The Sad State of the Health Blogosphere: RIP Dr. Ron Schmid and Rami Nagel

Two of my friends died last month. These were both guys who ate all organic food… we're talking supremely healthy, nutrient-dense diets.

They died almost within a week of each other. Dr. Ron Schmid, naturopath and author, aged 71, died of heart failure on July 20th. Rami Nagel, author, aged 38, died of cancer just over a week later on July 28th. Both had one thing in common: they were taking a supplement called FCLO (fermented cod liver oil).

Rami and Dr. Ron

I met both Rami and Ron at the Weston A. Price Foundation conference, the first one I ever attended in 2008. I saw them both every year at the annual WAPF Wise Traditions Conference until I stopped attending in 2014.

Here's a photo I took of Rami at the 2009 conference:

Rami Nagel, 2009
Rami Nagel, 2009

And one I took of Dr. Ron in 2009:

Dr. Ron Schmid, 2009
Dr. Ron Schmid, 2009

Rami was only 30 when I took that photo. Ron was 63. Eight years later, they are both dead.

The Whistleblower Report

Dr. Kaayla Daniel sacrificed everything to expose FCLO as what she believes is a rancid, toxic oil in her whistleblower report published 2 years ago.

David Gumpert was the first blogger, and one of the only bloggers, to cover the story.

My friends, David Gumpert (left) and Max Kane, 2009
My friends, David Gumpert (left) and Max Kane, 2009

Bloggers With Integrity

Kaalya recently wrote an article about Dr. Ron's passing. Blogger David Gumpert also wrote a post.

I'm grateful to both Kaayla and David for taking the time on their blogs to honor Dr. Ron. He was a good man who helped a lot of people. He was intelligent, caring, and a stellar researcher and writer. If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend picking up a copy of his book, [easyazon_link identifier=”0979209528″ locale=”US” tag=”cheeseslave0e-20″]The Untold Story of Milk[/easyazon_link].

David Gumpert also published this recent article about Rami Nagel's passing.

I want to take a moment to thank both David Gumpert and Kaayla Daniel, for showing great integrity by honestly investigating and questioning the supplement both Rami and Ron consumed, fermented cod liver oil (FCLO).

There were a few other bloggers who honestly criticized and questioned FCLO, who posted about the whistleblower report and warned their readers about the possible danger. I can count those folks on one hand. I am grateful for everyone who contributed information about this very important topic.

Actually I need to give credit to Sarah at Nourished and Nurtured who was the very first blogger to sound an alarm about FCLO (two and a half years before Kaayla's whistleblower report came out). This was the blog post she published in January, 2013.

I also want to give a special shout out to Jaclyn Harwell of The Family That Heals Together. She wrote a killer post last year in 2016 explaining why Kaayla Daniel was proven right and vindicated by the WAPF.

Others, Not So Much

There were a few other bloggers who covered the FCLO scandal with a single blog post, saying the evidence was inconclusive, they were not sure what to believe, and they said they would write another post later.

Nobody ever did write another post. It's been 2 years. I'm still waiting.

Nor did they warn their readers about possible dangers of FCLO.

A couple of them did at least say they were holding off taking FCLO until they found out more. Which is at least something. However, we never got an update.

The Rest: Absolute Sh*t

The rest of the bloggers didn't say a word about the controversy. Not one word.

Mommypotamus, Holistic Squid and Food Renegade, 2011
Mommypotamus, Holistic Squid and Food Renegade, 2011

Oh sure, they had time to write blog posts about gelatin gummies and whatever else they write about. But in two years, we haven't heard a single word — not one word — about the FCLO controversy from Food Renegade, Nourished Kitchen, Mommypotamus, Holistic Squid, Real Food Forager, Hollywood Homestead, etc. etc.

Really, Food Renegade? The woman who writes viral articles about how dangerous orange juice is? You can't find a spare minute to write about Kaayla Daniel's whistleblower report?

Kristen Michaelis of Food Renegade, 2011
Kristen Michaelis of Food Renegade, 2011

The Food Renegade about page reads: “I want to save lives. Your life. My life. My family’s life.”

