You know how you know when you’ve been effective deconstructing quackery or antivaccine pseudoscience? It’s when quacks and pseudoscientists strike back. It’s when they attack you. As much as Mike Adams’ near daily tirades against me last year caused problems and poisoned my Google reputation (which was, obviously, the goal), I could reassure myself with the knowledge that his attacks meant that I had gotten to him. When Steve Novella was sued by a quack, as much as I didn’t want to be sued by anyone, I knew that the fact that someone would sue him was testament to his effectiveness. Basically, counterattacks, character assassination, and, occasionally, legal threats are the price skeptics pay when they are effective.

Jen Gunter has been very effective. Testament to her effectiveness is an article published on the goop website yesterday entitled Uncensored: A Word from Our Doctors. goop (note the lower case “g,” which is just too “edgy” for words), you might recall, is Gwyneth Paltrow’s “lifestyle” website, brand, and store that exists to serve up dubious health, beauty, and lifestyle advice (and, above all, sell very expensive beauty and “wellness” products) to affluent, woo-susceptible (and nearly all white) women. Basically, she dispenses alternative health advice to a certain set, or, as it’s been called, “pure, unadulterated, blood-diamond free, organic-certified, biodynamic, moon-dusted bullshit.” Given that goop has been around since 2008, I only stand amazed that it wasn’t until only three weeks ago that I first wrote about the rich vein of pseudoscience there in the wake of its having hit national news by claiming that what are basically stickers known as “Body Vibes” (which the goop store conveniently sells) can readjust your energy somehow and that they were made from a NASA-developed material. This latter claim was so patently false that NASA actually bothered to deny it. I suspect goop has been really feeling the heat since then, because as a result it had become the punchline for late night comedians like Stephen Colbert, who did a couple of memorable sketches making fun of goop, such as this hilarious one:

Ouch. That one’s gonna leave a mark.

Gwyneth Paltrow and goop: Going low and punching down

Stephen Colbert, however, was too big a target for Paltrow and goop, because he could easily strike back to devastating effect on his popular late night show. So they punched down instead. Jen Gunter was also a convenient target because she has been arguably its most persistent and long time critic. goop, of course, was a huge and very tempting target, as it seemed there was no bullshit too ridiculous or quackery too quacky for Paltrow to embrace and profit from. Indeed, I was reminded of this, ironically enough, mere hours before goop launched its attack on Dr. Gunter, I came across a paean to The One Quackery To Rule Them All, homeopathy, in which utterly risible claim that in most countries “outside the United States, homeopathics are the first line of defense against ailment, from the common cold to bruising to muscle pain,” which is just plain not true. It also lays down credulous nonsense that totally buys into homeopathic quackery, nonsense like this:

In homeopathy, the original substance is diluted many times and succussed (shaken) through a complex preparation process. Most practitioners use premade homeopathic remedies that are either sold in their office or in pharmacies, or health food stores, though they can also be made by hand. In homeopathy, the end product contains “energy,” but no molecules of the original substance due to the dilution process. The fact that homeopathics function on an energetic basis is a major reason that so many naysayers claim quackery, despite countless clinical studies proving otherwise. The mechanism of action that gives homeopathics their power is complex, and experts are now studying quantum physics and the science of non-locality to more completely understand how homeopathics work.

This is, of course, more unadulterated pseudoscience, the same sort of handwaving nonsense that homeopaths have been using to justify their quackery ever since they discovered how to appropriate quantum physics.

So it was with a chuckle that I read the self-righteous attack on Jen Gunter. It consists of an introduction, then brief articles by two doctors associated with goop, Dr. Steven Gundry and Dr. Aviva Romm. Through it all, the self-righteousness and tone trolling are epic right from the beginning:

As goop has grown, so has the attention we receive. We consistently find ourselves to be of interest to many—and for that, we are grateful—but we also find that there are third parties who critique goop to leverage that interest and bring attention to themselves. Encouraging discussion of new ideas is certainly one of our goals, but indiscriminate attacks that question the motivation and integrity of the doctors who contribute to the site is not. This is the first in a series of posts revisiting these topics and offering our contributing M.D.’s a chance to articulate theirs, in a respectful and substantive manner.

Poor babies. Here’s some advice to doctors associated with goop: If you embrace quackery and help goop sell it, then you deserve to have your motivation and integrity questioned. (Yeah, I said it.) This is also tone trolling turned up to 11, in which criticism is portrayed as “indiscriminate attacks.” It’s a common practice among quacks and those who sell quackery to portray righteous anger, snark, and colorful language sometimes used by skeptics when deconstructing nonsensical claims of the sort made on goop on a near-daily basis as being unreasonable. Indeed, Paltrow hereself even Tweeted:

That’s mighty funny for a woman who not too long ago responded to critics thusly:

“I’m interested in criticism based on fact, not on projections,” says Paltrow, in other words, “If you want to fuck with me, bring your A game.” (She’s so enamored of the phrase, a friend had it put on matchbooks and cocktail napkins for her as a gift.)

“Go high.” You keep using that term. I do not think that it means what you think it means.

Dr. Stephen Gundry: Mansplaining and tone trolling

After that, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud as I read Dr. Gundry’s oh-so-disappointed tone trolling:

I have read Dr. Jennifer Gunter’s recent diatribe online about some of goop’s advice, and since one of my recommendations was mentioned, and my credentials and motives were brought into question, I believe I have the right and duty to respond.

First, Dr. Gunter, I have been in academic medicine for forty years and up until your posting, have never seen a medical discussion start or end with the “F-bomb,” yet yours did. A very wise Professor of Surgery at the University of Michigan once instructed me to never write anything that my mother or child wouldn’t be proud to read. I hope, for the sake of your mother and child, that a re-reading of your article fails his test, and following his sage advice, that you will remove it.

Poor baby. Basically, his argument boils down to: “Dr. Gunter used the F-bomb. She’s mean and nasty; so she must be wrong.” In any case, I went to the University of Michigan Medical School too, dude. People—some faculty—cussed from time to time. Also, never have I seen such a passive-aggressive, self-righteous combination of tone trolling and mansplaining in a single article. One wonders why he doesn’t apply the same standard to his boss or business partner or whatever she is, Gwyneth Paltrow. His is merely a somewhat more subtle form of ad hominem attack. One also has to wonder why goop decided to attack Dr. Gunter specifically and not, say, Prof. Tim Caulfield, who actually wrote a book entitled Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?: How the Famous Sell Us Elixirs of Health, Beauty & Happiness. Could it be because the editors of goop thought it would be easier to paint a woman as unreasonable and—dare I say it?—hysterical? Perish the thought!

