I saw a patient last week who was self referred. He had been seeing a DC/ND for a variety of symptoms that turned out to be asthma. Not that the DC/ND made that diagnosis. His DC/ND diagnosed him with an infection, based on live blood analysis, and offered the patient a colonic detox as a cure. My patient thought he should get a second opinion before he submitted to a cleansing enema, always a good policy

Live blood analysis to diagnose an infection. I had never heard of the technique, but thanks to the google and the interwebs, I was soon immersed in the field.

In live blood analysis, the “physician” takes a drop of the patients blood and examines it under a high power phase contrast or a darkfield microscope. Changes in the constituents of the blood are noted and linked to a variety of ills.

It is an impressive and expensive system: microscopes and various support equipment start at around $5000 (3). However, live blood analysis has the opportunity to be lucrative in the right hands as the patient often gets weekly analysis to see how the interventions (usually supplements sold by the blood analyst) are working. Evidently in the hands of a skilled snake oil salesman, an income of $100,000 a year to more can be generated (8).

Live blood analysis is one of these alternative methodologies that has a hint of legitimacy that is extrapolated far out of proportion to its validity.

Phase contrast and darkfield microscopes are used in medicine, in my world primarily to look for syphilis. As a rule, most pathologic changes in the blood are best seen when various stains are applied to the blood sample. Most commonly a Wright”s stain is used on blood cells, because many diagnostic features are invisible on phase contrast. There are many different stains used in the pathology laboratory to help identify what you are observing under the microscope. Using different stains on microbial specimens can help categorize organisms before they can grow. It is not either-or, both phase contrast and other modalities are used in clinical medicine. More practical clinical information is derived from light microscopy on stained specimens.

An evaluation of the cells of the blood can give hints to the presence or cause of many diseases, from vitamin deficiencies to infection to leukemia. The CBC (complete blood count) with or without a differential (the types of cells seen) is part of any initial evaluation of ill patients.

With live blood analysis, practitioners take the seed of truth that the evaluation of the blood constituents can give valuable information and grow a forest of fantasy and magic. It is something to behold.

Besides live blood, some practitioners also practice dry blood analysis, where they examine clot to look for patterns that are allegedly indicative of diseases.

Let’s evaluate each diagnosis made on live blood analysis. Note the key feature of each alleged diagnosis. The problem lies in diet, and supplements are the solution to the problem, which, it just so happens, are sold by the live blood analyst. Curious that while I am alleged to be a shill of big pharma, I do not get dime one from any supplements or other products sold in my office because I don’t sell stuff to my patients. Any alternative provider who makes part of their living from selling supplements has far more conflict of interest than most physicians.

Someone may argue that I am an Infectious Disease doctor, what do I know about blood analysis. I also showed these photographs to a hematopathologist and a hematologist. It was refreshing how they laughed and laughed and laughed at the descriptions I showed them of live blood analysis.

Live blood analysis evidently began with Gunther Enderlein at the turn of the last century. He was in the Bechamp school of disease etiology and his concepts are unintelligible in the context of modern biology and physiology. Enderlein placed blood under a darkflield microscope and interpreted the artifacts he saw as quasi-life forms, which he called protits, symbionts or endobionts, that could transform into pathogens (11). Only Live Blood analysts can see these forms. As one site says “Enderlein’s “Endobiont” only had meanings to dark field microscopists following his teaching (10).” There is large inter-operator variability in analyzing live blood and no two live blood analysts see the same pathologic changes on the same slide (7). Live blood analysis is the N-Ray of microscopy.

Overtime live blood analysis expanded to include multiple diet related diagnosis, and is sometimes called nutritional blood analysis, the better, I suppose, to sell expensive supplements.

Here is where I apologize.

It appears that copyright laws prevent me from showing specific examples to blood analysis, so I add the link instead. Lots of clicking back and forth, I know, but I do respect intellectual property, although to apply the word “intellectual” to live blood analysis is akin to calling a naturopath a doctor. Lets say I respect their property. These photographs are widely reproduced on the net, but I am uncertain as to who, if anyone, owns the copyright, so I will be careful. There is evidently one lawyer for every 265 Americans.

Rouleau (http://www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/internet/hematology/HessEDD/BenignHematologicDisorders/redbloodcelldisorders/rouleaux.cfm)

In real medicine rouleau is an anomaly seen with paraproteinemias such as multiple myeloma. The extra proteins in the blood alter the charge on red cells, causing them to stack like coins.

In the world of live blood analysis, the are more causes:

“Often poor protein digestion. The pancreas may be off. Excess dietary protein, poor assimilation. Eating too much animal protein. Blood too toxic (altered blood pH) from stress, coffee, cigarettes, meat, etc. Dehydration, not drinking enough water (2).” None of these issues is known to cause rouleau formation. However, it you have multiple myeloma and you see a live blood analyst, the chance of having a serious and important diagnosis misdiagnosed and incorrectly treated is high.

