Joseph Mercola

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Joseph Mercola is among the top misinformation vectors of our time when it comes to health, medicine, food, parenting, and more. He promotes chemophobia and spreads fear of chemicals, GMOs, and vaccines, all while peddling alternatives to line his pockets.
—Kavin Senapathy[1]
Mercola injecting himself into interjecting at the 2009 International [anti-]Vaccine Conference.
Against allopathy
Alternative medicine
Icon alt med alt.svg
Clinically unproven

Joseph Mercola is an American anti-vaccinationist, conspiracy theorist, pseudoscience promoter and quack, best known for making false and misleading health claims.[1][2][3] Mercola an osteopathic physician, is a popular guru of alternative medicine and naturopathy.[4] He is a member of the right-wing quack outfit Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.

Mercola advocates and provides a forum for many classic crank medical ideas, such as vaccine hysteria and the belief that modern (sorry, "allopathic") medicine kills more people than it helps. His website is a veritable spring of pseudoscience, quackery, and logical fallacies. He is also a promoter of the idea of an AMA/Big Pharma/FDA conspiracy.[5]

Despite his claim that unlike other doctors, he is not interested in profit,[6] he advertises all manner of unproven products, and has a health center that dispenses alternative medicine for a steep price.[7]

Mercola funds 40% of the budget of the anti-vaccination National Vaccine Information Center's budget.[8] He had previously promoted the false idea that vitamin C and Vitamin D could prevent measles, and not coincidentally his top sales products are supplements.[8]


In addition to the aforementioned issues, Mercola promotes various disproved crank health ideas such as:

  • Toxic metals in vaccines and dental fillings. The idea of heavy metal poisoning as being responsible for many common health problems is a popular one, and completely wrong. The studies of mercury in dental amalgams and vaccines are conclusive – there is no danger (which is more than can be said for the unnecessary chelation therapy that quacks prescribe to fix the "problem").[9]
  • Statin denialism, Mercola claims that statins are harmful and that 99% of people do not need them. He says they cause birth defects if taken during pregnancy and increase the risk of diseases.[10][11] This one is particularly horrible, as few medications or interventions have been found to be as safe and effective as statins. Failing to prescribe a statin to someone with coronary artery disease is very much against the standard of care (meaning that it could be construed as malpractice).
  • Microwaves "kill nutrients in food." No more than ovens do.[12]
  • Modern medicine kills you dead, but homeopathy works! (Fractal wrongness).
  • HIV doesn't cause AIDS and death from HIV is due to the "psychological stress" of having the condition. But he has a cure![13]
  • GMOs are every bit as harmful as excessive sugar and processed food.[14]
  • Eyeglasses denial[15], which is as pointless and harmful as it sounds.
  • Seriously, just pick a scientifically unsupported concern out of a hat, anything from aspartame to water fluoridation.
  • Magnesium woo, he is supportive of the crackpot ideas of Carolyn Dean.[16]

FDA warnings[edit]

Mercola has received two warnings from the FDA for hyping coconut oil, chlorella, and the Living Fuel RxTM diet.[17][18] He received a third warning for selling infrared cameras that he claimed could be used to diagnose a number of illnesses.[19]

Birds of a feather…[edit]

In what can only be termed a alternative medicine practitioner group hug, Mercola has recently come to the defense of the Burzynski Clinic despite the obvious pitfalls of doing so.[20]

See also[edit]

  • Megavitamin therapy — for some of Mercola's products that exceed the maximum recommended daily dose

External links[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1
  2. Dr. Joseph Mercola Ordered to Stop Illegal Claims
  3. 9 Reasons to Completely Ignore Joseph Mercola
  4. About Dr. Mercola
  5. When Should You Use Conventional Medicine?
  6. Dr. Joseph Mercola's Qualifications "But clinical trials conducted by heavily biased "researchers," advertisements, and news stories carefully scripted to scare you into belief, highly polished corporate offices and corporate websites, and an extreme focus on whatever has the most profit potential – not lifesaving or life-enhancing potential – are not qualifications. They are scams."
  7. Optimal Wellness Center Tour: A Total Health Transformation Can Be Yours! Mercola (archived from February 3, 2007).
  8. 8.0 8.1 A major funder of the anti-vaccine movement has made millions selling natural health products by Neena Satija & Lena H. Sun (Dec. 20, 2019 at 8:15 a.m. PST) The Washington Post.
  9. Somewhat ironic that he got on the anti-mercury bandwagon, considering that his last name kind of sounds like mercury.
  10. Statin Denialism
  11. Statin drugs are dangerous
  12. The Claim: Microwave Ovens Kill Nutrients in Food, New York Times
  16. Magnesium—The Missing Link to Better Health.
  17. FDA warning, Feb. 16, 2005
  18. FDA warning, Sep. 21, 2006
  19. FDA warning, Mar. 22, 2011
  20. Quoth Joe Mercola: I love me some Burzynski antineoplastons, Respectful Insolence