5 lies about detox and toxins

5 deceits about detox and toxins (header)

Have you heard about toxins? 

I know a few. Let’s see: snake venom, the botulinum toxin, the tetanus toxin… well, that’s it. I can’t name any more of them. 

Unfortunately, the word “toxin” has entered the popular language and is now used for pretty much anything: pollutants, heavy metals, fecal matter, microbes, gluten… hell, even stress supposedly generates toxins. 

According to some shady individuals, toxins are everywhere. They also talk about “metabolic waste” that accumulates and must be eliminated from our bodies; otherwise it’ll make us sick. 

At the holistic shop (and at the pharmacy, sadly), you’ll find a range of products that promise to eliminate these toxins and “clean up the system.” They often carry statements such as: 

  • Detox
  • Cleanse
  • Internal cleansing program
  • Supports a healthy liver
  • Protects and eliminates liver congestion
  • Promotes fat burning and weight loss (yeah, because that’s the real goal)
  • Etc. 

Manufacturers of these products make a fortune after the holiday season as they manage to convince people that they must “find balance after this period of excess“. 

Unfortunately, detox is a huge scam. So-called “cleanses” contain nothing but obscure herbal mixtures with no real purpose, as well as diuretics and laxatives that make you go to the toilet more frequently. Sounds like fun, huh? 

For educational purposes, let’s laugh a little at these ridiculous products. Let’s also examine the key deceits their manufacturers use to extort money from people. All statements found below were taken directly from their websites.

Translation by Olivier Bernard, proofreading by Lauren Knight.

 

5 deceits about detox and toxins (intro)

 

Toxins and pollutants exist since the industrial revolution

Life expectancy and health in the past and today

 

You must cleanse your system after the holiday season

 

Toxins prevents vitamins and nutrients from being absorbed

What naturopaths say about cleanses

 

 

You must help your organs to eliminate toxins and waste

My test to assess whether your organs are functioning or not

 

Food and waste accumulates in the intestines

Detox cleanses contain laxatives
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86 responses to “5 lies about detox and toxins

  1. References:

    – Air pollution is not a recent problem: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/air-pollution-has-been-a-problem-since-the-days-of-ancient-rome-3950678/?no-ist

    – Pollution in ancient times: http://www2.sci.u-szeged.hu/eghajlattan/akta03/005-015.pdf

    – Cavemen were exposed to a toxic environment: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3128818/400-000-year-old-teeth-reveal-evidence-man-pollution-shows-caveman-diet-really-balanced.html

    – Life expectancy in the US: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/life-expectancy.htm

    – Scientific analysis of detox and cleanses by pharmacist Scott Gavura: https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-detox-scam-how-to-spot-it-and-how-to-avoid-it/

    – Dr Ben Goldacre’s video recap on detox : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UrhJ8P8iZ8

    – The theory of autointoxication by feces was disproven a long time ago: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9252839

    – Colonics and laxative-based therapies are a useless and dangerous: http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/gastro.html

    • Olivier, you may mock, but the biggest garbage and killings comes from the very capsules and tablets you count every day. After all, that is all you can do in your job- counting- that does not seriously harm the swallower of what you count….. Medication kills.Full stop.

      • Thanks for your comment!

        You are correct: medications do have possible risks and adverse reactions. Any molecule (of a natural or synthetic origin) that has beneficial effects on the human body will also have unintended ones; it is unavoidable on a pharmacological point of view.

        Also, I completely understand doubts and concerns regarding medications and the pharmaceutical industry in general. They have done pretty bad things in the past, and still do to some extent, especially with regards to promotion strategies, marketing, clinical trial publication bias, etc.

        However, that doesn’t mean that the products they make are themselves bad. Quite the opposite actually. Medications are tested, both in clinical trials and in real life, by independent healthcare professionals the whole time they are on the market. The ones with the best efficacy/side effects profiles get used a lot. The ones with a less interesting profile are relegated to 3rd line, or even last resort options, or they are reserved for specific cases/subgroups of people.

        I can’t speak for others, but as a pharmacist, my chief goal is to encourage and facilitate better health choices. That includes nutrition / physical activity / sleep advice, smoking cessation; in other words, prevention. It also includes the use of medications and natural health products. All these options should be evaluated with the same criteria, that is according to scientific evidence. And this is why I can’t ethically recommend any type of cleanse and detox.

        Thanks again, take care 🙂

        Olivier

        P.S. I don’t count tablets, but hard-working, technical support people do. Their work is invaluable and pharmacies wouldn’t exist without them. And sometimes, really cool robots count tablets too.

        P.P.S. I’m responding even though I’m aware that the email you provided is probably not a real one (sendmyjunkmailherethanks_at_gmail.com), but hopefully you’ll read anyway.

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  4. Great article!!! Now will you please address the “miracle cures” snake oil like the plexus and other brands of money grabbers? They cure hypertension, arthritis, diabetes and help you lose weight! I have blocked so many people on Facebook because of their constant promotion of these products.
    While you are at it, “oil pulling” “essential oils” and “apple cider vinegar” as well?

    • Hi Carol !

      As a matter of facts, I do have comics about those “miracle” products, juice cleanses and oil pulling, which I hope to translate soon.

