Sunday, March 9, 2008

Detoxifying Schemes and Scams

This is pretty nasty, but I thought I'd better pass the info so nobody get's fooled into doing anything like this. My mother sent me this great article a while ago about the concept of detoxifying your body and whether it is fact or fiction. I had never considered that such an idea could be fiction. Never questioned it at all. But this article was very eye-opening in revealing some nasty schemes that people have come up with in a pretense to help you when all they really want is your money. The article can be found here:

In case you don't feel like reading the whole thing, here is an excerpt about the scheme I found to be the most outrageous.

What has me concerned is some research I saw on really dangerous snake oil treatments as reported on a blog/podcast site at, which had several posts written by Brian Dunning, a computer scientist who debunks pseudoscience reports as a hobby (I confirmed that the content is accurate and all quoted material below is from the author’s blog)

Mucoid plaque is supposedly a toxin naturopaths and herbal charlatans say everyone has growing inside their bowels; in fact they are created by the pill sold to purge them. In other words, the supposed cure is causing the problem making people assume the malady is real.

What you get to cure mucoid plaque is “…a bowel cleansing pill, said to be herbal, which causes your intestines to produce long, rubbery, hideous looking snakes of bowel movements, which they call mucoid plaque. There are lots of pictures of these on the Internet, and sites that sell these pills are a great place to find them. Look at,, and, just for a start.”

“Imagine how terrifying it would be to actually see one of those come out of your body. If you did, it would sure seem to confirm everything these web sites have warned about toxins building up in your intestines. But there's more to it. As it turns out, any professional con artist would be thoroughly impressed to learn the secrets of mucoid plaque (and, incidentally, the term mucoid plaque was invented by these sellers; there is no such actual medical condition). These pills consist mainly of bentonite, an absorbent, expanding clay similar to what composes many types of kitty litter. Combined with psyllium, used in the production of mucilage polymer, bentonite forms a rubbery cast of your intestines when taken internally, mixed of course with whatever else your body is excreting. Surprise, a giant rubbery snake of toxins in your toilet.”

“It's important to note that the only recorded instances of these "mucoid plaque" snakes in all of medical history come from the toilets of the victims of these cleansing pills. No gastroenterologist has ever encountered one in tens of millions of endoscopies, and no pathologist has ever found one during an autopsy. They do not exist until you take such a pill to form them. The pill creates the very condition that it claims to cure. And the results are so graphic and impressive that no victim would ever think to argue with the claim.”

More from Julie: So in closing let me just say that we should all be very wary of any product that claims to rid our body of toxins. According to the article, not one of these companies can actually tell you what these toxins are, what causes them or why they are harmful. It is all a lot of snake oil mythology. If we have to spend our money, let's be sure the spend it on what really matters. Your health is important, so just know that toxins are not threatening your health.