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Elan Sudberg and the New “Dr. Oz Effect” on TikTok

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Nutrition Industry Executive (NIE) reached out to Elan Sudberg, CEO of Garden Grove, CA-based Alkemist Labs and asked him about the latest supplement and ingredient “craze platform,” TikTok. Here’s what he had to say:

NIE: It seems to many that video clips on TikTok are creating a buzz about berberine for weight loss similar to the buzz on the Dr. Oz show created about NetiPot, raspberry ketones, astaxanthin and much more. Any comment on TikTok creating this new Oz Effect-like craze, or about these crazes, in general?

Disclaimer: I do not take any advice on anything other than gardening and cooking from social media … That said, times they are a-changing, again … and we have seen this before.

Starting around 2009, Dr, Oz would feature select products. Many times they were dietary supplements or ingredients like raspberry ketones or green coffee bean extract.

And then a wave of samples would come into our lab for testing. Most of his recommendations were for products already being sold in our industry. He just gave them visibility. One thing to note, is that the categories he pushed were usually the desperate kinds, like easy yet significant weight loss.

Today with TikTok, however, instead of hearing mildly careful suggestions for a product from a medical doctor on TV we’re seeing the same enthusiastic recommendations from citizen journalists in our palms, 24/7.

The speed of communication has increased at an alarming rate. Even if you are a 32-year-old property manager from San Antonio with no training in nutrition and are willing to share your anecdotal evidence on social media, have a stable gimbal, a cute smile and the algorithm gods smile upon you, you too can influence the buying habits of millions.

To me this is a direct product of eroded consumer trust. We as a people (the American kind, since TikTok is used differently in other countries) have lost trust in our experts (government, modern medicine, and maybe even science) as a result of the last 3-plus years of disharmony over our health and safety. There was so much partisan disagreement. State to state and county to county the rules were so wildly different that “’the people” are now seeking advice from new sources like “the other people.”

Now, to some, anecdotes seem more legit than the experts we once trusted.

What better time to lead with quality than now.