      The thing that baffles me about those is how exaggerated the claims are. As an example, apple cider vinegar allegedly cures pretty much everything from hiccups, dandruff and acne, causes weight loss and prevents cancer. When something “looks too good to be true”, it probably is. And to make things worse, the regulations on natural health products are so soft that their makers can say pretty much anything they want on the labels.

      Thanks for your comment !

      Olivier

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  7. This all *sounds* well and good, but, if you don’t include citations from credible sources, how is your opinion any more valid than someone’s who has claims to the contrary?

    • Hi Keith!
      You’re right, my references weren’t showing up: they’re included in the first comment above.
      Thanks!
      Olivier

  8. very interesting! TY i enjoyed it very much

  9. I love you, man! (Said like in Wayne’s World) Thanks for the good giggle. I just got some weird looks in the library…

    • thepharmafist

      You’re welcome Melanie! I personally get weird looks all the time, so I feel you. Probably a toxin overload in my face…
      Olivier

  10. I think you are being paid by a big company to write this article, all you said is as stupid as it sounds. Go back to school

    • thepharmafist

      Well, I’m willing to accept your theory.

      But let’s be honest here: what kind of big company would invest in a comic about prehistoric pollution, clogged intestines and talking kidneys? The anti-detox lobby? Oil companies? Even Monsanto wouldn’t care.

      Unless you consider that all healthcare professionals are corrupt. In that case: yes, I am paid to keep people healthy.

      Thanks for your comment anyway.

      Olivier

  11. This article is great, thanks. I think people like to think they can cure their perceived ills with a simple shake or pill. The most wild claims for those products are made by people who are desperate to make back the money they are losing in their pyramid scheme/MLM company. Check out Juice Plus, Ariix, Forever Living etc.

  12. Neboysha Shayne Nestorovic

    Everything has it’s limits, even your liver, believe it or not. Ever heard of enlarged livers? Why do you think they get that way? Because they are overworked which eventually leads to liver failure. The standard American diet is loaded with toxins.
    How about constipation, diverticulitis or bowel pockets? Why aren’t people pooping if everything is fine and dandy? Medical books say that 100% of people will develop bowel disease as they grow old. This doesn’t need to happen if you practice regular detoxification.
    Certain substances (albeit there’s a lot of low quality products out there) support organ function and promote the elimination of over accumulated toxins resulting from our unnatural lifestyles.
    I suggest you study the works of Dr. Richard Schulze, Dr. Robert Morse, Dr. Jensen, Dr. Herbert Shelton, Dr. Tilden. Dr. Christopher, etc.
    You’re misinforming people. Cute comic though.

    • Hi there!

      Thanks for your comment.

      As a matter of fact, an enlarged/fatty liver (hepatic steatosis) is a real condition, however it is a consequence of being overweight and ingesting too much calories. It’s actually the exact same mechanism by which “foie gras” is made : making ducks eat too much and becoming overweight creates hepatic steatosis.

      This has nothing to do with toxins, at all. The cure for hepatic steatosis is losing weight and/or changing eating habits.

      As for constipation, it’s a very common and almost always benign problem. Of course it doesn’t happeen as often if you “practice regular detoxofication”, because detox cleanses are made of laxatives et diuretics. But going more often to the restroom doesn’t eliminate anything that would not have been eliminated otherwise.

      Olivier

    • Agreed. Those are great practitioners that achieved massive healing results through detoxification. Also, Bircher-Benner, Gerson, Hippocrates Institute, Arnold Ehret, Benedict Just, Louis Estes, Johnny Lovewisdom, Aterhov, Hilton Hotema, Johanna Brandt. It’s been done again and again for those in the know; the misinformation is rampant but for those on the healing path, keep detoxing, keep learning, and you will get there.

      • Hi Steven!
        Unfortunately, many so-called expert practitioners, even scientists, can have unscientific beliefs and promote bogus cures such as cleanses/detoxing.
        This is what we call “appeal to authority”: because well-known individuals promote something does not meean it’s effective or safe.
        Thanks for your comment,
        Olivier

  13. Neboysha Nestorovic

    As a matter of fact, you’re dangerously incorrect. Studying some of the experts listed above is sure to broaden your understanding so you can stop misinforming people.

    • Love the “dangerously incorrect”. Especially because all I’m saying here is that detox cleanses are a scam meant to extort money from people.
      I wonder who’s misinforming people.
      Olivier

  14. An exception to your “whether your organs need help or not” could be those who require dialysis perhaps?

    • Of course 🙂
      Like someone with hepatic cirrhosis would require immediate attention.
      But detox cleanses are aimed at people with a good health otherwise, but who suffer from vague symptoms, which are then attributed to failing organs. That’s the revolting part.
      Thanks for your question!
      Olivier

  15. I would really like the evidence that proves this comment from the 16th “Medical books say that 100% of people will develop bowel disease as they grow old.” as a simple Google search did not pull up ANY results that agreed with that comment. Especially with the follow up “This doesn’t need to happen if you practice regular detoxification.” it makes me wonder what exactly that commenter does for a living? The only people I’ve heard or read make that argument are people who are somehow financially invested in convincing people to buy “detox” kits and the like.

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  17. PharmaFist, you are FREAKING CRAZY! Are you sure you’re not related to a pharmaceutical magnate? Nice try, I don’t think you realize very few twisted minds will buy your theory. People are very well informed nowadays and won’t buy your distortions. And the reason they won’t buy them is because they have experienced first-hand the benefits of detoxification, as I have myself. It’s true that some formulas are better than others but that’s another topic. Good Luck!

