In defense of Dr Oz and DSHEA : Nutritional supplements save lives

I’m sure you’ve heard by now about Dr Oz’s recent testimony to Congress.  I won’t ramble on and on about it like comedian John Oliver did (doing what is known in comedic acting circles as a ‘hatchet job’) skewering DSHEA by using Tryptophan scare-facts (even though the Tryptophan contamination was well before current laws or even most of the companies today were around) to allege once again that supplements are “unregulated”.

Dr. Mehmet Oz

You know who regulates supplements? The Food and Drug Administration.  And while some might disagree with me, they actually in my opinion do a fine job of regulating the dietary supplement industry to try and prevent adulteration by unscrupulous companies out to make a quick buck rather than to make your health better.

The truth is this : nutritional supplements save lives.  And while allopathic medicine (presciption pharmaceuticals) are the primary mode of care in this country, many of us would rather try a softer gentler approach of either upping our intake of key essential nutrients or using time-tested (and often, scientifically researched – in other parts of the world) natural remedies to try and support our bodies’ natural healing process.  Oh, and don’t forget food!  Under DSHEA all of these items are protected as something Americans have a right to access – even if they usually aren’t covered by health insurance, although some more progressive plans do allow for spending on supplements.

I’m not saying that every supplement Dr Oz recommends, or that everything he says, is a wise choice.  He is a television personality and his quest to describe to his audience various ‘life hacks’ which he describes as ‘magic’ are – to me, someone I consider fairly reasonable – to be taken with a grain of salt.  If something is clinically shown to increase your metabolism, should he describe the double-blind placebo-controlled research in overly scientific terms? Or, considering his audience, would saying it is ‘magic’ suffice?

David Copperfield Launches His Australian Tour In Sydney

Personally, I would never recommend a weight loss supplement without suggesting any individual address diet and exercise at the same time.  While some supplements do have a positive effect on metabolism vis a vis blood sugar balance, fat metabolism, etc. there is no doubt that especially in this arena diet and exercise will have the greatest impact.  This is what natural medicine should be all about, wholism.

So when someone attacks supplements by going after Dr Oz, I think we all have to take note. We’ve been here before, and before DSHEA, we all had to seriously worry about whether some kind of smear campaign would threaten access to natural medicines.

Certainly it is only realistic to consider that some in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry consider dietary supplements a threat to their business, particularly Monsanto. Interestingly, in case you missed it, last week the Natural News health ranger Mike Adams published a post titled  Senator who attacked Doctor Oz over dietary supplements received over $146,000 in campaign contributions from Big Pharma mega-retailer and Monsanto. Who is playing politics now?

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White Mulberies : an impressive nutrient-dense super food

If you haven’t yet heard of White Mulberries, botanical name Morus alba, you probably will.  They have recently been getting a lot of attention including an over-the-top proclamation from Dr Oz that these berries will “change peoples’ lives.” !!

You will be happy to know, that there is indeed some science behind these amazing claims. (People, at least here in Chicago, LOVE Dr Oz, and that gives him a lot to live up to, right?)  I decided to delve into the science on White Mulberries to examine what some of the well-documented benefits are.

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First, lets look at some of the research that has been done on the potential health benefits of the White Mulberries, the actual fruiting berries. (There is other research done on the leaves for some of the same benefits.) If you want to see an abstract of these studies visit http://www.pubmed.gov and search for the PMID listed.  These are just a  few of the most interesting studies done on Whilte Mulberries

  1. The juice of the Mulberry fruit may be useful in the prevention of foodborne viral infection.PMID:24350883
  2. Pyrrole alkaloids from the fruit have been shown to activate macrophages, an important part of the immune system.PMID:23164765
  3. Researchers identified a number of antioxidant stilbene compounds in White Mulberries, including resveratrol, oxyresveratrol, and mulberroside A. PMID:24023529
  4. Researchers have also examined the antidabetic and antioxidant effects of a number of phenolic phytochemicals PMID:23936259
  5. Another study indicated that the anthocyanins from White Mulberries fruit prevented diabetes in Zucker diabetic fatty rats. PMID:24137248

In just this handful of studies, you can start to see that these little berries have an amazing amount of antioxidant and health-giving potential. They appear to be able to active macrophage immune cells and may have anti-aging and cell-protective abilities. To add to the total package, the dried berries taste delicious!  They can really satisfy the sweet tooth of even the most jaded junk food junkie.

(DISCLAIMER : This writer does not condone animal testing.  In doing research, we are forced to consider the results of animal testing because it is still valid and relevant.  However, many of these same studies could be done in human volunteers or using in vivo modeling if the scientific system at present wasn’t dead set on continuing to use animal-testing as a mainstay of research.  I believe in my heart of hearts that one day we will progress beyond this methodology.)

Dr Oz Defends Monsanto

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If you work in the natural products industry, you may have mixed feelings about TV personality Dr Oz.  I personally am thankful for the attention he has brought to nutritional supplements, but I often find myself forced to take issue with his seemingly infinite wisdom. (One 400 mg capsule of Moringa? Would you eat 400 mg of Spinach? But, I digress…)

The latest from Dr Oz may truly shock you and make the late Rachel Carson roll over in her grave.  While seemingly all of the civilized world has come out against GMOs (and Monsanto in particular), Dr Oz has chosen to speak out in favor of genetically-modified organisms, saying they are the same as Organic.  See his comments here.

gmo protest chicago

Meanwhile the nation of Peru has recently passed a 10 year ban on GMOs. For further reference, here is a list of countries that have banned GMOs unlike the United States which has inexplicably sided with the interests of big business rather than the interests of the general health of the American people.

In fact, the lack of required GMO labeling in the US lends a lot of credibility to the Organic movement.  At least someone is required to demonstrate that their food has not been genetically-modified, if only the growers and processors of Organic food.

I will say this; while I respect the right of others to disagree or to believe that genetic modifications to food are not harmful, I hope that Dr Oz will be taken to task for his broad statements in favor of GMOs.  One of the largest arguments against GMOs is that there is VERY LITTLE research into what their actual effects on the human body are.

For 8 other reasons to avoid GMOs catch the foodie buzz at Organic Authority.