Other photos here: http://healthenlightenment.com/live-blood-cell-analysis.shtml

RBC Aggregation    http://www.betterblood.net/gallery.htm

“The loss of the negative surface charge; this is a more disorganizing symptom where plasma acids act as molecular glue, causing RBCs to stick together (0).”

The “Live Blood Analysis Diploma Course (1)” says it is due to “ingestion of high fat meals, high blood cholesterol levels, and blood fat chemistry imbalances.”

No. That is not the cause of red cell aggregation outside of Dr. Young, the acid maven. There are no plasma acids that act as a molecular glue. Diet does not make red cells stick together, unless you dine on Elmer’s.

Protein Linkage   http://www.betterblood.net/gallery.htm

“Over acidity and blood pH imbalance. The diet is high in strong acids from proteins and carbohydrates. (0)” Perhaps “digestive insufficiency, excess protein consumption, imbalanced electrolytes, and inability to assimilate lipids or toxicity (1). ” A pathologic finding due to an excess and an insufficiency.

This is a made up nonsense. Blood pH is constant at 7.4 and varies not at all except under severe metabolic derangements like diabetic ketoacidosis and sepsis.

Macrocytes, Microcytes   http://www.betterblood.net/gallery.htm

“Ingestion of an excessive amount of over acidic food and drinks which causes a deficiency of sodium bicarbonate in the alkalophile glands (4).”

Macrocytes are most often due to B12 or folate deficiency, although there are other causes like AZT and hypothyroidism. Microcytes are most often due to iron deficiency and can be a marker of bowel cancer. Microcytes and macrocytes on a smear can represent serious underlying diseases, but are not due to “a deficiency of sodium bicarbonate in the alkalophile glands. ” Missing the real cause of these abnormalities could prove fatal, which, with their erroneous understanding of blood cell morphology, live blood analysts would be prone to do.

Echinocytes   http://www.betterblood.net/gallery.htm

“Latent tissue acidosis in the extra cellular fluid and the body’s inability to remove acid waste build up in the blood causing the cells to break down (0).”

No, latent tissue acidosis is not the cause of echinocytes. These are pathologic and a marker of liver disease.

Fibrous Thallus   http://www.betterblood.net/gallery.htm

“Indicates a nationalization of bacteria, yeast/fungus, mold, and their acid wastes and acid crystals lying in a dormant/inactive state (0).” Sounds worrisome. Biomedx says “The presence of large numbers of protoplast structures in peripheral blood is an unfavorable sign. Some authors propose they are a collection of progenitor cryptocides (Livingston-Wheeler). Progenitor meaning existing across millennia at the beginning, cryptocides meaning cellular killer. Protoplasts are thought to be related with infectious disease or neoplastic activity and or L-form bacteria. They are thought to be viral in origin (5).” Try as I might, I cannot understand what any of this means.

When you look at the photograph, what is seen is artifact of the slide, not a constituent of blood. Schmutz. Slides are not pristine and stray bits of cloth, cells and environmental dirt is common on the cells. A skilled microscopist understands the difference between artifact and real pathology. The patient, however, does not, and if I were not knowledgeable about cellular morphology I would be most impressed to see a large fibrous thallus in my blood. The explanation of fibrous thallus is nonsensical pseudoscientific gibberish.

Fibrin Spicules   http://www.betterblood.net/gallery.htm

“Involved in clotting to prevent internal bleeding. There is usually an increase during detoxification with the complete program and effective diet because the body is pulling acids stored in the connective tissues back into bloodstream for elimination (1).”

Glass is good at causing fibrin to precipitate out of blood, so occasionally you will see clot on the slide. Some of the photos in the net are artifact, some are fibrin, and all are the normal response to blood on glass. Again, the explanation is nonsense.

Mold   http://www.betterblood.net/gallery.htm

“Yeast overgrowth, collection of yeast, bacterial, fungus, mold. very toxic. Indicated in advanced stages of latent tissue acidosis. Highly disruptive to normal blood circulation (0).”

You never see mould in the blood in people who are not in the ICU dying of sepsis and profound immunocompromise.

These are not mold, they are artifacts on the slide.

Target Cells   http://www.betterblood.net/gallery.htm

“Fermenting RBCs; White spots or white yeast forms inside RBCs; Indicates the diet is too high in carbohydrates/simple sugars; sugar intolerance and/or imbalance; endocrine system/ pancreas stress (0).”

Red cells do not ferment and yeast do not live in red cells. This is fiction.