But I guess any concerns about the potential hazards of FCLO is not important to write about. But she's got time to write recipes like Espresso Ice Cream and Creamy Paleo Dip. Oh… but Kristen Michaelis of Food Renegade didn't write those recipes. Courtney Polivka did.

So I guess Kristen is too busy to write on her blog anymore… so she pays someone else to do it. In fact, I scrolled and scrolled and couldn't find a recent post written by Kristen.

I guess maybe it's not so much about saving lives anymore?

Don't Rock the Boat

Bloggers like Sarah Pope of The Healthy Home Economist, Jenny McGruther of Nourished Kitchen and Kelly the Kitchen Kop quietly swapped out their links to FCLO and started promoting a different brand.

Kelly the Kitchen Kop at the Deidre Currie Festival, 2008
Kelly the Kitchen Kop at the Deidre Currie Festival (Deidre died of a pulmonary embolism — see the video with her husband, Archie Welch, below), 2008

Or, worse (actually I don't know which one is worse), they just left their posts advocating FCLO up, with the affiliate links still active.

Emily Bartlett of Holistic Squid, 2012
Emily Bartlett of Holistic Squid, 2012

Two years later, you can still find a lot of blog posts promoting FCLO.

As many of you know, I used to run a large blog network within this community, and FCLO was one of the main supplements we all promoted. I helped a lot of bloggers make money and they were all marketing FCLO. I confronted a number of these former blog network members… asked them if they had considered taking down their posts or at least covering the FCLO scandal. Most of them either ignored my messages, or worse, deleted my comments and blocked me on Facebook.

I guess I could understand if these people hadn't spent years making money off of FCLO. Or if they had stopped blogging. But nope, they're still blogging. Still making money. Many of them make enough money to support their families. We're talking six figure incomes.

And yet they can't make the time to write an update about FCLO, this “fermented cod liver oil” that may very well be damaging people's health.

Why Are So Many WAPFers Getting Sick and Dying?

Dr. Ron and Rami are not the only FCLO adherents that lost their lives. One of the reasons Kaayla started investigating FCLO years ago was a rash of pulmonary embolisms in the WAPF community. Deidre Currie was one of those people who lost her life (watch the video interview below with Archie Welch, her husband who tells the story).

There are a number of other WAPFers slash avid FCLO consumers who have gotten sick or seriously injured, and many have died over the years. For example, Katherine Czapp died of cancer at age 56 last October. WAPF honorary board member, Carol Esche, died the same month of metastatic breast cancer.

There's another blogger I know who has a child with cancer. As far as I know, she is still giving her sick child the FCLO.

What's causing all of these illnesses and deaths? We don't know… But isn't it odd that so many people who eat such a very healthy diet are getting so sick? Sure seems odd to me…

I'll never forget when one of my readers read my post about the possible dangers of FCLO, and she told me her toddler, whom she had been giving FCLO, had gallstones and pancreatitis:

Wow. So what do you recommend using in the homemade baby formula?? A few yrs ago my daughter was hospitalized for pancreatitis from gallstones. She was eating so healthy but taking green pastures cod liver oil. We stopped giving it to her after bc we weren't sure. Could it have contributed to the problem. – Hannah Klamm (Cheeseslave Facebook comment)

Dr. Ron and his wife, Elly firmly believed it was the FCLO that caused his fatal heart disease (you can watch my video interview with him below.)

But on the other hand, Rami really believed in the FCLO and continued to take it (Gumpert writes about that in this post).

For bloggers who still believe in the supplement, that's understandable. Maybe not smart, and not responsible (if they had done more research, they would definitely have seen the ample evidence that there is reason to be concerned about this supplement)… but I can't blame Rami or the others for continuing to put their faith in the product.

But I take issue with the bloggers who used to recommend FCLO and never wrote a single post about the whistleblower report and the allegations. Many of these bloggers have since stopped taking FCLO, but have not come clean with their readers about why they no longer take the product. I think some of them don't want to “rock the boat”. Maybe they don't want to take a stand because they don't want to offend anyone.

