Robert O. Young

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For other people named Robert Young, see Robert Young (disambiguation).
Robert O. Young
Born March 6, 1952
Occupation Author, naturopath
Known for pH Miracle book series

Robert O. Young (born March 6, 1952) is an American entrepreneur and author of alternative medicine books promoting an alkaline diet.[1] His most popular works are the "pH Miracle" series of books, which outline his beliefs about holistic healing and an "alkalarian" lifestyle.[2][3][4] According to a book review by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, some aspects of his diet, such as the emphasis on eating green leafy vegetables and exercise, would likely be healthy; however, the diet overall "is not a healthy way to lose weight."[5]

Young resides in Alpine, Utah, as well as Rancho Del Sol, an avocado and grapefruit ranch in Valley Center, California, with his wife, Shelley Redford Young.[6] Together, they run the pH Miracle Center, farm alkaline fruits and vegetables, hold health retreats, and teach live blood analysis and seminars on what they refer to as "The New Biology", which promotes an alkaline diet and a physically active, low-stress lifestyle.[4]

Young came to prominence after appearances on Oprah, centred on his treatment of Kim Tinkham for breast cancer. Tinkham and Young both claimed that he had cured her, but she died of her disease shortly afterwards.[7] Quackwatch describes Young's claims to be a distinguished researcher as "preposterous", notes that his credentials come mainly from unaccredited schools, and characterises his ideas as "fanciful".[8] He was arrested in January 2014 and is on trial, pleading not guilty to charges of theft and practising medicine without a license.[9]


Young's website states he attended the University of Utah on a tennis scholarship and studied biology and business in the early 1970s,[10] after which he did missionary work for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for two years in London.[10] Young received multiple degrees from Clayton College of Natural Health (formerly American College of Holistic Nutrition), a school that lacked accreditation from any accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.[11][12] These include a Master of Science in nutrition (1993), a D.Sc. with emphasis in chemistry and biology (1995), a Ph.D. (1997) and an N.D. (Doctor of Naturopathy, 1999).[10]

Published books[edit]

Young has authored a series of books and videos titled The pH Miracle (2002), The pH Miracle for Diabetes (2004), The pH Miracle for Weight Loss (2005), and "The pH Miracle Revised" (2010). Other books he has authored include Herbal Nutritional Medications (1988), One Sickness, One Disease, One Treatment (1992), Sick and Tired (1995), Back to the House of Health (1999), and Back to the House of Health 2 (2003).[10]


Young promotes an alkaline diet. He claims that health depends primarily on proper balance between an alkaline and acid environment in the human body, and that an acid environment causes cancer, obesity, osteoporosis, yeast overgrowth, flu, skin disorders, and other diseases.[13] Young writes about pleomorphism, a school of thought which was prominent in late-19th-century microbiology but which fell out of favor with the advent of modern germ theory.[2][14] Young's fundamental claim is that the human body is alkaline by design and acidic by function, and that there is only one disease (acidosis) and one treatment (an alkaline diet).[15][16]

Young's books recommend a low-stress lifestyle and a high-water-content, high-chlorophyll, plant-based diet.[17] He recommends moderate intake of high-carbohydrate vegetables, some grains, and fresh fish.[18] Young recommends abstaining from "acidic" foods—sugar, red meat, shellfish, eggs, dairy, processed and refined foods, stored grains, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, coffee, chocolate, and sodas—because he believes that such foods overload the body with acidity and cause disease.[18] Young claims that disorders such as weight gain, water retention, high cholesterol, kidney stones, and tumors are all life-saving mechanisms for dealing with excess acidity in the body. Young's writings commonly explain these theories using a "fish tank" metaphor that compares the environment of the human body to a fish tank.[1][19]

Research supporting alkaline diets, like that promoted by Young, is limited to in vitro and animal studies.[20] A number of recent systematic reviews and meta-analyses in the medical literature have concluded that there is no evidence that alkaline diets are beneficial to humans.[21][22][23]

Nutritional microscopy[edit]

Main article: Live blood analysis

Young bases some of his theories, research, and written works on the alternative medical approach of live blood analysis. Young teaches microscopy courses in which he trains people to perform live blood analysis as well as dry blood analysis.[10] Young has also stated that he teaches live blood analysis solely for research and educational purposes, and not for use in diagnosing medical conditions—an important legal distinction.[24]

Live blood analysis is used by alternative medical practitioners, who claim it to be a valuable qualitative assessment of a person's state of health. Live blood analysis lacks scientific foundation, and has been described as a fraudulent means of convincing patients to buy dietary supplements and as a medically useless "money-making scheme".[24][25][26] Live blood analysis has been described by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as an "unestablished laboratory test", or test that is not generally accepted in laboratory medicine.[27]

Legal issues[edit]

In 1995, Young allegedly drew blood from two women, told them they were ill, and then sold them herbal products to treat these illnesses. He was charged with two third-degree felony counts of practicing medicine without a license, but pled guilty to a reduced misdemeanor charge.[14][24] Young argued that he had never claimed to be a medical doctor, that the women had entrapped him by asking to be part of his research, and that he "looked at the women's blood and simply gave them some nutritional advice."[14]

In 2001, Young was again charged with a felony in Utah, after a cancer patient alleged that Young told her to stop chemotherapy and to substitute one of his products to treat her cancer. Subsequently, when an undercover agent visited Young, he allegedly analyzed her blood and prescribed a liquid diet. The case was taken to preliminary trial, but charges were dropped after the prosecutor stated that he could not find enough people who felt cheated by Young.[24] Young dismissed the arrests as "harassment" and stated that he moved to California because the legal climate there was more tolerant.[24] On May 12, 2011 Quackwatch published a critical analysis of Young's qualifications and practices.[8]

In 2014 Young was arrested in San Diego and received 18 felony charges relating to practising medicine without a license, and of theft.[28] According to the Medical Board of California's press release [29] chronically ill patients were paying Young up to $50,000 for his treatments.