    • Hi Nina!

      Thanks for your comment. You are right: some people feel better after cleanses and detoxing. I totally get that and to some extent, I understand why they are still popular. After all, the idea that our bodies accumulate toxins or other bad stuff is scary, and the proposed solution (detoxing) is simple. So if it was just people drinking herbal tea and feeling better, I’d be supporting that, because as a clinican, I always appreciate first-hand experience.

      Unfortunately, the reality is far more grim. Detoxing is a business. It’s a marketing tool used to sell services and products, and basically to take money from good people. They rely on fraudulent advertising and on abusing the scientific language. This is why I am warning people against those products.

      I have worked in a hundred different pharmacies in the last 3 years, and they sold detox products in pretty much all of them. If I was related to any type of business magnate, I could benefit from promoting these products. But I would never do that. And I would never promote any pharmaceuticals either. My job is to help people make better choices regarding their health and to help them avoid being manipulated by businesses or unreliable individuals who sell unproven remedies.

      Take care Nina,

      Olivier

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  19. Eat a diet with lots of fiber and the body will have no problem to cleanse itself.
    What i am always on the fence with, it seems like you allude to all those tinctures are really not worth much. There are a couple guys around a long time, with quite a following (Schulze–Morris)
    There has to be “some” validity in the products the sell, some swear by them,
    It’s not possible to scam so many so long–is it ??

    • Hi Mike!

      Well, you’ve said it yourself:
      “Eat a diet with lots of fiber and the body will have no problem to cleanse itself.”

      The only “validity” of detox cleanses is that they contain laxatives and diuretics, so they make you go more often to the restroom. But this has no link with cleansing whatsoever.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Olivier

  20. Hey Oliver,
    What about the worth of the tinctures they promote. The 2 i mentioned been around a long time, many loyal followers. They promote products that cleanse lymph, blood, fight colds, shrink tumors, etc. Their customers throw roses at them, could the products be all black magic ??
    Very curious of your thoughts on this, plus any studies to de-bunk the claims.
    Thanks
    Mike

    • Hi Michael!

      I don’t know about these specific tinctures, but:

      – Lymph, blood or any other biological fluids do not need any type of “cleansing”;
      – Fights cold: one needs to provide scientific evidence to make such a claim;
      – Shrinks tumors: one needs MASSIVE scientific evidence to make such a claim.

      If there were studies on these, they would not debunk the claims. Actually, the claims have to be supported by the ones who say them, i.e. if they want to claim that their tinctures shrink tumors, they are the ones who need to provide proof for this. Not anecdotes, but peer-reviewed evidence. Otherwise, all claims are true until proven wrong (a.k.a. reversal of the burden of proof).

      Unfortunately, bogus cures are everywhere. And of course, being around for a long time or having many followers is not evidence of efficacy and safety.

      Thanks for your questions!

      Olivier

  21. Thanks Oliver,
    I question the above cause i just had a bout with my swollen prostate, leaning on my bladder, creating some blood in my urine, going on for 9 months, but this time the blood was thicker.
    Due to this, i had trouble passing urine so went to emergency for some help (ugh:o)
    So i am looking to try and reduce size of my prostate.
    All tests came back fine, i am in good shape, my blood work is always good. Vegetarian, lean, with a very solid diet–so–i’m thinking, what the heck can i do (naturally) to improve my condition.
    This is why i question these products, i wanna go in attack mode, figuring what can i lose.
    Do you have any info on a raw diet ? Fruitarian based ? Or any on BPH. Raw is another Dr Morse
    advocates, and so many testimonials, 40 yrs. –geez i’m thinking gotta be something to it.
    Dr. Sculze is more vegetarian based.
    Lastly, i know i could not sustain a fruitarian diet, but could do a few meals –IF–I knew, er–thought, it “may” help. Sorry to ramble.
    Thank you
    Mike
    oops–i’m 70.

  22. Thanks Oliver,
    That’s close to my lifestyle, without the oils and fish. Guess it helps my cardiovascular but not
    my BPH ;o(

  23. I agree most or any diet tip you read about on the net is a scam. Though there are herbs out there that do help with detoxing a body. I also feel that in this day and age with people living near industry more and more especially poorer people (yet look at flint Michigan in the USA) that people need to detoxify themselves. Maybe educate people on what a real science backed medical approach to detoxifying heavy metals actually looks like or takes. So that people will know what to spend money on. These people are often desperate and know no better so show them the path to health.

    Also its misleading to claim that your organs are either working optimally or you would be in hospital. Sure your organs would be working to the best of their abilities but factors like obesity, excessive alcohol, illness, stress, air pollution, nutritionally poor diets, increased carcinogens and heavy metals in diets and environments as well as prescription medication can all impact how optimal your organs function.

    Also your intestines can and do sometimes clog up and not all fecal matter is always eliminated. Just talk to anyone with FODMAP IBS. Western diets are notoriously deficient in fibre so this is a common issue. That the regular addition of fibre and exercise to the diet would remedy for most people.

    In any event the people who fall for these scams are often times desperate and gullible. So this infographic wont help much. Also you should have noted that detoxification is sometimes entirely necessary and could be life saving for people if done properly by proper professionals.

