Oral IV Controversy, Part 3: A few dudes at Johns Hopkins opine… and a SHADY connection is drawn.


For the last few days, there has been some back channel chatter about  a supposed “Johns Hopkins Study” that was done at the request of the US Military. Well, now we know what that is all about… a whole bunch of “not much study” and some very interesting connections between the doctors who wrote a couple of negative letters and a company that sells product that competes with Oral IV.

What you will see below are the actual letters written by a few guys who I assume are very good at their jobs at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Unfortunately, they were so excited to write hit pieces on Oral IV that the first pair actually (again, I assume) miss-wrote the last sentence of their letter and it actually supports the continued use of Oral IV over other options:

“Replacing Oral IV with other, scientifically validated oral rehydration beverages could place persons training or operating in warm or hot weather operations at increased risk for dehydration, gastrointestinal distress, and becoming a heat casualty.”

This from William Greenough and Kevin Gerold, a professor and asst. professor (respectively), who apparently did nothing more than read the old ad copy at the Oral IV website.

In the second letter, below, the “To:” line is suspiciously blacked out in the copy that is now being passed around the internet. That makes me wonder who requested the letter.  Questions:

1. Who has a vested interest in a rehydration product that contains glucose and has ties to Johns Hopkins’ Alumni?
2. Who has a vested interest in a product that competes with Oral IV and has been telling people that there was a “study” being done at Johns Hopkins?
3. Why would these professors be so interested in this issue? Are they Hydration Specialists?

A quick (and VERY sincere, actually) Google Search with “Dr. Greenough Hydration” revealed something interesting, a press release from Cera Products… a company that manufactures and sells hydration/rehydration products.

 "CeraFlu(TM) is a scientifically-developed hydration drink that contains
 an optimal mix and ratio of carbohydrates and electrolytes," says William
 Greenough, M.D., Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins Schools of Medicine
 and Public Health and Hygiene, who helped in developing the drink mix."

Try it yourself… look how many times the Cera products are connected to Greenough in the Google search “Dr. Greenough Hydration” . And, it turns out that he’s actually on the company’s board of advisors… as are Sack and Gerold, the other two doctors signing the critical letters below.

Interestingly, one of Oral IV’s most vocal critics this last week also sells Cera Products… The same guy who posted that an Army Major was under “house arrest” because he shared his thoughts about how great Oral IV was…. a post that was later removed from the inter-webs after it became clear that it was completely false. To read Maj. Setka’s (a Ranger Brigade Surgeon) thoughts on Oral IV, check this from Solider Systems. Oral IV had very positive response at the 2012 and 2013 Best Ranger Competition, where Cera Products was a high level sponsor.

As I’ve stated several times in the last week, I don’t like intellectual weakness. The attacks against Oral IV have seemed oddly disconnected from what Oral IV actually claims to be. In fact, they have very specifically focused on talking about what it doesn’t do, which is act like a traditional rehydration product. The arguments have all revolved around the importance of sticking with the traditional approach… the approach that Cera Products takes. Today, we see the big guns of Johns Hopkins Medical are tied to a would-be competitor of Oral IV (you can Google the other guys’ names and find the connections for yourself, they are listed on the company website) and this whole brouhaha starts to make a lot more sense to me…

Let me remind everyone that this is a health issue, ultimately… not just “business”.  Oral IV may not be the wonder-answer to rehydration… but these attacks are shady.



PS- More videos from Dr. Beck coming later today….







6 thoughts on “Oral IV Controversy, Part 3: A few dudes at Johns Hopkins opine… and a SHADY connection is drawn.”

  1. Mr. Pincus,

    Cerasport and Ceralyte are a proven hydration solutions because it conforms with WHO guidelines for Oral Rehydration Therapy (tastes like crap though). ORTs work on a physiologically proven mechanism that has been laboratory and clinically tested – one of the most notable cases where ORTs similar to Cerasport/lyte were effective was the 1971 Bangladesh Cholera outbreak which saw mortality rates of 3.6% vs the regular 30%-40% with IV rehydration therapy (as an aside – ORT solution, which can be made at home with rice and salt, truly is an “Oral IV”) .

