, all very similar, as well as a handful of books including 'Let's Play Doctor' (which his followers refer to like scripture) which contain misleading advice on how to treat you own diseases.Throughout his many lectures and books, Wallach makes many unsubstantiated claims about the causation and appropriate treatment of various diseases. Here I will briefly cover the major claims he makes through his Dead Doctors Don't Lie recording, which his entire company is based on.
Because to the average layperson, many of the claims Wallach makes may sound too good to be true, as they completely contradict what modern medical science practices. For people to believe not only that his claims are right, but not to believe anyone (most likely doctors) who argues his claims are bogus, it is important for him to win their trust over that of their doctors. Consequently, he spends a large portion of time making exaggerated criticisms of the medical profession, suggesting that money driven conspiracies drive the industry. This kind of conspiracy theory against mainstream medicine is also popular among followers of alternative medicine, which may be more likely to believe the rest of his claims due to confirmation bias.
If Wallachs claims about disease and his claims about how to treat them were true, then one would think that he would be spending most of his time and effort into providing evidence to support them, rather than attacking anyone who may disagree with his teachings. Perhaps the most illogical of all his arguments in this respect, is that we should not trust Doctors knowledge of health and nutrition, because the average age of an American doctor is only 58 years; apparently therefore, they wouldn't know anything about longevity; thus the catch phrase 'dead doctors don't lie' (as silly as this logic sounds, it seems to appeal to many people). The source of this information comes from the death notices of 40 U.S. physicians in 1 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Obviously, the average age of death of 40 doctors in 1 months issue is not a good representation of an entire profession of people. For example, had Wallach have calculated the average age of death from the obituaries in the previous months issue, the average age would have been 83. 
Statistics covering the population of 344,823 physicians, and the deaths of 19,086 over 5 years indicate that the average life expectancy of American doctors is actually greater than the rest of the U.S. population. In 1998, The American Medical Association's Center For Health Care Policy published data on the life expectancies of U.S. medical graduate physicians, which showed that the life expectancies of physicians is somewhere between 75 and 88, depending upon age and gender. 
One of the most concerning pieces of information that Wallach gives us is that not only is our food supply depleted of minerals (which leads to all the diseases known to man) but the U.S. government have the evidence, in the form of Senate Document 264. In reality, this 'senate document' is merely the reprinting of an opinion piece written by a farmer in the 1930's published in Cosmopolitan magazine which subsequently caught the attention of a Florida senator. It was not based on any study or scientific evidence at all. The document was located by Donald Davis who reported his findings to the Townsend Letter and brought it to the attention of the National Council Against Health Fraud who subsequently published warnings to consumers to be wary of supplement companies basing claims on this 'senate document'. 
As for the nutrient content of our food supply, unless you happen to live an remote area or the world chronically deficient in selenium or iodine, the chances are there there are more than enough vitamins and minerals available. Several years ago, the Australian Bureau of Statistics published the 'Apparent Consumption of Nutrients' as well as the 'National Nutrition Survey' which revealed not only that the Australian food supply contained an abundance of macro and micro nutrients, but the average Australian was consuming in excess of the Recommended Dietary Intakes of all vitamins and minerals. (Incidentally, the RDI levels of vitamins and minerals are designed to exceed the actual amount needed by almost all healthy people, and are not synonymous with requirements. Amounts in excess of the RDI are generally unnecessary and in some cases, can be dangerous.) See my article on Nutritional Supplements (subsequently published in two journals) which covers this issue in more detail.
This is perhaps the most interesting and hope-inspiring part of Wallach's story, where he explains that there are a handful of populations in remote villages who regularly live well beyond the age of 100; the result of living near areas of mineral-rich 'glacial milk'. These populations include the Hunzas in Pakistan, the people of Vilcabamba in Ecuador, villagers in the Caucus Mountains of Georgia and the people of Tibet. Unfortunately, as is often the case, reality is far less hope-inspiring, as even though these cultures do exist, their supposed longevity does not, and even if it did, it would certainly not be due to any mythical, magical mineral waters.
Wallach's information regarding the “long lived cultures” comes from an entertaining yet unscientific article that appeared in a popular magazine during the 1970's written by Alexander Leaf. Leaf printed the age of the people he interviewed, not based on documented evidence, but simply by taking their word for it. People these areas of the world are known to exaggerate their age to gain social respect.
The problem in determining the accuracy of reports of those who have traveled to Pakistan to study the Hunzas alleged longevity is that the ages of these people were obtained purely by asking them, without being evidenced by documentation despite the fact that it is well known that in these areas of the world, extreme old age is frequently exaggerated to gain respect and an elevated social stature. Some reports claim that any actual longevity may be due to vigorous exercise, farming with optimally cured manure and particularly the fact that they eat a vegetarian like diet and stay physically active throughout their life. It is more than likely however they simply like to exaggerate their old age.
After Leafs initial visit, radiologist Richard Mazess and anthropologist Sylvia Forman traveled to Vilcabamba to determine whether or not there was any validity to these claims. They performed a house-by-house census and checked records of births, deaths and marriages and cross checked various documents against each other. As they investigated these documents they found a consistent pattern of age exaggerations and inconsistencies throughout the records. They discovered that none of the 23 self-proclaimed centenarians had actually reached 100 at all, in fact their average age was seen to be closer to 86. [26-28]
After studying the people of the Caucus Mountains extensively, a Russian geneticist named Zhores Medvedev shattered the myths regarding these people's claims of extreme longevity, revealing that many of the supposed centenarians had actually assumed the identity of their dead parents and grandparents to avoid detection after they had deserted the military forces during World War I. [29-31]
I'm not sure where the notion of Tibetans enjoying long life comes from. According to the recent national Census information, the average life span of the people of Tibet has been increased from 36 (in 1951) to 67 (in 2000).
There are several things that the “long-lived cultures” have in common, (such as poor literacy skills, poor record keeping, tenancy to exaggerate old age) but none of them are “glacial milk.” In actual fact, the oldest recorded living human died at age 122. Wallach is simply a snake oil salesman trying to sell people the 'secret' to good health and longevity. He is not the first, and no doubt will not be the last.
One of Wallach's more commonly cited catch cry is that we need 90 essential nutrients every day, and that for every nutrient we miss out on, there are approximately 10 deficiency diseases associated with it. According to wallach, 60 of these essential nutrients are minerals. When we look on the labels of food products or various dietary supplements, we would be lucky to find even 10 minerals listed let alone 60. He has already given us the idea that we can not get all the nutrients from out food, and therefore need to take supplements, but this information makes us doubt whether the supplements on the shelves are any good.