    Good job just brush up more on psychology to market your facts better and maybe put the full story in not just the big pharma herbs are bad and completely unnecessary schtick

    • “Maybe educate people on what a real science backed medical approach to detoxifying heavy metals actually looks like or takes.”

      I would gladly do so, if I was aware of any evidence- and science-based treatment for that purpose.

      Acute intoxication by heavy metals do occur (rarely though), but in that case, urgent medical treatment is required. As for detox products & cleanses for “chronic intoxication”, I have looked into the topic and made a whole comic about it, which I hope to translate soon (http://lepharmachien.com/metaux-lourds/). Basically, the approaches commonly proposed simply do not make any scientific sense. As an example, chelation therapy was tested by the National Institutes of Health in a major trial named TACT, and rhe results show that it is not only ineffective, but also dangerous : https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-result-of-the-trial-to-assess-chelation-therapy-tact-as-underwhelming-as-expected/

      “Also its misleading to claim that your organs are either working optimally or you would be in hospital.”

      I’m referring to nondetectable organ dysfunction and the like proposed by naturopaths. Organ failures do exist and, again, require medical treatment, not detox.

      Thanks for contributing to the discussion Peter!

      Olivier

  24. Hi Oliver,
    What can you tell me about probiotics. Recommend ? Dosages, etc. Do they work ???
    Thanks
    Mike

    • Hi Michael!

      Thanks for your question. Actually I have a full comic on probiotics, which I hope I can translate soon.

      To this day, the clinical indications that are supported by strong evidence are:
      – to prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea
      – to prevent diarrhea associated with infections such as C. Difficile
      There could also be a role for antibiotics in traveler’s diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, colics in children, etc., but more data is required.

      In all cases, probiotics should be taken every day without exception, because they can’t stay in the GI tract for long.

      Dosage is an issue, as well as choosing specific strains. The short answer is: we don’t know for sure. As a pharmacist, I recommend going for the lower dosages (10-15 billion bacteria) which are cheaper, as I don’t have clear evidence that more bacteria is better.

      Another thing to consider is that you can find probiotics in some foods, especially dairy like yogurt and kefir. So that’s one way to lower the bill 😉

      Thanks for the question!

      Olivier

      P.S. More reading on the topic: https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/gut-check/

  25. So I shared this post and someone came back with this article about modern day toxins that affect us whT do you think https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3220783/

  26. Hi Olivier.
    As a registered dietitian who specializes in oncology nutrition, I could not be happier to read this article. Some of the doctors other commenters have spoken of are not medical doctors and the practices they promote, at times, can actually be dangerous. I tell my outpatients all the time… “if your body is full of toxins you’d know, because that means your liver, kidneys or colon are not working and you’d be in the hospital.” Keep spreading the good word!

    • Thank you so much for your kind words Veronica!

      Being a registered dietitian must be tougher than ever: there are so many self-proclaimed nutrition experts nowadays. Are you from Canada? An an example, here in Quebec, we have a guy who’s in the media all the time talking about what to eat, which supplements to take, etc., even telling parents to give protein shakes (made for bodybuilding) to their kids. Unsurprisingly, he’s a naturopath, and he thrives on people believing he actually knows what he’s talking about. Obviously, he’s into the detox/cleansing stuff too.

      Take care!

      Olivier

  27. After expelling a few green worms I researched the topic of parasites and I ordered the parasite cleanse from [COMPANY X]. I expelled many more parasites during that initial three month cleanse. Most countries know about parasites but America is in the dark about the subject. Uncooked fish such as sushi is one culprit for getting parasites. Check out [COMPANY X]’s website and read the testimonials of people suffering from IBS and overall weakness due to parasites. So yes a detox is beneficial.

    • Hey Sally,
      Sorry to hear that. What “green parasites” were these exactly? Because I’ve never heard about anything like that before. I mean, parasites do exist and do infect people. But “expelling” parasites through detox… I’m lost.
      Thanks!
      Olivier

  28. Tried detox juice, tastes like BS and wasted my money. Better just go buy some video games with that money
    You should buy detox IF:

    -You have too much money
    -You want to go to the washroom more often
    -You want to drink something made with 95% of water instead of drinking actually good water
    -You want your mouth to suffer

  29. Jordan Johnson

    You’re nitpicking detoxing as it is beneficial for many issues. Fatty liver, spleen issues, thyroid issues, etc. I come from a family with many thyroid issues present in several members of my family, including graves disease and I could tell I was suffering from hypo-thyroidism and was then tested to show that it was an issue for me. I started on iodine, selenium, and improved my diet…and no surprise, my thyroid hormone issues were resolved. I also had a horrible case of mono that lasted a month as a child and nearly needed my spleen taken out, as the pain was almost unbearable. I then studied herbs that were helpful for spleen health, and I no longer get syes which are associated with a poorly-functioning spleen. There ABSOLUTELY is value in anecdotal evidence as not everything has been studied yet. Quit looking at reality through your cookie cutter, tinted glasses, and see that there were already herbs, minerals, and vitamins around us for thousands of years that cure most issues already and only in extreme cases is medicine really needed. Where does detoxing fit into all of this? Natural minerals that promote detoxing such as iodine improved my health and my life, as I suffered from brain fog needlessly for several years.This is just one anecdote but you can find thousands of others and plenty of studies to back up the use of minerals and herbs for detoxing and overall improvement of health. What about heavy metals? The issues with mercury have been well-proven, and if one would rather have less heavy metals coming into their body than are going out then good for them, as we really do live in quite the contaminated world nowadays. Live in China for 10 years and see how the toxins affect you. I got sick quite a bit after a decade there and most of my issues improved when I came back to the States. I have even seen people get sarcoidosis from the pollutants in the air there, which can suddenly be resolved when one is breathing clean air and living in a better environment.

