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Dr. Oz: Snake Oil Salesman?

Dr. Oz is the Modern Day Version of the “Snake Oil” Salesman

     Back in the eighteenth century when North American was being colonized by settlers from Europe, small towns were sprouting up all over due to their proximity to a silver or gold mine, to crop farmers or to cattle or dairy farms. Traveling salesmen went from town to town selling a variety of liquids and potions that promised to cure every ailment. They were called “snake oil” salesmen because they were so slippery, that once they got your money they left town leaving you with a worthless bottle of remedy “cures”.

More than two hundred years later we still have “snake oil” salesmen but now they do not have to travel from town to town. They just have to be on television and have operators standing by to take your credit card information. When these people appear at 3 am in their own infomercial it is pretty obvious what they are doing. However, when a respected physician, a cardiologist, no less, appears on national television and promotes a variety of useless products for weight loss, then it’s time to expose this man for what he really is, a very highly paid spokesman for the companies his television show represents.

Although he is an excellent cardiologist, like most physicians he has taken one tiny half-year course in pharmacology, the science of how drugs and supplements work in the human body. And like most physicians, his total knowledge of pharmacology is provided by pharmaceutical companies and by supplement companies and he accepts their information as correct. He then proceeds to tell his huge television audience that this information is factual and true. If someone gave you some information and you were in a court of law, you would not be allowed to repeat that information because it is called “hearsay” under the rules of evidence laws. In other words, just because you were told something it does not guarantee that it is accurate or true.

And yet, Dr. Oz rambles on about supplements as if all the information he is providing is the gospel truth. Not only that, he does not reveal that his show is being paid millions of dollars for the national exposure that he gives to these products.

I have picked out a few of these products because if I did all of them I would be writing a novel and not just an article in a newsletter.

Dr.Mercola Krill Oil

Dr.Mercola has a newsletter and sells a huge line of supplements. When he appears on the Dr.Oz show, he is there to promote his line and usually a single product. One of his favourites is Krill oil, possibly one of the most expensive forms of fish oil, and yet one of the most contaminated and low-strength varieties on the market. All fish oils are measured first by the concentration of the two omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. A typical Krill Oil capsule contains 75 units of EPA and 45 units of DHA. Compare this to Tri Star or Natural Factors fish oil capsules which contain 400 units of EPA and 200 units of DHA each and a 75 day supply costs $20 compared to $60 for 120 capsules of krill oil. Furthermore the Tri Star and Natural Factors brands are 100% pure as guaranteed by Health Canada whereas the krill oil is from a crustacean known as the krill fish which is a scavenger bottom feeder that eats phytoplankton and plankton along with the excrement of other fish. Do you think an intelligent man like Dr. Oz would push this inferior product if his show was not receiving money to do so?

HCG Diet “Dr. Oz’s Weight Loss Miracle”

Dr. Oz has actually allowed representatives who sell this product to come on his show and promote its use. HCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin) is a substance that is actually produced by human embryos and by cancerous tumours. In fact, if you are not pregnant but test high for HCG, then there is a good chance you have a cancerous tumour in your body. The main use of HCG is for in vitro fertilization for women who cannot conceive on their own. It is a prescription drug and approved by the United States Food and Drug and by Health Canada for that purpose. The Food and Drug has actually had to issue formal statements indicating that it is fraudulent and illegal to sell this product for weight loss and yet here is Dr. Oz allowing people on his show to promote HCG as a means of losing weight. Once again, it is available only by prescription and its only use is to promote in vitro fertilization. If you see a product in a health food store labeled HCG, you can be sure it does NOT contain human chorionic gonadotrophin. On December 6, 2011, the Food and Drug officially prohibited the sale of homeopathic and OTC (over-the-counter) products labeled HCG and declared them “fraudulent” and” illegal.” Doesn’t seem to stop Dr.Oz.

