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My Opinion on the Wizard of (Dr.) Oz

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Please allow me to opine on Dr. Oz (or the Ozter, as I like to affectionately call him)  and his show.

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Having worked where Dr. Oz practices at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) in the department of Urology about 10 years ago, I knew Dr. Oz (the cardiologist) before he was Dr. Oz ( the TV personality and health guru). His office was actually not too far from mine and I used to bump into him every now and then .  I thought he was a nice guy. I still do.

The Ozter is the first allopathic physician I know to incorporate alternative modalities like music therapy to his surgical patients.

Think about that for moment; in a highly conventional and conservative institution like CUMC he incorporated music therapy with his surgical heart patients, an alternative modality that seemingly, at minimum, helps with alleviating pain post-surgery (Özer et al. 2013).

So, what do I think of the Dr. Oz show?

First of all, I’ll admit that I don’t watch the Dr. Oz show much – I don’t have time and recording shows like 60 minutes is more valuable to me, frankly. Lately, however, I’ve seen a couple of segments since  he recently had a hearing with congress regarding weight loss claims connected with certain dietary supplements.

All in all, in my opinion, Dr. Oz has done a whole lot more good than bad. Most physician’s, especially integrative physician’s disagree with me.  But I think he does a fine job educating, inspiring and motivating his audience on being pro-active and in finding alternatives and natural methods (often less toxic than conventional approaches) for overcoming numerous health problems. He also has done tons of good in spreading the word on integrative and naturopathic medicine –  healthcare options which time for accessibility has come. Many excellent naturopathic and reseachers like; Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Pina Loguidice, and Dr. Susan Blum have been on the show spreading the good word on effective unconventional strategies to overcoming common ailments.

Man, when is my turn coming? I sure have lot’s of good material to convey. 😉

As as a health care practitioner, I too get frustrated when patients emphatically tell me “Dr. Oz says  I should take..” this, that or the other – as if they are consulting with the Ozter personally.  Arghhh! That’s really annoying. Mostly because, at times, he is giving the wrong information and most importantly, spreading the wrong “miracle cure” message.

Additionally, unscrupulous dietary supplement companies jump on the opportunity to sell poorly manufactured supplements as miracle cures when the Ozter mentions it on his show as is the case with green coffee bean extract.
Is not that coffee bean extract has not shown to increase metabolism and be a nice weight loss aide for some people, but the  “miracle in a bottle” message that he voices on his show can be misguiding and harmful to the public.

To be clear: There’s is no simple miracle cure in a bottle for anything. Period.

To his credit though, he doesn’t get paid a dime to promote any  natural remedy. He can probably make zillions with supplement companies if he did,  but he doesn’t endorse any brand. Paradoxically, Senator Claire McCaskill, who grilled Dr. Oz last week at the congressional hearing accused the natural health guru of peddling quack weight loss products — even though Oz actually runs a very meticulous, science-based operation where dietary supplements are heavily researched before being recommended to the public.

Meanwhile, Senator McCaskill, who chairs the consumer protection subcommittee, receives funding from prescription retailers like Express Scripts, the genetic engineered food (GMO) giant Monsanto and others.

Please understand; I’m not saying Dr. Oz is “innocent of all charges” and that  “bad players” in the dietary supplement industry are not culpable. They are both ” guilty, ” especially the latter.

I just think Oz is a passionate person who believes in what he says on his show and is also under tremendous pressure to keep ratings up.  Granted, network pressure is not an excuse when you are as charismatic as Oz and have the level of influence he does. People, probably millions, make health decisions based on the “Dr. Oz effect.”

Welcome to prime-time Ozter.

Yes, he needs to (and I believe will) stop the miracle cure claims. At minimum, toning down the misleading hype will save my integrative medical colleagues and me precious time from doing serious ‘damage control’ with patient’s and friends.

And dishonest, irresponsible dietary supplement companies who have poor manufacturing practices need to get their act together or get out of the supplement industry altogether. Legitimate  nutraceutical companies are getting a  bad rap by association. Frankly, I think ‘fly by night’ supplement companies are the biggest problem here, not supplement companies as a whole.

If anyone has an opinion on the Ozter –  and I know you do too –  chime in down below at comments section. I would love to hear from you.

Now, for kicks, check out this hilarious 16 minute parody by John Oliver on Oz and the latest congressional hearing.

😉 Enjoy!