I’ll get back to Dr. Gundry in a moment.

Defending against charges of quackery by referencing…examples of quackery

Here’s another passage I couldn’t help but laugh at:

Some of the coverage that goop receives suggests that women are lemmings, ready to jump off a cliff whenever one of our doctors discusses checking for EBV, or Candida, or low levels of vitamin D—or, heaven forbid, take a walk barefoot. As women, we chafe at the idea that we are not intelligent enough to read something and take what serves us, and leave what does not. We simply want information; we want autonomy over our health. That’s why we do unfiltered Q&As, so you can hear directly from doctors; we see no reason to interpret or influence what they’re saying, to tell you what to think.

The “walk barefoot” reference amused me the most. It’s a reference to an interview with Clint Ober. Those of you familiar with various forms of the most ridiculous quackery out there will recall that Ober, who’s been featured Dr. Oz’s show, is probably the most famous advocate of “earthing,” the idea that by being directly connected to the earth through bare skin you’ll be “energetically connecting with Mother Earth” through its “infinite supply of electrons” and reaping all sorts of health benefits. A corollary of this view is that wearing shoes is bad because it blocks that “connection.” I’ve written about how bogus earthing is before. Basically, goop is being incredibly disingenuous here. It’s making it sound as though skeptics were criticizing it for nothing worse than advocating walking barefoot, ignoring that the criticisms were not over just walking barefoot and were in fact about all the earthing pseudoscience.

That goop would defend itself by referencing quackery just as ridiculous as earthing and homeopathy bespeaks a lack of self-awareness beyond black hole-level dense. Ditto for referencing an article on chronic candida infection, a common quack diagnosis in which candida is blamed for all manner of vague symptoms. It is a fake illness. EBV does not cause every disease under the sun. Basically, goop is defending its doctors by crying, “We’re not quacks!” while at the same time referring to excellent examples suggesting that they very well might be or that, at the very least, they like the sound of ducks.

The introduction also unwittingly highlights the problem with quackademic medicine. It’s a shield for pseudoscience in medicine:

And speaking of doctors, we are drawn to physicians who are interested in both Western and Eastern modalities and incorporate the best from both, as they generally believe that while traditional medicine can be really good at saving lives, functional medicine is more adept at tackling issues that are chronic. These are the doctors we regularly feature on goop: doctors who publish in peer-reviewed journals; doctors who trained at the best institutions; doctors who are repeatedly at the forefront of medicine; doctors who persistently and aggressively maintain an open mind. The thing about science and medicine is that it evolves all the time. Studies and beliefs that we held sacred even in the last decade have since been proven to be unequivocally false, and sometimes even harmful. Meanwhile, other advances in science and medicine continue to change and save lives. It is not a perfect system; it is a human system.

See what I mean? goop can claim that its doctors are from the “best institutions,” “publish in the finest journal,” and are at the “forefront of medicine.” Couple that with the “science was wrong before” trope, and you can sow just enough doubt to make goop’s quackery seem as though it might actually be cutting edge. It’s not. Functional medicine, in fact, embodies the very worst traits of “alternative” and conventional medicine. It combines the use of quackery as quacky as homeopathy with the tendency towards overtesting and overtreating that are conventional medicine’s greatest weaknesses.

Then there’s the “medicine evolves” trope. Yes, medicine does evolve. Although its overall course is to be based in better science, there are many ups and downs along the way. Its progress can be frustratingly slow at times, and it can go down blind alleys at times. It is, however, self-correcting. It does not, however, self-correct by embracing vitalistic quackery like homeopathy or suggesting that putting a jade egg up a woman’s vagina will somehow have magical health benefits. Just because medicine evolves does not mean that totally implausible treatments like homeopathy or jade eggs are scientifically plausible—or ever will be.

Dr. Gundry: Science-based supplement hawker?

This brings me back to Dr. Gunter. The blog post by her that I remember the most was her discussion in January of why “Jade Eggs” sold by goop are pure pseudoscience and mystical mumbo-jumbo. Indeed, it’s rare that I see a product for which the claims are such obvious idiocy, and Dr. Jen showed that in her usual inimitable fashion. Another famous article by Gunter was her deconstruction of Paltrow’s recommendation that women steam their vaginas. Then, of course, Paltrow is into detox, detox, detox.

Of course, Dr. Gundry will have none of it. He has a peculiar level of tunnel vision. He paints himself as a science-based doctor at the very highest level of his profession. Arguably, he was, at least until 15 years ago, when, as he brags, he resigned a “Professor and Chairman of Cardiothoracic Surgery at a major medical school to devote myself to reversing disease with food and nutraceutical supplementation, instead of bypasses, stents, or medications, just like Hippocrates asked you and me to do when we took our oath: ‘Let food be thy medicine.’ And he works so, so hard at it. So hard. So very hard that he has to brag:

And finally, he taught that a physician’s job was to search out and remove the obstacles that are keeping the patient from healing themselves. For the last fifteen years, I’ve been doing just that seven days a week (yes, you read that right, Saturday and Sunday as well, just ask my overworked staff).

Poor baby. Such dedication. And, he assures us, even though he has concierge patients, he also takes Medicare and Medicaid! He’s also a condescending dude as well:

I bring this up because I am writing this on a plane while returning from giving a paper to the 11th annual World Congress on Polyphenols Applications—on the effect of a lectin-limited diet, supplemented with polyphenols with fish oil, on intravascular markers of inflammation in 467 patients with known coronary disease. I won’t bore you, but when we removed high lectin-containing foods like grains, beans, and, yes, nightshades like your beloved tomatoes, their elevated markers of inflammation returned to normal. Great, but I’m not finished. Remember Koch’s postulates that must be fulfilled to prove the agent causes a disease (go ahead, look it up)? Well, once cured, you have to reintroduce the agent and see that the disease returns. Sure enough, in 57 patients, we reintroduced lectins, and back came the inflammation in all 57 patients’ next blood tests. Finally, you have to remove the agent again; which we did, and all 57 patients numbers normalized a second time, proving that indeed lectins were the cause of this process. Conclusion: Lectins cause human disease.