    • Hey Jordan!

      Thanks for your comment.

      “You’re nitpicking detoxing as it is beneficial for many issues.”

      If by nitpicking you mean that I insist on details that seem trivial to you, well yes. In science and healthcare, details matter a great deal. That being said, I don’t believe that my comic is nitpicking, but rather addresses the topic very broadly / superficially.

      “Fatty liver”

      The main cause of fatty liver (hepatic steatosis) is obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Fortunately, it’s usually reversible through lifestyle changes. No detoxing required there.

      “I started on iodine, selenium, and improved my diet…and no surprise, my thyroid hormone issues were resolved.”

      Well, that’s not really detoxing; where’s the detox? If detoxing was healthy eating, then sure, I’d recommend it to everyone. But detoxing is really about supplements. Here, you mention iodine, an essential component to thyroid function, so it’s a medical intervention, not a detox. As for selenium, I don’t know of any evidence regarding thyroid function; but again, that’s not a detox.

      “There ABSOLUTELY is value in anecdotal evidence…”

      Of course. There is value in anecdotal evidence… for the person who IS the anecdote. But anecdotes do not translate to knowledge or advice for the general population.

      “… as not everything has been studied yet”

      Not everything has been studied yet, that is true. But you would be surprised how much studies there are about herbs, plants, natural health products and so-called cleanses. There’s tons of them, but most people don’t know that. They assume that only pharmaceutical compounds get studied, which is incorrect. Most research is academic in nature, so there are hundreds of researchers publishing thousands of trials involving herbs.

      Unfortunately, most of the time, the results are unconvincing, either because the substance doesn’t work for its purported effect, or the trials are so badly designed that you can’t really conclude anything from them.

      “there were already herbs, minerals, and vitamins around us for thousands of years”

      Yes. But longevity does not equal efficacy (that’s called the “appeal to tradition fallacy”). As an example, the Ancient Chinese considered mercury as a cure-all; today, we know its a very potent poison. Why? Because bad treatments have been used forever, even in medicine (ex. bloodletting). Fortunately, we can test these treatments in clinical trials nowadays and know if they really work or not.

      “only in extreme cases is medicine really needed”

      I would tend to agree with that. I’m fighting against over-prescription after all. But then again, it’s all relative. Would you consider diabetes “extreme”? I do.

      “Live in China for 10 years and see how the toxins affect you”

      The body does remove certain levels of pollutants by itself. Unfortunately, when exposure is high, most pollutants can’t be removed. I mean, even if you get heavy metal poisoning, they can’t help you much at the hospital. So the solution is not detoxing, but to avoid exposure as much as possible.

      Take care,

      Olivier

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  31. You are egoic at best. You have been trained and compartmentalized. Not your fault. The simple truth is. Linus Paulings cured cardiovascular disease with the help of Dr Mathis. Oh did I mention he won two Nobel prizes. Gerson therapy has been curing patients sent home to die for years. When you are sick and sent home to die where will you turn? Self educate please you are really behind and definitely dangerously misinforming!!!

    • Hi Jeff!

      “You are egoic at best. You have been trained and compartmentalized.”

      Possible. I can’t rule that out.

      “Not your fault.”

      Well thank you!

      “Linus Paulings cured cardiovascular disease with the help of Dr Mathis”

      Linus Pauling advocated for the use of high-dose vitamin C in a range of diseases, not limited to cardiovascular ones and cancer. None of his statements could be verified experimentally and most were clearly shown to be false later on. Basically his whole theory about vitamin C has been debunked. He did not take that well in his later days, getting into conspiracy theories and such.

      https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/high-dose-vitamin-c-and-cancer-has-linus-pauling-been-vindicated/

      “Oh did I mention he won two Nobel prizes”

      Yep, one for his study of chemical bonds and the other for his work on the structure of DNA. His contribution in those fields was legendary. Now, that has absolutely zero relevance for everything else that he has done or claimed.

      “Gerson therapy has been curing patients sent home to die for years.”

      That’s quite the opposite. People are actually dying under the Gerson protocol, which is neither supported by evidence nor scientifically plausible. Gerson therapists prey on the vulnerable. This is the kind of cancer therapy we should all condemn.

      https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-gerson-protocol-and-the-death-of-jess-ainscough/

      “When you are sick and sent home to die where will you turn?”

      I’ve been working with healthcare professionals and scientists for my whole career. What they do is typically nothing short of amazing. I will turn to them for sure.

      “Self educate please you are really behind and definitely dangerously misinforming!!!”

      This comic aims to make people aware that they are being scammed by detox and cleanses companies and marketers. It’s quite strange for me to hear that inviting people to be cautions is “misinforming” them. As for self-educating, that’s pretty much what I’m trying to do with this website. I don’t think you’ll like the rest of it, but thanks for reading.

      Olivier

  32. Thank you for this! It’s nice to read something that is easy to understand while also informing us with actual science and evidence as opposed to the misinformation that is so ubiquitous these days. I love the comics as a way of educating the public. Keep up the great work!

