First Do No Harm

Mercola Hype

Mercola sends out a daily newsletter. Its purpose, ostensibly, is to pass on important information, but after getting one a day for years in my  inbox, it’s obvious that the actual purpose is to sell me something.

Instead of employing standard journalistic techniques of telling you the heart of the story in the headlines, Mercola employs the teaser. Teasers are designed to grab your attention so you’ll want more. This has been a common complaint in the letters we’ve received. Personally, I’ve begun to look forward each day to his emails because it’s the part of my day that I get to pretend I’m on Jeopardy with Alex Trebek.

Known as the "Deadliest Nutrient" - but There's No Meaningful Evidence
What is saturated fat.

1 in 4 Chance You're Deficient in this Fat-Metabolizing Nutrient
What is B12?

Study Proves: This Everyday Drink Lowers Your IQ 
What is fluoride?

The Stunning Effect of This Single Vitamin on CANCER...
What is vitamin D?

Just 1 TBSP a Day: An Easy Way to Lower Your Cholesterol, Blood Pressure
What is spirulina?

The Amazing Green Food Once Slated for the Space Station...
What is chlorella ?

Without This, Vitamin D May Actually Encourage Heart Disease
What is Vitamin K?

Proven Unsafe But FDA-Approved: Are YOU Still Consuming This Man-Made Poison?
What is Aspartame?

Two Grams of this Household Spice Lowered Blood Sugar by a Whopping 62 mg/dl
What is cumin?

Up to 30 Times the Cancer Risk - From This 'Indispensable' Daily Tool...
What is a cell phone?

The one problem I have with this practice is the fear factor built into some of these teasers, which understandably irritated some of those writing to us. Oftentimes it seems as if the teaser is saying: READ THIS OR DIE!

Sure, the “science” of advertising feeds on our fears, but warnings like this sent out three or four times a week just seem to skirt an ethical demarcation line.

Here are just a few headlines I found in my mail from Mercola.

Taking a Multivitamin? Please Heed This Important Advice...

Lead Poisoning Alert: This Widely Used Drink is Dangerous

41% of American Teenagers Have Inherited This Disease

Fluoride is Dangerous, But This Toxin (in Your Water Supply) May be Far Worse 

Are You Eating This All-Time Favorite "Cancer-in-a-Can" Snack?

Men Who Have this Popular Screening Have a Staggering 4-Fold Increase in Serious Blood Infections

The Hidden Risks in This Heavily Promoted Seasonal Routine...

Just 1 Single Drop of This Would Poison a Lake Enough to Ban Fishing on It...  

Perhaps the World's Most Overlooked Poison

How to Save Your Life if You Ever Go to the ER

This Food Knowingly Causes Cancer in Rats - Are You Eating it? 

Are You Using This Popular But Cancer-Causing Shampoo?

Death in Days: Beware of This Bacteria

Stress kills, or so we’re told. Do we really need someone who ostensibly wants to help us live a full and healthy life adding to our stress filled days with these kinds of teasers? A bit ironic, I’d say.

Another complaint, one aimed at artistic values, that only a few brought up, which, by the way, has always been a complaint of mine, concerns Mercola’s videos. The purpose of a video is to “show” something. If a video doesn’t show something, it shouldn’t be a video; it should be an audio file. The reason interviews involve faces is that we want to see the expression on a person’s face when answering a question. Documentaries do this all the time. However, if your purpose is to teach something, and the only thing in the video is your head bobbing up and down, something YouTube is full of (because people’s egos are always greater then their creativity), you might as well just put out an audio file. A bobbing head is not worth watching.

Videos exist to “show something,” so please, if any of you ever makes a video, keep this one important rule in mind: Video’s must “show” something of interest.  (And don’t bore the viewer.)

Probably the biggest complaint we’ve received concerned Mercola’s conflicts of interest. Mercola wants to sell us something (and who can blame him?), but when the subject matter leads you to a product he sells, can his take on the subject matter be trusted? For example, he trashed electrolyzed water in one article in order to sell one of his water filters. The trashing of electrolyzed water had little science behind it. There is a proverbial ton of information concerning the health benefits of electrolyzed water; information he would normally have to rebut or repudiate, but which he never addressed.

His products are touted to be so much better than the products of others, but are they really? Or is he just hyping them. And with his name on something, does the higher cost reflect better quality or better hype?

I have ordered products from Mercola dot com (and so have readers from this site). Some products are very helpful and many feel they are high quality, though for the most part, many have told me that the products are overpriced. I know that he has a very good whey protein, but it is not the best on the market and is higher priced than what I would consider to be the best on the market (and take daily).

What I like best about this site is there are no conflicts of interest when it comes to most products. Yes, they have their favorites and they want you to support the businesses selling them, but they don’t actually sell anything at this site. They do, however, get a percentage of a sale (affiliate programs) and I'm sure you've noticed that they always try to inform you of that. Honesty is always the best policy.

I don’t want to trash anyone on the web who is trying to help people take responsibility for their health and change their lives, but after years of getting his daily newsletter (and the number of complaints I've read) I had to say something.

Having said that, I personally like Mercola’s web site. His articles are thorough, pertinent, timely, and well written and designed. It’s no wonder he’s got millions of readers.

In fact, I was just about to submit an article that answers a few questions about the latest attack on vitamin E (that it causes prostate cancer) when Mercola published exactly what I had been planning to write.

The study was terrible. It used synthetic alpha tocopherol, and as all the readers of this site should know, this site promotes only natural substances and when it comes to vitamins, this site has always published that vitamins are all complexes. Nothing less than mixed tocopherols, or mixed tocotrienols and mixed tocopherols has ever been recommended by this site.

Here’s what Mercola has to say on the subject:

It is our hope that all of you will keep us informed about what you like and dislike on the web, and how we can serve you better.

Patti Peters


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