Actually, arguably lectins are the new gluten, something that can be toxic under some circumstances that are increasingly being co-opted as The One True Cause of All Chronic Diseases, and Dr. Gundry is the prophet of the new church of lectins. Unfortunately, the abstracts book for the 11th annual World Congress on Polyphenols Applications is behind a paywall; so I couldn’t look up the actual abstract, but the description is of a study that’s one of those clinical biomarker studies that are a dime a dozen, particularly in abstract form. Inflammatory markers are a favorite used in this type of study. As John Ioannidis has shown, such studies are frequently wrong. Moreover, they don’t reach the next step, which is to show actual concrete health benefits caused by changing the biomarkers measured. This is tricky enough to do in cancer, where overall survival and disease-free survival are pretty concrete outcomes to measure. It’s much less easy for claims such as those being made by Dr. Guntry. There’s an excellent discussion of Dr. Guntry’s obsession with lectins here if you want more information. I might have to look into the subject in more detail myself, but it’s pretty obvious that Dr. Gundry is reading too much into preliminary biomarker studies. Certainly, such studies are not enough to justify his selling supplements like this to target lectin:

The GundryMD line of products includes something he invented called vitamin G6. Another is a “lectin shield” that’s “designed to neutralize the effects of lectins.” These are available on his website for $79.99. There you can also get six jars of Vital Reds for $254.70. (Despite the name and claims to “boost energy and metabolism,” these reds claim not to be amphetamines.)

Here’s Lectin Shield. Basically, it’s a high-priced supplement that supposedly blocks dietary lectins, “supports intestinal health,” and helps “curb cravings and encourages digestive strength.” I’ll give Dr. Gundry credit. I’ve never heard anyone make a claim for a supplement of “supporting intestinal strength.” One wonders what a weak intestine looks like. His website even has this notice:

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Wait. What? A quack Miranda warning? I thought that Dr. Gundry was purely science-based and that everything he recommends is based in science. How? He tells us so ad nauseam. He brags to Dr. Gunter that he’s a real doctor, ma-an, unlike Dr. Gunter and his critics. He does science! He has published hundreds of journal articles, abstracts, and book chapters! How dare you criticize him for fear mongering about lectins! He publishes in the Journal of International Society of Microbiota! Oh, wait:

Not exactly impressive. I did a little PubMed search on Dr. Gundry. Unfortunately, there’s another S.R. Gundry, but it was easy to keep the other Dr. Gundry’s publications separate from more recent publications from our Dr. Gundry’s publications. (I highly doubt our Dr. Gundry is doing zebrafish research.) That means Dr. Gundry’s last PubMed indexed publication was 13 years ago, and he wasn’t even first author. True, he does have some abstracts since then, but no full publications in PubMed-indexed journals. Basically, he’s very much like Dr. Oz, a once highly respectable cardiothoracic surgeon who discovered woo and cashed in. Ironically, Dr. Gundry points to having been on Dr. Oz’s show as if being a guest on that cesspit of quackery boosts his scientific standing. The mind reels.

An herbalist and midwife turned “integrative” doctor attacks

But what about Dr. Aviva Romm. She’s a bit less condescending to Dr. Gunter, but only a bit less. She starts out using standard “integrative medicine” tropes about how chronic disease is such a problem. Then she jumps into false equivalence:

Do all wellness trends pan out to be scientific and reliable? Of course not. Then again, neither do many of our trusted pharmaceuticals, tests, and procedures when given the test of time. And of the mainstream trends that turn out to be overtly dangerous—those fade fast. Do I think medical testing and treatments—including alternative ones—should ideally be safe, effective, and scientifically validated? Absolutely. Unfortunately, much like what happened with some of those I mentioned above, research was only done when the demand from consumers became loud enough to be heard or something became a big enough trend to merit attention.

In other words, don’t blame me for embracing all sorts of dubious treatments! I’m just catering to what patients want, as are all “integrative doctors” and “researchers” looking into reiki, acupuncture, and all the other nonsense “integrative medicine” is trying to “integrate” into medicine! Oh, and science was wrong before. (Surprise, surprise, both docs invoke that trope.) I wonder if she’d be willing to explain the scientific basis of goop’s promotion of Jade Eggs. Let’s just say that even the most questionable pharmaceutical drug has way, way more scientific evidence and clinical trials behind it that Jade Eggs. Or grounding. No, basically, goop is marketing quacky “wellness” to the worried well and credulous affluent women.

Then Dr. Aviva defends goop:

In a time when women are desperately hungry for safe alternatives to mainstream practices that too often fall short of helpful for chronic symptoms, and in the setting of a medical system that is continually falling short of providing lasting solutions to the chronic disease problems we’re facing: I prefer, rather than ridiculing vehicles that are actually highly effective at reaching large numbers of women who want to be well, to seek to understand what women are looking for, what the maintstream isn’t providing; and how we can work together to support those vehicles in elevating their content so that women are receiving the meaningful, and evidence-based answers, they want and deserve, whenever possible.

TRANSLATION: Don’t mock us, even though we peddle absolute bullshit. We’re highly effective at reaching large numbers of women who want to be well. Then we well them bullshit. But don’t mock us for that.

Yes, women are looking for non-mainstream “alternatives” to maintain health. Unfortunately, that very trait makes them perfect marks for goop, which is highly effective at selling dubious nostrums to those very same women. Very little of it is actually evidence-based. Indeed, Dr. Romm offers all sorts of supplements to “detox” and “boost your immunity,” advertising herself as a midwife and herbalist. She’s also written a book on vaccines full of red flags for antivaccine beliefs, such as claiming to “offer a sensible, balanced discussion of the pros and cons of each routine childhood vaccination” and presenting “the full spectrum of options available to parents: full vaccination on a standardized or individualized schedule, selective vaccination, or no vaccinations at all.” She even offers advice for traveling with unvaccinated children and using herbs to provide “natural immunity.” None of this is science-based. Let’s just put it this way, Peggy O’Mara, publisher of that antivaccine magazine Mothering offered a blurb praising it, as did antivaccine pediatrician Dr. Lawrence Palevsky and a naturopath. Let’s just put it this way. She includes the antivaccine group National Vaccine Information Center among her list of “Vaccine Resources.” She also states that she purchases from various herbalist and homepathy companies. That book might be 16 years old, but she’s still peddling false equivalence and rotavirus vaccine fear mongering.