  33. Hi,
    Are you familiar with Anthony William ? He has written book–s–on the liver. Seems quite popular and just released another new book. Talk about detoxes, toxins, etc. wow.
    Any thoughts ?
    Thanks
    Michael

  34. G’day
    Your website should be mandatory reading for those heading for alternative therapies. Have you done a comic on homeopathy? This link puts things in perspective

  35. Good day, I’ve been studying alkaline herbs for a while now and what I’ve come to realize is the botanical kingdom offers us many potent herbs for certain organs and functions for the body.. now one must understand the chemistry of the foods he is consuming daily to understand what side of chemistry the body requires.. animal proteins/complex sugars/processed foods/dairy products etc all these products induce fermentation in the stomach and slowly stagnate the blood and leach alkaline chemistry.. so when we start off with wrong ingestion.. absorption/utilization and ELIMINATION will not be in harmony with our bodies.. we must eat mucusless food and study the trueness of our great lymphatic system and its respective eliminative organs.. then we can come to realize which herbs we must take to address the initiation of a real detox..

  36. I have a senior citizen friend who is pushing to anyone who will listen the benefits of being a fruigivore as that is what humans are he claims. He sits in Starbucks with a bag of sliced grapes while promoting his health claims to friends and where he definitely will not drink coffee (too much acid which is a big concern for him). His guru is Robert Morse dietitian. His past kick (two years ago) was powdered greens that (according to the label) was 46% alfalfa. Is Morse someone who has a clue? Or is he a bit out there?

    • thepharmafist

      Hi!
      Yes, I know about Morse, and he’s been cited in other comments above. He is no dietician or doctor, but rather a naturopath, which should come as no surprise given that he is advocating for the type of cleanses described in the comic. He also sells books, supplements and subscriptions to a so-called “Health Club”.
      Thanks for your comment!
      Olivier

  37. How do you naturally remove the toxic/polluants from your body?
    Essentially through GSH produced via the methylation cycle..
    What people call “detox” is nothing else than supporting this methylation cycle and the production of GSH…with things like B12, folates, glycine, TMG, choline, etc…which also BTW, promotes the recycling of methionine and homocysteine.
    Hope this helps.

    • thepharmafist

      Hi James!

      Sure, but then again, we do get these nutrients in food. So eating normally will allow for the “methylation cycle” to run, which should come as no surprise as these mechanisms are essential for human life.

      Take care,

      Olivier

  38. When following doctors like you I almost died. When I detoxed with raw foods, juice, filtered water, fasting, I became well on my own. Cost me nothing but the food I had to buy. Let food be your medicine. The MD’s told me my illness was in my head. LOL, I couldn’t gain weight, I was 95lbs, I had yeast under my arms actually I had systemic candida, Leaky gut. My face was all broken out due to all the yeast, fungus, mold, and parasites in my body. My liver needed some help. I did a liver gallbladder flush and my skin started to clear, and I felt better. I did another one and things cleared up more. Then another and even better. I kept going till I felt great and my skin all healed up. I’m 100% better. You’re a fool, You think you know something but you’re just indoctrinated by the medical industry. You’re not helping anyone. Go educate yourself. This is just a small part of my story. I was very ill and no doctor could help me with their stupid pharmaceuticals. Not even the “natural” docs could help me with their herbs and other natural pills. It’s all about one changing their ways. You must change what you’re eating. You must cleans out the shit. I’ve seen long worms come out of so many people. I’ve seen lots of worms come out of people who are suffering do to a toxic over load from consuming junk and stupid big-pharma drugs. Nothing you have said here makes any sense. Deficiencies come from not what we don’t put in our body, but from what is put in that is less than excellent. Meaning most of the s**t people put in. You don’t have to be fat to be full of shit. I’m sorry and not sorry for being so brutally honest. But I’m so tired of people like you who tell people not to do what is really going to make them well. So many people have healed their bodies through these cleansing protocols. More people need to learn about how the body can heal if we give it the right things. Not man made drugs. The pharma companies make lot of money and only sometimes succeed at masking the problems and healing them. You must go the to source of the issue. Which is usually life style and environment. I can’t spell it all out for you here. You must re-educate your indoctrinated self. Peace and much Love.

    • thepharmafist

      Hi Shanti!

      I’m sorry your doctor made you feel that way. We should never tell people it’s “in their head”, this is shameful. I hate when I hear stories like that :/

      And I totally agree, nutrition is one of the main pillars of health, together with physical activity, stress management, sleep hygiene, etc. Referring people to dieticians is actually one of the most common advice I give in my practice.

      That being said, cleanses are marketing tools used to defraud people, and I remained convinced that denouncing those is of the uttermost importance for public health. I believe it actually prevents people from making durable & necessary changes in their nutrition and other lifestyle habits.

