The “Wonderful” Wizard of Oz

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“Doc, I wanted to ask you about something. I was watching Dr. Oz and he suggested this to help me lose weight.”

She started rummaging in her very large hot pink purse. There were about a dozen bottles of various supplements. One by one she pulled them out and placed them on the counter between us.

Once they were lined up in a neat row, she stared at them, brow furrowed.

“I can’t remember which one it was.”

“Wait. Do you take all of these?”

She looked over at me sheepishly. “Well, yes. He says they are good.”

“How much did this cost you?!?!?”

“I dunno. $200? Maybe?” She shrugged.

“You just told me you could not afford your generic blood pressure and cholesterol medications. Is this why?”

“Uh. Yeah. But he said they are good and I figured if I lost some weight I wouldn’t need the drugs. These are natural.”

“Did you change your diet? Start exercising?”

“No.” She looked incredulous.

“Look. He is full of crap. Here is an article discussing that fact.” I provided her with a copy of one of the many articles summarizing research published in the British Medical Journal here showing that over half of what he is saying has no supporting research. “Furthermore, he had to testify before congress last year because of the dubious nature of his claims.”

I tell patients all day long they have been had. They don’t like hearing it. Often, they are angry with me for debunking. Who doesn’t want that magic pill the quick solution to all that ails us, or at least will make us lose enough weight that we look good doing it? I shatter dreams.

The magic pill does not exist. It will never exist.

Does Dr. Oz know or even care that this woman’s blood pressure was out of control? That she had stopped taking her cholesterol medications for months because of something he said? That countless others do the same, wasting their hard won earnings on things that are not going to work? Does it matter to him that I waste tons of valuable time on a daily basis fighting his snake oil claims?

That does not mean that all supplements are bad. There is an increasing amount of data supporting some and refuting others. More needs to be done.

Admittedly, he is human. He is susceptible to greed and fame just like the rest of us. Truth be told, if I had been singled out to be THE ONE I probably would have succumbed. I have been on TV. Once. (Read about “The Boob Tube” here if you need a good laugh.)

I get less and less of this blind following from patients now. Hopefully that means Dr. Oz’s time has come… and gone. Sadly, there are plenty of others ready to take his place. I prefer treating conditions without drugs if possible, and there is nothing I celebrate more than taking someone off of meds, but sometimes they are necessary.

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110 thoughts on “The “Wonderful” Wizard of Oz

  1. Supplements scare the daylights out of me, frankly. And I spend my days reading about all the terrible side effects of prescription meds.

    With the prescriptions, the FDA is looking at it. If there are horrible side effects you aren’t warned about, you can sue. Supplements? Nope. Nobody’s lookin’ There is too much money to be had.

    Now how did I end up on this damn soap box again?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I stopped watching Dr. Oz, and all the “doctor shows”, in the last couple years. It is so sad to see that he has taken something that in the beginning was a great way to learn how to be healthier, into something fueled by greed. Just… sad.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I have a sister who is so dead set against medicine and will only go the natural way. Dangerous. If it were not for medicine, I wouldn’t be able to function, after my thyroid decided to quit. Prayer is all and good, yet, if you don’t take the hormone, fact is fact, you still have a thyroid that is not working. I feel like shaking her, getting her to see sense. Yes I do take supplements, many as some would claim, yet I truly believe along with EXERCISE and GOOD DIET and GOOD LIFESTYLE, my back and body that doctors still want to do surgery on, are healing, are getting stronger. I use the best of both world, allopathic and natural. I am glad Dr. Oz’s popularity is dwindling. He is dangerous.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Dr. Oz sold out to The Man on that one. Sad to think someone would forego getting their needed medications and spend their money on these ‘miracle’ supplements instead. Celebrities like Dr. Oz need to remember how powerful their words can be.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Every time I see one of these hucksters peddling their miracle cures, they make me homesick for my carnival days. Some of these guys could’ve made a good living on the midway, and at least in that venue, most people would know they were being scammed. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My husband and my father both had very high blood pressure and both tried supplements that seemed to work a little, but the miracle cure came when they both stopped eating wheat products. My husband’s bp dropped down to normal in only a few weeks and his weight followed. As soon as he goes back on wheat everything goes on the rise again. The wheat of the Bible is long since gone in this country.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I watched a couple of Doc Oz shows when he first flew on his own and that’s it. I didn’t like him. Now I know why.
    Supplements can be scarey. For example St. Johns Wart is a big one to “naturally” help with depression. There is no warning on the bottle that it causes seizures for those with epilepsy.
    Grapefruit Seed another example. It’s diminishes the effects of anti consultants as does grapefruit itself.
    Just because it says it’s healthy doesn’t mean it is for everyone. Thanks for blogging about this.
    Oh and do let me know if a magic pill does come out. lol