Raspberry Ketones “The Number One diet miracle” (Dr.Oz)

Here is a product that has been around for many years which is used as a flavouring agent and colour enhancer in foods and cosmetics. There were some studies done on this product but they have only been on mice and there are no human studies so far. Most people do not realize that the results you get when you test drugs or supplements on mice are usually not the same when we move the testing up to humans. The main thing we learn from testing products on mice is what is known in science as the MLD (minimum lethal dose). This can only be done by giving them a sufficient amount to cause death and then determining what a safe dose would be based on these results. However, just because a mouse may lose some weight with raspberry ketones it is highly unlikely that the results would be the same in a human being. Once again, we have Dr. Oz, a trained physician who understands clinical trials and what we call phase 3 human studies, ignoring all that and promoting this supplement for weight loss. It actually works by increasing the amount of norepinephrine in your brain, which classifies it as a stimulant. However, any time you fool around with the brain chemistry of a human being, many things could happen but it is highly unlikely that weight loss would be one of them.

African Mango

Mangos grow all over the world and in this case we are looking at a specific mango that grows in Africa. Of course there are many anecdotal stories about weight loss but what people do not realize is, that it is not so much what is inside the mango, but like most fruits, the fiber content is responsible for keeping you full and allowing you to go for longer periods without snacking. Mangos lower your cholesterol, are a good source of antioxidants, and are a perfect snack for someone on a diet. Buying African Mango capsules will not do the same thing at all because you are missing the main ingredient, fiber. I have watched Dr. Oz and he does tell people to eat sensibly and exercise in order to lose weight and keep it off. Then why does he allow himself to promote “magic bullet” shortcuts on his show? He does this because he knows that the majority of overweight and obese people do not want to change their lifestyle, are looking for a quick fix and that the makers of these quick-fix products make Dr. Oz into a multi millionaire.

Sea Buckthorn

The people that represent this company were recently on the Dr. Oz show recommending their product for weight loss, healthy skin and as a digestive aid. The truth is that although the sea buckthorn plant can be harvested for its oil, it is unnecessary because our bodies produce this oil all the time. It is called palmetoleic acid or omega-7 and is stored in the liver. In fact studies have shown that an excess of this saturated fat in your liver as you age accounts for that “old person” smell that you notice about your grandmother. There are no human studies to show that it can help with weight loss or digestion and unlike a lot of other things in our body, we make more of this product as we age, not less of it.

PGX

Here is a product that is sold in health food stores and is one of the leading supplements for weight loss. It is a very expensive form of high fiber and it keeps you full and allows you to go for longer periods without snacking. It is also very expensive. On the other hand if you ate an apple, a bundle of red grapes or some raw almonds in its place, it would be a lot less expensive, a lot healthier, and you would be learning how to change your eating habits from bad to good. This product is promoted everywhere with national advertising and spokespeople for this product regularly appear on the Dr. Oz show. I usually receive an email and a fax giving me a heads up concerning the date it will be promoted and strongly suggesting that I have enough stock to meet the demand created by the Dr. Oz show.

Dr. Oz is a highly educated physician who knows and advises people that life-style changes to your diet and exercise are the keys to losing weight and keeping it off. He also knows that most of his audience is overweight and obese and not very likely to comply with that regimen. He then takes advantage of the situation by promoting all these magic “cures” and weight loss products, and in doing so, may be one of richest television personalities in our history.

The next time the Dr. Oz show comes on the air, turn off the television and take a walk. It would be one hundred times healthier than sitting their listening to his latest promotional gimmick.
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2 Responses to Dr. Oz: Snake Oil Salesman?

  • I watched a few shows when Dr. Oz was first on the air. They were okay, but too oprah-esque for me. over the years when i’m setting my vcr to tape jeopardy, i’ve run into his show and have been stunned at what a snake oil salesman he’s become. frankly I think columbia should cut their ties with him. he’s an embarrassment. And the more he goes on and on with his “medicine show’ theatrics, the crazy he’s beginning to look. I can’t believe his studio and TV audiences don’t see that.
    tonight I googled “dr. oz acts like a snake oil salesman” and was happy to see your similarly titled posting. Thank You.

  • Hi Barry,

    About krill oil…

    I don’t really care for Dr. Oz or Mercola, but you didn’t mention anything about how Krill Omegas are in phospholipid form as opposed to triglyceride form (like Natural Factors). You also left out that the higher quality krill oil supplements have 1 to 1.5 mg of astaxanthin per 1000mg of Krill Oil.

    The products you mentioned are outstanding, but I don’t think they’re comparable to NKO Krill Oil, at least for anti-inflammatory effect.

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