      Take care,

      Olivier

  39. I did enjoy your humour. But you keep joking that naturopaths are idiots and do not know what they are talking about, but naturopaths FIRSTLY have to train as medical doctors. They do their time at medical school like every other doctor but then have to specialize in herbal medicine and remedies over pharmaceuticals. https://study.com/articles/How_to_Become_a_Naturopathic_Therapist_Education_and_Career_Roadmap.html

    A constant flow of heavy metals leaking from a filling or contaminating you from a food or water supply WILL cause illness and dysfunction. Plus, organs do have personalities. They can communicate with you and every emotion you feel is generated via an organ. Where do you think your emotions are coming from? Next time you feel something try to place it’s origin within your body. Why does a heart ache in the chest during emotional grief or sorrow about a break up? Why do you feel things in your guts when you are nervous? Anger is coming from the liver etc. Illness is a communication from your organs or glands. You either listen to it or you ignore it and it begins to shout a little louder. I am willing to be a part of any scientific study to prove these facts as I often talk to organs and cure people of conditions. I have this documented in real time. Just go and have a few sessions with a BodyTalk practitioner and see what diseases suddenly clear up after a chat.
    All the best everyone!

    • Hi Rachel!

      Thanks for your message.

      First, I do not think that naturopaths are “idiots“. Actually, I am convinced that most of them have the best of intentions.

      In my opinion, the problem resides with their training, during which they are led to believe that they are relying on sound scientific evidence, when in fact they are learning pseudoscience. They do not, in fact, have to train as “medical doctors”, and their degrees are extremely deficient in the necessary knowledge required to take care of someone’s health. The wrongdoing is therefore within the naturopathic schools and associated lobbies, not really the naturopaths themselves.

      I highly recommend reading Britt Marie Hermes’s writings on the topic. She is a former “naturopathic doctor” from the United States, but has since become a whistleblower about what’s really going on within the profession, and an advocate for science-based medicine :

      https://www.naturopathicdiaries.com/about-britt-marie-hermes/

      Here’s a brief excerpt, which is relevant to the current discussion:

      “Naturopathy is not what I was led to believe. The profession functions as a system of indoctrination based on discredited ideas about health and medicine, full of pseudoscientific rhetoric and loaded with ineffective and dangerous practices. Naturopaths must be highly scrutinized because they have an ongoing history of deceit and exploitation—veiled in good intention.”

      Take care 🙂

      Olivier

  40. Oliver,
    Ever hear of dr. Tim O’Shea?
    Sells supplements, does lectures that “many” Drs. Attend aand praise him
    Constantly knocks medical profession and poison chemo, etc.
    Exhibits proof they cure or help anyone rarely.

    Ask your oncologist to provide names of patients you can talk to that they treated, doubt you would get any.
    Look him up, would like to hear tour ipinion.
    Regards
    Mike

    • Hi Mike!

      Thanks for your comment!

      I don’t know the guy, but I see that he has published a book questioning vaccines. And as a matter of fact he sells supplements on his website, notably a “natural colon cleanse”. It doesn’t look good, to say the least.

      Olivier

  41. Yes Oliver. cleanse–detox the buzzwords of many. My point is how do so many reputable drs. pay for his lectures, praise him, they all can’t be taken advantage of. They then use his methods on their patients, seems very reputable.

  42. ‘5 lies about detox’ …..written by a pharmacist, one who prepares and dispenses drugs.

    • Hi!

      I guess what you’re implying here is that I’d rather have people take drugs, because I gain money from it (I don’t, by the way).

      But even if that was true, cleanses would still be as bad. Detoxing is an industry, and a very profitable one. Big companies make cleanses, detox books sell by the millions, therapists claiming to eliminate “toxins” have tons of work. How is that more acceptable?

      Our job as healthcare professionals should be to focus on improving lifestyle habits first (nutrition, physical activity, sleep, etc), and then use medication when it is the best option, or when all else fails. I know it’s not all of us who think like that, but most of us do in my experience.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Olivier

  43. Hi Oliver, this for “me” is tough to understand. I like to read books on natural healing. there is one from a Dr, Blaylock, curing cancer patients with natural strategies. He recommends plenty that would be debunked by those in the medical field. Yet he treated with success. Also herbs, supplements, etc. There are others, who “cured” themselves naturally. Would their story be put in print if it wasn’t true ?
    Another friend went to an oncologist with low grad cancer, was told to bring all he was taking, 1 item was Dr. Schulze superfood plus (spirulina, algae, wheat grass, those kind of ingredients.was told to continue, it is a good product. Was surprised.
    Personally, i’m in the real food camp, fruits, veggies, no dairy, meat, etc, hi omegs 3 fish, salads, etc.–cause i believe it is good for me, and it tastes good !
    Best to all.

    • Hi again!

      Dr Blaylock fits exactly within the industry that I was describing. He goes against well-established scientific facts and rants against the medical community, and meanwhile he is profiting from the numerous supplements he is selling. Here’s an article on the topic:

      https://theoutline.com/post/1183/the-quack-behind-the-msg-scare-is-still-stoking-fear-for-profit?zd=1&zi=hges2qqb

      “He recommends plenty that would be debunked by those in the medical field. Yet he treated with success.”

      But where are these people he treated with success? Is there any follow-up ? Testimonials are among the least trustworthy pieces of information online, unfortunately. People have been known to die after receiving alternative treatments for cancer, and this is never mentioned.

      “Personally, i’m in the real food camp, fruits, veggies, no dairy, meat, etc, hi omegs 3 fish, salads, etc.”

      That sounds awesome! And that’s perfectly in line with the best evidence about nutrition: lots of fresh produce, not too much meat, minimizing ultra-processed stuff, etc. This is close that what we call the Mediterranean diet, which has been widely studied and is associated with numerous positive health outcomes.