No, Dr. Romm can’t be said to be science-based, and I haven’t even gotten into her “adrenal thyroid revolution” yet. (That might have to be a topic for a future post.) She also promises “more to come” to push back:

So does goop, promising this is the “first of a series of posts” that will push back. Good. To this, respond:

The Matrix

And I echo Mark Hoofnagle’s response:

Yes, goop, Dr. Gundry, and Dr. Romm, can you smell what science-based medicine is cooking? Dr. Jen can. So can I. We’re all in the kitchen cooking with every other doc who supports science. I think that goop will become a much more frequent topic here (and elsewhere) now that we’ve been noticed. Don’t worry, Ms. Paltrow. We’ll bring our A-game.

Comments

  1. #1 Dorit Reiss
    July 14, 2017

    Did either of them actually have a response to justify, say, Jade Eggs?

  2. #2 Panacea
    July 14, 2017

    I liked Colbert’s joke about bench pressing in regards to Jade Eggs. Wow. Ouch. Laughed myself silly.

    But seriously: who calls their “health” based website “goop”

    Because the quality of its contents rhymes with poop.

  3. #3 Helianthus
    July 14, 2017

    A very wise Professor of Surgery at the University of Michigan once instructed me to never write anything that my mother or child wouldn’t be proud to read.

    Considering the type of dangerous advice the goop is providing/selling, a mom may well be approving her daughter for using profanity words, and may even offer some suggestions in case her daughter needs more.

  4. #4 herr doktor bimler
    July 14, 2017

    [Dr Gundry] publishes in the Journal of International Society of Microbiota! Oh, wait:

    JISM (and the accompanying International Society) is one of a number of scams run by a Dr Marvin Edeas, who started out doing real science with superoxide dimutase, but ended up in the field of beautician / nutraceutical grifting, while retaining his original ambitions. Also organises mockademic scamferences and sets up sockpuppets to describe himself as “nominated for a Nobel Prize”.

    Unfortunately Jeffrey Beall’s blogpost on JISM and Edreas’ other activities was never archived before Beall’s site went down, so this will have to suffice.

    I’m not saying that everyone who publishes in JISM is necessarily a fraud and a con-man, but Gundry has been an active collaborator in Edeas’ scams for quite a few years.
    https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b&q=%22gundry%22+marvin+edeas&oq=%22gundry%22

  5. #5 herr doktor bimler
    July 14, 2017

    Dr Gundry turns out to be one and the same as drgundry.com, http://www.heartlunginstitute.com, globalwellnessinstitute.org, the Center for Restorative Medicine, and deepskinfix.com where he pimps the inevitable anti-oxidant skin-lotions. The man has his snout in an impressive number of troughs.

  6. #6 Mrs P
    July 14, 2017

    As a rule of thumb, citing Koch’s postulates in the service of questionable medical claims online is worth 80 points on my 100-point Crackpot Scale (see, for example Peter Duesberg). Citing them in a belligerent way while clearly having no idea what they are is worth a bonus 50 points:

    “Remember Koch’s postulates that must be fulfilled to prove the agent causes a disease (go ahead, look it up)? Well, once cured, you have to reintroduce the agent and see that the disease returns.” (130 points)

    I’m not sure what to make of someone flogging expensive and dubious skin lotions online who publishes in a journal called JISM and a blog called goop. Personally, it makes me want to take a shower.

  7. #7 Chris Preston
    July 14, 2017

    A very wise Professor of Surgery at the University of Michigan once instructed me to never write anything that my mother or child wouldn’t be proud to read

    Dr Gundry has obviously never met my mother. She taught me all the swear words I would ever need to know, and some more. Then again, my mother would have described Dr Gundry as “a prize fυckwit”.

  8. #8 herr doktor bimler
    July 14, 2017

    And of the mainstream trends that turn out to be overtly dangerous—those fade fast.

    Wait, what? “Mainstream medicine is quicker than Alt-Med to reject the stuff that doesn’t work, which is why I am pushing Alt-Med.”
    Does Dr Romm pay any attention at all to the word-wooze spilling out of her keyboard?

    giving a paper to the 11th annual World Congress on Polyphenols Applications

    This is one of Edeas’ mass-produced cookie-cutter scamferences. That is, the same guy who runs the JISM where Gundry publishes. His Polyphenols Applications meetings provide the opportunity to sockpuppets for the cosmetics / weightloss / supplements industries to pimp out the currently-fashionable antioxidant vegetable or fruit.

    Hippocrates asked you and me to do when we took our oath: ‘Let food be thy medicine.
    Perhaps an actual doctor out there will verify that Gundry is making up his own Hippocratic Oath.

    he resigned a “Professor and Chairman of Cardiothoracic Surgery at a major medical school”
    Quoth the Great Gazoogle,
    No results found for "Loma Linda Medical Center" "major medical school".

  9. #9 Politicalguineapig
    July 14, 2017

    A life without tomatoes and corn is not worth living. That’s all I have to say.

    • #10 Orac
      July 14, 2017

      You know, I should have talked about Dr. Gundry’s obsession with peeling tomatoes a bit more, but there was just so much damned nonsense to deconstruct. My post was getting long and it was already after midnight on a work day as I was finishing it. Something had to go. 🙂

  10. #11 Reality
    July 14, 2017

    Orac wryly said in the above article and an edit to a more ruthless interpretation of the same,
    “Basically, goop is defending its doctors by crying, “We’re not quacks!” while at the same time referring to excellent examples suggesting that they very well might be or that, at the very least, they like the sound of ducks. they are sitting in the duck blind furiously blowing on a duck call.”

    Gives a more realistic predator/prey allusion to the marketing of woo by goop and its quacky doctors, IMO.