In reality, there are no more than 23 mineral elements which have been identified as essential in mammalian organisms. Macro minerals generally either act as crystals to strengthen bones, or as electrolytes in nerve transduction, whereas trace minerals generally act as co factors for various enzymes required in metabolic pathways / biochemical reactions. When questioned about this, Wallach's spokesmen base the fact that approximately 60 mineral elements are found in tissues to support his claim that therefore, all these minerals are needed. This is absurd. Just because a mineral may be present in a tissue does not mean that it is playing a functional role, as certain tissues tend to accumulate certain elements even if we have no biochemical use for them. For example, if someone were exposed to high levels of leaded exhaust fume, they would have high levels of lead accumulated in various tissue. This does not mean that this person has a greater lead requirement.
Furthermore, just because we may require a certain element, does not mean that having more of it will be healthful, in fact in the case of certain minerals such as iron in men, we get more than enough as it is, and additional doses can accumulate and be harmful.(Funnily enough, Iron is one of the most abundant minerals in colloidal minerals). The reason I mention this is because below is a list of the elements identified as being essential in at least one species of mammal, in some cases, essentiality has only been confirmed due to specific pathologies that occur when that mineral is deficient, as apposed to essentiality being confirmed due to an actual known metabolic role being established. (To use iron as the example, we know iron is part of the hemoglobin molecule that transports oxygen in our blood, as well as the myoglobin molecule in our muscle cells. A mineral such as lithium for example, has been shown to cause certain problems in birds when it is deficient, however what role it plays in the body is unknown. Toxicity of these elements are probably better understood.) When you see an element listed as essential that you do not commonly see the levels of listed on food labels or added to mineral supplement formulas, do not think that you need to go out and start getting more 'lead' or 'arsenic' in your diet - the chances are, you are probably getting levels of these elements that are more than enough, and are at a greater risk of accumulating toxic doses than you are of becoming deficient in them.
Essential Mineral Elements
Colloidal Mineral products are basically shale leachate; that is, they soak humic shale in water (which leaches the minerals into it) and then bottle the water. Unfortunately, humans were designed to eat plants and animals, not rocks, so the mineral content of this humic shale leachate sold as 'colloidal minerals', contains varying amounts of various minerals. The resulting shale leachate is very low in some important minerals that may actually be beneficial to many people such as calcium and selenium, whilst very high in minerals such as alumnium and cadmium  which are non-essential, have no biological role whatsoever, and are contained in potentially toxic amounts. At least multivitamin and mineral supplements are specifically formulated to contain minerals that we actually need, usually in doses that are safe and appropriate, not random depending on what chunk of rock you happen to pull up from the ground.
Other than containing minerals that most people would probably have never heard heard of, the other attractive claim made for their use is that unlike other mineral supplements (either salts which Wallach incorrectly refers to as 'metallic minerals' or those chelated by amino acids) which according to him, have between 5 - 40 per cent absorbability, 'colloidal' minerals are 90-98 per cent absorbable, because of their small particle size and negative charge.
Once again, Wallach exploits the lack of understanding that most people would have about metabolism and nutrient absorbability. There are several issues of concern that need to be explained regarding this claim.
Firstly, the absorbability of a mineral depends less upon the 'form' it is in, and more upon our body's need for it. For example, if our iron stores were adequate, we may only absorb about 1 per cent of the iron we consume, in any form. If we were deficient, our body's would start to absorb much more, perhaps up to 25 per cent of that we consume. A mineral such as chromium for example, will only be approximately 2 per cent absorbable at the most. We would certainly not want to absorb 25 per cent (let alone 98 per cent) of the chromium we ingested or else it would soon become toxic. Admittedly, some forms of minerals are better absorbed than others, but the difference is generally quite small compared to what he alleges. To use calcium as an example, calcium carbonate is generally approx 30 per cent absorbable, depending on the need for it. Calcium citrate, considered the most absorbable form of calcium, is approximately 33 per cent absorbable. Wow.
Wallach further exploits this issue by saying that if (and he uses the example of calcium) the RDI for calcium were 1000mg, and we only absorbed 1/3 of the calcium we ingest, we would therefore need to consume 3 times as much (3000mg) to meet out RDI levels. This is a lie of course, as absorbability is taken into account when RDI levels are set. For example, if we absorbed 100 per cent of the calcium we ingested, then the RDI would drop by approx 1/3, etc. This lie, however ridiculous, may easily lead people to believe that they would need to ingest whopping large amounts of supplement pills in order to absorb enough of them. Put simply, this is a lie, and one that is potentially dangerous. This information then leads the listener to want to learn where they can obtain a mineral supplement which is better absorbed, which of course, his colloidal mineral water supposedly is.
Wallach then goes on to mention that typical supplement pills can not be absorbed well, telling a story of how he supposedly met a man who cleaned port-a-loos and showed him all the multivitamins which had been collecting in them (that is, that they had been swallowed and passed out without being broken down). This story is a ludicrous lie. If you placed any pill in an acid, it would dissolve within minutes, unless it was enterically coated in which case it would dissolve under an alkaline environment. If this break down occurs in minutes using a weak acid such as vinegar, what do you think the likelihood is of them sitting in stomach acid (which is approximately 100 to 500 times stronger than that of vinegar) for several hours, being churned by the digestive tract and then being excreted without having been broken down at all, let alone completely digested.
Another issue that needs to be taken into consideration is that despite having a relatively small particle size and a negative charge, unless our body is particularly in need of a specific mineral, the absorbability of it will be of little difference. There is simply no evidence at all to suggest that 'colloidal' minerals are absorbed any better than any other mineral supplements, in fact by definition, a colloidal particle has poor definition across a semi permeable membrane (such as that which coats our bodies cells).
This might lead one to ask how therefore can they get away with claiming that their product is '90-98' per cent absorbable', as we see printed on the back of the van window. Put simply, it is a liquid product, consisting mainly of water; we absorb almost all the water we ingest. No where does the wording specifically state that it is the minerals (let alone all the minerals) that are 90-98 per cent absorbable. Unfortunately, as obvious as this may sound, I seriously doubt that any of Wallach's followers (let alone the ones who have it splashed across their car windows) ever realize this.
Wallach's claim that all diseases are due to nutritional deficiencies is perhaps his most outrageous and potentially dangerous. His strategy is relatively simple [if you know the basics of human micro nutrient metabolism). Take a vitamin or mineral, figure out what its biological role is and what symptoms would occur in a deficiency state, figure out what chronic disease is closest to those symptoms, and say that all cases of that disease are simply caused by a deficiency of the corresponding nutrient. Below are a few examples.
