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Patrick Holford responds to Equal Education’s ASASA complaint

On 1 September 2011, Patrick Holford issued a press statement in response to the complaint lodged by Equal Education (EE) with the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASASA) against a radio advertisement by Holford for a product called 'Smart Kids Brain Boost.' The advertisement claims that the product will assist children to be at the top of their class. EE holds that Holford's claim is unsubstantiated and misleading.

Here follows the text of Patrick Holford's press statement: 

MEDIA RELEASE                                                                    

It is an undeniable scientific fact that supplementing vitamins increases the non-verbal IQ of children, especially in poorly nourished children, but also in those considered well nourished. There are more than a dozen well designed placebo controlled trials that show this to be true (see attached). 

Encouraging all children to be optimally nourished gives them the opportunity to reach their full academic potential. The first trial, published in the Lancet medical journal, was part of a BBC documentary, was based on my research, showed a 10 point increase in IQ on the supplements, versus a 3 point increase on the dummy pills. 

The charity I work for, Food for the Brain Foundation (, has campaigned for children’s rights to optimum nutrition, under the guidance of Dr Rona Tutt OBE, past president of the National Association of Head Teachers, who chairs our Board of Trustees. For example, we worked with one of the UK’s worst performing schools. By improving diet, and giving supplements, the school increased average maths scores by 25% in seven months. 

We will, of course, deal with this ASA complaint, and provide the necessary evidence to substantiate the advertisement. 

(Attached is a summary of some of the studies in this area which inform our formulation of supplements for children.)


Dr Harris Steinman has, in turn, responded to the claims made in Patrick Holford's press statement. 

Steinman argues that none of the articles provided by Holford are overwhelming proof of his claims. Among other things, Holford has taken these studies out of context, Steinman argues. 


Read the full text of Steinman's rebuttal here (this includes the text of the summaries attached to Holford's statement). 

Read EE's press statement regarding the complaint lodged with ASASA here

Read EE's complaint against Patrick Holford's advertisement here.

Click here to read about EE's complaint, and Holford's response, in the Cape Times of 31 August 2011 ('There is no magic pill for success at school' by Michelle Jones) 

Carla GoldsteinPatrick Holford responds to Equal Education’s ASASA complaint