      Take care,

      Olivier

  44. Can’t trust anyone, unbelieveable. Thank you, ! i’ll just stick with what i do. (didn’tknow he sells supps, that is always a red flag for me.

  45. Feel sorry for you…….and all the sheep here 🙁

    • Hey Jeri,
      No problem. I don’t expect my content to please everyone, and that’s okay.
      Take care,
      Olivier

  46. Hi may I send you an email regarding some herbs I bought. I think I may of fallen for this hype of Detoxification.i heard too regarding some herbs that they can remove toxic buildup (mucoid plaque) on the intestinal wall; and parasites that may be in the body. And also I thought The body is self cleaning rite ?

    • Hi Jordan!

      Sure, please post them in your response here, I’ll hide any personal details if applicable.

      I can’t promise I’ll have an answer though! There are tens of thousands of supplements in existence (if not more), and it can be extremely hard to do a literature search on all included ingredients (some products have 20 of them). But if I know of any data regarding one or more substances, I’ll do my best to summarize them.

      I can already tell you that a product claiming to remove “mucoid plaque” (a non-existent entity invented by a naturopath to sell his supplements), or “parasites”, is extremely suspicious.

      Olivier

  47. I bought some herbs from Dr Morse Herbs. Have you heard of Dr Morse Herbs. I don’t believe his credentials are trustworthy.

    I think the herbs he sells as supplements are not the answer to health.

    Just realised then herbs I got by Dr Morse right off the bat of his Nutrition philosophy is a Vegan lifestyle.

    I have spoken to others, and they Believe this detox is nonsense.

    Glad I found your post.

    I have heard detox is a huge scam ?

    I think I may of fell for believing Dr Morse herbs can help my body.

    I actually bought some herbs from Dr Morse Herbs from a company in the UK.

    I’m probably being silly rite.

    The body is self cleaning rite but I hear things like these detox Herbs products can remove toxic buildup (mucoid plaque) on the intestinal wall; and parasites that may be in the body.

    Yes I bought a product kidney and bladder formula, a G I broom formula, which is supposed to remove toxic buildup (mucoid plaque) on the intestinal wall.

    Did you see there is no evidence to even test this claiming to remove mucoid plaque off the intestinal wall.

    I bought also 2 Parasite Formulas to remove small and larger parasites even though I have no evidence of having these parasites in my body.

    By the way in their defence this was all my own doing and decision to purchase all this. being perhaps me being very naïve and purchasing these products to assist my body.

    No one told me too. It’s my choice, but now I’m cautious.

    Have you heard of Dr Morse Herbs, and His Detoxing.

    I heard he is not a real Dr.

    I have been told by professionals our Liver detoxes us just fine, and it’s a Scam.

    And also Dr Morse’s Philosophy is that,

    They encourage a fruit, salad and vegetable diet. Basically they promote eating Vegan.

    So No meat or fish or dairy which worries me sick because of my lack of Protein daily requirements, and no omega 3 fish oil or anything, as it apparently slows down detoxification.

    Do we even know what these large quantities of these herbs do to the body ?

    They say the body can detox on a fruit, salad and vegetables, and eating meat will slow the detoxification process down.

    Will it really slow down the detoxification process.

    I think this Dr Morse believes we are primarily Frigivores.

    I realised straight off the bat but this Dr Morse promotes a Vegan diet so not even a good footing to begin with

    The herbs I bought are Dr Morse herbs off a website.

    I train in Bodyweight training 5 times per week so they never even seem to be concerned with my protein intake.

    I feel quite concerned so that’s why I’m reaching out here.

    Dr. Morse is a world-renowned naturopathic healer

    That’s concerning rite ?

    Thank you for your time.

    Jordan.

    • Hi again Jordan!

      I’ve received quite a lot of questions regarding Dr Morse; look at the comments above and you’ll see what I think of his protocols.

      I have heard detox is a huge scam ?

      Yes, it is. A very lucrative and manipulative scam.

      “detox Herbs products can remove toxic buildup (mucoid plaque) on the intestinal wall; and parasites that may be in the body.”

      These are classic staples of naturopathy, made-up diagnoses which do not exist. The concept of mucoid plaque was invented by naturopath and entrepreneur Richard Anderson to promote his own line of cleanses. The idea that “parasites” can build up in the intestine also comes from naturopaths in the 70s and 80s. Nowadays, all of these weird theories are well-known to be wrong and dishonest.

      Do we even know what these large quantities of these herbs do to the body ?

      No we don’t, and that’s actually a major concern regarding these cleanses.

      “They encourage a fruit, salad and vegetable diet. Basically they promote eating Vegan.”

      Plant-based diets (Mediterranean, vegetarian) are associated with positive health outcomes, so far so good. Protein intake is usually not an issue in these types of diets.

      But my impression here is that the proposed is an extreme version of this, a very restrictive one, similar to “raw diets” which are notoriously difficult to follow and make no sense scientifically. A balanced diet should be varied and not forbid specific foods or food groups on a random basis.

      Hope it helps!

      Olivier

  48. Hi Oliver, maybe you could touch on –cleanses ! they have em for kidney, bladder, liver, colon–
    would be interesting. Thanks

    • Hi Mike!

      Actually, this is exactly what this comic is about! “Cleanses” is a synonym of “detoxing”. Basically, cleanses are a mix of herbal extracts with little or no effects on the human body, plus diuretics and laxatives. They really are all the same.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Olivier

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