    Hydration is an extremely niche field in medicine – it is no surprise that doctors that do research in the field are also involved in medical products that involve oral rehydration. I challenge anybody to find a hydration expert that has no financial interest in a medical company. Just because the doctors listed here have financial interests in a competing product does not mean their opinions are any less valid. I do not see this as shady at all.

    Oral IV has not been lab tested nor clinically tested. Yes, they are claiming that their product works on a new mechanism. But because it is new, the onus is on them to prove what they are saying is true – lives are literally at risk here. You do not challenge an established medical practice by stating “this is how it really is” and present no evidence aside from live blood testing and anecdotal evidence.

    1. True.. and I asked that question of Dr. Beck (in regard to WHO). He explains in the next video that the root causes of dehydration and the nutritional differences (salt intake, primarily) between our warriors/elite athletes and third world dysentery victims needs to be taken into account… made sense to me. You can judge for yourself when the video goes up later today.

    2. “Just because the doctors listed here have financial interests in a competing product does not mean their opinions are any less valid. I do not see this as shady at all.” – Sure…

  2. I’m just learning about this controversy (and the existence of Cerasport, Ceralyte and Oral IV) but I do have a couple of questions. First, the use of “live blood testing” twigs a pseudoscience alarm in me, perhaps unfairly. I’ve never seen it used outside the context of people claiming to be able to cure “acidic blood” and other maladies by alternative medicine (usually practices that range from useless to unsafe.)

    I can’t tell what it is that Dr. Beck is showing people in his live blood analyses, so it’s hard to judge whether it’s serving a legitimate purpose in this case. But if it is, I wonder whether Dr. Beck is aware that the term itself carries a connotation of pseudoscience because it has been used for that purpose so widely. I’m not sure what Dr. Beck would be trying to find out by live blood analysis to determine the effectiveness of Oral IV.

    TJ, the problem with disregarding the opinions of experts with financial ties to the products they endorse (and, presumably, a financial interest in hurting products they don’t) is that Jim Lau may prove correct that every expert you can find will have financial interests in this area.
    We know that Dr. Beck has a large financial interest in Oral IV, so if we dismiss everyone with an interest as “shady,” we may have no guidance from experts . . . on the other hand, Dr. Beck’s interest in Oral IV is openly acknowledged. If the other experts have attempted to hide their connections to competing products, I think it’s safe to call that shady. That by itself wouldn’t really give me any confidence that Oral IV works, but it would certainly make me think twice about their evidence.

    1. Don,

      The live blood testing can show that there is increased surface area available to do the work red blood cells do… that’s about it. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve talked to him about the issues with the test and I don’t know how often they will be “relying” on it in the future. The issue seems to be that “proof” in this realm, especially in the time frame that Oral IV claims to act, is hard to quantify.

      As for the “experts”, in this case there are several issues that makes their input here meaningless & shady and indicates desperation on the other companies part:

      -They could have released their opinion, as established experts, on Cera Product letterhead and simply let the weight of “Johns Hopkins” be felt in their signature lines… that would’ve been “above board” and probably more compelling because it shows more integrity.
      -One of their business partners put up a video criticizing Oral IV talking about “perfect sports drinks” knowing full well that Oral IV isn’t claiming to be that type of product. He is also the one who was spreading rumors in regard to Johns Hopkins.
      -They could have actually done A SINGLE TEST or ANALYSIS prior to rendering their very critical opinion based simply on reading the companies marketing material (and, for the record, Dr. Beck isn’t even sure all of the attributed quotes actually come from anything that he or Oral IV as a company have ever said.

      As for all hydration experts having a dog in the fight…. I don’t think that could possibly be true with the number of health care professionals we have in the world. Just because someone has an expertise in a certain area doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be financially tied to products in that area, I (for example) have no vested interest in any handgun company, but those are what I primarily deal with and I make judgements and give recommendations on handguns almost every day.


  3. Pingback: My Homepage

Comments are closed.