NUTRI-SPEC Testing Is Pseudoscientific Nonsense

Stephen Barrett, M.D.
October 9, 2000

NUTRI-SPEC Testing is claimed to enable the practitioner to quickly determine the specific nutrition needs of individual patients. The testing system was developed by Guy R. Schenker, D.C., of Mifflintown, Pennsylvania, and has been marketed with messages like:

How can you rise straight to the top of the clinical nutrition field? With a scientific testing system to determine the specific nutritional needs of every patient in your own office in five minutes; and the supplements to fulfill those needs immediately – with NUTRI-SPEC. . . .Your patients will fully appreciate your professionalism as you scientifically uncover the causes underlying their health problems, instead of taking a shot in the dark at their symptoms [1].

Interested chiropractors can purchase a 372-page manual and can borrow or purchase a videotape showing how the system is used with seven patients. According to the book:

  • There is no patient whose health problem does not have a nutritional component. . . . That makes nutrition a clinical tool with universal application and with almost unlimited potential.
  • Every condition or disease can be defined in terms of its Pattern of Biochemical Imbalance and/or its Patter of Endocrine Dysfunction [2.]

Brochures for patients assure that NUTRI-SPEC tests tell the chiropractor “in what ways your body chemistry tends to slip off balance” and reveal “exactly which foods and nutritional supplements you need and which you should avoid.” [3]

During the first visit, the chiropractor determines the patient’s respiratory rate, body temperature, blood pressure, pulse (standing or lying down), breath-holding ability, pupil size, degree of thickness or coating of the tongue, several characteristics of the patient’s saliva and urine, and various reflexes. Saliva and urine samples can also be sent together with other data to obtain a ” NUTRI-SPEC PROFILE” that provides additional information. Using NUTRI-SPEC’s unique scoring system, the chiropractor then determines whether the patient is in or out of “water/electrolyte balance,” “anaerobic/dysaerobic balance,” “acid/alkaline balance,” and “sympathetic/parasympathetic balance.” The test findings also enable the chiropractor to diagnose “sex hormone insufficiency,” “myocardial insufficiency,” “pineal stress,” “thymus stress,” and about twenty-five other fanciful conditions. Based on all these findings, the chiropractor makes dietary recommendations and prescribes supplements (available only from NUTRI-SPEC) to correct the alleged imbalances. The supplements would cost patients like those shown in the video from 80¢ to about $3 per day, half of which is profit to the chiropractor. If follow-up visits — “repeating just the tests that were abnormal”– fail to show “improvement,” the dosage of these products is adjusted.

Simply put, NUTRI-SPEC is pseudoscientific nonsense. If you encounter a practitioner who uses it, please ask your state attorney general to investigate.


  1. Advertisements, Digest of Chiropractic Economics, 1990-1991.
  2. Schenker GR. An Analytic System of Clinical Nutrition, pp 1-3. Self-published, 1989.
  3. The secret of good nutrition. Undated, distributed in 1991.

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This article was posted on October 9, 2000.