Kim Tinkham[edit]

In 2007, Kim Tinkham, diagnosed with stage three breast cancer, adopted Young's protocols before appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show. She enthusiastically promoted them on her website "". A 2008 press release from Young contained her assertion that she was "cancer free by all medical terms" as diagnosed by her own doctors.[30] Young was criticized following Tinkham's death from cancer on December 7, 2010.[31][32]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Authors Say Key to Health is in the Blood". Arizona Tribune. May 30, 2002. Retrieved Apr 1, 2009. [dead link]
  2. ^ a b Young, Robert (2001). Sick and Tired. pp. 9–11. ISBN 1-58054-030-9. Retrieved 2012-09-07. 
  3. ^ Young, Robert (2002). The pH Miracle. pp. 1–11. ISBN 0-446-52809-9. 
  4. ^ a b "pH Miracle Living, About Us". 2005-03-31. Retrieved 2012-09-07. 
  5. ^ "The pH Miracle for Weight Loss Book Review". Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  6. ^ "Utah County Property Owners 2008". Retrieved 2012-09-07. 
  7. ^ David Gorski, Science Based Medicine
  8. ^ a b Stephen Barrett. "A Critical Look at "Dr." Robert Young's Theories and Credentials". Quackwatch. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  9. ^ 10 News
  10. ^ a b c d e "Robert Young Website Media Kit". Retrieved 2012-09-07. 
  11. ^ Jones, Adam (February 11, 2007). "State’s diploma mills draw academic ire". Tuscaloosa News. Retrieved February 14, 2007.  | page=5
  12. ^ In 2007 Clayton's own website stated that it was "A non-traditionally accredited school of naturopathy" Archived July 26, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "The Alkalarian Approach to Optimal Health". 2003-03-02. Retrieved 2012-09-07. 
  14. ^ a b c "Herbalist in Alpine pleads guilty to reduced charge". Deseret News. February 5, 1996. Retrieved July 20, 2008. 
  15. ^ "In Search for Alternative...". WCMessenger. Archived from the original on 2010-07-10. Retrieved Jul 2009. 
  16. ^ Young, Robert. Overacidity and Overgrowth of Yeast, Fungus and Moulds. Canada Consumer Health. May 1997.
  17. ^ Young, Robert (2002). The pH Miracle. pp. 37, 41, 50–80. ISBN 0-446-52809-9. [dead link]
  18. ^ a b Young, Robert (2002). The pH Miracle. pp. 58, 81–91. ISBN 0-446-52809-9. [dead link]
  19. ^ Karr, Chris (2007). Crazy Sexy Cancer. p. 129. ISBN 978-1-59921-231-9. Retrieved 2012-09-07. 
  20. ^ Stephanie Vangsness (May 3, 2006). "Alkaline Diets and Cancer: Fact or Fiction?". Intelihealth. Archived from the original on 2008-01-17. 
  21. ^ Fenton TR, Tough SC, Lyon AW, Eliasziw M, Hanley DA (2011). "Causal assessment of dietary acid load and bone disease: a systematic review & meta-analysis applying Hill's epidemiologic criteria for causality". Nutr J 10: 41. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-10-41. PMC 3114717. PMID 21529374. 
  22. ^ Fenton TR, Lyon AW, Eliasziw M, Tough SC, Hanley DA (November 2009). "Meta-analysis of the effect of the acid-ash hypothesis of osteoporosis on calcium balance". J. Bone Miner. Res. 24 (11): 1835–40. doi:10.1359/jbmr.090515. PMID 19419322. 
  23. ^ Fenton TR, Lyon AW, Eliasziw M, Tough SC, Hanley DA (2009). "Phosphate decreases urine calcium and increases calcium balance: a meta-analysis of the osteoporosis acid-ash diet hypothesis". Nutr J 8: 41. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-8-41. PMC 2761938. PMID 19754972. 
  24. ^ a b c d e Naturopathic technique stirring bad blood, by Logan Jenkins. Published in the San Diego Union-Tribune on April 11, 2005; accessed July 20, 2008.
  25. ^ Ernst, Edzard (2005-07-12). "Intrigued by the spectacular claims made for Live Blood Analysis? Don't be. It doesn't work". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-11-17. 
  26. ^ Freyer, Felice (2005-06-21). "Chiropractor ordered to halt blood tests". Providence Journal. 
  27. ^ "CLIA regulation of unestablished laboratory tests" (PDF). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. July 2001. 
  28. ^ Richard Allyn (25 January 2014). "Controversial alternative health provider pleads not guilty to charges". Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  29. ^ Frank Miller (24 January 2014). "Medical Board investigation leads to arrest of a Valley Center Man for the unlicensed practice of medicine". Medical Board of California. p. 1. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  30. ^ ""Cancer Angel: The Explanation of What Cancer Is and Its Prevention and Cure" Speaking Tour Begins Tuesday, January 15, 2008" (Press release). January 14, 2008. Retrieved March 24, 2012. 
  31. ^ David Gorski. "Death by "alternative" medicine: Who’s to blame? (Revisited)". Retrieved 2012-09-07. 
  32. ^ Van Bockstaele. "Kim Tinkham, the woman whom Oprah made famous, dead at 53". Digital Journal. Retrieved 2012-09-07. 

External links[edit]