Heather Dessinger of Mommypotamus, 2011
Heather Dessinger of Mommypotamus, 2011

They leave up their posts about FCLO without ever editing them. Posts like this one and this one recommending FCLO. Oh, sure, she's removed her links to the product. But she never went back and edited the post.

Does this blogger (Mommypotamus) still recommend FCLO? We don't know. The comments on her site asking about whether she still recommends FCLO go unanswered.

They protect their ego and their standing. But what if this product is making people sick? What if this oil really is rancid and it's killing people?

I'm not saying it is. I don't know that for a fact. But you would think these bloggers would at least feel the need to REPORT on the controversy. Isn't that what they do? I mean, as journalists?

They all knew Rami and Dr. Ron… and yet, crickets.

Food Renegade and Mommypotamus, 2012
Food Renegade and Mommypotamus, 2012

Maybe they're avoiding the topic because they don't want to cause controversy. And yet… isn't it ironic how bloggers like Food Renegade LOVE controversy when it serves them… when they make money from their viral posts about toxic orange juice … but they can't be bothered to write about a supplement that might be hurting people?

I wonder how that mom felt when she discovered her toddler had pancreatitis. Her boat was definitely rocked, and in a very bad way. You'd think that the bloggers who spent years plugging FCLO could have said a word or two to warn this mom.

“Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm — but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.” – T. S. Eliot

At the end of the day, I don't give a rat's a** about whether people like me or not. I do care about people's health. And I'm very distressed about the state of our health blogosphere. The people who are supposed to be doing this job are failing miserably. And I worry about all the folks out there who will fall victim to this.

God bless you, Dr. Ron and Rami. I am sorry that the blogosphere failed you. I know I had a hand in that and I regret my part. You were good men. You were loved and you will be missed by many. I am praying for your families.

Find Me Online

Ann Marie Michaels

I have 25 years of experience in digital and online media & marketing. I started my career in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, working at some of the world’s top ad agencies. In 2007, after my first child was born, I started this little food blog which I grew to over 250K monthly unique website visitors and over 350K social media followers. For nearly 15 years, I've helped my audience of mostly moms and women 25-65 cook for their families and live a healthier lifestyle.

 The year after I started the blog, I founded a blog network in the health & wellness space called Village Green Network. I started the company on my coffee table and bootstrapped the business to over $1.3 million in annual revenue within 5 years. During that time, I helped a number of our bloggers become six figure earners. After being censored on almost every social media platform for telling the After being censored on almost every social media platform from Facebook and Instagram to Pinterest and Twitter, and being deplatformed on Google, I am now deployed as a digital soldier, writing almost exclusively about politics on my blog Cheeseslave.com. Because who can think about food when we are fighting the second revolutionary war and third world war? Don't worry, there will be more recipes one day. After the war is over.

48 thoughts on “The Sad State of the Health Blogosphere: RIP Dr. Ron Schmid and Rami Nagel

  1. AnnMarie, I am so grateful for your work and the other handful of health bloggers who took the time to address this serious controversy. I used to take FCLO and I had been giving it to my daughter. Thankfully we know better now. God bless!

  2. Well said 👏👏👏

    Not FCLO but some clues here, maybe:

    https://raypeat.com/articles/articles/fishoil.shtml

  3. This is hard to read… we took FCLO for some years, and are taking a regular one now.

    I remember well when baby Jack was born and his mother died. I have a Jack, too; my heart was very sad for that little family.

    At the time, I thought I heard speculation that it was probiotics she was taking that caused an issue. It didn't make sense to me then b/c probiotics are processed in the stomach and gut.

    Forgive me if it is mentioned, but I did not see it — what about the FCLO would cause embolisms?

    How ironic and sad that in an old post you honor Deidre and praise the fermented cod liver oil in the same post… https://www.cheeseslave.com/deidre-currie-festival-photos/

    1. Hi, Maria,

      Yes, it was Kaayla Daniel (author of the FCLO whistleblower report) who initially had suspicions about the probiotic (Dr. Campbell McBride's gut pro).

