“You need to detox.”

How many times have you heard or read this? Maybe a friend of yours suggested it for the New Year. Maybe you saw it on a website, in a magazine, or as part of an ad. I like to say sometimes, “Toujours les toxines,” because in many branches of alternative medicine the overarching idea behind the interventions used is that vague, unnamed “toxins” are somehow poisoning you and that the only way to fix what’s wrong with you is to “detoxify.” These “detox” interventions can take many forms, ranging from the relatively (but not completely) benign, such as “juice cleanses,” to the downright dangerous, such as chelation therapy.

I’ve been meaning to return to the topic of “detoxification” in alternative medicine (or, as I now like to call it, fake medicine) since earlier this month, when Dr. Daniel Neides, the medical director of The Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, published a virulently antivaccine article for a local news website. He was, of course, widely condemned—and quite rightly so—for his article, which was loaded with tired antivaccine tropes that I’ve been battling at least since 2005, and the Clinic promised disciplinary action and loudly proclaimed its pro-vaccine bona fides. Unfortunately, Dr. Toby Cosgrove, CEO of The Cleveland Clinic later doubled down on his hospital’s support for the pseudoscience and fake medicine that it has embraced through its Wellness Institute, Center for Functional Medicine, and traditional Chinese herbal medicine clinic. In his article, just as Capt. Renault in Casablanca was “shocked—shocked—to find that gambling is going on” in Rick’s cafe, Dr. Cosgrove came across as “shocked” that there is antivaccine pseudoscience at his Wellness Institute. The key difference, of course, is that, in contrast to Renault, who was obviously cynically making up an excuse to shut down Rick’s establishment at the bidding of the Nazi occupiers, Dr. Cosgrove seemed genuinely clueless how the sort of “detox” quackery his Wellness Institute had embraced led in a pretty straight line to antivaccine quackery, much of which is based on the same ideas, only with vaccines as the source of the “toxins.” On the other hand, Dr. Mark Hyman’s Center for Functional Medicine still exists at the Clinic, and Hyman still has an important position as its founder and titular head. Given that Hyman co-authored an antivaccine book of the thimerosal fear mongering variety (toxins!) along with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. right around the time that the Clinic hired him and even appeared on The Dr. Oz Show with RFK Jr. to promote it ten days before his hiring was announced, maybe Dr. Cosgrove is more like Capt. Renault than I’d like to believe. In any event, if you’re selling homeopathic detox kits on your online store, as The Cleveland Clinic was, you either believe in the pseudoscience or care more about money than good medicine.

I’ve discussed what I consider to be the “central dogma” of alternative medicine before, namely that wishing makes it so. If that’s the central dogma, the belief that your body has been so overwhelmed by toxins that you need to remove to be healthy is one of the top—if not the top—additional dogmas, and I do mean dogma. As you will see, the belief in “detoxification” resembles a belief common in many religions that sinners (or those who do wrong in the eyes of the deity) are somehow “unclean” and must undergo ritual purification in order to be on the deity’s good side again. The ideas behind “detox,” more than anything else, resemble ideas undergirding those of ritual purification, with unnamed “toxins” rather than sins or impure thoughts and deeds being the cause of the taint producing the unclean state that must be purified.

Autointoxication: Beware the toxins within!

If there is someone who never wavers in promoting what I consider to be cancer quackery, it’s Ty Bollinger. Bollinger, as you might recall, is the quack behind a video series entitled The Truth About Cancer: A Global Quest. My skeptical antennae always start a’twitchin’ fiercely whenever I see something entitled “The Truth About…” and Bollinger’s video series is no exception, given his history of promoting quackery and luring patients away from real medicine. Truth be told, I tried to watch the series, but the first episode contained so much misinformation, pseudoscience, and, yes, “alternative facts,” that I didn’t see how I could do the whole series justice without doing a blog post on each installment given my in-depth knowledge of why pretty much everything in the series was quackery. I sampled other episodes and found the same thing. Let’s just put it this way, Bollinger interviewed a rogue’s gallery of quacks, including Matthias Rath, Mike “Health Ranger” Adams, Joseph Mercola, Jonathan Wright, Rashid Buttar, Russell Blaylock, Stanislaw Burzynski, and Tullio Simoncini.

So it’s not surprising that Bollinger promotes “detoxification,” and the article I came across over the weekend thanks to my being on his mailing list is the epitome of “thinking” about detox, if you can call it that. In his article entitled “Fact Over Fad: Why Body Detoxification is Essential for Vibrant Health” Bollinger lays out one of the central premises of a lot of alternative medicine quackery (but I repeat myself):

Growing older is unavoidable. It’s a reality that each and every one of us will one day have to face as part of the collective human condition. And yet, while nobody can escape the aging process entirely, the good news is that we can avoid some of the worst effects by simply making the right lifestyle choices.