The trace mineral copper acts as a cofactor in several apoenzymes, including (among others) lysyl oxidase which is involved in the biosynthesis of the connective tissues elastin and collagen,as well as tyrosinase which is involved in the biosynthesis of melanin, the pigment in our hair and skin. Dietary deficiency of copper is virtually unheard of, in fact the only known copper deficiency state in humans occurs in a rare condition called called Menkes Disease, where there is a disruption in the gene encoding the Menkes protein which is responsible for transporting copper through the cell, resulting in what is essentially a severe deficiency state. The onset of the disease occurs immediately, and causes many severe abnormalities as a result of the copper deficient state. The most common problems are early onset osteoporosis, the inability to regulate body temperature, neurological damage, mental retardation and in severe enough cases, abnormalities of the blood vessels including twisting and frayed inner walls of the cerebral arteries, as the arterial walls are stabilized by the connective tissue which fails to be correctly produced in a state of copper deficiency. Another characteristic in some cases is colourless and 'kinky', presumably because copper is needed to produce pigment and formation of disulfide bonds in keratin, the protein hair is made from. The condition worsens throughout childhood and the patient usually dies during adolescence.
It was first suggested that the disease was an inborn error of copper metabolism when Australian sheep grazing on copper deficient soils displayed similar colourless 'kinky' wool. A phenomenon in bovine called 'falling disease' which occurs due to a sudden ruptured aortic aneurysm was also thought to occur due at least in part to grazing in copper deficient soils, however this was never confirmed. 
Given the fact that copper is needed to produce pigment and maintain healthy blood vessel elasticity, Wallach claims that all vascular abnormalities and other problems associated with connective tissue including aneurysms varicose veins and even wrinkles, are simply a result of a copper deficiency, occuring in late age supposedly due to a decline in the ability to absorb it (remedied only by colloidal minerals of course.). Likewise, he claims that grey hair at any age, is not natural at all, and is simply due to copper deficiency.
There are many biochemical reactions and therefore many different substrates involved in the synthesis of connective tissues, only one of which requires a copper dependant enzyme. (Likewise with melanin.) If indeed Wallachs claims were correct, and everyone who had these problems including grey hair had a copper deficiency, then they would have to also be showing the other symptoms associated with copper deficiency, which obviously they are not, because for the body to be so deficient in copper that the hair loses its pigment, the other serious pathologies associated with Menkes disease would also be present. With the exception of perhaps those who believe that Wallachs minerals are changing their hair colour, I do not think that people with grey hair are also mentally retarded (one of the other symptoms associated with a deficiency of copper severe enough to result in grey hair.)
Wallach claims that blood sugar irregularities such as Diabetes are simply the result of a Chromium and Vanadium deficiency. Because chromium is involved in insulin function, a deficiency of chromium may result in diabetes like symptoms (insulin dysfunction). Studies have shown that diabetics are generally not deficient in this mineral, and that chromium supplementation (or simply increasing the chromium intake from the diet) will only assist people who are already deficient in this mineral. Consequently, nearly all clinical trials examining the effect of chromium supplementation both in healthy people and in diabetics have shown no significant effect on glucose levels insulin function.[47-52] Chromium picolinate supplements have been associated with a large number of problems and long term use should be avoided.[53-59]
Vanadium has not been proven to be an essential mineral for humans. Vanadium mimics insulin action, and so some trials have used vanadium containing agents to treat diabetes, with some success, however, because vanadium is so poorly absorbed, levels needed to be effective may be toxic. Saying that diabetes is a vanadium deficiency is like saying that diabetes is a Metformin deficiency. (Metformin is a common medication shown to be effective at treating diabetes and without the toxicity of vanadium treatments.)
Although the precise 'cause' is not understood, type II diabetes (non insulin dependent/adult onset) has been seen to occur largely in obese people. Many studies have shown not only that obesity is a clear risk for developing type II diabetes, but persons with type II diabetes can decrease their symptoms, improve their health and decrease their risk of death from diabetes by losing weight. One of the most successful means for treating type II diabetes is weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight / body fat portion, though Wallach never mentions that.
Many people may not know the difference between a heart attack caused by a cardiomyopathy (very rare) and a heart attack caused by coronary heart disease (caused by blockages in the coronary arteries. This is the single most common cause of death in western populations.) Wallach makes fun of people who 'dropped dead of a cardiomyopathy heart attack' because, as he claims, cardiomyopathy is caused by a deficiency of selenium, however cardiologists do not tell us this so that they can make money by charging patients for heart transplants instead.
In reality, cardiomyopathy is not a single disease, but a generic description of a disease of the heart muscle, including the types ischemic, dilated, hypertrophic, alcoholic, peripartum, restrictive and idiopathic; all having different causes and etiologies. It the Keshan region of China, a significant occurrence of dilated cardiomyopathy is associated with extremely low selenium levels. (<11mcg/day) This particular type of Dilated Cardiomyopathy is referred to Keshan Disease, and is dissimilar to cardiomyopathies seen in other parts of the word. Wallach however uses this information to claim that all cases of cardiomyopathy are the same and simply due to selenium deficiency.
Researchers have examined the selenium status of other dilated cardiomyopathy patients around the world. It has been found that selenium levels in these patients are normal, concluding that selenium deficiency is not involved in the etiology of these cases. ( In fact, in one study, researchers examined selenium status of cardiomyopathy patients in Saudi Arabia and found that whilst there was no significant difference between these patients and the rest of the population, the Cardiomyopathy patients had on average, a slightly (but not significantly) HIGHER selenium status.
This claim of Wallachs is simply a lie designed to lull people into thinking that there is a simple way that they can prevent heart attacks by buying his supplements.
During his DDDL lecture, Wallach mentions that the 'anti-cancer diet' had 'been found', but doctors are not interested in letting us know about it. He cites the results from a study which is called the Linxian intervention trial, which found that supplements of selenium, beta carotene and vitamin E decreased the risk of gastric cancer. 
What Wallach does not mention is that this population was severely malnourished and deficient in these nutrients. Furthermore, once again, he slectively cites only one study among many, and mentions only the one which supports his own agenda. To establish reliable results, scientists need to systematically review ALL studies which have examined an issue, and look at the over all results. When researchers compiled every single controlled intervention study (14 studies involving over 170,000 people) to look at whether beta-carotene, vitmains C,E and selenium could decrease the risk of getting cancer, they found that taking these supplements not only has no protection against various cancers, they may actually increase the risk. 
It is estimated that approximately one third of all cancers could potentially be prevented through healthy eating; specifically by consuming lots of fruits, veggies and whole grain foods, whilst avoiding excessive amounts of meats and saturated fats. Wallach only gives advice where there is the potential for him to sell people something, especially when it is something that they would want to hear - ie, rather than altering ones diet, it is a lot easier to simply take a supplement to protect against cancer. Unfortunately, it is not that easy.
