The Great and Powerful Oz
Posted on July 1st, 2014 to Blog
With all the hubbub going on over Dr. Mehmet Oz being questioned by Senator Claire McCaskill in a recent Senate Subcommittee hearing, it is not surprising to see the corporate media machine jumping on the bandwagon and attacking not only Dr. Oz, but the entire natural products industry itself. What is surprising is that none of the “alternative” media has offered an accurate analysis of what is actually happening, so I felt compelled to write an article about the issue.
For those that don’t know, Dr. Oz is a well renowned heart surgeon with a TV show that has brought him fame similar to that of his progenitor Oprah Winfrey. Dr. Oz is best known for his recommendations of natural products, more specifically those aimed at weight loss. If you are unfamiliar with the natural products industry, allow me to tell you from an insider’s perspective, that Dr. Oz is not a representative of the industry, far from it actually. Go into any health food store and ask the employees what they really think of Dr. Oz, and 9 out 10 people will use phrases like “the bane of my existence” to describe Dr. Oz and his TV show.
The problem with Dr. Oz is that he occasionally does recommend a product that is very effective. Turmeric, Curcuma longa is an ancient medicinal spice that does in fact possess a wide range of medicinal constituents, notably the phenol compound known as Curcumin. However, for every one exceptional natural product that Oz recommends, there are ten other products that are completely out of left field. When raspberry ketones first hit the scene, no one had ever heard of such a thing, but everyone had to have it. This is just one example of the manipulation of the natural products marketplace that is known as the “Oz effect”.
It is my assertion that the purpose of the Dr. Oz platform is to 1) undermine public perception of vitamins, supplements, herbs and other natural products, and 2) encourage public support for more regulatory control over the natural products industry. For anyone who is familiar with the repetitive and illegitimate attacks on the natural products industry, it should be abundantly clear what is happening. It starts with Dr. Oz recommending a product that suddenly sees a huge increase in sales. This creates pop-up companies that sell low quality supplements just to make a quick buck. Then, when these products do not work, it’s onto the next “miracle” or “magic” product.
I have been highly critical of Dr. Oz since I first learned of him. The kind of language he uses to promote products is completely irresponsible. If an herbalist such as myself were to use the language Dr. Oz uses, words like “miracle” and “magic”, I would be sued, arrested and imprisoned for making these claims. However, when the great and powerful Oz uses these phrases, he gets a talking to from Senator Claire McGaskill. The Senator, by the way, has accepted campaign contributions from the likes of Monsanto, Google, Comcast and Boeing. You can see the entire list of Senator McGaskill’s contributors here.
It should be quite clear to the thinking individual that the purpose of this hearing was not to protect the consumer, or even make an example out of Dr. Oz, but instead the goal is to shape the opinion of the uninformed public. Here, we can see a very well done attack piece by comedian John Oliver.
Oliver is right to lambast Oz for the language he uses, but unfortunately he goes on to attack the very idea of supplements altogether. Using garbage studies that used garbage products, he makes the claim that people died from using Tryptophan. But how many people die every year from properly prescribed pharmaceutical drugs? Funny how Oliver and Senator McCaskill forget to mention this fact. Pharmaceutical drugs are incredibly dangerous. More people die every year from properly prescribed pharmaceutical drugs than people die of illegal drugs. For a detailed review of FDA corruption, please read the book Pharmocracy.
Also, just as a side note, if you are unfamiliar with the history of groups like the American Medical Association, I would recommend the book When Healing Becomes a Crime.
The goal of all this propaganda is to overhaul DSHEA and create a regulatory nightmare for smaller companies who will be unable to compete with large companies. At the same time, we have companies like P&G and Pfizer gobbling up some of the most successful supplement companies, New Chapter and Alacer respectively. Why would these companies be purchasing supplement companies if the products do not work and are possibly dangerous? The answer is because the real medicine is natural medicine and the people are waking up to the fact that they have been swindled for over a century now. We cannot allow the mainstream media to trick the public into supporting more money and support for the FDA. The only proper solution is to completely abolish the FDA and allow the free market to do what is does best.