Garden of Life, Inc., of West Palm Beach, Florida, and its founder and owner, Jordan S. Rubin, have been ordered to stop claiming that their dietary supplements are effective against a long list of ailments, ranging from colds to cancer. In 2004, the FDA ordered Garden of Life to stop making unsubstantiated claims for “Q-Zyme,””Primal Defense,” “Virgin Coconut Oil,” “Fungal Defense,” “FYI (For Your Inflammation),” “RM-10,” “Revivall Classic,” or other products  In 2006, the FTC filed a complaint and consent agreement involving unsubstantiated claims that:
- Primal Defense treats intractable immune disorders, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, lupus, colds, flu, and Crohn’s disease, and reduces users’ blood cholesterol levels;
- RM-10 treats cancer, helps lower users’ blood cholesterol levels, prevents and treats cardiovascular disease, and treats immune system disorders;
- Living Multi reduces the risk factor for diabetes and prevents diabetes-related syndromes, reduces the risk of obesity, and reduces inflammation; and
- FYI (For Your Inflammation) treats and prevents inflammation, including inflammation caused by arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, sports injuries, asthma, allergies, fibromyalgia, lupus, scleroderma, and other inflammatory conditions.
Under the settlement, Rubin and the company:
- Must pay $225,000 in consumer redress. If it is found they misrepresented their financial status, they will be responsible for more than $47 million—the total gross sales of the four dietary supplements.
- Are barred from making unsubstantiated claims about the health benefits, performance, efficacy, safety, or side effects of any food, drug, or dietary supplement, or any program that includes such a product.
- Are prohibited from misrepresenting the results of any test or study when marketing such products and programs .
Rubin claims to have cured himself of “intestinal parasites, severe Candida, extreme anemia, food allergies, diabetes, excruciating abdominal pain, chronic diarrhea, poor circulation, liver problems, chemical sensitivities, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, arthritis, insomnia, hair loss, prostate and bladder infections, irregular heartbeat, eye inflammation, and chronic depression.”  In 2004, his book The Maker’s Diet made the New York Times list of best-selling hardcover advice books and Entrepreneur Magazine listed Garden of Life as the fifth fastest-growing company in America, with 2003 sales of $43.2 million.
Rubin’s press materials state that he has degrees in naturopathic medicine and nutrition and is certified as a nutritional consultant . However, none of his “credentials” have any legitimate academic or professional standing:
- His “NMD” (naturopathic medical doctor) is from the Peoples University of the Americas School of Natural Medicine, a nonaccredited school with no campus.
- His “PhD” is from the Academy of Natural Therapies, a nonaccredited correspondence school that the State of Hawaii ordered to close in 2003.
- His “CNC” (Certified Nutritional Consultant) comes from the American Association of Nutritional Consultants, whose only requirement for “professional member” status has been payment of a $50 or $60 fee. The CNC requires passage of a test based mainly on the contents of books that promote nutrition quackery .
- Singleton ER. Warning letter to Robert U. Craven. May 11, 2004.
- Dietary supplement maker Garden of Life settles FTC charges: Claimed clinical studies backed Primal Defense, RM-10, Living Multi, and FYI. FTC news release, March 9, 2006.
- Jordan’s story. The Makers Diet Web site, accessed March 13, 2006.
- About the author. The Makers Diet Web site, accessed March 13, 2006.
- Barrett S. The American Association of Nutritional Consultants: Who and what does it represent? Quackwatch, July 16, 2006.
This page was posted on November 29, 2006.