Throughout his DDDL presentation, Wallach lies about the causation and potential to prevent, treat and cure many other diseases, including Lower back pain (which he falsely claims that all cases are a result of Osteoporosis) Alzheimer's Disease (which he falsely claims is due to a deficiency of cholesterol, too much vegetable oil consumption and a vitamin E deficiency) cravings (which he falsely says is a form of pica caused by multiple mineral deficiencies) baldness (which he attributes to a tin deficiency) arthritis (click here or see below) and more. These claims are blatant lies, designed to trick vulnerable people into trusting him and buying his products.
The lies of Wallach and Australian Longevity may do more harm than simply ripping people off. Several of Wallachs claims are potentially dangerous, and some of his products may be harmful.
Wallach claims that consumption of salt has nothing to do with high blood pressure (hypertension) and that the long-lived cultures drink a lot of salt; thus encouraging us consume lots of salt and to ignore our doctors advice to avoid it. This information comes from an article in a popular magazine which interviewed some of the supposed 'long-lived' people (one of which was seen drinking tea with lots of 'rock salt'). As it turned out, these people were not as old as they claimed to be, and even if they were - basing a health recommendation to the whole population based on 1 individual account is silly; Wallach is simply telling people what they want to hear (ie, that they can have all the salt they want) Wallach claims that in fact the 'real' cause of hypertension is simply a deficiency of calcium.
In reality, some people can lower their blood pressure by manipulating the ratios intake of certain electrolytes, such as sodium;potassium, magnesium;calcium. Higher intake of calcium may be effective in some cases, and lowering sodium intake is also effective in many cases referred to as 'salt sensitive'. [71,72]Some people can reduce their blood pressure by losing weight, whilst other people do not respond to any treatment, referred to as 'essential' or 'primary hypertension'. 
Wallach also bases this claim on the fact that 'salt licks' are sometimes used by cattle farmers. This is a ridiculous analogy. Every mammal has a specific dietary sodium requirement which differs from species to species. If the animals sodium ; potassium balance is upset, it can cause problems with the animals health. At one stage in history, dietary salt was considered very important, because the typical diet was very high in fresh plant foods (rich in potassium) but low in sodium. The modern diet however is quite the opposite; rich in processed foods (often with added sodium) and low in fresh plant foods. Obviously, cattle eat a lot of fresh plant foods without the types of heavily processed foods that modern man is exposed to. Consequently, the analogy is ridiculous.
If salt sensitive people were to take Wallachs advice, they would be worsening their hypertension which would increase their risk of cardiovascular disease and death.
In another of Wallachs recordings, he claims that there is no need to worry about high blood cholesterol levels, and that taking doctors advice to lower them can be harmful; specifically, one of his catch cries is 'A day without a hamburger is like a day without sunshine'. There are hundreds of population studies which have examined the effect of diet and blood cholesterol on the risk of cardiovascular disease. As is the case with all matters of science, not all studies will have the same outcome, so when examining the strength of evidence to support either notion, scientists look at the results from the majority of large, well designed studies (often published as a meta-analysis or systematic review). To support his argument, Wallach instead cites a single study which found a modest increase in the risk of hemorrhagic stroke among higher consumers of saturated (and monounsaturated)fat, despite the majority of well designed studies finding that saturated fat intake and high serum cholesterol levels increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. The majority of large, well designed studies have shown the lowering ones cholesterol levels can significantly decrease the risk of both heart attacks and stroke. If a hypercholesterolemic patient took Wallachs advice, they would be increasing their risk of a cardiovascular event and death. Once again, Wallach is simply telling people what they want to hear (ie, they they can eat all the fast foods and fatty animal foods they want without guilt) to win their trust, regardless of the risk.
Wallach likes to gain the trust of his audience by having them loose trust in the medical profession, usually by taking individual cases of medical negligence or quoting unrealistic statistics about harm from medical intervention; thus giving the impression that people would be better off not seeking medical attention and instead treat themselves following his advice. It has been reported that at least 1 person died after taking Wallachs advice not to follow their doctors instructions. How many others have been harmed or are at risk is unquantifiable.
Because colloidal mineral supplements are made by soaking humic shale in water, it has a mineral composition very low in some of the minerals that Wallach claims we are lacking in (such as chromium, selenium, calcium, vanadium, etc) and very high in Aluminium; the most abundant metal in the earths crust (where shale is derived from). Although a cause an effect relationship has not been conclusively established, an increase in the incidence of Alzheimer's Disease has been found among populations whose drinking water is high in Aluminium.[82-86] Furthermore, Alzheimer's Disease patients have been found to have higher levels of Aluminium in their brain tissues. [87-90]Although high aluminium intake may not be the sole cause of Alzheimer's Disease, taking large doses of it is an unnecessary risk, especially when there is not benefit to be gained.
Consequently, the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that municipal water supplies contain no more than 2mg of Aluminium per litre. Wallachs mineral water however contains a massive 1490mg per litre.
High Aluminium containing products such as antacids bare warnings on their labels that the product should not be taken for more than a few weeks, and should be avoided in patients with kidney disease. Because in Australia, Wallachs products are sold as 'listed therapeutic goods' (as apposed to pharmacy medicines such as antacids which are 'registered therapeutic goods') there is no legal requirement for Wallach and Co to print warnings on their labels.
When questioned about this in an interview, Wallach responded:
“ There is much more colloidal aluminum in two slices of cucumbers than in a whole bottle of colloidal minerals," 
Actually, there is no more than 0.012 mg in an entire cucumber. There is approximately 1430 mg of Aluminum in each bottle of 'Majestic Earth' colloidal minerals. 
Here is an analyses of some of the beneficial minerals that the “majestic-earth plant-derived colloidal minerals” contains, in relation to the Recommended Dietary Allowance for that mineral.
Amount per dose [1 ounce]
Furthermore, the table below compares the amount of aluminum with some common foods, as Wallach often gives the impression that because Aluminium is a mineral so abundant in the earths crust, it must therefore be present in high doses in our diet. It isn't. [Click on the table below to enlarge it]
When questioned about this high aluminium concentration in Wallachs 'majestic earth' mineral water, Wallach's supporters often respond saying that the product is 'natural', 'organic' and 'plant derived'. Firstly, some of the most toxic substances known to man are completely natural (such as tobacco, snake venom etc). 'Natural' does not mean safe (though there is nothing natural about drinking water soaked in humic shale). 'Organic' refers to the branch of chemistry concerned with carbon based molecules, many of which are toxic to humans (even pharmaceutical drugs are 'organic'). Consequently, being 'organic' does not make it safe or natural, however it is a word which marketing companies often use to promote a product as being safe and natural, as this is how lay people commonly perceive it. Lastly, humic shale is made of plant matter which is fossilized. Many of the healthy effects of plant foods come from phytochemicals which are certainly not present in shale. This kind of logic could also see us drinking petroleum, as it too is derived from fossilized plant matter (coal), is organic and natural.