Yeast http://www.betterblood.net/gallery2.htm

“Born out of RBCs due to blood pH Imbalance from latent tissue acidosis; diet too high in protein, carbohydrates/ sugars; may be caused by excess antibiotic use, hormonal therapy, steroid use; fungal outfection (0)”

This is artifact, not yeasts. Yeasts can only been seen in people dying of overwhelming sepsis from profound neutropenia. Yeasts are not “born out of RBC’s.” More nonsense.

Platelets  http://www.betterblood.net/gallery2.htm

“High counts are due to latent tissue acidosis and excess acids in the bloodstream not being eliminated through the urinary tract causing RBCs to biologically transform giving birth to “filthy, dirty, platelets.”

Red blood cells do not biologically transform into platelets, much less filthy dirty ones.

Rod Forms  http://www.betterblood.net/gallery2.htm

“Bacterial forms born out of RBCs and found in the blood when there is latent tissue acidosis which alters the blood pH; due to acidic diet, emotional or physical stress, low nascent oxygen (O1); waste products of bacteria and yeast/ fungus (0). ”

Bacteria are not born out of red blood cells. More fiction and fantasy. The rod forms, like the L forms seen in some slides, are artifacts. The rods are many times larger than any known bacteria.

Anesthetized WBC”s  http://www.betterblood.net/gallery2.htm

“Indicates recent consumption of excess sugars/ carbohydrates or proteins; WBCs are paralyzed by the acids (acetyl aldehyde, ethanol alcohol, lactic, nitric, uric, sulfuric, and phosphoric) for up to 5 hours (0).”

White cells cannot be anesthetized, although I can be when reading these sites. The photo to me and others appears to be a normal cell. Of course, if you can diagnosis a normal cell as paralyzed by a dietary lack, then everyone can benefit from supplements.

Basophiles   http://www.betterblood.net/gallery2.htm

“Perceived to be related to allergies and/or sensitivities to foods or the environment; exotoxic and mycotoxic reactions; histaminea. Alergic reactions to dairy (0).”

The only way you can diagnose a basophile is by staining it.

Crystals  http://www.betterblood.net/gallery2.htm

“Crystals are observed when there is excess acidity. It is the body’s preservation mechanism to buffer acidity and create a solid form which is less toxic than the liquid acids. Crystal are perceived to be he signature of the microzyma fermenting sugar, protein or fat (0).”

Making more stuff up. I feel like there should be a midget shouting “Boss, Boss, Da live blood, the live blood” as they only place such physiology exists is on fantasy island.

The crystals on every live blood site are artifact not of blood, but of schmutz on the slide. One practitioner noted some of the crystals looked like glass, but were in cholesterol. No, it was glass, a by-product of making the slides from glass. Microzyma are not the small empress of Oz, but the imaginary micro organisms of Bechamp and are artifacts of darkfield microscopy.

Black Crystals  http://www.betterblood.net/gallery2.htm

More schmutz/artifact on the slide.

“Tobacco, marijuana; chemical, recreational and prescription drugs. Brown is also associate with the fermentation of protein (0).”

I can imagine some gullible person losing a job because of drug use found on live blood analysis. If companies will use handwriting analysis or, in Japan, blood type as a basis for hiring and firing, live blood analysis will be next.

Cholesterol  http://www.betterblood.net/gallery2.htm

More schmutz on the slide. You cannot see cholesterol on a blood smear.

“Usually indicates high blood pressure, arterial sclerosis, high cholesterol. Diet is too high in animal source proteins. Dehydration, acidosis (0).”

Taking the blood pressure usually indicates high blood pressure. It is a simple enough diagnostic procedure and more reliable than looking at live blood. Similarly, a fasting lipid panel may be the more accurate way to diagnosis hypercholesterolemia.

In summary, virtually every diagnosis in live blood analysis is nonsense and much of the alleged pathology is either normal or artifact on the slide. The alleged pathophysiology is also nonsense; they just make this stuff up.

Live blood analysts tend to make up words and processes that sound scientific and cromulous (6): several sites refer to seeing orimbryonic bacteria, but the google cannot find a definition. This pseudoscientific jargon and imaginary physiology combined with the a microscope and a view of their own blood, which most people have never seen, gives the live blood analysis proponents the trappings of real science. A nickel says they wear white coats.

There is no validity behind almost all of the claims made by the practitioners. The one study that looked at the ability for blinded live blood analyzers to make the same diagnosis demonstrated that no two viewers saw the same thing (7). The one diagnostic trial of live blood analysis demonstrated that practitioners were unable to accurately diagnose patients with known metastatic cancer (9).

Many of the web sites show before and after slides to demonstrate the benefits of the detox or supplements or diet have had on the blood. It all depends on what microscopic field on a given slide you choose to present. If you were to show the front of my scalp as the before and the back as the after, you would conclude that something made my hair grow in the interim.