      There were others in the WAPF community who were all taking that probiotic — and there were a number of people who had embolisms. Kaayla was trying to figure out what was causing the embolisms.

      Later she became suspicious of the FCLO, which is why she decided to get it tested, and that resulted in her whistleblower report.

      This article talks about Toxic Oil Syndrome – there was an epidemic of TOS in Spain in the 1980s due to some industrial grade canola oil that was being sold as "olive oil" — one of the consequences was embolisms:

      https://nutritionnutsandbolts.com/2012/08/01/rancid-fat/

      Thank you for noticing the post about Dee — I corrected it.

  4. B the way, you still link to the Green pastures site and haven't corrected your post recommending the fermented cod liver oil.

  5. I followed a WAPF diet for many years and my health was the worse its ever been. I only took the fermented clo for a few months. I think its the heavy meat and dairy that's to blame, perhaps in addition to the CLO. I am now experiencing the best health of my life eating a meat and dairy free diet. Something to think about. Maybe its different for everyone but people have to experiment for themselves.

    1. Angela, I suspect the WAPF diet is yielding a similar result for me. I'd love to learn what you settled-on diet-wise if you can please share here. Glad your health is recovering and you found the sovereignty that you needed.

  6. Hey Ann Marie:

    Your ABSOLUTE FAVORITE sh*t stirrer dude here. 😉

    Anyway, hat's off to you for this. I blogged about the deal. Not a strong indictment, just letting people know. I didn't take it for very long and it was low dose…the BO and FCLO blend in the 1g capsules, 1-2 per day. I take ZERO fish oil supplements anymore. Rather, I do something very strange: I eat fish. Go figure.

    I learned of this post today in comments to a post I put up about Mark Sisson's recent podcast interview with Jimmy Moore. The last 20 minutes are pure gold, like "well, Jimmy, you have quite a lot of stored energy."

    Anyway, best to you. Always put your integrity and good will towards humanity above fame and fortune.

    1. Haha hi Richard. I like you – we can agree to disagree on the V issue – we have lots more in common on other topics, and yes, integrity should always come before being liked.

      I'll friend you on FB again.

  7. I too appreciate your honesty — and courage — very much in talking about this scandal and not being afraid to call others out on their silence.

    I do wonder if Nagel's cancer was due in part to his strict avoidance of phytates? They're protective with regards to colon cancer but it's my understanding that he avoided them completely.

    ???

  8. Hi
    This is Rami's mom. Thank you for your tribute. Nice photo of him – one I have not seen.

    Yes Rami lived a healthy lifestyle. He practices what he preached.

    He had a rare brain stem tumor. Nobody knows why. I don't think it can be attributed to anything environmental. It is a type of tumor they mostly see in young kids. Somehow a cell that usually turns off when we grow a little just kept on growing. Maybe he lived so long because he was so healthy?! We will never know. See my tribute to him on Facebook. Even though it does not relate to the subject at hand.
    Malka Nagel

    1. Dearest Malka,
      I have thought of your son so many times since learning of his passing just last month.

      I have felt him as someone so loving, loving to share and loving to heal, without abandon.

      His passion for learning and self-empowerment has inspired me to take back my power from passivity.

      I literally have thicker, stronger, shinier hair right now, after it had been coming out in clumps, due to your son's kind-hearted sharing of wisdom.

      My deep prayers have been for you, as his family, that you all are comforted by his life even in his death.

      Thank you for sharing here and offering words of solace to those of us grieving and in shock that one of us — someone walking the way of clean living in and out — can also be helplessly human, subject to throes of nature that think little of our Earthly pursuits. I am not on Facebook. I wish I could view the tribute you wrote.

    2. Thank you for sharing. I am shocked by all the negatively surrounding him. Cancer happens to everyone. There’s more factors than just one that play into it.

  9. Err rather I posted a while back about my opinion on the liars that is foodrenegade and homeeconomist, I came back to see if there was any reply and I can't seem to find it?