It may be of interest to note also, that Wallachs mineral product contain levels of cadmium  which are also higher than that deemed safe by the WHO.
Several other potentially dangerous correlations have also been established between drinking water contaminated with shale and other fossilized plant matter. These include disease of the thyroid [95,96] multiple sclerosis  kidney disease  and cancers of the digestive tract.  There have been no studies in either humans or animals to test whether long term consumption is safe or not. Those using these products are essentially acting as gunea pigs. More distrurbingly, if there was a correlation between colloidal mineral consumption and any disease, without scientific studies, no one would even know. Wallachs company has spent millions petitioning the FDA so that they can boast about 'health claims', however they will not fund any studies to see whether their mineral water actually does anything. I wonder why.
Wallachs 'pig pack' includes taking 6 capsules per day of a product called 'Ultimate EFA', which is supposed to be an 'essential' fatty acid supplement, made of of flax seed oil and borage oil. Wallach sells these supplements on the premise that they provide the essential fatty acids our bodies need to avoid a deficiency. In reality, fatty acid deficiency due to dietary insufficiency is virtually unheard of in western society with the exception of severe cases of certain malabsorption conditions such as cystic fibrosis  or severe malnourishment in cancer patients  or end stage liver disease. Furthermore, if our diet becomes deficient in the two fatty acids (not the three which Wallach falsely claims) are essential, the result is that we will be unable to synthesize other fatty acids which means that we will therefore need to obtain them from dietary sources. Even if this did occur, because most peoples diets are high in these other fats, it would be unlikely to cause any health problems.
Rather than simply providing nutrients (in this case, fatty acids) flax and borage oil act as a functional food supplement, and have a diverse range of pharmacological effects on the body. For example, flaxseed oil has an anti-platelet 'blood thinning' effect. Because these products are sold as 'listed therapeutic goods', there is no legal requirement for warnings of adverse effects to be published on their labels. The physicians desk reference for nutritional supplements states;
' Women who are pregnant should not use supplemental flaxseed oil or flaxseed because of the theoretical possibility that these lignan-containing substances might induce menstruation.'
' Infants, young children, and nursing mothers should avoid supplemental flaxseed oil. Because of possible antithrombotic activity, those with hemophilia and those taking warfarin should be cautious about the use of supplemental flaxseed oil or flaxseed. Flaxseed oil intake should be halted in those having surgical procedures.'
' Flaxseed oil may cause mild gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea.'
' Interactions may occur between flaxseed oil-ALA and its metabolites and warfarin, aspirin and NSAIDs. Such interactions, if they were to occur, might be manifested by nosebleeds and increased susceptibility to bruising. If this does occur, consideration should be given to lowering or stopping intake.'
Because they are not legally obligated to do so, Wallach and Co will make no attempt to warn customers of these potential adverse effects. Likewise, there are several potential adverse reactions associated with Borage Oil which no doubt Wallach and Co have no motivation to warn customers about. These include;
'Pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid using borage oil supplements. Those with a history of partial complex seizure disorders, such as temporal lobe epilepsy, should avoid using borage oil. Likewise, those with other types of seizure disorders and schizophrenics who are being treated with certain neuroleptic drugs, such as aliphatic phenothiazines (e.g. chlorpromazine), which may lower seizure threshold, should avoid using borage oil. Because of possible antithrombotic activity of borage oil, those with hemophilia or other hemorrhagic diatheses and those taking warfarin should exercise caution in the use of this supplement. Borage oil supplementation should be halted before any surgical procedure.
Because of its possible inhibition of lymphocyte function, those with immune deficiency disorders, such as AIDS, should exercise caution in the use of borage oil.
Pyrrolizidine alkaloids, such as amabiline, lycopsamine and thesinine, are found in various parts of the borage plant. The unsaturated pyrrolizidine alkaloids, such as amabiline, are potentially hepatotoxic and carcinogenic. Amabiline has not been detected in borage oil supplements down to five parts per million. However, chronic consumption of borage oil containing levels of amabiline of one part per million may prove harmful. Those who use borage oil chronically should only use products that are certified free of unsaturated pyrrolizidine alkaloids.'
'Borage oil may cause such gastrointestinal symptoms as nausea, vomiting, flatulence, diarrhea and bloating. Similar to evening primrose oil, borage oil may precipitate symptoms of undiagnosed complex partial seizures and should be used, if at all, with extreme caution in those with a history of seizure disorders or those taking drugs that lower the seizure threshold, such as aliphatic phenothiazines (e.g., chlorpromazine). '
In addition to these concerns, there is some evidence to suggest that flax seed oil could promote prostate cancer. In vitro, the fatty acids linolenic acid and linoleic acid found in flax seed oil, were found to promote the growth of prostate cancer cells, whereas EPA, a type of fatty acid found in fish oil, did not. Furthermore, animal studies have revealed that rats fed flax seed oil had increased testosterone levels and a higher rate of prostate cell proliferation.
Population studies among men have also suggested that higher intakes of linoleic and linolenic acids found in flax seed oil increases the risk of prostate cancer. [106-108]
Most evidence suggests that our intake of Omega 6 fatty acids (such as linoneic acid) is too high, our intake of Omega 3 fatty acids too low, and that significant improvements in health outcomes could be achieved by favourably affecting this ratio. [103,10] Rather than taking supplements which add to our intake of Omega 6 fatty acids, we would probably be better off avoiding Omega 6 rich foods, and instead include more foods rich in Omega 3 fats, especially those found in fish such as EPA and DHA (which have been found to decrease the risk of heart attacks) instead of the Omega 3 Linolenic acid (found in flax seed oil).
Another component of Wallachs 'pig pack' is a product called 'Ultimate GlucoGel', which contains 500mg of glucosamine sulphate, gelatin (an incomplete protein used as a thickener in foods which Wallach falsely claims can be used to treat arthritis) and 10mg of Manganese.
Wallach and Co recommend taking 4 of these capsules daily, which would equate to 40mg of manganese per day. Another component of Wallachs pig pack is a multivitamin and mineral supplement, which customers are advised to take 6 of per day (a recommendation which would exceed the amount of selenium that the Therapeutic Goods Administration deems as safe, which is why the 6 / day recommendation is not printed on the label but given in person). Each multi contains 1mg of Manganese. Taken all together, a daily dose of Wallachs 'pig pack' would be providing 46mg of Manganese; a level that is more than 4 times the tolerable upper intake (the absolute maximum level deemed to be safe) in adults. The physicians desk reference warns;
'Pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid intakes of manganese above the upper limit of the estimated safe and adequate daily dietary intake, which is 2mg/day to 5mg/day.'
