Dr. Oz Makes Wacky Claims for Pajamas
Stephen Barrett, M.D.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is very personable and provides some worthwhile advice on his television programs. However, many of his guests provide dubious and sometimes dangerous advice (such as opposition to recommended vaccines). Moreover, Oz helps promotes disreputable practices (such as homeopathy, reiki, and communicating with the spirits of the dead) and advocates many dubious products. People who lack a medical background may not be suspicious of him, but the "Secrets of the Oz House" section of his Web site offers an opportunity to look behind his veneer. The introductory page states:
Dr. Oz has shared so much health advice from his television studio. Now, you've got an all-access pass to where his health begins—at home. By traveling into his kitchen, his medicine cabinet, and even his bedroom, you'll learn the secrets and surprises Dr. Oz and his family use every day to stay healthy and live longer. Read on so you can learn to do the same in your home .
Bedroom Secret #2 states:
A product that could help maximize sleep benefits is a new high performance sleepwear called Goodnighties. These jammies are made with a smart-fabric uniquely created to neutralize the stress our bodies produce. Goodnighties neutralize the stress that our bodies produce by stimulating blood flow with negative ions to tired strained muscles. Plus, the fabric wicks away moisture, keeping you cool so can sleep all through the night .
Goodnighties sleepwear are said to be impregnated with a substance that emits negative ions. Do you think that "the stress our bodies produce" can be measured—or even defined? If not, no study could be done to see whether wearing the pajamas can change the amount. Whether "negative ions" can stimulate blood flow can be measured, but I doubt that this has been studied enough to conclude that they can. Even if they can affect blood flow, I know no logical reason to conclude that any such blood flow would be directed to "tired, strained muscles" or that increasing blood flow in that way could "neutralize stress." Thus, in my opinion, Oz's claim combines meaningless concepts with improbable claims. It's possible that by absorbing sweat, the pyjamas could help some people who sweat a lot to sleep better, but whether they are better for this purpose than other pyjamas is not something I can determine.
The product's manufacturer goes even further. On July 25, after noting that the marketer's home page featured Dr. Oz's endorsement, I examined what the rest of the site said about the product [3,4]. Then I fired off a letter asking the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Better Business Bureau to evaluate the following claims that are either stated directly or implied in the site's articles:
- Goodnighties neutralize the stress our bodies produce.
- Goodnighties stimulate blood flow to tired, strained muscles
- Negative ions, when blended in fabric, have been shown to reduce swelling.
- Negative ions blended in fabric increase blood flow and oxygen to relieve pain and restore joint mobility.
- Negative ions (embedded in the fabric) restore pH balance.
- Negative ions (embedded in the fabric) promote an alkaline reaction in the cells.
- Negative ions (embedded in the fabric) can affect serotonin levels (sufficiently) to strengthen the functions of the autonomic system, reinforce collagen, improve the permeability of the cell’s plasma membranes, and strengthen the body’s immune system.
- Negative ions (embedded in the fabric) increase the production of melatonin, which helps us sleep, may exert a strong antioxidant activity, absorb harmful free radicals, and thereby repair cells, strengthen the immune system, and sharpen mental functions, reduce the occurrence of backache, and increase resistance to illness.
- Fabrics treated with negatively charged ions can help promote healing and improve performance because of capillary dilation and thus the increased blood flow and oxygenation.
It will be interesting to see what happens if NAD decides to investigate.
Last year, some college students found that Goodnighties products did not emit negative charges or improve circulation. They also concluded that some of the claims were impossible .
- Short et al. Ionized performance fabric composition. U.S. Patent No. 7,896,928 B2, March 1, 2011.
- Health secrets of the Oz House. Dr. Oz Web site, April 26, 2012.
- Health Secrets of the Oz House, page 4. Dr. Oz Web site, April 26, 2012.
- Ouimet A. The beneficial effects of Ionx® fabrics and garments. Goodnighties Web site, July 25, 2012.
- Ouimet AB. The science behind negative ions. Goodnighties Web site, July 25, 2012.
- Buckland D. Review: Goodnighties sleepwear. medGadget Web site, July 7, 2010.
This article was revised on July 26, 2012.