  10. Thank you for shedding some light on the greedy nature of so many bloggers. Those who claim to care so much about the health and well-being of others, when in reality, they're just copy/pasting and regurgitating whatever "information" suits their wants and whims at the time, in order to make a profit. These self-proclaimed experts are spreading false information and are a danger to those who don't do their research and take what they read online with a grain of salt.

  11. The oil could certainly be bad in FCLO, but the likely culprit is the high levels of vitamin A. Please read the free ebooks linked below by this engineer out of Canada. You will not believe what he has uncovered about vitamin A. And if he is proven correct, we have a lot of damage to undo (but it is also exciting that we might finally have some answers why autoimmune and many other diseases are rapidly increasing).

    https://ggenereuxblog.wordpress.com/

  12. "Two of my friends died last month. These were both guys who ate all organic food… we're talking supremely healthy, nutrient-dense diets."

    What, exactly, were their diets? Paleo, Vegan, WAPF, Ketogenic?

  13. Are you kidding me? This is your scientific evidene? One has heart failure, the other has a brain tumor but yet…they both took cod liver oil. OK so totally different causes of death for starters and secondly how many other things did they have in common like breathing air, living in a polluted world, being human but NO! It must be the cod liver oil. If you were to persue an education in science you would learn about a concept called the scientific method. It would teach you the difference between correlation and causation. You should look it up. And how tacky of you to make such nasty accusations of all these other bloggers for not willing to go on this bang wagon with you on an issue that has such weak evidence. Lastly I love how Rami's mom politely called you out on using his death to make your ridiculous claims. Just classy. Keep up the good work.

    1. Her issue with the bloggers is that they quit her group because she was greedy and unfair, cheating people out of hard-earned money. And she’s still mad! lol. Crazy and CLASSLESS.

  14. Hi, I have used FCLO since 2012. In 2014 I had a lung/pulmonary embolism after a C-section. In 2015 I got lyme disease with much gallbladder pain but no gallstones appearing. Gallbladder does not seem to work today though unless I take liver/gallbladder herbs.
    Since end 2017 I had regular chest pains. No heart condition was found. Difficult to prove if FCLO caused all this but I feel there are too many similarities with the suspected side effects. I have stopped taking FCLO now.

    1. Oh I cured the lyme disease with MMS (ClO2) and Gerson therapy.
      Thanks for bringing the FCLO contoversy in the open Ann Marie! How many lives have you saved?

  15. Yo food renegade looks insanely unhealthy look at her eyes :O are people really listening to health advice from a sick person? How has no one noticed that?

  16. So I look up Ramiel Niguel, autocorrect goes to ‘Ramiel Niguel death’ and your article comes up. It just shows your second paragraph in big letters mentioning their death and the fact that they took FCLO. First of all correlation does not prove causation. Second Romi hardly took FCLO cause he had a sensitive stomach, something you should have asked his wife about before you exploit his death on here for your own agenda. Dr. Ron Schmid took massive amounts of cod liver oil and FCLO according to him in your interview and quit taking FCLO for years and claimed that completely reversed his heart disease before dying of heart attack a couple years later of course not while taking the FCLO. Sounds like he missed something and it was not the FCLO, plus there type deaths have no relation. Meanwhile FCLO has been tested several times since then and has been shown to be more stable than any other fish oil that they have tested. Not to mention people groups that have thrived on Fermented liver oils for generations. If Romi was truly your friend You should stop exploiting his name for your own agenda in this unscientific and falsely accusatory article.

    1. Hi Malcolm,

      Responding to your points…

      "First of all correlation does not prove causation."

      Where in this article did I say FCLO causes cancer? I just reread it and I don't see it. Could you please point it out to me?

      This is what I said: "What's causing all of these illnesses and deaths? We don't know… But isn't it odd that so many people who eat such a very healthy diet are getting so sick? Sure seems odd to me…"

      Second Romi hardly took FCLO cause he had a sensitive stomach, something you should have asked his wife about before you exploit his death on here for your own agenda. Dr. Ron Schmid took massive amounts of cod liver oil and FCLO according to him in your interview and quit taking FCLO for years and claimed that completely reversed his heart disease before dying of heart attack a couple years later of course not while taking the FCLO. Sounds like he missed something and it was not the FCLO, plus there type deaths have no relation."