Manganese toxicity is unlikely to manifest until many years after toxic exposure. Mine workers exposed to high concentrations of manganese dust developed what is known in the mining villages of northern Chile, where this disorder has been found, as “Manganese Madness” In the latter stages of this disease, symptoms similar to those of Parkinson's disease are observed. Furthermore, manganese can accumulate in the liver and may damage hepatic tissue in those with liver disease. 
If the potential benefit of massive doses of manganese were worth the risk, then this advice may not be all that bad, however the potential benefit is very small. Only one human trial has ever found benefit in osteoarthritis, which revealed a modest improvement among subjects taking a combination of glucosamine, chondroitin and manganese. Glucosamine and Chondroitin have demonstrated clinical efficacy in the treatment of osteoarthritis, and there is no evidence that these substances taken with manganese are any more effective than when taken on their own.
No snake oil scheme would be complete without 'testimonials' (ie, anecdotal evidence)When I was evicted from Wallachs lecture, I was on my way home when I stopped into a MacDonald's across the street where I saw a woman with young children holding a plastic bag with Wallachs products in it. I started talking to her about the lecture, and told her that Wallachs claims were lies, to which her only response was 'but what about all the people who say they got better?'. Unfortunately, to many people, the notion that 1 magical product can prevent, treat and cure all diseases may not be as obviously silly as it is others. Additionally, over the past couple of years that my web site has been exposing Wallachs lies, despite explaining in detail why Wallachs claims are false, these details seemed to be completely overlooked by the majority of people who contact me with 'hate mail', somehow ignoring the fact that Wallachs stories about the real causes of disease are lies, but instead insisting that 'I am wrong' because they took Wallachs products and were cured. When they tell me this, I usually reply with words to the effect of ''I have no doubt, but if Wallachs magical minerals 'worked', why do you think he needs to tell so many lies in the process of selling them.'' After asking this question, most people will simply tell me that they do not understand all the complexities of the scientific issues Wallach talks about (lies about) and that all they are concerned with is the fact that his products 'work' - everything else is irrelevant. Sometimes they might even try to justify his claims by saying that they are minor 'white' lies or exaggerations, purely meant to get 'the message' across so that people can cure themselves. Unless you have either skipped the entire section above or have been in a coma whilst reading it, anyone who dismisses Wallachs lies as being minor must be experiencing selective thinking, most likely true believer syndrome.
If you were to believe all the testimonials that are used to promote a product or service, you would believe that Hulda Clarke has discovered that ALL CANCERS are actually caused by a liver fluke found in South East Asia, and she has developed a "zapper" that can kill this creature thus curing your cancer. You would believe that Alex Chiu has invented an "Immortality Device" that permanently stops ageing. You would believe that Samuel West can teach you how to cure just about all diseases using "Applied Lymphology". You would believe that Jose Silva can teach you how to learn "faith healing". You would believe that for $170 an hour, this fat woman can give you psychic readings over the phone. You would believe that a "vitamin" found in apricot seeds can cure cancer.You would believe that this imbecile is a "pet psychic", that magnetic therapy can cure otherwise incurable pain, that John Edward can communicate with the dead, that Benny Hinn can cure you using religious faith, that drinking your own urine can cure just about every disease in the book and that Joel Wallach has discovered that all diseases are really caused by a nutritional deficiency that can be corrected with his magical brand of colloidal minerals.
Of course, not all testimonials are untrue, but given that we live in an age where claims like Wallachs are certainly testable (and they can certainly afford to test them) and given that anecdotal accounts are notoriously unreliable and subject to things like coincidence, natural regression and the placebo effect, implausible testimonials about cure-all's should be viewed with extreme skepticism. Furthermore, because the people who promote their testimonials have a financial interest in the company, they have a very strong motivation to lie or exaggerate about their stories. Described briefly below are some of the reasons you should be skeptical of AL testimonials. (You can listen to part of a lecture I gave on this topic by clicking here)
Financial Interest The single most successful way that one of these people can get their customers to buy the products is by convincing them them of their own health 'success'. For example, at one of Wallachs lectures I attended, attendees were given a bunch of handouts, one of which included a list of testimonials. As it turned out, every single person whose testimonial was published, was a major distributor for Australian Longevity. It did not say that on the hand out of course - I only found this out after tracking these people down.
Half Truths To give another example of how testimonials might not tell the whole truth, when the Today Tonight television crew were investigating Wallachs story, they were told about a boy whose cancer had been cured after taking Wallachs products. When they investigated the story in more detail, they found that the boy had also been treated with chemotherapy at the same time (evidently, this part was conveniently left out of the testimonial)
Exaggeration Similar to half-truths, are cases where the person simply exaggerates the facts so much, it may as well be a lie. For example; one woman openly claimed that she had ovarian cancer, and after taking the product, she no longer needed medical help. In reality, she had a benign ovarian cyst, which was not cured - it simply didn't progress to become any worse. Because ovarian cysts are technically a type of 'tumour', the woman felt she could simply replace the word 'tumour' with 'cancer'. Cancer is a term specifically given to malignant tumours that spread through the body, resulting in death if not stopped.This slight exaggeration meant an enormous difference between the facts and what she was claiming.
Selective Thinking / Confirmation Bias Often, after taking a product the person believes will help them, they tend to 'notice' those positive changes, even if they are not there, or pay particular attention to the positive changes, but ignore those which are not (see confirmation bias). They may often lose their objectivity, becoming so immensely engulfed in their belief, that they are blind to logic (similar to what happens in a cult). To give an example, the woman whose ovarian 'cancer' had been treated, claimed it was the high doses of selenium she was taking, even though she was taking a plethora of dietary supplements at the same time. When these people are taking multiple products, yet seem to believe that they can pick out the individual ones that were responsible (obviously, there is no way that they could do that), it is a sure sign that they are immersed in their beliefs so deeply, that they are not thinking objectively or skeptically, so anything that they say regarding these issues should not be believed.
Coincidence / Natural Regression Many health problems come and go, sometimes for no apparent reason. The most likely culprits are conditions which can not be measures by any other means than to ask the patient how they feel (for example, no scan or blood test will show any difference). This is very typical of inflammatory conditions, pain, mood disorders and 'low energy'. Often the severity of these symptoms tends to go up and down over time. Often, when they are at their worst, the patient may be more likely to go out and try some kind of 'alternative' treatment. Statistically, after the symptoms peak at their worst, they generally start to regress after a while (natural regression).If this happens, the person may falsely believe that their 'alternative' treatment was responsible, which is probably easier to believe than to accept coincidence (see regressive fallacy).This phenomenon is certainly not only typical of alternative medicines, but conventional ones as well, which is why controlled clinical testing is necessary.
