(May 1) -- He markets himself as an anti-establishment, lifesaving holistic health guru, but Gary Null might want to rethink his advertising strategy, after filing a very public lawsuit against the manufacturer of his own product.
The "extreme cracks and bleeding feet" that Null describes suffering might sound dramatic, but they're only the latest in the storied, decades-long saga of the eccentric alternative health icon.
The 65-year-old writer, talk radio host and online peddler of products like "Gary's Green Stuff" and "Age Buster! Tablets" filed a lawsuit this week against New Jersey's Triarco Industries.
The suit, which seeks $10 million in damages, alleges that the company miscalculated the dosage of vitamin D in creating his namesake product, a powdered supplement called "Gary Null's Ultimate Meal."
Null alleges that he was plagued by exhaustion -- both mental and physical -- along with cracked, bleeding feet and severe kidney damage. One serving of the supplement apparently contained 2 million IUs of vitamin D; the Food and Drug Administration recommends a daily intake of 1,000 IUs.
The lawsuit marks the first time the guru has raised doubts about the merits of his own products. But it's not the first time others have wondered about the merits of Null himself.
"He promotes hundreds of ideas that are inaccurate, unscientific and/or unproven," writes Dr. Stephen Barrett, the founder of Quackwatch.org and a critic of Null since the 1970s. "His website contains a huge amount of misinformation and bad advice."
Null got his start in 1972, when he published the first of more than 70 books on everything from "How to Kiss Your Fat Goodbye" to "Natural Pet Care."
His first tome, "The Complete Guide to Health and Nutrition," led to a decadeslong column in Penthouse magazine, where Null railed on topics like the ineffectiveness of mainstream cancer treatment and the deadly health risks of vaccinations.
And while Null's website describes him as a "Ph.D." and "International Expert in Health & Nutrition Sciences," his actual credentials might not live up to the impressive moniker.
Null holds an associate degree in business administration from West Virginia's Mountain State College. He got his Ph.D. in interdisciplinary studies from Ohio's Union Institute, a "nontraditional" school where students design their own curriculum and decide who gets to chair their doctoral committees.
He defended his thesis on caffeine's impact on human health before a panel that included a professor of geological sciences and an adjunct professor who often sat in for Null on his radio show, according to Quackwatch.
The show, "Natural Living With Gary Null," has been on the air in New York for more than 27 years.
But being an author, radio host and supplement salesperson hasn't been enough to satisfy Null's appetite for alternative medicine advocacy. He's also an avid documentary filmmaker, with flicks like "AIDS Inc." and "Autism: Made in the USA," available for sale on his website.
In the late 1990s, health advocates derided PBS for airing the movies during pledge drives in an effort to capitalize on Null's massive fan base. Indeed, one Null flick raised more than $4 million for various PBS stations.
PBS president Ervin Duggan, however, put a quick stop to the cash grab.
"What does it profit us to honor science in 'Nova,' only to open the door to quacks and charlatans on pledge specials?" he said.
But for those interested in a sneak preview, Null also owns a grocery store on New York's Upper West Side, where the films are aired daily on large TV screens behind the cash registers.
Null's "Ultimate Meal" has been pulled from the shelves at his store, as Null continues to recuperate. Following his overdose, Null says he "sequestered himself and fasted," consuming copious quantities of water to detoxify his body.
But the do-it-himself approach didn't really work. Several months later, Null reports that he's still occasionally peeing blood. That's likely curbed one of his favorite healthy-living strategies -- drinking jugs of his own urine.
And while Null is seeing red, many of his customers are crying foul. At least six were hospitalized for kidney problems related to the same product.
"Gary was getting a lot of phone calls from customers with many, many complaints," Null's lawyer, Leslie Fourton, told ABC News. "This is the only time in 30 years that an incident like this has happened. We don't want anything to affect the physical well-being of anyone or the reputation of the company."
But despite the mounting evidence of Null's questionable credentials and potentially hazardous products, the guru still has a broad fan base.
His website attracts around 30,000 unique visitors a month, and YouTube videos feature dozens of Null patients who celebrate the power of the guru's healing regimes.
Maureen McGovern credits Null with "curing" her Alzheimer's disease.
"When I met Gary and his staff ... I was unable to take care of myself," she said. "[Now] I have great joy in my life, and I am incredibly grateful to Gary and his group of medical experts."
Others are even more zealous in their devotion.
"How dare you call Gary null a quack!!" wrote one devotee in an e-mail to Barrett at Quackwatch. "GARY NULL IS A GOD."
CORRECTION, May 4: The Maureen McGovern featured in a video touting health guru Gary Null is not Maureen McGovern the singer. She said she has never been a client of Null's. The error was made by an AOL News editor.