Wherever you currently fall on the age spectrum, there are immense benefits to be had from properly maintaining your body. Even if you’re just now starting down the path to better health. Just like your car requires regular maintenance in the form of routine oil changes, new tires, fresh coolant, and a thorough washing and detailing… so is regular body detoxification a necessity for optimal health.

I hate this analogy. The body is not a car; it is orders of magnitude more complex than a car. More importantly, a car is not designed to fix itself or replenish its own fluids. In contrast, the human body has evolved over billions of years, all the way back to the simplest one cell organisms, to be self-sustaining and self-“detoxifying,” needing little more than adequate nutrition (fuel), water, and activity to maintain itself. Yet quacks like Bollinger often make this analogy, selling “detox” pseudoscience as “routine maintenance” of the body.

Before I go into Bollinger’s flawed analogy more, I can’t help but ask: Where do all these “toxins” come from? What are they? There are commonly two sources. One is internal and is known as “autointoxication.” The basic idea behind autointoxication is that our bodies are constantly building up waste “toxins” that are slowly poisoning us. While it is true that our bodies constantly produce waste, some of which can be toxic, it is also true that our bodies have a number of systems of disposing of them, including the kidneys (which eliminate waste through urine), the lungs (which eliminate the CO2 produced by the “burning” of nutrients for energy), the liver (which can chemically transform many toxins to render them harmless and able to be excreted), and of course the colon, which houses and eliminates the solid waste from digesting our food.

The colon, of course, is the focus of a lot of “detox” quackery, based on the mistaken belief that feces are constantly building up in our colons to the point that a typical adult has ten or even twenty pounds of waste built up in their colons that is slowly leaching out into the bloodstream to poison the rest of the body. Just Google “death begins in the colon,” which is a common saying among believers in this sort, and you’ll get the idea. This concept is the rationale for “colon cleanses” and “liver cleanses,” which often involve juices, purgatives, and enemas, including coffee enemas. Of course, any surgeon who’s ever operated on the colon or performed colonoscopy on patients with unprepped bowel (which is sometimes necessary in emergencies), as I used to do before I specialized in breast cancer, knows that this is an utterly fantastical claim. Except in the case of colon obstruction or toxic megacolon there is nowhere near that much feces in a typical colon, and the colon is quite good at containing it and eliminating it. That’s what it evolved to do.

Ironically, autointoxication as the cause of disease was mainstream medicine as recently as the early 20th century, and it’s a concept that dates back to the ancient Egyptians, possibly earlier. Egyptian priest-physicians (Egyptian medicine originated in the priesthood) believed that a putrefactive principle associated with feces was somehow absorbed by the body, where it acted to produce fever and pus. Later, the ancient Greeks extended the idea beyond digestive waste in the colon to include the four humors and incorporate the concept into the humoral theory of medicine. Even so, it was also a concept promulgated by proponents of scientific medicine as late as the early 1900s. The concept was very much like what I’ve described so far, namely that putrefactive products of digestion remained in the colon, there to leach into the bloodstream and sicken patients due to autointoxication. Indeed, some surgeons, chief among them Sir W. Arbuthnot Lane, advocated total colectomy for the autointoxication that was thought to be the cause of diseases ranging from lassitude to epilepsy. I even remember the concept showing up in an episode of The Knick, a series that portrayed a fictional 1900-era hospital in Manhattan, in which the wife of one of the surgeons at the Knick was treated for severe depression by Dr. Henry Cotton (an actual doctor from the period), who removed all her teeth because he believed that “all mental disorders stem from disease and infection polluting the brain.” If she didn’t respond, he was then going to remove her tonsils and adenoids, and, if that still didn’t work, her colon.

Given that there were no antibiotics back then, intestinal surgery was fraught with peril due to the high rate of postoperative sepsis and death, making this approach reckless indeed. Eventually, even Sir Arbuthnot Lane came to the same conclusion and by the 1920s had changed his mind, deciding that diet was the answer. Also by the 1920s, science had shown that the various symptoms observed in patients with chronic constipation were largely due to distension of the bowel and were not due to autointoxication. Unfortunately, the belief that mental illness was caused by focal infection persisted longer and it took investigations in the 1920s, which found that Cotton exaggerated his success rates and downplayed his mortality rates, before the practice was finally abandoned, although Cotton was never punished. Quite the contrary, in fact. Thus, as is its wont, scientific medicine did eventually move on from a failed hypothesis, although at a pace that, from the vantage of 2017, appears frustratingly slow. In marked contrast, as is their wont, alternative medicine practitioners clung all the more tightly to this failed hypothesis, an embrace that continues to this day and show no signs of changing. Some of them would have been quite at home with the priest-physicians of ancient Egypt.