Reference:

Özer N1, Karaman Özlü Z, Arslan S, Günes N.Effect of music on postoperative pain and physiologic parameters of patients after open heart surgery. Pain Manag Nurs. 2013 Mar;14(1):20-8.

NOTE: Good, useful content is guaranteed. Perfect, typo-less grammar from this mission-driven , hardworking, sometimes tired doctor and father of 3 is not. 🙁

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by Dr. Geo

8 comments… add one

  • sidney rosenblum ,

    Dr. Geo,
    your writing is clear and fair and balanced.. not to be confused with Fox,
    you make salient points.. you give credit where credit is due and allow the reader to make their own conclusions..
    I am a future patient of yours who has been trying to see you for months but due to toe surgery is sidelined .. i will contact you through Sam, soon.
    Best,
    Sidney Rosenblum Prostate patient..

    Reply
  • Geno ,

    Unlike most people I do my own research as to what supplements to take. I have watched the Dr. Oz show and have found it very informative. There is a need for Doctors to start learning how to treat the whole person, and not just give them a script and say here take this and you will be fine. Drugs have to many side effects, and then you have to take something to counteract that. Alternative Medicine take a different approach that looks at a patient as a whole. Integrative Doctor need to get behind this approach.

    Reply
  • Susan ,

    Always loved Dr Oz, way before he had his own show. I never watch daytime TV but would tune in for certain topics. I feel that he opened people’s eyes to the broad scope of health and medicine involving supplements and diet.He had a show on a few years ago regarding patients rights and choices when faced with the end stages of a terminal illness. It was fantastic and I was hoping for more like it, to allow people to know what happens at these times in the world of medicine.Many of his shows had this effect and potential to promote change and educate.I have to say in my opinion his latest shows seem “silly” to me . I no longer watch them. This is disappointing , as much of network TV is ridiculous enough already and I hate to see him added to their numbers. I do agree he has done way more good than bad, but with the network exposure he has he could be doing earth shattering fantastic, as he started out. Susan

    Reply
  • David ,

    This entire topic of unsupported health claims is an important one for the medical industry, and for dietary supplements in particular. More regulation in the pharmaceutical industry has failed to consistently weed out “bad” players and products, but more work clearly needs to be done here to boost standards of behavior and effectiveness in enforcing DSHEA compliance.

    Reply
  • Jill ,

    I agree Dr. Geo. His enthusiasm is contagious BUT, and this is a big BUT, we also have to remember that many of these companies buy their placement onto shows. For another popular medical show, I was told that it was a minimum $40k to have your topic/product discussed and an expert to be featured on the show from the audience. An “on stage” representative is even higher. Given that financial incentive, it’s hard for the show or host to be neutral, especially if the show is not generating solid profits.

    I watched the hearing and it was fascinating. At the end, a senator read back to Dr. Oz some of the more inflammatory statements that he had made about supplements and he couldn’t deny the words. She suggested that he tone it down.. and I agree. There are times when he can be just a bit over the top with the language he uses. A little too encouraging kinda sorta.

    ::: waves from the Interstitial Cystitis Network’s Office :::

    Jill 🙂

    Reply
  • Al Powers ,

    I agree with Dr. Geo that Oz has done a lot of good and at times, he has overplayed the miracle cure. Supplements are not intended to cure disease, but they can certainly help prevent many diseases and promote wellness. My problem is with John Oliver, who makes many false statements during the serious parts of his parody on Oz. For example, he says the dietary supplement industry is not regulated, which is completely false. He fails to mention that there has been a major change with the implementation of FDA Good Manufacturing Practices and there have been many additional laws enacted beyond DSHEA that regulate the supplement industry. He scoffs that DSHEA did not require FDA pre-market approval of supplements like drugs. This is because supplements have always been recognized as safer than foods, which do not require pre-market approval. While pointing out past problems with the herb ephedra, he fails to mention that the drug Vioxx caused up to 60,000 deaths with FDA’s pre-market approval. John O does a great job of using selective facts to build a case against an entire industry that is doing a lot of good for people who are looking for natural solutions without harmful side effects.

    Reply
  • mike ,

    Dr. Oz, while i think he’s sincere, never saw a diet he didn’t like.
    Much info is wwaaayy off the mark. At times i think he hasn’t a
    clue about alternative treatments. And some of the crap he
    recommends–ugh.

    Reply

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