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I never paid much attention to Oz until my wife came home from her first physical therapy session, for back pain. The physical therapist had sold her a subscription to some fancy expensive vitamins. She convinced her she needed them, by putting her hand up to some sort of light-shining machine, which indicated she was vitamin deficient. Then she showed her a video of Dr. Oz, touting the wonders of the machine. I felt suspicious. After a few Google searches, I was able to convince my wife she’d been had. She saved about $150 by immediately canceling the vitamin subscription, but they did manage to skin her for about $50 non-refundable dollars. She complained to our insurance company and changed physical therapists. A few months later the old physical therapist went out of business. They were a real quack shop.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s easy to believe what somebody tells you on TV especially when you have people like Oprah giving him validity. I learned early on that you really have to work for something if you want it. Sadly life is not Bewitched….there is no wiggling of the nose to make life easier. I wish getting rid of my middle aged middle was as easy as taking a pill….

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Always be wary of hot male doctors, I say!

    I got a bottle of the miracle weight loss pills he was promoting a while back (for free). Thought about taking them, but did a little research and read that it had the potential to interfere with one of my meds. Into the trash it went. Bet he didn’t mention that part on the show.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I actually liked his appearances on Oprah, found him refreshing and informative. Getting his own show, it seems he was trying too hard. He lost me when he started opening the show like a carnival barker. Someone in the media gave him some bad advice.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. It’s me again, talking about pills, Synthroid, and why my heart md only half jokingly said ” we hate Synthroid”. I have Hashimoto’s. Is that why maybe he cocks his head funny about the med – my problem is Autoimmune. Shouldn’t he care that I no longer have 4 quarter inch nodules? Having a moment of righteous indignation after a 12 hour day and needing someone as smart as you to make it all about me, even if only for a few minutes.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Great post! Supplements are a big business and their lobbyists have managed to keep them from being regulated as medications by the FDA. Here’s an interesting bit of info from WebMD:

    “If you are considering using a dietary supplement, you should know that:

    The FDA does regulate dietary supplements; rather, it treats them like foods rather than medications.

    Unlike drug manufacturers, the makers of supplements don’t have to show their products are safe or effective before selling them on the market. Federal law does not require dietary supplements to be proven safe to FDA’s satisfaction before they are marketed.

    For most claims made in the labeling of dietary supplements, the law does not require the manufacturer or seller to prove to FDA’s satisfaction that the claim is accurate or truthful before it appears on the product.

    In general, FDA’s role with a dietary supplement product begins after the product enters the marketplace. That is usually the agency’s first opportunity to take action against a product that presents a significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury, or that is otherwise adulterated or misbranded.”

    In other words, another example of our Congress protecting big business over our health. [facepalm]

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Dr. Oz is a surgeon. Most definitely not a family physician. I have not watched Dr. Drew’s current show, but I used to watch his call in sex show on MTV (was it MTV?) decades ago. Dang. I’m so old.

      Like

  14. We had a patient come in for her pre-surgical testing and refused the chest xray because of something she had heard Dr. Oz say. So we didn’t make her do it, the surgery was postponed and when it was rescheduled she ended up coming in for her xray. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thankfully, I have, so far, no need for any supplement and I should keep it that way. I’m not even one who really likes taking medicine. Don’t want to take any every time I feel something. I just take them when it’s really necessary already. So supplements, I don’t even like since I mostly don’t need them.

    Don’t want to be too dependent on meds. My mother was sickly since I was a child (till she passed away) and it came to some points that she was probably already immune to some of her meds already. I don’t get sick often, just colds (sometimes cough and eventually sore throat) and occasionally fever. The worst I’ve ever been sick was when I was born weighing only three pounds and had to be hospitalized for three months. The shots they gave me must have worked much because I have never gotten hospitalized ever after that. As a young adult, that’s when I had the measles at 20. I don’t even think I’ve ever had the chicken pox just yet (although I now wish I already had so I won’t have to deal with it anymore).

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I hear people tell me about the great tips they got from Dr. Oz and it drives me crazy.

    What I don’t get about him is that he is a very well known surgeon, not a run of the mill charlatan. Why, why, why would he risk his reputation pushing crap on people who don’t know any better?

    Sems to go against medical ethics.

    I wonder how he sleeps at night?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Pingback: A doctor and a woman with a purse full of fat pills walk into a bar… | The Isaiah 53:5 Project

  18. World is full of nice kind gullible people. People who believe in losing weight without diet and exercise, getting rich quickly without work, forgetting to ask that main question:
    WHAT IS IN IT FOR THE PERSON WHO IS RECOMMENDING THIS.
    But we, traditional doctors, are guilty, too. we believe research forgetting that it is relatively new and that things change. we forget to say ” as far as I know this is safe”, the qualifying is important. So much of medical knowledge is proven wrong twenty years later. we should be more humble.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Pingback: My Article Read (1-21-2015) (1-22-2015) | My Daily Musing

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