  11. #12 Yvette
    July 14, 2017

    I think one of the biggest argument that can be made against the quacks goop promotes is that they don’t seem to work with sick people. It’s possible Dr. Gundry is a bit of an exception. But quacks like Aviva Romm will *never* be found in a hospital. They make YouTube videos promoting themselves on the back for being awake and enlightened. They sell all manner of woo on their online stores. If they see patients, they screen them very carefully to weed out non-believers. Their sense of their own greatness is inversely proportional to the actual responsibility they have treating sick people. You will sooner see a quack like Dr. Romm piloting a nuclear submarine than find her treating someone in the hospital. And that should say something.

  12. #13 madder
    July 14, 2017

    Others have pointed out that Dr. Gunter’s F-bomb post started that way because it quoted Ms. Paltrow using it. For some reason, Dr. Gundry didn’t link directly to the post.

  13. #14 Chris Hickie
    July 14, 2017

    When dealing with clearly incompetent quack physicians who disgrace the profession, I see no issue with well-place profanity to emphasize how disgusted I am with said quack(s).

  14. #15 Eric Lund
    July 14, 2017

    Despite the name and claims to “boost energy and metabolism,” these reds claim not to be amphetamines.

    I’ll have to outsource my reaction to this gem to Grace Slick and company:

    One pill makes you larger
    And one pill makes you small
    And the ones that mother gives you
    Don’t do anything at all

    If the buyers are lucky, the ones that Dr. Gundry sells them won’t do anything at all, either.

  15. #16 Chan Kobun, the Ghost-Who-Waddles
    The Twitters
    July 14, 2017

    Journal of International Society of Microbiota.

    Did they think that acronym through at all? Did they run it by a teenager to see if it meant anything?

  16. #17 Chris
    July 14, 2017

    The Science Post had this hilarious offering on the workings of Paltrow’s silly empire:
    http://thesciencepost.com/worked-goop-one-day-heres-happened/

    While on vacation a few weeks ago I was reading some bits from this article to dear hubby, and his jaw dropped:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/14/fashion/gwyneth-paltrow-in-goop-health-wellness.html?_r=0

    Because we were on an outdoor patio where others were eating, I declined to read out loud the bits about vagina steaming, etc so I just showed him. The look on his face was priceless.

  17. #18 Christine Rose
    July 14, 2017

    Bean extracts sold as starch blockers were a thing right around the time Rocky came out (endorsed by Sly Stallone). That’s why they call them anti-nutrients. They inhibit digestion of the dreaded carbs. You can still buy them with names like “Ultimate Carb Control” and “Carb Intercept.”

    Fiber is also an anti-nutrient.So are flavonoids, the stuff that makes blueberries, tea, chocolate, and wine superfoods instead of just delicious foods.

    Some people are never happy. Until I see data that there’s an actual link to human health, pass the hummus and whole wheat pita.

  18. #19 Dangerous Bacon
    July 14, 2017

    When do the goop-doctors go after the Angry Chef?

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/jul/12/the-angry-chef-by-anthony-warner-review?platform=hootsuite

    I’m also wondering when returning supposedly elevated “markers of inflammation” to normal through “a lectin-limited diet” has ever been correlated with a meaningful impact on disease. I know what Koch’s postulates are, doctor, and you haven’t fulfilled them. even when they’re stretched to fit this particular situation.

    • #20 Orac
      July 14, 2017

      Well, the goop attack on Dr. Jen does promise that it’s the first in a series. Maybe the Angry Chef is next…

  19. #21 Terrie
    July 14, 2017

    As a woman, I just find their statements about what I supposedly want to be annoying. I feel like I’m supposed to borrow from Mr. Collins (from Austen’s Pride and Prejudice) and go into raptures about their condescension.

  20. #22 Christine Rose
    July 14, 2017

    Re condescension–what bothers me about it is that they use the old cliche of “Trying to help people!” when they are hurting people, and anyone who is smart enough to give Oscar-winning performances should be able to comprehend some basic truths about rocks and vaginas.

  21. #23 jrkrideau
    At the bottom of the lake (the bottom end that is)
    July 14, 2017

    I would suggest a good reason for not attacking Prof. Tim Caulfield is that he is a lawyer and might take umbrage.

  22. #24 Denice Walter
    July 14, 2017

    Funny how some of these *Naturalistas* like Gwyneth spend a ridiculous amount of time and money on makeup, hair dyes, carb-blockers, exercise class and jade eggs?

    Isn’t natural better?
    I mean how bad is brown hair, uneven skin tone, an extra ten pounds and a little er… you-know, uh dropping ?

  23. #25 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    July 14, 2017

    when they are hurting people, and anyone who is smart enough to give Oscar-winning performances should be able to comprehend some basic truths about rocks and vaginas.

    CoughRobertDeNirocough.

  24. #26 a-non
    July 14, 2017

    Closing your post with a Rock meme is fitting:

  25. #27 herr doktor bimler
    July 14, 2017

    Journal of International Society of Microbiota.
    Did they think that acronym through at all? Did they run it by a teenager to see if it meant anything?

    “They”? JISM, and the International Society of Microbiota, and the Prestigious Congresses on “Targetting Microbiota”, are single-grifter operations (plus his sockpuppets).
    As an indicator of the low-rent skeezy predacity of JISM, it ostensibly exists to archive the abstracts from World Congresses of the ISM:

    The Journal of ISM (JISM) is the official organ of the International Society of Microbiota.
    The aims of JISM are:
    – to publish the abstracts and proceedings of JISM meetings and keep it as archives
    – to publish the extended papers of the abstracts presented during JISM meetings.

    But if you follow through the links and try and access thsee archived back issues (e.g. http://dx.doi.org/10.18143/JISM_v2i1 or http://dx.doi.org/10.18143/JISM_v3i1), they turn out not to exist. The domain housing them shut down — to save fees, or to avoid the unwelcome attention of Jeffrey Beall — and now can only be found on the Wayback Machine.
    http://web.archive.org/web/20160418214152/http://journal.medsys-site.com/

    the abstracts book for the 11th annual World Congress on Polyphenols Applications is behind a paywall

    Of course it is. With normal conferences, the organisers and attendees want to advertise their work as widely as possible, but a different business model is operating here.