      Here are the facts:

      Rami did take FCLO for a long time. I know because I knew him personally and saw him every single year at the WAPF conferences. He was almost always manning the FCLO booth. He may have stopped taking the FCLO after a period of time, I don't know.

      Dr. Ron took 1-2 TBS per day of cod liver oil for decades. He was taking Carlson's. Then he took FCLO for several years. After his doctors told him rancid oil could have caused his heart problems, he stopped taking cod liver oil completely. And he died a couple years later.

      "Meanwhile FCLO has been tested several times since then and has been shown to be more stable than any other fish oil that they have tested."

      Source please?

      I interviewed Dr. Rudi Moerck, a marine oil expert, on one of my YouTube videos, and he said the studies that came back in Dr. Kaayla's whistleblower report show that the FCLO is as rancid as "varnish".

      "Not to mention people groups that have thrived on Fermented liver oils for generations"

      It's a very small population and if you research it, they also died of cancer and heart disease.

      "If Romi was truly your friend You should stop exploiting his name for your own agenda in this unscientific and falsely accusatory article."

      You should stop accusing me of things I didn't do. And get off my blog if you're going to make personal attacks. I do not allow them per my comment policy.

  17. Hi, thanks for summarizing a lot of the issues here.
    I did follow one of the Mommypotamus links you included above (https://mommypotamus.com/cod-liver-oil-kids/), and it seems to me that she very clearly says she doesn’t recommend FCLO:
    “Is fermented cod liver oil healthy?
    In recent years there has been a lot of controversy surrounding Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil (FCLO). Some have claimed that it is rancid, while others say it isn’t. After reading all the available information on both sides, I cannot say with confidence that I know for certain that it’s safe.
    For that reason, I choose to err on the side of caution and do not recommend it at this time.”
    Perhaps she updated the post?

    1. She probably did, but years too late. This was known six years ago, and this article updated 3 years ago after Nagel died.

    2. Mommypotamus is a liar. I reached out to all the former VGN bloggers in 2015 and asked them to at least blog about the issues with FCLO and the whistleblower report. None of them got back to me. Some of them deleted my comments from their Facebook pages and blocked me.

      1. I can appreciate why you don’t like her anymore, after what happened to you and VGN, but what about this is a lie?
        “After reading all the available information on both sides, I cannot say with confidence that I know for certain that it’s safe.
        For that reason, I choose to err on the side of caution and do not recommend it at this time.”

        It seems to me she conceded your points, and yes, maybe far later than she should have, but still.

        1. Do you really think I would make this personal Jeanmarie? Do you really have so little respect for me and my work that I would make a decision based on my feelings or based on my pride? I have literally lost everything standing up for what is right.

          I have information you don’t have. I have information I have not shared. She is a liar.

          1. And not to put too fine of a point on it, but she hasn’t suffered financially as I have. She’s sitting pretty. Because she kept her mouth shut.

            Was it the right thing to do? Maybe for her — because this way she didn’t “rock the boat”. She could keep her money, her reputation.

            I lost all that because I spoke out. But I think maybe, in the process, I saved some lives.

            1. Dr. Ron, Rami, and many others died. I have zero respect for anyone who didn’t speak out. ZERO.

              David Gumpert, he’s OK in my book. He did the right thing. As did a number of other people. Dr. Kaayla Daniel, Mark & Blaine McAfee, Dan Corrigan and Archie Welch. Many others.

              Mommypotamus, Food Renegade, Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Nourished Kitchen, Healthy Home Economist, Wellness Mama — all trash. Because they betrayed their fans. Out of fear. Out of pride. ZERO respect. They could have spoken up and saved lives.

  18. Wow I wish I would have found you a long time ago. I have been giving my family fclo for years per the wapf and mommypotamus. I am disappointed in these bloggers. Thank you for for being a truth teller. I already can tell you will be my go-to for supplement reviews.

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