Death of GOP rep’s wife highlights risks of barely regulated supplements hawked by Mehmet Oz, others

On Dec. 15, 2021, Rep. McClintock discovered his spouse mendacity unresponsive within the couple’s residence in Elk Grove, California. McClintock, who had returned from Washington, D.C., for the congressional break, later acknowledged that the day earlier than, his spouse, Lori McClintock, 61, had complained of an upset abdomen. He additionally confirmed she had been “fastidiously” weight-reduction plan. Her reason behind dying was initially “pending,” however now, in accordance with Kaiser Health News which obtained a replica of the Sacramento county coroner’s report, McClintock’s reason behind dying has been clarified:

Lori McClintock, the spouse of U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock, died from dehydration as a consequence of gastroenteritis — an irritation of the abdomen and intestines — that was attributable to “adversarial results of white mulberry leaf ingestion,” in accordance with a report from the Sacramento County coroner that’s dated March 10 however was not instantly launched to the general public. KHN obtained that report — along with the post-mortem report and an amended dying certificates containing an up to date reason behind dying — in July.


It’s unclear from the post-mortem report whether or not Lori McClintock took a dietary complement containing white mulberry leaf, ate recent or dried leaves, or drank them in a tea, however a “partially intact” white mulberry leaf was present in her abdomen, in accordance with the report.

White mulberry has had varied advantages attributed to it; it’s even touted as a “superfood” on Mehmet Oz’s web site. As seen on this September 2013 phase from his eponymous tv present, Oz promoted white mulberry as “the most recent well being sensation” that can “dominate well being meals shops throughout the nation.” Oz claims he “did his analysis” earlier than he touts the advantages of the substance, which he says “fights excessive ldl cholesterol and coronary heart illness.” Considerably, Oz additionally mentions that “its leaves have potent sugar blocking properties” which make it interesting to diabetics and pre-diabetics.

What Oz doesn’t point out? These purported “sugar blocking properties” may additionally sound fairly interesting to those that are merely weight-reduction plan. As reported by Sophia Putka, writing for Medpage Today:

White mulberry is marketed largely as a option to “support” glucose levels, though quite a lot of manufacturers place themselves as weight loss or “appetite control” dietary supplements.


At the moment, white mulberry is widespread in soft-gel capsules, tablets, powders, and liquid extracts. It is out there as an natural complement on-line or over-the-counter, or from practitioners of naturopathy, and conventional and different medicines.

Testimonies to the alleged weight-loss properties of white mulberry leaf by the natural complement business abound on the internet. Many websites that promote the stuff particularly cite Mehmet Oz’s 2013 endorsement as proof of its efficacy.

From nutrabusiness:

So what is that this “subsequent well being meals sensation” which Dr. Oz has been raving about and even known as a “superfood”. White Mulberry leaf accommodates a substance known as 1-deoxynojirimycen (DNJ) which alters the way in which some abdomen enzymes take in fats and sugars. That is nice for individuals who have diabetes or wish to drop a few pounds. Taking white mulberry leaf extract can offset the occasional time for dinner indulgence, which is what Dr. Oz beneficial. 

From GreeNoodle:

Natural White Mulberry Tea (15 Tea Luggage) Dr. OZ Recommends for blocking sugar…

…One of the crucial distinctive qualities of the Mulberry leaf is the prevention of extreme sugars from getting into into the bloodstream. Due to this fact, ingesting Mulberry Leaf Tea is a good selection for these searching for to cut back hypertension and keep a wholesome weight.

And as marketed on Amazon, Mulberry Slim:

SUMMER SALE on Mulberry SLIM – (AS SEEN ON DR. OZ) White Mulberry Leaf Extract Weight Loss & Blood Sugar Help Plus Garcinia Cambogia, Inexperienced Espresso Bean, and African Mango Extract by Pure Doctor Sciences

In fact, there’s no proof that Lori McClintock ingested the mulberry leaf based mostly as a result of she noticed it on The Dr. Oz Present, and even on account of being suggested by anybody who watched it. She probably realized about it from merely been shopping the online for natural or “pure” weight reduction cures.

However Oz’s public endorsement of such cures and their subsequent advertising and marketing (or mis-marketing) touting Oz’s “advice” has been beforehand called out as creating what’s called the “Dr. Oz effect,” as NBC News noted in 2014. Basically, his help of a product catalyzes and drives gross sales all through what’s an enormous and barely regulated market. 

On Tuesday, throughout a Senate listening to on false diet-product advertisements, senators chided Oz for not directly perpetuating advert scams. Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, cited a number of examples. Oz known as inexperienced espresso extract a “magic weight reduction remedy.” Raspberry ketone was “the primary miracle in a bottle to burn your fats.” He stated Garcina cambogia “will be the easy answer you’ve been searching for to bust your physique fats for good.”

McCaskill instructed Oz: “Whenever you function a product in your present it creates what has turn out to be often known as the ‘Dr. Oz Impact’ — dramatically boosting gross sales and driving rip-off artists to pop up in a single day utilizing false and misleading advertisements to promote questionable merchandise.”

For his half, Oz acknowledges that his “enthusiastic language has made the issue [of scam products] worse at occasions,” however believes it might be a “disservice” to his viewers to not “have the dialog” about dietary dietary supplements. 

Besides the “dialog” on this case is a bit one-sided. On the one hand there’s (as NBC Information calls him) ”the nation’s most telegenic physician,” talking with the imprimatur of authority about medical issues. And on the opposite, there’s an viewers of wholly unsophisticated, unquestioning shoppers, each within the studio and watching on thousands and thousands of screens.

No less than one physician interviewed by NBC Information was lower than impressed with Oz’s place.

“He’s properly conscious that these firms are selling issues with none proof of (advantages), however he doesn’t do something to preempt it,” stated Dr. Eric J. Topol, director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla, California.

“He can declare it’s all executed unwittingly, or unknowingly, and that these items are being taken out of context. However his personal exhibits show that’s not that case,” Topol added. “This has been perpetuated for a very long time. These items he calls ‘miracles,’ for instance. What do you assume goes to occur whenever you name one thing a miracle and there’s completely no proof?”

Within the case of white mulberry leaf, uncomfortable side effects are very uncommon, limited in one study to “mild diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and dizziness.” Assuming the Sacramento County coroner’s workplace is right in its evaluation, Ms. McClintock’s dying seems to be a case of 1 prone individual having an excessive, surprising and unlucky response to a product that simply occurs to be pretty unregulated … a product that was additionally as soon as celebrated on nationwide TV by a celeb doctor-turned-Senate-candidate, who claimed it was “the most recent well being sensation.” 

Editor’s Notice: This story’s headline has been modified.

Mehmet Oz has no business representing the people of Pennsylvania in the U.S. Senate. Will you help Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman defeat him in November?

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