Now podcaster Andrew Huberman is accused of pushing pseudoscience by top doctors, including casting doubt on life-saving vaccines – days after reports of his love rat behavior

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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  • He claimed the flu shot is only effective against the circulating strain of the virus
  • Huberman also praised ashwagandha, a supplement with limited evidence
  • READ MORE: Podcasting guru Andrew Huberman accused of being a womanizer

His personal life has been thrust into the spotlight – with accusations of multiple affairs and sexually irresponsible behavior, including passing an STIs to one lover.

Now, the situation has worsened for popular wellness influencer Andrew Huberman, who is facing the wrath of skeptical doctors, who say his health claims ‘lead away from the truth.’

The podcaster, who denies all accusations of promiscuity, including giving one woman an STI, has 5.2 million subscribers to his podcast Huberman Lab – where he offers recommendations on all manner of health topics from oral health to autism.

But experts have called much of his content ‘pseudoscientific’ – accusing him of  pushing questionable herbs for anxiety platforming ‘dangerous’ views that demonize benign ingredients and casting doubt on the flu shot’s effectiveness.

Dr Andrea Love, a microbiologist and immunologist, has accused Andrew Huberman of ‘fill[ing] his podcast with confident displays of pseudoscience’

Huberman with fellow podcaster Lex Fridman who attracts 3.9million followers to his channel in which he speaks about science and technology

Huberman with fellow podcaster Lex Fridman who attracts 3.9million followers to his channel in which he speaks about science and technology

In one clip Huberman can be seen saying: ‘The flu shot is completely ineffective at combating any other forms of the flu virus [strains that aren’t in current circulation], colds or any other types of upper respiratory infections.’

However, the CDC contradicts this, saying the flu jab ‘may still offer some protection’, while well as recommendations from East Carolina University which say ‘antibodies made in response to the vaccine can provide some protection (cross-protection) against different, but related strains of influenza virus.’

The CDC recommends everyone six months and older, with rare exception, get a flu vaccine every season. 

Between 4,900 and 51,000 Americans die every year because of the flu, the agency estimated, and 1,100 lives are saved annually due to the shots.

Dr Andrea Love, a microbiologist and immunologist, said: Andrew Huberman ‘fills his podcast with confident displays of pseudoscience.’

‘It contains grains of truth, but those grains of truth are exaggerated beyond the point of usefulness, even so far as to lead away from the truth,’ she wrote in Slate.

Other critics of Huberman’s include Drs Spencer and Karl Nadolsky who discussed ‘the ways that Huberman has blurred the line between science and pseudoscience’ on Dr Love’s podcast.

One of the claims being questioned, made in a podcast episode titled ‘How to Prevent & Treat Colds & Flu’, is that the flu shot only works if it is protective against the dominant strain.

Neurobiology professor Andrew Huberman speaking at a conference in Boston in 2023

Neurobiology professor Andrew Huberman speaking at a conference in Boston in 2023

He goes on to state that this is one of the main reasons he does not get the flu shot – which is recommended by health officials, including the CDC.

He claimed that the flu vaccine can be ‘completely ineffective’ if it does not protect against the strain of flu circulating that year.

But regardless of the circulating strain, flu shots still offers protection against illness, hospitalization, and death from any flu viruses due to the broad immunity we generate in response, according to Dr Love.

As explained by the CDC, flu forecasts are made to anticipate which flu viruses are the most likely to circulate and cause the most illness during the season, using data from other countries on current strains. Shots are then tweaked accordingly year-to-year.

Huberman does recommend that people with ‘family members that are immune compromised’ or those ‘concerned about transmitting flu to any one individual or group of individuals’ speak to their physician before deciding whether or not to get the flu shot.

Another of Huberman’s claims, made in the podcast titled ‘Using Cortisol & Adrenaline to Boost Our Energy & Immune System Function’, is that ashwagandha, a supplement made from an evergreen shrub, ‘has a profound effect on anxiety’ and can reduce stress, cortisol and even depression.

He makes ‘bold claims’ including that ashwagandha may prompt multiple knock-on effects, improving vision cardiovascular health, sleep, and memory.

But the evidence is questionable, with small samples sizes and self-reported data, said Dr Love.

Dr Love reviewed the literature and said she found that the data in humans provided a ‘conflicting and more limited picture.’

One study from 2012 suggested it can improve chronic stress but had just 64 participants.

A meta-analysis which looked at five small randomized controlled trials, concluded that it may aid sleep, especially in people with insomnia, but found ‘no significant effect on quality of life.’

There is also evidence of the supplement causing liver damage, according to a study in 2020, which looked at five cases of liver injury attributed to ashwagandha-containing supplements.

All patients developed jaundice and symptoms such as nausea, lethargy, severe itching of the skin and abdominal discomfort.

‘I wouldn’t suggest anyone bank their health on this stuff,’ said Dr Love. 

But Huberman said that ashwagandha ‘comes through as the heavy hitter,’ while being sure to add the liability caveat: ‘You’re responsible for making sure [supplements are] safe for you if you decide to use them.’

In another instance, Huberman said a study was done on people when it was in fact performed on rats.

In the episode, titled ‘How Sugar & Processed Foods Impact Your Healthy’, Huberman was joined by pediatric endocrinologist Dr Robert Lustig, who has a history of making extreme claims about food, such as calling sugar a ‘poison.’

Critics including The Health Sciences Academy, who train nutritionists, have said that it is ‘dangerous’ to demonize any single nutrient such as fructose, as it could mislead the public to reduce their fruit intake.

Dr Lustig cites a study to support his claim that ultra-processed food consumption slows bone growth.

Huberman asked him: ‘Was this in vitro or in vivo?’. Lustig replied: ‘In vivo.’

Huberman then said: ‘So these are people that are eating high amounts of highly processed food; exactly how did [the researcher] find those in the Middle East?’

Lustig answered: ‘In Israel.’

In vivo means a study that is done on a living organism, and while it can refer to studies done on humans, the research Lustig was talking about was done in rats.

‘To claim that the results have a direct relevance to people is a wild misinterpretation of data,’ Dr Love told Slate. ‘…Huberman presents his conclusions as if they are facts, and so his listeners trust him.’

Mr Huberman did not reply to a request for comment from DailyMail.com. 

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