Mehmet Oz, MD, is currently running for Senate in Pennsylvania (although he was born in Ohio and spent much of his life in New Jersey), but chances are you know him somewhat, even if you don’t live there. He has a tendency to be… everywhere.
He became known as a regular guest of Oprah (who, by the way, recently endorsed his opponent John Fetterman) and went on to host his own daytime talk show, The Dr. Oz Show. For years he also graced the covers of his magazine, Dr. Oz The Good Life, which now seems to be on hiatus.
Despite the fact that he’s a doctor, he has a long history of sharing health opinions that are pretty wacky. And by that we mean it ranges from not quite right to flat out wrong to potentially harmful and possibly dangerous.
To be clear, we’re not calling out a few instances where Dr. Oz spoke out of turn: we’re talking about his tendency to repeatedly share misleading medical information over the past decade. And prove it just how far-fetched some of his advice has been, we’ve compiled a list of a few of his worst moments.
- He claims that selenium supplements can prevent cancer. In a 2012 episode The Dr. Oz Show, according to The Washington Post. But according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there is actually no solid evidence that it reduces the risk of cancer.
- He said three foods can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, in particular, by “up to 75%”. In 2011, he told the The Dr. Oz Show that endive, red onion, and sea bass can dramatically reduce the risk of ovarian cancer—a claim that so outraged a group of actual researchers that they debunked it in a 2012 paper called “Reality Check: There’s No Such Thing as a Miracle Food.” , published in the journal Nutrition and cancer.
- In 2010, he suggested that sleeping with lavender soap could help combat restless legs syndrome (RLS). Yes, you read that right. Like Inside man reports, in a 2010 episode The Dr. Oz Show, he said: “I know this sounds crazy, but people put it under their sheets. We think lavender has a relaxing effect and can be beneficial on its own. While this isn’t necessarily harmful per se, it’s just… wrong. As one medical review article states, “There is no evidence that a bar of soap in bed will help you relax your legs. There is no logical reason to put a bar of soap in bed to treat restless legs or leg cramps.
- He was literally questioned by the Senate for endorsing two weight loss products on television. In June 2014, he appeared before the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance during a false advertising hearing. The subcommittee questioned him about why he endorsed raspberry ketone and green coffee extract as weight loss miracles. His affidavit violates FTC guidelines by saying some pills can “melt” fat, according to A politician. At one point during the hearing, former Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill told Dr. Oz, “The scientific community is almost monolithic against you.”
- He recommended HCG, a hormone produced by the placenta during pregnancy, for weight loss. In 2011, he devoted airtime to what he called a “controversial” weight-loss approach called the HCG diet, according to The Washington Post. How controversial, you might ask? Followers were advised to take a dietary supplement containing human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), a hormone produced during pregnancy, and to limit food intake to 500 calories per day (!). It’s absolutely as bad as it sounds: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says taking products that contain HCG for weight loss is “reckless.” This 2020 administration statement makes its position clear in no uncertain terms: “If you have HCG weight loss products, stop using them, discard them, and stop following the diet instructions.”
- In 2020, he spoke about the benefits of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19 at Fox News. In a largely unrelated speech just weeks after COVID-19 began spreading widely in the US, Dr. Oz hinted that hydroxychloroquine could treat people who have become very sick from the virus. Nearly three years after its introduction, there is still no strong evidence to support the use of the drug to treat COVID.
- In a recent debate, he said abortion decisions should be made among “women, doctors and local political leaders.” Pregnant people? Yes – we agree with him here. doctors? Sure! Local politicians, on the other hand, should have no say here.
In addition to the above, Dr. Oz’s campaign stooped low enough to attack his opponent’s health. In a statement given to Inside man by one of his aides in August, his team said, “If John Fetterman had ever eaten a vegetable in his life, then maybe he wouldn’t have had a massive stroke.” Another aide defended that claim, saying Fetterman couldn’t stand up more than 10 minutes, CNN reports. When asked by NBC News if he would ever talk to his own patients that way, Dr. Oz simply said, “No.”
The above claims (which are by no means an exhaustive list) are baseless at best and possibly dangerous at worst. The bottom row? At a time when our elected officials play a huge role in our daily health and well-being, Dr. Oz is probably not our best bet for public representation!