NCAHF receives many requests for information on Julian Whitaker, MD, of California. Questions are generated by his mass mailings of magazines extolling himself as "America's #1 health champion," "America's leading advocate of a safer, gentler approach to better health," and America's leading 'wellness doctor'." NCAHF found several red flags among Whitaker's promotions.
NCAHF warns consumers to beware of self-promoters who attack other medical programs while extolling themselves. Whitaker asks people to trade their trust in the medical establishment for a trust in him. We have only his own self-serving assurances that he is worthy of such singular trust. Self-promotions are biased. In fact, NCAHF has received complaints from Whitaker's former patients. You can be sure that you will never read about them in any of his promotional literature. Whitaker misrepresents the views regular medicine. For instance, he claims that "the medical profession" tells "three big(gest) lies": (1) "disease just happens"; (2) "older people always have medical problems"; (3) "there's nothing you can do about it." These are false. Regular medicine neither believes or advances these propositions. NCAHF judges this to be a "straw man" tactic used to make Whitaker seem superior to other medical doctors.
Whitaker promotes megavitamins for many inappropriate uses. In fact, Whitaker is a founding member of the Orthomolecular Medical Society, an advocacy group for questionable megavitamin therapy. Whitaker is an promoter of chelation therapy for vascular diseases. Although approved for heavy metal detoxification, chelation therapy is not approved for any other medical problem. Following a hearing by the California Medical Board on chelation therapy abuses, Whitaker was described by the Sacramento Bee (2/5/95) as "one of chelation's most vocal advocates." The report said that Whitaker treats 100 patients a year at $3,000 for a course of 30 treatments. He argues that the reason other doctors condemn his use of chelation therapy for circulatory problems is economic. It seems to be lost on Whitaker that other doctors could do the same thing if their primary interest was economics. The $300,000 that Chelation therapy puts into Whitaker's practice is no small amount considering the low overhead involved. Whitaker is president of the American Preventive Medical Association, an organization of promoters of chelation therapy.
Whitaker has the dubious endorsement of Jane Heimlich, wife of Henry Heimlich, the doctor who taught America how to handle a choking victim. Mrs. Heimlich exploits the publicity value her last name. Common sense is enough to know that this does not make her an expert on anything. Her testimonial about her own health problems are no more valid than anyone else's would be. She is dead wrong when she says drug companies want to keep people in the dark about vitamin pills. In fact, the world's #1 supplier of the vitamins she extols is Hoffmann-La Roche (the makers of Valium). She is hawking her own anti-doctor book What Your Doctor Won't Tell You. Dr. Henry Heimlich has aligned himself with the animal rights movement against using animals for medical research. He is promoting the procedure of infecting AIDS patients with malaria as a cure. His work is being done outside of the USA beyond the jurisdiction of this country's patient protection statutes. According to a Los Angeles Times report (10/30/94), Heimlich doesn't mind using humans as "guinea pigs." Both Heimlich's are hypercritical of standard medicine but seem blind to the dangers and abuses of maverick medicine.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Whitaker is one of 38 doctors who distribute human growth hormone for Eldorado Rejuvenation & Longevity Institute, a Houston, Texas company. Howard Turney, El Dorado's owner, is promoting the hormone at a clinic in Cancun, Mexico. The drug was developed for children with dwarfism. The manufacturer, Genentech, Inc. says that at the dosage levels you have to go to get antiaging effects, it runs amok on side effects." It, and the Eli Lilly Co., imposed restrictions so only hormone-deficient children can get it [ King. The elderly obtain rejuvenation drug via network of doctors.Wall Street Journal 1/10/96].
Although Dr. Whitaker's magazines may have some useful advice, NCAHF still cannot recommend them. It takes an expert to sort out the wheat from the chaff. NCAHF recommends that people interested in health promotion and preventive medicine locate a physician who is board certified in preventive medicine.
© 1995, National Council Against Health Fraud.
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