A database that tracks dubious medical claims.
Claim number: 40
Claimant: Patrick Holford
Claim date: May 18, 2011
Brand name: Mood Food
Forum in which the claim was made: Advert on Cape Talk 567 Radio
Claim methodology: Micronutrients
Frequency with which the claim is made by this claimant: Frequent
Actual claim: Improves Mood
Plausibility of this claim: Untested
Holford does a voice-over advertising his Mood Food supplement.
Mood Food is a micronutrient supplement. It's ingredients are listed as L-Tyrosine, Trimethylglycine, 5-HTP, Chromium, Zinc, B Vitamins and Vitamin D3. It is sold as 90 tablets with the recommendation of taking 3 to 6 daily. The price is R249.95 on Holford's direct sales website. This is extremely expensive.
There is no compelling evidence showing any of the ingredients of Mood Food to be effective at improving mood or reducing depression. Some studies have actually shown no mood benefit from tyrosine, an amino acid that is included in Mood Food.
On his website Holford implies that tryptophan intake improves mood and reduces depression. He states, "The natural alternative to SSRI drugs is to eat your way to happiness by choosing foods that contain tryptophan, a constituent of protein from which the body makes serotonin." There is insufficient evidence to support this claim.
Holford's modus operandi is to subtly mix sensible sounding advice with claims that promote his micronutrient products. His promotion of Mood Food exemplifies this.