Recently Dr. Oz was put on the defensive after testifying before a US Senate subcommittee about weight-loss scams.  He was asked to appear to talk about companies who misuse his name to promote dubious weight-loss products and thus erroneously give the impression that he has endorsed these products. However, he ended up defending the way he promotes specific herbs and supplements on his own show. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance told him that his endorsements gave viewers “false hope”.

In a statement after the hearing Dr. Oz said, “For years I felt that, because I did not sell any products, that I could be enthusiastic in my coverage and I believe the research surrounding the products I cover has value. I took part in today’s hearing because I am accountable for my role in the proliferation of these scams and I recognize that my enthusiastic language has made the problem worse at times.”

He may be guilty of enthusiastic language, but as someone who’s appeared on his show many times I don’t think he’s guilty of being misleading. In fact I’ve always found that both he and his team take great pains to make sure that the herbs and supplements they feature are both effective and safe.

Whenever I have been asked to appear on a segment on The Dr. Oz Show, I have been asked to submit research about the herbs or treatment I’m due to talk about. This research has then been scrutinized both by the producers and a medical committee composed of MD’s.  This committee has the power to veto anything that has insufficient science to back it up.  In my experience they do just that. I’ve sometimes suggested a herb that is used routinely in Asia, but has little western research and found that it cannot be featured on the show because the producers require clinical data about its efficacy in English.

In his post-hearing statement Dr. Oz said, “To not have the conversation about supplements at all however would be a disservice to the viewer” and I agree. Over many years the Dr. Oz Show has empowered its viewers and encouraged them to take responsibility for their own health by eating well, exercising and seeking effective conventional and alternative solutions for their health issues.

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