  26. #28 JustaTech
    July 14, 2017

    Panacea @2: Sadly, it’s not a joke. There really are people out there who will sell you equipment for vaginal weight lifting. (It’s advertised on goop but also elsewhere.)
    Dr. Gunter had a separate post on that and the very real risk of injury.
    Vaginas: neither clown cars nor biceps. Just let it be!

  27. #29 Lighthorse
    July 14, 2017

    Thanks ever so much for bringing my attention to Dr. Jen Gunter.

    I recall a time when “goop” referred to artificial products that women put on their hair. Today, ‘eel slime’ comes to mind.

  28. #30 sadmar
    July 14, 2017

    @ Chan Kobun

    I saw that joke coming.

    😉

  29. #31 MilitantAgnostic
    July 14, 2017

    Orac

    You know, I should have talked about Dr. Gundry’s obsession with peeling tomatoes a bit more

    How long has this lectin thing been around?

    Back in the 80s one of the engineering managers (a Brit) told us that many years previously he had worked as a Butler and he had to peel tomatoes. He thought that was completely insane and an example of how ridiculously finicky the kind of people who have butlers are.

  30. #32 Narad
    July 14, 2017

    note the lower case “g,” which is just too “edgy” for words

  31. #33 tim gueguen
    Saskatoon
    July 14, 2017

    Clint Ober apparently thinks Avatar: The Last Airbender is a documentary. Unfortunately Toph and earthbending don’t actually exist.

  32. #34 Narad
    July 14, 2017

    Hmph. Nothing like the combination of a dying phone and the plausibly nonexistent SB “IT staff.” What I was musing about was the correct metaphor for the amount of bilateral niche pedantry in the situation.

  33. #35 Jane Ostentatious
    July 14, 2017

    I remember reading that the justification for the jade eggs was that the courtesans of the imperial court (China?Japan?) used them to train for feats of erotic derring-do.. So it’s super cool to emulate prostitutes, ladies! Not just your ordinary Western crack whore, but the ancient whore wisdom of the East, practiced for “thousands” of years!

    Why do Kegels for free when you can show off your jade egg?

    Seriously though, the present sex trade is no joke and romantization, past or present, helps no one and is foolish.

  34. #36 Panacea
    July 14, 2017

    @ Tim Gueguen: oh, but if only it did!

    I’d LOVE to be a Waterbender!

  35. #37 Narad
    July 15, 2017

    I’d LOVE to be a Waterbender!

    Karman vortices are just a spoon away.

  36. #38 sirhcton
    July 15, 2017

    @ # 29 Lighthorse

    I recall a time when “goop” referred to artificial products that women put on their hair. Today, ‘eel slime’ comes to mind.

    When I was growing up, a “goop” was a rude, badly behaved child. Years later the term was used (semi-officially?) by photographers to refer to the chemicals used to develop Polaroid B&W prints.

  37. #39 Tim
    July 15, 2017

    When I was growing up, *Goop* was a jelly-like hand cleaner/degreaser. I don’t know what happened but it was supplanted by the (inferior) *Gojo*. — Perhaps Goop was giving people UTIs?

    I’ll never forget being at Autoshack looking for it and lamenting that all they had was Gojo. An old man in front of me at the checkout shared my sentiments; He loudly exclaimed “What happened to the damn Goop!”

  38. #40 Anonymous Coward
    July 15, 2017

    I don’t know what they were thinking when they came up with the name ‘goop’. The OED gives the following succinct definition:

    goop1
    noun
    informal

    A stupid person.

    And additionally:

    goop2
    noun
    North American
    informal

    another term for gloop

    And what’s gloop?

    gloop
    noun
    mass nouninformal

    Sloppy or sticky semi-fluid matter, typically something unpleasant.

    The mind boggles.

  39. #41 Anonymous Coward
    July 15, 2017

    I don’t know what they were thinking when they came up with the name ‘goop’. The dictionary definitions could not be more fitting. The OED gives the following succinct definition:

    goop1
    noun
    informal

    A stupid person.

    And additionally:

    goop2
    noun
    North American
    informal

    another term for gloop

    And what’s gloop?

    gloop
    noun
    mass nouninformal

    Sloppy or sticky semi-fluid matter, typically something unpleasant.

    The mind boggles.

    And by the way, is ScienceBlogs.com experiencing some kind of denial of service attack? I keep getting 502 errors every now and then.

  40. #42 Old Rockin' Dave
    I don't know. It's awful dark in here.
    July 15, 2017
  41. #43 Old Rockin' Dave
    July 15, 2017

    All gooping aside, I keep getting blocked from RI by something called “Wordfence”, which seems to think that I am either a site admin that it has blocked, or I am making too many requests per minute or some BS like that. It’s connected to a site/product called “WordPress” that offers no help at all. The only info available on site is an FAQ page when what I really needed was a page for WTF.

    • #44 Orac
      July 15, 2017

      I have no idea what’s going on here. I’ve let the minimal tech support we have left know about the complaints, but I haven’t heard anything. I’m seriously thinking of hiring an HTML guy (or finding someone who supports the mission and is willing to give me a discount) and self-hosting this blog.

  42. #45 Old Rockin' Dave
    July 15, 2017

    Here are the first two lines of text from “Wordfence”:
    “Your access to this service has been temporarily limited. Please try again in a few minutes. (HTTP response code 503)
    Reason: Exceeded the maximum number of page requests per minute for humans”.
    First of all, I never said I was human (I am, but some say no.).
    Next, I am unable to make more than one or two requests per minute – my VPN won’t let me.
    Third, I thought a wordpress was that thing that Johannes Gutenberg used to push the paper down on to the ink.
    The way that things keep going in my everyday life, I’m beginning to think that the Universe is an anti-Semite, or maybe just likes to bully Aspies.

  43. #46 Anonymous Coward
    July 15, 2017

    Glad to see I’m not the only one experiencing that Wordfence thing. My guess is that somebody might be conducting a distributed denial of service attack on ScienceBlogs. It affects all the blogs hosted here (I also read Ethan Siegel’s Starts With A Bang).

  44. #47 doug
    July 15, 2017

    I wonder if the jade used for the eggs is of a sort with or without the dreaded alumin(i)um.
    ===
    I thought about the possibility of a DOS attack, but I suspect it is more likely some bit of “new and improved” software that has been installed recently.