Toxins here, toxins there, toxins everywhere!

Bollinger doesn’t really focus that much on autointoxication. Although he does allude to it, he concentrates more on external toxins:

Detoxification is about a whole lot more than just a superficial notion of feeling “clean” as part of some trendy dieting fad. It’s about protecting your body against the very real and damaging effects of toxic buildup. For instance, did you know that peer-reviewed science continues to show that harboring toxins inside your body can trigger a wide array of health conditions – including everything from chronic fatigue and muscle and joint pain to brain disease and cancer?

Chronic toxic exposure is also a leading cause of obesity, which now afflicts more than one-third of Americans. A 2012 study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives explains how so-called “obesogens” are a major contributor to the American obesity epidemic, which more often than not is erroneously blamed solely on people eating too much rather than walking around with polluted, poor-functioning bodies.

As they say, quacks use the medical literature in much the same way a drunk uses a streetlight, for support rather than illumination. That’s just what Bollinger is doing here. Of course, like most quacks, he doesn’t actually provide a link to the reference. Fortunately, it wasn’t too hard to discover the reference, namely this article, which wasn’t a study but rather a commentary that didn’t provide any significant evidence to back up Bollinger’s claim. Certainly it didn’t conclude that “obesogens” are a major contributor to the American obesity epidemic. Reading the article, I was struck, more than anything else, by how speculative it was, at how little hard evidence its author could present to support the concept of obesogens, and, most of all, how there was almost no evidence of obesogens in humans. Pretty much all of the putative obesogens mentioned were implicated as such based on rodent experiments, with a handful of not-particularly-convincing epidemiological studies. A more recent article on the topic states the problem succinctly right in the blurb after its title: “Low doses of environmental chemicals can make animals gain weight. Whether they do the same to humans is a thorny issue“, which it is. A PubMed search I did also produced animal experiments and a lot of commentary, but no convincing evidence in humans that I could find.

Oddly enough, Bollinger also failed to back up his claim that “peer-reviewed science continues to show that harboring toxins inside your body can trigger a wide array of health conditions – including everything from chronic fatigue and muscle and joint pain to brain disease and cancer.”

Obesogens (whether they will be found to exist or not or be a major cause of human obesity or not), aside, Bollinger lists all the “toxins” that you have to avoid:

  1. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs)
  2. Pesticides
  3. “Soft” and “heavy” metals
  4. Fluoride
  5. Food additives, preservatives, and growth hormones
  6. Electronic smog
  7. Pharmaceutical drugs

There’s even a graphic (click to embiggen):

ToxinsBollinger

Let’s just dispense with one of these right away. “Electronic smog” might as well be renamed “miasma.” Miasma theory, if you’ll recall, was the idea that disease was caused by miasma (μίασμα, ancient Greek: “pollution”). It was basically an attempt to explain how contagious diseases could spread in a population, which is why it rapidly lost favor after Louis Pasteur’s discoveries and the germ theory of disease was postulated. It went beyond just infectious diseases, though, with some claiming, for example, that one could become obese by inhaling the odor of food. Electrosmog is basically the concept that low level electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are causing disease, with EFMs in essence functioning as a miasma. Believers in electrosmog sometimes also add the concept of EMF hypersensitivity, with sometimes tragic results.

Among the others, fluoride is safe at the levels used, no matter how much cranks try to convince us otherwise, and, although pesticides can be harmful at high concentrations, neither those consuming food nor agricultural workers are likely to be exposed to levels high enough to cause harm. There is also surprisingly little evidence that food additives, preservatives, and the like cause harm. Endocrine disruptors, of course, are sometimes touted as The One True Cause of many disorders. It’s true that they might pose a health risk to humans, but the evidence is nowhere near what I would call clear, with most of the studies being in animals and not a lot of convincing human data collected yet, particularly at the very low concentrations humans encounter. Let’s just say that the studies are conflicting and inconclusive. If the evidence for adverse health effects in humans due to these compounds at the concentrations encountered is relatively weak, there’s practically no evidence at all that avoiding them or “detoxing” to get rid of them will have any health benefits.

Not surprisingly, it is also an article of faith among people like Bollinger that pharmaceutical drugs are more toxic than beneficial and that natural is always better; so it’s not surprising to find drugs on the list. And don’t even get me started on “heavy metals,” which are one of the most common “toxins” implicated by naturopaths and others promoting “detox” quackery and lead to dangerous therapies like chelation therapy and the wasting of tens of millions of dollars to study chelation therapy as a treatment for cardiovascular disease.