For example, often people who have an upper respiratory tract viral infection will ask their doctor for antibiotics. Antibiotics will not treat vital infections, but because their symptoms will naturally regress after a couple of days anyway, they will probably believe that the antibiotics helped them, when in fact the cold started to subside on its own.
This fallacious logic is known as the 'post hoc fallacy' - i.e., that correlation equates to causation (event [a] occurs, then event [b] occurs, so the person concludes that event [b] occurred because of event [a].) To give an obviously fallacious example of this, if I were to walk under a ladder in the morning, (event [a])and then go and have a car accident (event [b]) - it would be typical of the post of fallacy for me to conclude that my accident was a result of bad luck from walking under a ladder. In reality, the two events were probably not connected. A less obvious example might be if a sick person takes a pill (event [a]), and they get better (event [b])- it would be fallacious to assume that they got better BECAUSE of the pill. This is sometimes also known as the 'because I didn't do anything else different' fallacy, because often the person will justify the causative relationship because they believe that they 'didn't do anything else different', therefore action [a] must have caused action [b]. For example, I might have been driving for years and never had an accident. I might argue that the only thing that happened differently this time was that I walked under a ladder. Likewise, people who believe that their treatment was responsible for the improvement in their health, assume so because they can not think of any other influence that may have been responsible.
The avoidance of this kind of fallacy is the basis of the scientific method. The scientific method involves a proposal to explain an observation (a hypothesis), a way to test this hypothesis, and an inference or conclusion which is made from the result. For example, if we hypothesized that product [a] cured arthritis, we could not just believe / conclude that it does, without some kind of test. Unfortunately, many people will think that simply taking product [a] and observing the results is a good enough test.
Scientists need to use some kind of 'control', with which to compare the results. A control is something which is a test subject which does not receive the treatment. An example of this using animal studies might be as follows; 100mice are injected with a chemical known to cause cancer. Half the animals are given a drug, whilst the other half are not. If we had a 40 per cent success rate among those given the drug, it would mean very little unless we had a success rate among the controls (those given no treatment ) significantly less than 40 per cent.
In humans however, we need to design a control that causes the subjects to believe that they are being treated. The reason for this is that often, if someone believes that they are taking something that will help them, they do in fact experience benefit, even if they were given a placebo (dummy pill / sham treatment). The success rate among those given the treatment is then compared among those given the placebo. To avoid bias, the test needs to select people at random and have subjects assigned to either group randomly (so that researchers don't place those they know to be more likely to benefit in the treatment group). Furthermore, to avoid researcher bias, even the person administering the treatment (or placebo) should not know which is which ('double blind'). This is the basic design of the randomized, double blind controlled trial.
The Placebo Effect Many people write to me insisting that their pain, inflammation, or various other medical problems have improved since taking Wallachs products (though I hear similar testimonials from people taking all sorts of bizarre things including urine therapy) Obviously, there is no way that these people would be willing to accept the possibility that these cures are all in their mind, and that what they are experiencing is the placebo effect - they seem to think that they would know whether it was real or not. The phenomenon which the placebo effect is is a very complex issue, best described elsewhere, so instead I will simply give an example to illustrate.
Recently, the largest study to test the efficacy of glucosamine and chondroitin to treat osteoarthritis was conducted by the National Institute of Health. Approximately 60 per cent of people given either glucosamine, chondroitin, or both, reported a significant improvement in their symptoms and a reduction in pain. This may sound good, but approximately 60 per cent of the people given the placebo, also reported a significant improvement and reduction in pain. If 60 per cent of randomized people given a dummy pill told that there is a chance they could be given a placebo, still reported that they felt much better, imagine what kind of success rate could be generated from non-randomized (generally, those easy to believe will fall for such obvious lies) people given a product and not only told about how wonderful it is, but convinced that it works by all the testimonials they will be exposed to.
The results of this arthritis study are not terribly unique. Generally, studies wishing to examine the effect that treatments have on pain, mood and other symptoms which can not be measured by any other means than to ask the patient, have a high rate of success among the 'control's (those given a placebo). I'm sure that these placebo-controled subjects believe quite firmly that their benefit was real as well. Unfortunately, without well designed clinical testing, there is no way to distinguish reported benefits from the placebo effect or a coincidence.
When a patient reports a benefit which has been evidenced by clinical testing in the past, then a clinician might be more inclined to consider the reports to be plausible. When the claims come about from a treatment / product which has not been clinically tested, then even more skepticism should be used. If the claims come about from a treatment which is not only untested, but the very notion that it could possibly have the effect the patients is claiming is not plausible (which is the case with colloidal mineral supplements - there is no mechanisms by which they could possibly treat any disease) then the claims should be viewed with even more skepticism.
Antiinflamatory Agents Unlike most of Wallachs products such as his all important 'plant derived' mineral water, it is plausible that two of the 'pig pack' products may actually exert some kind of pharmacological effect capable of having at least some antiinflamatory properties.
The EFA product contains flax seed oil and borage oil, both of which poses's at least some antiinflamatory action. It is unlikely however that the antiinflamatory effect of these substances are any greater than that from ordinary non-steroidal antiinflamatory drugs (NSAID's). Consequently, if the person claims that they are obtaining relief from an inflammatory condition by taking Wallachs products which they can not obtain by taking NSAID's (such as aspirin, ibuprofen or celexicob / celebrex) then it is likely the result of the added psychological influence that Wallach and his followers testimonials have had (i.e., the placebo effect).
The 'glucogel' contains glucosamine, which although has been shown to be no better than a placebo in some trials, has shown at least some success in the treatment of osteoarthritis in most studies.  It should be noted however that the other component of this product (gelatin) is simply an incomplete animal protein used as a filler / thickener, which would have no effect on arthritis at all. Furthermore, most brands of glucosamine are less expensive than Wallachs.
During his DDDL presentation, Wallach refers to a study which found that chicken cartilage cured arthritis. The study to which he was referring involved patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA); an autoimmune disease that is very different and less common than osteoarthritis (which is caused by wear and tear on the joints). Wallach conveniently didn't mention this.
The researchers wanted to see whether type II collagen (a protein derived from articular cartilage ) could act as an auto antigen , which could consequently interfere with the immune systems ability to attack it own tissue (which is what happens in an autoimmune disease). Wallach suggests that consuming cartilage simply “re builds” the damaged cartilage. This may sound good to a vulnerable audience, but it simply doesn't work like that – nothing has ever been shown to “rebuild cartilage” in any animal or human.
