Local businesses see Dr. Oz effect
Local retailers in the vitamin, weight loss and herbal supplement business are making a point to watch Dr. Oz on a regular basis after seeing the 'Oz Effect' take place first-hand in their stores.
The Dr. Oz Show (now in its 3rd season), appeals mostly to women aged 25-65 and is the second Oprah Winfrey Show television spin-off (second to Dr. Phil) to come from frequent guest appearances on the show.
Local chain store pharmacist Josh Gehrkey said he never used to watch the Dr. Oz show, but has started watching it after seeing an increase in customers coming in asking for supplements that they've seen on the show. Oz touts supplements that are supposed to burn belly fat, decrease wrinkles, increase energy, prevent illness and much more.
"I have definitely seen an increase in requests for herbal supplements," Gehrkey said. "I never used to watch the Dr. Oz Show but I have started watching it so I can address questions and concerns about products discussed on the show."
Christine Wood, owner of Christine's Herbs & Things in Blackfoot, said she records the The Doctor Oz Show every day so she can go home and watch it in the evening. The 'Oz Effect' even prompted her to create a 'Dr. Oz Corner' in her store featuring products such as raspberry ketones, CLA (safflower oil), coconut oil capsules and other products that Oz talked about on the show.
Wood, who has been in business for nearly four years, said, "Some of these products I've carried forever but because Dr. Oz mentions them they fly off the shelves...on-line distributors run out, the manufacturers run out...it's crazy."
The 'Neti-Pot' which is an all natural nasal irrigation system was talked about on the show and sales increased by 12,000 percent. All of the products on the show are chosen by its medical unit, which includes outside experts, research companies, producers and Dr. Oz himself. Not surprisingly, Dr. Oz is criticized by some for stirring up unrealistic health expectations with what some call 'gimmicks, tips and fads.'
Gehrkey stressed that while there is definitely a niche for herbal supplements and other natural remedies; there can still be drug interactions with other medications.
"It's a double-edged sword," Gehrkey said, "There is a place for both holistic and traditional medicine..and I think a lot of people are leaning more toward natural medicine. As a pharmacist, I'm trained in evidence-based medicine - and there are no controlled studies on herbal supplements. If you're on other medications, you should always talk to a doctor or pharmacist about possible drug interactions."
When it comes to weight loss supplements, Wood said, "Something that we should all know by now..there is NO magic pill that will melt the fat away; there are products that will help, but you have to eat sensibly and exercise."
The 'Oz Effect' is not likely to end anytime soon as daytime television ratings for The Doctor Oz Show continue to stay high. It seems the vitamin and supplement business is in good shape too as it is estimated by Business Week Magazine that Americans spend an estimated $40 billion a week on vitamins and supplements.