The bottom line, from Bollinger’s line of thinking (if you can call it that) is that the products of modern life are leaving toxins here, toxins there, toxins everywhere that are slowly killing you, and if you don’t “detox” first trying to lose weight might kill you:

The problem with trying to lose weight before detoxifying is that toxins tend to live inside fat tissue. This means that the minute you start burning off that spare tire, those toxins will immediately start flooding your system. Depending on your personal level of toxicity, this process might overwhelm your vital organs.

Many holistic practitioners recommend doing a series of detox cleanses before trying to actively lose weight. This isn’t to say that you should intentionally hold off trying to clean up your diet out of fear of toxic overload. Rather, you should do a few things first before embarking on a major dietary overhaul that could cause you to lose a lot of weight very quickly.

This is, of course, nonsense, as is Bollinger’s implication that you can never be healthy unless you “detox.”

But how do you detox?

Elsewhere on Bollinger’s website, there is a video promoting his three DVD documentary series on The Truth About Detox. Right at the beginning, Bollinger asks:

What if I told you that disease doesn’t just strike at a whim? What if I told you that you’ve been lied to about what’s really going on? I’m going to show you the reasons why cancer, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia, as well as host of life-destroying symptoms like hair loss, skin outbreaks, unwanted weight gain, depression, and fatigue are on such a dramatic rise today and you are at serious risk. You’re about to discover that all these diseases and symptoms have toxic causes that you aren’t being told about. Sadly, you’re also not being told about the true solutions to these life-destroying diseases and symptoms.

Later, he claims that in this day and age that we’re being “bombarded with more chemicals than ever before in the history of mankind,” a claim that is full of hyperbole. All you have to do is to compare photos of the pollution 50 or 100 years ago to realize that the environment, at least in developed countries, is way cleaner now than it was then. Just the removal of lead from gasoline did wonders for reducing exposure to toxic lead, and that’s not the only example. However, the whole concept behind “detox” is an old one, namely that modernity is killing us and that things were better when humans lived close to nature. (That must be why life expectancy back then was so poor.) Bollinger even says that there are some “crazy” detox schemes out there as a way of portraying his as rational.

So, to find out how to detox, you have to buy Bollinger’s DVD, although he does have an article on how to detox from chemotherapy. In it, Dr. Veronique Desaulniers recommends “detoxing” from chemotherapy using broccoli, beta glucans, curcumin, chorella, and hyperthermia. Lovely. Of course, this particular doctor goes by the name “Dr. V” and promotes a veritable cornucopia of cancer quackery, including laetrile, bio-Energetics, thermography, meridian stress analysis, homeopathy, and chiropractic.

In reality, there is so much “detox” quackery that it’s really hard to summarize it all. Indeed, pretty much any alternative medicine treatment can claim to be “detox.” I’ve even seen ridiculous claims that acupuncture works through “detox,” thanks to a claimed diuretic effect. However, most “detox” falls into one of these categories:

  • Dietary. Often this involves juices, supplements, and the like. The Gerson protocol incorporates a lot of this, along with a whole lot of supplements.
  • Enemas and laxatives. If you’re going to purge yourself of those autointoxication toxins, you have to get rid of all the nasty feces supposedly hiding out in your colon. Often, the enemas use coffee or other substances, not water.
  • Sweat. Often “detox” involves “sweating out” the toxins, through sweat lodges, saunas, including infrared saunas.
  • Chelation therapy. If “heavy metals” are poisoning you, the only way to get rid of them, if you believe naturopaths and other practitioners of fake medicine, is to use chemicals that bind to the metals and allow you to pee them out. A lot of antivaccine quackery involves chelation therapy.
  • Activated charcoal. When medically indicated, doctors use activated charcoal to treat acute poisoning. It is not absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, but it does absorb a wide variety of chemicals and prevent the GI tract from absorbing them. Usually a nasogastric tube has to be inserted to pour the slurry of activated charcoal into the stomach because most people can’t swallow it, particularly if their consciousness is impaired. It’s also being added to juice detoxes in amounts far below what is really necessary to do real detoxification (were there any actual poisons ingested) as more of a marketing gimmick than anything.

These methods are, of course, mixed and matched, depending on the specific protocol, and there are many variants.

Detox is a scam

There is a role for detoxification in science-based medicine, but it is very limited. Specifically, some detoxification treatments, like chelation therapy or activated charcoal, are used in the case of acute poisonings. Hemodialysis is used to replace the detoxifying function of the kidneys. There is no good evidence that “toxins” of the sort that Bollinger blames for virtually all disease actually do cause all the diseases attributed to them or that routine “detox” regimens will maintain “vibrant health.” Indeed, the very concept of “detox” is based on one or both of two very old ideas, autointoxication or miasmas. Indeed, the concept behind detoxification is very ancient indeed and resembles in concept, more than anything else, purification rituals found in many religions through many cultures throughout history designed to eliminate uncleanliness as defined by the religion. I can’t help but conclude that the religion behind the purification rituals of detox is a form of modernized nature worship.