  45. #48 Anonymous Coward
    July 16, 2017

    No such luck. Jade can be either of the minerals nephrite (Ca2(Mg, Fe)5Si8O22(OH)2) and jadeite (NaAlSi2O6) or a combination of the two. You can see what’s in the chemical formula of jadeite!

  46. #49 NumberWang
    July 16, 2017

    In case it is useful info…..

    No problems with the site while using my phone via Wi-Fi in the UK.

  47. #50 Ellie
    Still on the green side of the grass
    July 16, 2017

    I’m able to read 2 comments, after clearing out temp files and cookies, but that’s it. After 2 comments, the bad message page pops up.

  48. #51 Tim
    July 16, 2017

    We have since back in December seen some issues on Bluehost because they install something called Endurance cache and some version of this cache is too aggressive and will actually cache the Wordfence blocked page and then serve it to every visitor to the site. This is why it doesn’t change when you deactivate Wordfence. It’s not actually Wordfence that is serving the page, it’s the cache. We believe that it is one of the early versions of Endurance cache that is faulty, but it seems like on many sites it has not been upgraded to newer versions.

    The easiest way to solve this may be to contact Bluehost and ask them to remove the faulting Endurance Cache from your website. If you want to try disabling it yourself you can:

    1. Look in wp-content/mu-plugins and delete the endurance cache plugins from there
    2. Check your .htaccess and manually remove any trace of the Endurance cache…

    “Just ran into this issue with a client using Bluehost and just wanted to add that deleting/renaming the endurance-page-cache folder did nothing for me. It just regenerated. The only way to disable was to go to Plugins > Must Use and disable there.

    https://wordpress.org/support/topic/your-access-to-this-site-has-been-limited-permanently-locked-out/

  49. #52 Alia
    July 16, 2017

    As a side note about tomato peeling – I remember it from my childhood, there was a persistent myth that a tomato skin could stick to your stomach wall and cause vomiting. Well, taking into consideration farming practices as that time, it’s quite possible that if you failed to wash your tomatoes very thoroughly, you could get sick because of pesticide residue in the skin – but that’s just theory.
    And don’t get me started about my mother-in-law and her food myths (like that eating unpeeled pears will cause sand in your kidneys because you know, of that sand-like matter just under the peel).

  50. #53 Narad
    July 16, 2017

    I’m seriously thinking of hiring an HTML [sic] guy (or finding someone who supports the mission and is willing to give me a discount) and self-hosting this blog.

    Oh, hai.

  51. #54 Narad
    July 16, 2017

    I thought about the possibility of a DOS attack

    Nope, it’s pure incompetence. The “error message” also varies in wording between just “humans” and “spiders and humans,” just by the by, which suggests that Wordfence is basically a piece of crap.

  52. #55 Politicalguineapig
    July 16, 2017

    ORD: And here I thought I was the only one. I was also traveling to see the nibling.

    AC: I thought it was to call up memories of sleep masks. You know, where you stick cucumber and avocado on your face for the night. I always kinda wondered about that, since if I stuck avocado on my face, I’d be in zit city for the next few years. (As it is, I’m currently in lobster town.Curse you, English ancestry.)

  53. #56 JP
    July 17, 2017

    The way that things keep going in my everyday life, I’m beginning to think that the Universe is an anti-Semite, or maybe just likes to bully Aspies.

    It happens to me, and I am Norwegian-white-trash-bit-of-Roma wunderkind. So no dice, really, on the anti-Semitic front. (My therapist does think I show some “Aspie” traits.)

    I was just recently denied for federal disability benefits, although I was declared disabled by the state of Washington. What’s more, SSA doesn’t think I was “disabled on any date” between December 2015 and June 30th, 2017. Tell that to my friends who basically had to care for me during the winter of 2015/2016, in terms of even basic things like making sure I paid rent and bills, bought and took meds, slept, fed myself, and did basic keeping house. (I failed at a lot of these things a lot of the time, and my friends even had me admitted to the psych ward a couple of times.) Not to mention not being able to sleep for half a year after that, a major suicide attempt, and being involuntarily admitted and later forced to live in a group home for a couple of months. And I haven’t really gotten a lot better since then.

    My friend Eugene back in Michigan calls bullshit and is willing to help me find a lawyer.

  54. #57 Panacea
    July 17, 2017

    I don’t know if I should feel relieved that I’m not the only one blocked from RI or not. It started last night.

    Strangely, I’m able to get around it by using a TOR browser (which I usually only use for Java heavy, ad heavy sites, or clickbait sites). But I can’t get in from home or on my phone.

    • #58 Orac
      July 17, 2017

      As far as I can tell, the Powers That Be installed Wordfence, a WordPress security extension. It looks as though they need to tweak the settings a bit.

  55. […] d'altronde… Per rifarsi una credibilità, l'attrice ha attaccato la ginecologa Jen Gunter, hilarity ensues un […]

  56. #60 Denice Walter
    July 17, 2017

    @ JP:

    Although none of that sounds like any fun/ boring everyday life – at the very least
    YOU’RE STILL HERE!
    and, importantly, _ able to report_ upon that sorry state of affairs ( denial of SSA) and not being ” a lot better”
    which tells me a great deal…
    You’re ( probably) better than you were

    Hang in there. You have friends

    I’d sing, ” Look on the brighter side of life” ( but I’m not Eric Idle)

  57. #61 Denice Walter
    July 17, 2017

    Yep. Word fence woes here for me as well.

  58. #62 KayMarie
    July 17, 2017

    Also getting the Wordfence thing that thinks one’s first click is way more than any human can do a day or some such.

    Got around it by going “igconito” or “private” browsing so there isn’t any cookies stating I once clicked on this site sometime so must be a bot.

  59. #63 Politicalguineapig
    July 17, 2017

    I can get around it by going to an entirely different post, but it doesn’t always work.

  60. #64 Politicalguineapig
    July 17, 2017

    Alia: I totally believed that watermelons could sprout in your stomach if you swallowed the seeds, and the myth about chewing gum.

  61. #65 shay simmons
    July 17, 2017

    I think one of the biggest argument that can be made against the quacks goop promotes is that they don’t seem to work with sick people.

