Attack of the Clowns

This month we’re extra rant-y.  We tried to go softer with this but it’s time to say something.  We did, however, change the names of some of the characters to protect the innocent before sending this off.

The innocent in this situation is us; we live in an overly litigious society and we don’t want to give anyone any ammo.

Nothing makes our blood boil more than seeing bloggers and TV snake oil salesmen promoting miracle cures and crusades. Seriously… Enough is enough!

Let’s have a chat about the clown car called, “The Internet and TV ‘Health’ Personalities.”

Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain

The driver of our clown car?  Dr. Oz. Apparently, getting hauled before Congress was not enough to dampen his enthusiasm for spouting misguided supplement information.

Just weeks after testifying that he won’t continue with magic pills and “weight loss cures”, he has a discussion on his show about Coleus.  Coleus is an herb from the mint family that is traditionally used for endocrine health.

It has not been promoted as a weight-loss supplement until the Great and Powerful Oz got his hands on it. Not surprisingly, what few clinical trials have been done have not demonstrated that coleus is an effective weight loss supplement.  

What is documented rather well is Coleus’ interaction with blood pressure and blood-thinning medications.

Unfortunately, the Great Oz never discussed these risks with his television audience. Dr. Oz has failed to share side effects with the public on numerous occasions, with the recent Garcinia being the prime example.

Garcinia has very serious interactions with SSRI (anti-depressant) and other anxiety medications. Shouldn’t a medical professional know better than to recommend weight loss pills without contraindication advice?  

Why do drug commercials have a 2 minute, 300 item listing of all the possible side effects?  Full disclosure, that’s why.  Why not with supplements, especially from a medical “professional”? 

Some Good Info But The Products Don’t Match

“Dr. CherryCola” is riding shotgun in the car. He has the most popular website for “natural” health information. His articles discuss the benefits of whole food vitamins.  Cool, we agree – use true whole food vitamins!  Unfortunately, the products he sells or lists in the article, in fact, are not truly whole food.  

They’re just regular, synthetically made multivitamins with a speck of food. A speck of food in a capsule of chemicals does not constitute a whole food vitamin.

There’s a difference, in our humble opinion, between delivering a needed service (education and expertise with products that support that knowledge) and bait and switch.

“Dr. CherryCola” also loves telling people that sunscreen is dangerous because it prevents the human body from making Vitamin D.  Sure, we make less Vitamin D with sunscreen use, but let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater.  

Sunscreen has been proven to help prevent skin cancer and American’s Vitamin D levels, with or without the 20 minutes of sun a day, are well below global averages. “Dr. CherryCola” also examines “internal sunscreens” – supplements you can take to prevent the damages of sun.  

Those pills don’t exist. It’s quite convenient that his internal sunscreen articles contain links to his products.   

Hypocrisy In Vitamins

The Meal Chick” is riding in the back seat. She is everyone’s Internet heroine because she “battles” the big bad, food companies.   We’ll be the first to hate on the gross stuff going on in the food industry, so we’re with her on that.

She is currently going after big beer companies because they are not disclosing all of the ingredients used in making their beer – specifically, corn syrup.  

The fact is that many beer companies use corn syrup as a sweetener, true.  However, the Brewers’ yeast eats the sugar and turns it into alcohol. Therefore, corn syrup is not listed on the label because there is a negligible amount in the final product. 

While “The Meal Chick” complains about the beer companies, she is perfectly happy recommending a vitamin that is made with corn syrup. The product she recommends does not list this on the label, so how is that any different?

Mixed Messages

We’d like to point out that many of the clowns in the clown car are delivering a message with appropriate intent.  That’s what makes them so believable and loveable – they’re saying the things we want to hear:  how to lose weight, how to pick the best supplements, how to avoid harsh chemicals, the dangerous effects of corporatism, and more.  

The problem is in the hypocrisy – their anti-“stuff” message is completely negated by their recommendations.

Why is it that the passion (and sometimes venom) that spews from the mouths from these purported exports doesn’t extend to vitamins and supplements?  

Why can these double standards exist without guilt?  Why, oh why, when the hypocrisy is identified, do they continue with their status quo?

Clown cars can fit way more than 3 and there certainly many more unnamed talking heads that could join them here.  The Internet and TV clowns that are out there are just looking to make a quick buck. They create the fads and cash in on them.  

It’s a gross system and can have horrible health consequences, plus further degrades the trustworthiness of natural products.  It’s a system, and it’s just trying to produce profits.

From our perspective, it proves one major point:  you don’t have to be an expert to be “an expert” these days.  Most leverage “expertise” in order to sell junk because they can and that’s what the system wants.  

You’re not really an expert if the recommendations you make are inconsistent with your logic and message.  These people have an ax to grind and they’re manipulating the public to get what they want – dollars and cents.

They make a stand for something, but it’s clear as day that health is not the reason for the stand – it’s the profit, power, or furthering of their agenda that they’re after.

Our advice?  Please stop listening to these people.  Some have sold out.  Some mean well, but they simply do not understand all of the information behind the scenes.  Some intentionally ignore the facts to promote their agenda.  

Much like the grocers and vitamin stores from sea to shining sea – are they willingly deceiving us or are they just ignorant of the truth?

While the Internet may be a great source for cat pictures and recipes, it isn’t the best place to get health advice. No one reviews the articles for accuracy, and no one has to disclose conflicts of interest.

It is safest to check with your doctor, pharmacist, or registered dietitian about health information. Take the information you’ve found and run it by a trusted source.

Just trying to keep it real…

Neal Smoller, PharmD
Owner, Pharmacist, Big Mouth

Dr. Neal Smoller, Holistic Pharmacist

About Neal Smoller

Dr. Neal Smoller, PharmD, is a licensed pharmacist: and owner of Village Apothecary, an independent pharmacy in the most famous small town in America—Woodstock, NY. He’s also the host of the popular wellness podcast, The Big Mouth Pharmacist.”


The Vital 5

Nutrients you shouldn’t live without
The Vital 5 Nutrients You Shouldn't Live Without