It saddens me that so many academic medical centers, like The Cleveland Clinic, are embracing forms of medicine that rely on such prescientific and mystical concepts. I wonder if we can find a way to convince the woo-friendly that vaccines are a powerful talisman to ward off miasmas and toxins.

Comments

  1. #1 Evil Timmy
    Seattle
    February 6, 2017

    The simple question I ask anyone trying to sell me on their detox plan is this: Which toxin, and how much? If you can’t tell me which chemical compound your overpriced snake oil removes, and show a detectable amount leaving through samples of sweat, urine, etc, you’ve failed to show it’s any more potent than a glass of water, and it’s certainly more prone to side effects, if it has any effect at all. I’m yet to actually get an answer.

  2. #2 Dangerous Bacon
    February 6, 2017

    Well, Prince Charles believes in detox.

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2009/mar/11/prince-charles-detox-tincture

    If it’s good enough for the Royal Family, the rest of us shouldn’t question it.

  3. #3 Andrew Dodds
    United Kingdom
    February 6, 2017

    Well, I had acute rapidly progressive kidney failure with a build of of real toxins in my blood..

    Strangely enough, the intensive care docs didn’t give me loads of broccoli, or even shove a gallon of coffee up my bum.. they stuck a great big port in my neck and did a plasma exchange, after which I felt much better.

  4. #4 A. Schaefer
    February 6, 2017

    Well, I had acute rapidly progressive kidney failure with a build of of real toxins in my blood..

    Yes, real toxins exist. Different foods produce toxins in differing quantities and quality.

    There is convincing data on heavy metal chelation with garlic. Garlic has a series of compounds that are somewhat similar to the synthetic chelators, and it has been shown to remove metals in numerous livestock studies.

    So, I wouldn’t really bother with anything else to remove heavy metals. Some people market chorella and spirulina for this, but I am skeptical. Some batches of spirulina have been know to be contaminated with anatoxin-a, a very potent phytotoxin that causes liver failure in microgram doses.

  5. #5 Zach
    Pittsburgh
    February 6, 2017

    Cell phone towers can alter people’s DNA, yet we have yet to have a single superhero? Well that is just disappointing.

  6. #6 Eric Lund
    February 6, 2017

    you’ve failed to show it’s any more potent than a glass of water

    There are lots of detox pushers who will tell you that that’s exactly the point. Have you ever seen a Commie drink a glass of water?

  7. #7 Eric Lund
    February 6, 2017

    Cell phone towers can alter people’s DNA, yet we have yet to have a single superhero?

    The creation of superheroes involves phlebotinum which is at least halfway plausible, or was at the time of writing.

    Despite the tendency of many woo-pushers to invoke quantum theory as a technobabble explanation of their “theories”, it’s actually quantum physics that tells us why radiation from cell phones, wi-fi, etc., can’t directly damage your cells. (If you were to put yourself in an environment with enough radiation, such as the middle of a microwave oven, you could do so indirectly by heating the water molecules in your body, but that involves radiation levels orders of magnitude beyond what cell phones, microwave ovens, etc., are allowed to radiate.) Photons in this wavelength/frequency range do not have enough energy to cause electronic transitions in molecules. You need to get into the ultraviolet range for photons to have enough energy to do direct damage–this is why excessive sun exposure can cause skin cancer, and why destruction of the ozone layer by CFCs was a Bad Thing.

    Technically, cell phones and the like do emit radiation. So does the lamp next to your bed, which involves much more energetic photons (but still not energetic enough to do damage). Anyone who tells you that radiation from cell phones is dangerous but makes use of artificial light, or worse yet the big yellow natural light source that’s visible in the sky during clear days, is full of it.

  8. #8 Denice Walter
    February 6, 2017

    Mike Adams scams his followers with tales of pollution by heavy metals, chemicals and non-GMO products. He then sells a multitude of de-tox solutions and substitutes for contaminated foods. It is the reason for his lab!

    (HOWEVER he warns us today that perhaps the greatest danger to our lives and souls are Illuminatised, satanic female performers at SuperBowl games in recent years – see Natural News)

  9. #9 Eric Lund
    February 6, 2017

    HOWEVER he warns us today that perhaps the greatest danger to our lives and souls are Illuminatised, satanic female performers at SuperBowl games in recent years

    An opinion he apparently shares with the FCC. Remember the furore over Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction”?