    THIS.

  62. #66 TBruce
    July 18, 2017

    Yvette @12:
    Nail on the head.
    Basically the quacks are catering to the worried well(thy). They don’t have to face life-and-death decisions, they work what used to be called “Banker’s Hours”, no weekend or night shifts, cash or credit card only, no risk of burnout.
    They can feel smug about “thinking outside the box”. Mind you, when my cat thinks outside the box, I have to deal with a stinking disgusting mess. The similarities are uncanny.

  63. #67 Alain
    July 18, 2017

    Orac@58,

    I guessed that; Still,you need better monkey. Still, you don’t know how many clients upon which I delivered the _figurative_ equivalent of doing a bowel resection with a rusty scalpel sans anesthetic because of similar bad choices upon which, I’ve been called after the fact…

    So, do you need a new host and new monkey?

    Alain

  64. #68 Alain
    July 18, 2017

    To add more, You (Orac) pay for hosting, I do the work for free.

    If ads bring in money, you all get it.

    Al

  65. #69 Francoise
    July 21, 2017

    Why don’t you all educated and highly competent scientists argue with Professeur Luc Montagnier, a French researcher, who got a Nobel Prize for demonstrating that water can retain the memory of the molecules of a substance? You know better maybe?

  66. #70 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    July 22, 2017

    @Francoise, that is not what he got his Nobel Prize for. And just because somebody knows a lot about one thing doesn’t make him an expert on everything.

  67. #71 Narad
    July 22, 2017

    My friend Eugene back in Michigan calls bullshit and is willing to help me find a lawyer.

    This is the correct choice; the majority of applications are rejected the first time around.

  68. #72 Politicalguineapig
    July 22, 2017

    JF:And just because somebody knows a lot about one thing doesn’t make him an expert on everything.

    Too true. Also, some go spectacularly crazy after the Nobel. Russell Blaylock, that one DNA guy who went full eugenics, and the guy who started the Nobel Sperm Bank.

    Lighthorse: Those were actually hagfish.

  69. #73 Panacea
    July 22, 2017

    Hell, Issac Newton was convinced there was secret code from God in the Bible and spent most of the latter years of his life trying to “crack it.”

    Francoise: Professor Montagnier discovered HIV. That’s what the Nobel was for. His other research . . . highly disputed and not replicated by anyone else that I’ve heard of.

  70. #74 herr doktor bimler
    July 22, 2017

    Why don’t you all educated and highly competent scientists argue with Professeur Luc Montagnier, a French researcher, who got a Nobel Prize for demonstrating that water can retain the memory of the molecules of a substance? You know better maybe?

    [Bolded for greater ridicule]
    Francoise may be unaware that the RI blogger has indeed argued with Nobel Laureate Cockwomble’s many expressions of stupidity.
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/tag/luc-montagnier/

  71. #75 JP
    July 22, 2017

    I totally believed that watermelons could sprout in your stomach if you swallowed the seeds, and the myth about chewing gum.

    I was told as a child that spitting cherry seeds (I had a habit of seeing how far I could spit them when I was outside) would make me turn into a boy. I tried and tried, and was quite disappointed when it didn’t work.

  72. #76 JP
    July 22, 2017

    @Denice:

    Aaaahhh, I really need to not be posting stuff about my pathetic life when I’m loopy from the summer insomnia. (It does seem to happen most often and be the worst in the summer.)

    It’s not all that bad; I live in one of the prettiest places in the world (even if the climate this year is abnormally extreme), I have a lot of really awesome friends (even if they are mostly in other area codes)

    And life can’t be all that boring when there are books, the Interwebs, drawing, sometimes things to do and people to do them with, and so on. (No mushrooms, though. It’s been far too dry for any to pop up, and far too hot to feel like doing anything outside; temps in the upper 90s and expected to stay that way for the next 10 days.)

  73. #77 JP
    July 22, 2017

    BTW, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” never struck me as a particularly genuinely cheery song, which gave me a chuckle. 🙂

    So always look on the bright side of death!
    Just before you draw your terminal breath.
    Life’s a piece of sh!t,
    When you look at it.

    Life’s a laugh and death’s a joke, it’s true,
    You’ll see it’s all a show,
    Keep ’em laughing as you go.
    Just remember that the last laugh is on you!

  74. #78 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    July 23, 2017

    @JP I agree. I interpreted the song as about laughing at the absurdity of life as a way to lessen life’s pain.

  75. #79 Wzrd1
    July 24, 2017

    @Orac, #10, while the rationale for peeling tomatoes isn’t the greatest under that specific context, it is a good reason to peel tomatoes when one incessantly gets tomato skins stuck between one’s back teeth. 😉

    As for jade eggs, we recommend borosilicate eggs, less porous to permit pathogen colonization and are dishwasher safe.
    One example, although that one we’ve not tried.
    https://www.amazon.com/Spartacus-Water-based-Lubricant-Forplay-Gel/dp/B06XJY9V49/ref=sr_1_2_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1500897002&sr=8-2&keywords=borosilicate+eggs
    We trash the lubes, as they’re not FDA approved or tested.

    Although, the reason we use the eggs is a bit different, i.e.; not for “health” reasons, but for, erm, enjoyment reasons.

    For those scratching their heads over borosilicates, borosilicate glass is more commonly known as Pyrex.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrex
    Chosen for being able to tolerate significant temperature changes and resistance to being chipped easily, for rather obvious reasons.

    For those still wondering, I’m talking about a sex toy, not some magical medical device.
    Although, Kegel exercises do remain in OB/GYN practice, no magical device is recommended, as one’s muscles do the work without a weight lifting contest. *

    *Just to be serious, for a moment. 😉
    And I am also serious about not trusting non-FDA recommended lubes. I honestly have no clue what is in those cheapie, give away lubes – could be “generic Viagra”, which, while it would potentially encourage clitoral engorgement, in the real world, variable dosage (this is a very real and monitored problem in various OTC “medications”, complete with recalls for those “medications”, lube remains unmonitored, save for medically approved versions, such as KY). and as mentioned, utterly unmonitored thus far.
    Neither of us is interested in putting *anything* “down there”, which I’d not put into my mouth.

    Oh, wait… 😉