Patrick Holford

Patrick Holford has been a leading figure in nutrition since 1984. He was Founder of the Institute for Optimum Nutrition, with his mentor, twice Nobel Prize winner Dr Linus Pauling, as patron.


At the start of his career Patrick Holford, BSc, DipION, FBANT, NTCRP, opened a health shop and clinic in High Wycombe where he developed a method for treating people with nutritional therapy. This was a truly pioneering and ground-breaking approach at that time. In 1982 he took the knowledge gained from his clinical practice and considered that maybe sub-optimum nutrition was the cause of diabetes, heart disease, even cancer. This was before anyone had heard of omega-3, antioxidants, zinc, chromium, magnesium, homocysteine or the ideas that nutrition affects the brain, or could possibly prevent diseases such as cancer. All these, and other ideas such as milk as promoter of breast and prostate cancer growth, were considered outrageous.

He started in the field of psychology and then became a student of two of the leading pioneers in nutrition medicine and psychiatry – the late Dr Carl Pfeiffer and Dr Abram Hoffer. In 1984 he founded the Institute for Optimum Nutrition (ION), now degree-accredited, to train a new profession – the first generation of nutritional therapists and to define what it means to be optimally nourished. His mentor, twice Nobel Prize winner Dr Linus Pauling (see picture), was patron.


In 1998 Patrick left ION to focus on writing down what he’d learnt and his first book, the Optimum Nutrition Bible, was published, selling over 2 million copies and catalysing a global revolution. He’s now written over 45 books translated into over 30 languages (see full list). He has attracted many supporters throughout his career for example Professor David Smith, University of Oxford: ‘Patrick Holford is a superb communicator and teacher and his writings and teachings are soundly based on the scientific and medical literature and is very much at the forefront of nutritional medicine’.

Never afraid to stick his head above the parapet, he also championed nutritional medicine and fought the tide of legislation that big pharma (pharmaceutical industry) used to stop natural medicine becoming the new paradigm. He was once described at the ‘original disruptor’, challenging inaccurate and outdated concepts within nutritional medicine. An explanation of some of the debates during the noughties, can be found in his report Holford Myths.

He has helped numerous people throughout the world with their health issues, through his books and teachings One of his current focusses is on helping people with mental health issues and in 2003 he founded the Brain Bio Centre at ION and in 2007 he founded the Food for the Brain Foundation. He has advocated homocysteine-lowering B vitamins for the prevention of dementia, working closely with David Smith, Emeritus Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Oxford, whose research has reported substantial reduction in the rate of brain shrinkage with B vitamins. He follows closely the results of randomised trials. One published in 2020 in the British Medical Journal’s Journal of Neurologicial Neurosurgery and Pyschiatry concluded ‘Notably, homocysteine-lowering treatment (B vitamins) seems the most promising intervention for Alzheimers dementia prevention’.

In 2014, Patrick was inducted to the Orthomolecular Medicine Hall of Fame, joining his mentors Drs Linus Pauling and Abram Hoffer. He has also been awarded an honorary Diploma from ION and is also an Honorary Fellow of BANT. (The British Association of Nutritional Therapists). He is also a retired visiting professor at the University of Teeside.


He is passionate about good food and healthy eating and for a long time has been a proponent of the Low-GL Diet (GL means Glycaemic Load), which is a unit of measurement that tells you exactly what a food will do to your blood sugar. Often ahead of the curve, he has been vocally ‘anti-free sugar’ for years and has helped to raise awareness of its dangers. He has written a range of cookery books full of tasty, nutrient-rich, sugar-free recipes. Many of these are now available to members of the Holford Health Club through their member’s Dashboard.


Patrick advocates high dose vitamin C as an effective anti-viral agent and has promoted the use of vitamin C for COVID-19 prevention and treatment using intravenous vitamin C for critically ill covid patients and high dose use to shorten duration and severity at the onset of colds and flu. He is founder of and co-author of two reviews published in peer-reviewed journal Nutrients, on vitamins, vitamin C and COVID-19. You can follow this campaign in the Covid topic.


Patrick takes a holistic approach to health. He believes that as important as good nutrition, exercise, reducing stress, not smoking and creating a toxin-free environment are – our state of mind and spirit also have an enormous effect on our ability to be healthy and recover health, and this should not be underestimated. He teaches that we are physical, emotional, sensual, intellectual and spiritual beings living on the Earth in a human society, and understanding this connectedness is vital to feel fully alive, awake, connected on all levels and living a purposeful life.


Patrick regularly appears in the press. View recent interviews and articles.

Now in his 60s, he helps people transform their lives and feel energised and vibrant, through his health retreats. He is CEO and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of Food for the Brain Foundation and is involved in their dementia prevention project. He is currently on the Editorial Board for the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service.

He also speaks nationwide and internationally. A gifted speaker, he has become an all-round ambassador for natural health and wellbeing, making the science of nutrition accessible to everyone.