    As for his lab, I thought its purpose was to demonstrate the presence of these substances in his competitors’ products. What good is a detox regimen that merely puts another toxin in your body?

  10. #10 Dangerous Bacon
    February 6, 2017

    NN gushingly praises Tom Brady for eating organic SOOPERFOODS, but attacks Lady Gaga for being a satanist frontwoman?

    Apparently Adams doesn’t realize Lady Gaga is also on the organic bandwagon:

    “Lady Gaga routinely asks for organic tortilla chips and salsa, organic peanut butter, organic ginger and lemongrass tea, and vegetarian hot dogs. Burning hundreds of calories a night on stage, I always assumed she followed somewhat of a healthy diet, but who would have thought the infamous pop star had an organic side as well?”

    http://drsusanne.com/lady-gaga-goes-organic/

    Could it be that Adams is attacking poor Lady Gaga as part of a pro-Giant Foods/Big Pharma/Monsanto agenda?

  11. #11 Mark Wolstenholme
    February 6, 2017

    “Buy and consume […] chemical-free produce”

    What do these people eat? Dark Matter?

  12. #12 Michael J. Dochniak
    Minnesota
    February 6, 2017

    Orac writes,

    There is a role for detoxification in science-based medicine, but it is very limited.

    MJD says,

    Taking a pseudo-toxin (i.e., vaccine) to avoid a microbial toxin (i.e., viral/bacterial propogation) is a science-based detoxification method (acquired immunity).

    In my opinion, it’s possible that this science-based detoxification method (i.e., vaccinations) can increase the expression of endogenous proteins (e.g., neurotrophins), through epigenetic mechanisms, and adversely affect neurological development in genetically/immunologically susceptible children (i.e., vaccine induced autism).

    Therefore, Orac may be able to convince the woo-friendly that vaccines are a powerful talisman to ward off miasmas and toxins, although, convincing them that vaccines can’t cause autism is entirely different.

  13. #13 Eric Lund
    February 6, 2017

    DB@10: Let me run that through my Adams-speak to English translator: “Tom Brady is one of my loyal customers. Lady Gaga isn’t.”

    Simply insisting on organic foods does not imply that one is on the alt-med bandwagon, whether Adams’ or anybody else’s. Leaving out medical concerns, some pesticides have been shown to have detrimental effects on bees (on which many agricultural plants depend for pollination) and/or wildlife.

    I don’t know what Lady Gaga’s reasons for going organic are. I also don’t know how Adams would know about Brady’s eating habits unless the latter were a customer–Adams doesn’t trust Big Pharma’s claims about their products; why would he take the word of the star of an American football franchise with a reputation for living at the edge of what the rules allow?

  14. #14 dz
    February 6, 2017

    “Simply insisting on organic foods does not imply that one is on the alt-med bandwagon, whether Adams’ or anybody else’s. Leaving out medical concerns, some pesticides have been shown to have detrimental effects on bees (on which many agricultural plants depend for pollination) and/or wildlife.”
    Eric (#13) is not that simply the naturalistic fallacy? What evidence do you have that ‘organic’ pesticides do not kill bees? Rotenone for example is what is used to kill off fish populations in a lake if you have an invasive species that you wish to eliminate. It is far from not toxic to fish. Do you have any evidence that ‘organic’ pesticides are better?

  15. #15 Mark Thorson
    February 6, 2017

    The most powerful detoxifier is asparagus. You can smell the toxins passing out in your urine. Just keep eating lots of asparagus until you don’t smell those toxins anymore and you’ll be cleansed.

  16. #16 Eric Lund
    February 6, 2017

    What evidence do you have that ‘organic’ pesticides do not kill bees?

    There is evidence that certain classes of pesticides, notably neonicotinoids, have deleterious effects on bees and may contribute to colony collapse disorder. I’m not an expert in the subject, so I don’t know what the alternatives are or what tradeoffs are involved, but I do know that not applying pesticides at all is at least theoretically an option. And in many cases there are more specific pesticides available; e.g., when ants invade my kitchen I use borax bait to deal with the problem, because that stuff is toxic to ants but not to people (at least in the amounts used for dealing with ant infestations).

    The section about pesticides’ role in CCD on the above linked Wikipedia page appears to have last been updated in 2015 (there are references to pending actions from that year which should have since been resolved), so I don’t know if the two-year EU ban on certain neonicotinoids was effective at mitigating CCD. But CCD is a major problem: about 75% of the world’s food crops use honeybees for fertilization, and the value that would be at risk if honeybees were to become rare or unavailable is estimated to be as much as $200 billion worldwide. So while the neonicotinoid-CCD link is not proven, I’d say that until there is strong evidence to disprove such a link, it’s something reasonable people can and should worry about.