This particular study found a decrease in the number of swollen joints in subjects given the collagen than in those given the placebo for 3 months.  Unlike Wallachs assertion, only 3 of the 60 subjects had complete remission of symptoms.
The fact that type II collagen may reduce the autoimmune response in RA was significant, so, as is the case with all scientific development, this treatment was tested several times to see if the same result could be achieved.
Another small study in London found modest improvements in RA symptoms among subjects given type II cartilage for 6 months . Another study among RA patients conducted in Berlin found that 7 our of 30 subjects given a high dose of collagen, and 6 out of 30 subjects given the low dose of collagen reported improvements, compared to 4 out of 30 given the placebo who reported improvement. Overall however, there was no significant difference in terms of response to treatment between all three groups.
In another 6 month study in Italy involving RA patients, there was no statistically significant difference in outcome between the subjects given the collagen, and those given the placebo.  The authors concluded
“Our study seems to show that the oral treatment of RA patients with chicken CII is ineffective and results in only small and inconsistent benefits. Furthermore, our results raise the possibility that in a sub-group of patients oral collagen administration, usually considered devoid of harmful effects, may actually induce disease flares.”
In the largest study so far, 190 RA patients were given either type II collagen, or a placebo over 6 months, after which time, the patients given the placebo were actually slightly better off than those given the collagen. 
The bottom line is that taking type II collagen may result in mild improvements in a minority of RA sufferers, though will be useless (no better than a placebo) in most, will be far less effecive than most standard treatments, and may actually do more harm than good in many people. I don't have a problem with people trying things like this so long as they make an informed decision about it, though Wallach deliberately distorts the truth to offer false hope to many people suffering from Osteoarthritis (a completely different disease) in order to make money from their desperation and vulnerability.
Wallach and his company deliberately target people with little or no scientific background who are easy to mislead when it comes to matters of science. Most people have little understanding of how scientific methodologies are used to establish cause and effect, and it would be a very long and boring explanation to describe it in more detail. Suffice it to say, we need to look at all the evidence, not just part of it, before we make a conclusion about something. The simplest way to study the effects that food substances have on our health is to do so in the laboratory, either by inoculating cell cultures with food extracts, or by feeding them to rodents who have been either genetically bread to have a disease condition similar to that experienced in humans, or exposed to conditions enabling it to become diseased. These types of studies are cheap and easy, but what happens in the laboratory rarely happens the same way out in the real world. For example, some time ago I tested the effect that cocoa extract would have on leukemia cells (see pictures below that I took of them). As it turns out, it inhibited their growth and affected their shape (morphology) in a way , suggesting it was killing them through necrosis. This certainly doesn't mean that chocolate is a cure for cancer, as many other things (including urine!) would also inhibit cancer growth in cell culture studies.
A better way to establish what effect certain foods, supplements or drugs have on our health is to look at population studies (epidemiology) which compare the lifestyles or people who got a disease with those who didn't. The most sophisticated method however involves controlled trials, which involve giving subjects either a medication or diet for a certain amount of time and monitoring the effects compared with those given a placebo or “control” diet.
No matter how many studies are conducted there will always be the odd few whose results are completely different. Rather than picking the ones whose results we like and ignoring the rest, scientists should look at ALL the evidence objectively and way up what the over all evidence is telling us. When Wallach and his companies actually bother referring to any scientific evidence (as they often do on their websites), they use deliberate selective citation; only mentioning the studies which reported results that fit with their perspective, and often exaggerating the results of them anyway. Wallach does this with virtually every topic, including those I have mentioned thus far, as well as many others. This has lead to people writing to me and asking me to explain how Wallach can be wrong when he (occasionally) refers to scientific studies to support his arguments. Readers beware – any time Wallach attempts to describe any “studies” to support his arguments, take it with a grain of salt. It's what he DOESN'T tell you which make all the difference.
(Wallachs company, like most other MLM companies that sell supplements, have a board of 'scientific' advisors; made up of various doctors and supposed experts. This is a ploy that MLM companies use to make themselves and their claims appear more reputable and belivable. In reality, a company as wealthy as theirs would not have any difficulty in throwing together a bunch of people who will agree with anything if they are paid enough. This is no different to famous actors being paid to endorse a brand of cologne, or a famous athlete being paid to endorse food products.)
On the odd occasion, Wallach and Co actually say something which is at least partially correct. For example, they argue that Omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are protective against heart disease, that folic acid protects against neural tube defects, and that calcium protects against osteoporosis (though most other things he says about osteoporosis is completely wrong). Basically, they will support any stance that supports the use of any dietary supplements, because that is what they sell.
For some reason, some people seem to focus entirely on these issues and forget to mention all the many lies Wallach also tells. If someone tells 9 lies and 1 truth, they are still a liar, though true believer supporters are incapable of accepting the fact that their leader is capable of being dishonest (some supporters even telling me that maybe he just made a few accidental mistakes.) The mind boggles, though this is precisely what happens in a cult-like environment. The term I coined for this particular cult-like belief is called 'wallachism'.
Others affiliated with Wallach
Wallachs company has attracted a lot of followers over the years, including people such as Gerhard Scharuazer (selenium researcher) as well as others including Paula Bickle, (dental hygienist) Edmond Devroey (gynecologist) and some retard called Bernie Owens who presents a radio show called 'the wellness hour' on KSCO AM 1080 which he uses to promote Wallachs propaganda and provide inaccurate heath information to listeners and callers. (see www.wellnesshour.net)
You are welcome to write to me to give me your feedback, tell me what you think of this article and tell me of your experiences with Wallachs outfit. Email: email@example.com
About Joel Wallach
NATIONAL COUNCIL AGAINST HEALTH FRAUD - Dead Doctors Don't Lie! But this living vetinarian does!
NATIONAL COUNCIL AGAINST HEALTH FRAUD - ''Dead Doctors'' Doesn't Lie
TASK FORCE FOR VETERINARY SCIENCE - Exposé on Joel Wallach's controversial new tape, "Dead Doctors Don't Lie"
THE MILLENIUM PROJECT - Live Vets Do Lie
JENIFER JENSON - Dead Doctors Don't Lie
TODAY TONIGHT Tonic on Tour
Spontaneous Remission & the Placebo Effec t
Alternative Medicine & the Psychology of Belief .
The Placebo Effect
The Value of Testimonials
The Nature of Anecdotes
Control Group Study, Double-Blind and Random Tests
Rules for Debating with "Alt-med" Believers
The Scientific Method
The Danger of Knowing for Sure.
The Power of Coincidence
Vulnerability to Quackery
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