Live blood analysis is a remarkable the combination of artifacts being diagnosed as pathology combined with an imaginary pathophysiology that is completely divorced from reality. It is microscopic paradolia, with the practitioners seeing their own imagining in the structures on the slides. When I was a child, before I learned to cursive writing, I would make squiggles on paper occasionally crossing a ‘t’ and dotting an ‘i’. It was gibberish but I called it real writing. I didn’t realize I was in training to be a live blood analyst.

Live blood analysis does not resemble most alternative medicine modalities, but is more akin to high tech reading of tea leaves or the entrails of pig to divine the future. It is the cargo cult of quackery, with the trappings of science but none of the substance.


0) http://www.betterblood.net/gallery.htm

1) www.collegenaturalmedicine.com/images/LBA/LBACOURSES/interpretng%20blood%20morphologies-8-1.pdf

2) http://biomedx.com/microscopes/training/LB1.html

3) http://biomedx.com/microscopes/systems/pricing.html

4) “alkalophile glands” appears to be an invention of Dr. Young, a major shill for acids as the cause of every diseases. As he says “alkalophile glands that need these quick bases in order to build up their strong sodium bicarbonate secretions. These glands and organs are the stomach, pancreas, Brunner”s glands (between the pylorus and the junctions of the bile and pancreatic ducts) Lieberkuhn”s glands in the liver and its bile with its strong acid binding capabilities which it has to produce.” http://articlesofhealth.blogspot.com/2008/10/get-off-your-fat-acid.html

5) http://biomedx.com/microscopes/training/LB6.html

6) Thanks Steve.

7) Altern Ther Health Med. 2006 Jul-Aug;12(4):36-41. Reliability of Enderlein’s darkfield analysis of live blood.

CONTEXT: In 1925, the German zoologist Günther Enderlein, PhD, published a concept of microbial life cycles. His observations of live blood using darkfield microscopy revealed structures and phenomena that had not yet been described. Although very little research has been conducted to explain the phenomena Dr. Enderlein observed, the diagnostic test is still used in complementary and alternative medicine.

OBJECTIVE: To test the interobserver reliability and test-retest reliability of 2 experienced darkfield specialists who had undergone comparable training in Enderlein blood analysis.

SETTING: Inpatient clinic for internal medicine and geriatrics.

METHODS: Both observers assessed 48 capillary blood samples from 24 patients with diabetes. The observers were mutually blind and assessed their findings according to a specific item randomization list that allowed observers to specify whether Enderlein structures were visible or not.

RESULTS: The interobserver reliability for the visibility of various structures was kappa = .35 (95% CI: .27-.43), the test-retest reliability was kappa = .44 (95% CI: .36-.53).

CONCLUSIONS: This pilot study indicates that Enderlein darkfield analysis is very difficult to standardize and that the reliability of the diagnostic test is low.

PMID: 16862741


(8) http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/Tests/livecell2.htm

(9) Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd. 2005 Jun;12(3):148-51. Epub 2005 Jun 23. [Does dark field microscopy according to Enderlein allow for cancer diagnosis? A prospective study]

BACKGROUND: Dark field microscopy according to Enderlin claims to be able to detect forthcoming or beginning cancer at an early stage through minute abnormalities in the blood. In Germany and the USA, this method is used by an increasing number of physicians and health practitioners (non-medically qualified complementary practitioners), because this easy test seems to give important information about patients’ health status.

OBJECTIVE: Can dark field microscopy reliably detect cancer?

MATERIALS AND METHODS: In the course of a prospective study on iridology, blood samples were drawn for dark field microscopy in 110 patients. A health practitioner with several years of training in the field carried out the examination without prior information about the patients. RESULTS: Out of 12 patients with present tumor metastasis as confirmed by radiological methods (CT, MRI or ultra-sound) 3 were correctly identified. Analysis of sensitivity (0.25), specificity (0.64), positive (0.09) and negative (0.85) predictive values revealed unsatisfactory results.

CONCLUSION: Dark field microscopy does not seem to reliably detect the presence of cancer. Clinical use of the method can therefore not be recommended until future studies are conducted.

(10) http://www.drseeger.com/endobiontprion.html

(11) A miniature form of Venom.

Posted by Mark Crislip

Mark Crislip, MD has been a practicing Infectious Disease specialist in Portland, Oregon, since 1990. He is a founder and  the President of the Society for Science-Based Medicine where he blogs under the name sbmsdictator. He has been voted a US News and World Report best US doctor, best ID doctor in Portland Magazine multiple times, has multiple teaching awards and, most importantly,  the ‘Attending Most Likely To Tell It Like It Is’ by the medical residents at his hospital. His growing multi-media empire can be found at edgydoc.com.