  17. #17 herr doktor bimler
    February 6, 2017

    perhaps the greatest danger to our lives and souls are Illuminatised, satanic female performers at SuperBowl games in recent years

    It’s worse than that. Via Alex Jones,
    “Lady Gaga to Conduct Satanic Ritual at Super Bowel”.
    https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-bIvsUvRxop8/WJe1kQ56vcI/AAAAAAAAW0I/Olbym55wx4sX4YJBIEvIJ–IW1z7NRITwCLcB/s640/Screen%2Bshot%2B2017-02-05%2Bat%2B6.28.15%2BPM.png

    • #18 Orac
      February 6, 2017

      I saw that. Hilarious.

  18. #19 Woo Fighter
    February 6, 2017

    I seem to remember reading somewhere recently that Tom Brady espouses an “alkaline diet” in addition to taking supplements and anything else he might embrace (organic diet, etc.) So that could be what Mikey is ranting about.

    I know for sure that Kate Hudson has recently attributed her good health to “eating alkaline.” Is she the next Gwynth?

    By the way, did anyone check out the new $2000 water filter Mikey “invented” that infuses water with hydrogen and something something frequency something….

  19. #20 doug
    February 6, 2017

    I wonder what you have to use to cleanse a Super Bowel.

  20. #21 herr doktor bimler
    February 6, 2017

    the new $2000 water filter Mikey “invented” that infuses water with hydrogen

    The “hydrogenated water” grift has been around for yonks. “Invented”, from Mikey, has the special meaning of “plagiarised someone else’s scam”.

    It is a well-known fact that ordinary water is simply not adequate to human needs and must be processed, fulfilling the age-old Alchemical dream of water that contains more water. One can only speculate how humanity survived until now, forced to drink water that had not been Alkalised, Oxygenated, Hydrogenated, Ionised, Deionised and Activated with Bond-Angle Realignment through Molecular Resonance.
    https://www.oxygenhealthsystems.com/product/mret_water

  21. #22 Rich Woods
    February 6, 2017

    @Dangerous Bacon #2:

    If it’s good enough for the Royal Family, the rest of us shouldn’t question it.

    Absolutely, old chap. I know this to be true because my banana plant told me so.

  22. #23 Woo Fighter
    February 6, 2017

    herr doktor bimler:

    But Mikey invented a way to make toxins play music!

    I am not kidding, but it’s too long and “complicated” to even summarize here. He calls it elemonics. Bad toxins play bad music (Michael Bolton?): for reals!

  23. #24 Gilbert
    February 6, 2017

    I wonder what you have to use to cleanse a Super Bowel.

    How many bowls of your cereal does it take to equal one bowl of Super Colon Blow?

  24. #25 Woo Fighter
    February 6, 2017

    Try not to gag:

    “In addition, the “Elemonics” process further infuses your water with a “chord” of elements selected for their physics-based harmonics (from the Table of Elements). This infusion occurs at trace levels while the water passes through a multi-stage elemental infusion cartridge that contains selected forms of each element. Watch the Elemonics Introduction video from the Health Ranger, who discovered the harmonics of physical elements when atomic masses are translated into the range of human hearing.”

  25. #26 Lighthorse
    February 6, 2017

    Where is the FTC in this? They need to pick one (anyone) of these scammers, throw the proverbial book at them, fine them, and have them reimburse every one of their naive victims.

  26. #27 Wzrd1
    February 6, 2017

    I was positively inundated, veritably bathed in electromagnetic energy today and at levels far, far, far beyond that of a cellular telephone or paltry home wireless access point!
    Normal people refer to that radiation source as the sun.

    Sol isn’t just a good light source, it bathes the planet with broad band RF energy, from long wave RF to microwaves, through the IR spectrum, the visual spectrum, with minor amounts of UV making it to the surface and x-rays and gamma rays being filtered out by the atmosphere (along with UV-B abd UV-C).
    That’s something these electromiasma theorists never take into account.

  27. #28 Robert L Bell
    February 6, 2017

    Funny thing about Environmental Health Perspectives, an uncomfortable fraction of their articles would have been better placed in the Journal of Irresponsible Speculation.

    By the same token, some people are deeply caught up in the equation “endocrine disruptor == certain death” but once again the dose makes the poison.

    Thirty years ago, in my tissue culture days, we learned to be scrupulously attentive to suppliers and plasticisers lest some change – trivial and beneath notice to the manufacturer – kill off a project when a different kind of bottle was used to hold the medium.

    Leachate interacting with an incubated tissue sample is one matter, healthy adults drinking milk from plastic bottles is quite another. People like Seralini would do well to appreciate the different.

