NYS Certified Nutritionist

Use Caution with Dr. Oz’s Advice

bildeDr. Mehmet Oz has been a respected cardiac surgeon for many years.  Recently, he has become a popular phenomenon, revered for the medical wisdom he dispenses daily on his television show, and in interviews in other media.  I and other nutrition and medical professionals are stunned by his cavalier use of his platform to announce miracle cures for all kinds of conditions from aging to obesity, and more.

Raspberry ketones for weight loss?

In one of Dr. Oz’s shows he famously touted the use of raspberry ketones to help people lose weight.  This, despite the absence of studies on humans.  Within a couple of days I saw signs on health food stores announcing they sell this natural weight loss aid.   Such is Dr. Oz’s power.

As a physician and scientist, one would expect Dr. Oz to only rely on double blind, placebo controlled human studies, reported in respected scientific journals.  Never have I heard him suggest the use of caution with the “natural” remedies he promotes, nor does he report possible interactions with medications or supplements people might be taking simultaneously.

As I browsed the current issue of O Magazine, November 2012, I discovered  Dr. Oz had done it again in his column, carelessly suggesting “snacking on Brazil nuts” to reduce anxiety.   These nuts are known to be the richest source of selenium, a mineral necessary for good health.  However, this mineral also can reach toxic levels easily, resulting in emotional instability, nausea, vomiting, and hair loss, among other symptoms, some quite serious.

One ounce of Brazil nuts contains 544 mcg. [micrograms] which is eight times more than the suggested Daily Value for adults – 55 mcg.  The Upper Limit for children ranges from 60-280 mcg, depending on weight and age.  The Tolerable Upper Limit for adults is 400 mcg.  Selenium is in many of the foods we commonly eat and it can be in fortified cereals and multi-vitamin/mineral supplements.  It would be easy for Dr. Oz’s  followers suffering from anxiety to consume unsafe levels of selenium if they were to “snack” on Brazil nuts, looking for relief, without appropriate caution.

For years I have told clients to consume no more than 1-2 Brazil nuts daily, to avoid over-dosing on selenium- this vital, but potentially dangerous, mineral. I would hope that Dr. Oz would begin exercising the same caution.