  28. #29 Robert L Bell
    February 6, 2017

    @Dangerous Bacon #10

    Vegetarian hot dogs are a high protein proof that Satan walks among us in human guise.

    • #30 Wzrd1
      February 6, 2017

      Heh, I wonder what you’d make of my tofu lasagna, where I substitute tofu for the ricotta cheese (with Parmesan cheese added for flavor). 😉

  29. #31 JP
    February 6, 2017

    Hey, Field Roast isn’t that bad!

    • #32 Wzrd1
      February 6, 2017

      I’ll put it onto my to-try list! 😀
      After all, I am an obligate omnivore. That means that when the hunt went lousy, which was all too frequent, my ancestors ate plants.
      Whoever first called animals dumb has obviously never went hunting.

  30. #33 Politicalguineapig
    February 6, 2017

    MJD: A toxin is something that has been shown to be poisonous. Viruses are not poisonous. God, your schools (if you went) should ask for a refund for all that money they wasted on you. The bricks in a school are smarter than you. Can’t you keep your yap buttoned until you learn something?

  31. #34 Panacea
    February 6, 2017

    @ Zach #5: I’m waiting for the lab accident myself. I’ve got the evil laugh down pat, though.

    @ doug #20: you nuke it from orbit. Only way to be sure.

    All kidding aside, the idea of ingesting coffee through the mechanism that lacks taste buds is just plain barbaric. That enough is evidence that the perpetrators of the so called Gerson protocol ought to be flogged around the fleet.

    The only assumption I can make as to its purpose (other than to lighten someone’s wallet) is to fool the users into thinking actual toxins are excreted because the return will always be brown or black (unlike water, which will eventually run clear).

    Unless you take cream and sugar with that?

  32. #35 Robert L Bell
    February 6, 2017

    @Wzrd1 #30

    I bet your lasagna is positively divine, as is my tofu chocolate pudding.

    But a vegetarian hotdog is a cucumber.

  33. #36 sirhcton
    Not Monday Morning Quarterbacking
    February 6, 2017

    @ #17 Herr Doktor Bimler

    Jones might actually be onto something there. After all, the Patriots did win.

  34. #37 Keating Willcox
    February 7, 2017

    @Gilbert #24

    My favorite Phil Hartman skit!
    https://www.hulu.com/watch/10304

    I don’t know about my favorite cereal (Trix), but I do know that Wheaties has a value of 3.3 on the logarithmic CB scale (0 to 10).

  35. #38 Denice Walter
    February 7, 2017

    re Mikey’s article on Gaga

    Did anyone note how he selectively chooses images of women- real and anime- that focus upon particular attributes?

    re ‘elemonics’

    Truly one of his more stupid attempts to engage his audience

    re hot dogs

    My late ( non-religious) father always INSISTED that NON-Kosher hot dogs were despicable and unhealthy.
    I wonder what he would have thought about vegan hotdogs?

  36. #39 JustaTech
    February 7, 2017

    MJD @12: To follow up PGP @33 – you are so far wrong you’re fractally wrong.

    That’s not how the immune system works. That’s not how the body works. That’s not how *any* of this works!

  37. #40 JustaTech
    February 7, 2017

    JP @31: Field Roast deli slices are actually pretty good. I wouldn’t have thought so (I’m pretty skeptical of any food that tries to be something it’s not) but the flavor is great and in a sandwich the texture is nice because you don’t accidentally pull out the whole slice.

  38. #41 JP
    February 7, 2017

    I wonder what he would have thought about vegan hotdogs?

    Well, they’re certainly kosher.

  39. #42 Denice Walter
    February 7, 2017

    @ JP:

    You never know- he sometimes liked things that I wouldn’t expect – like kulfi and Indian sweets.

  40. #43 Politicalguineapig
    February 7, 2017

    DW: You can’t go far wrong with tamarind.

    Justatech: I’m just amused that MJD made an error that gargantuan. The sum total of my biology creds are : two semesters of college biology, two big birding trips, high school biology and one semester of birdbanding, plus whatever I’ve picked up from here and idle reading.

  41. […] because “detox” is unnecessary. Basically, it’s nothing more than a form of ritual purification gussied up with scientific and pseudoscientific language. Oh, and fear of modernity and, above all, […]

  42. #45 Paulette O.
    April 24, 2017

    It’s just so difficult and sad to have a vaccine injured child…how can we look for help in mainstream medicine, when that’s where we got the problem?…maybe you’ve never been there..May God bless you.

  43. #46 MI Dawn
    April 24, 2017

    @Paulette O.: just in case you’re not a fly-by commenter on a very old post – if you have a child TRULY injured by vaccines, there is this nifty thing known as the NVICP or “Vaccine Court” that helps families. However, autism is NOT a vaccine injury.

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