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More in the annals of “Boy, did they ever send this to the wrong blogger!”

Hi

I was just authorized by my company, DrNatura, to offer an exclusive $10 coupon to you and the readers of Respectful Insolence, towards our most popular product, the Colonix Program. I thought you and your readers would be interested to know that DrNatura is an internationally recognized line of health products and programs specializing in body detoxification which can help anyone feeling tired, uncomfortable or stressed.

I’ve put together a site with the coupon code, tips, symptoms, and lots of great content so please feel free to share any or all of it:

http://www.drnaturanews.com

If you are able to post a mention or tweet, please let me know. I am also here to help if you have any questions.

Thank you so much,

Diane


Diane Myer
facebook.com/drnatura
twitter.com/drnatura

Request granted, Diane. Colon “cleansing” is one of the most bizare forms of quackery there is, deserving of only extreme ridicule. In fact, so bizarre is colon cleansing quackery that it’s one of the first topics I ever took on in Your Friday Dose of Woo in posts entitled Mere regularity is not enough and Would you like a liver flush with that colon cleanse?. Perhaps we should start posting links to it on Twitter and Facebook for Diane’s edification while I’m in Chicago and the original blog posts are both briefer and less frequent than usual.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

52 replies on “More in the annals of “Boy, did they ever send this to the wrong blogger!””

Man, all I get are repeated invitations to some homeopathy conference in Israel. And they don’t even offer any discounts. I guess the more dilute the discount, the more powerful it is?

Ah, well. I hope you don’t get too flushed in your excitement over these discounts. Try not to get too pooped out.

maybe they don’t have such respect for this blog
the facebook page offers everyone a better deal:

DrNatura Save $15 off Colonix this weekend only! Use code 15DRNF at checkout! Valid thru Monday, Aug. 23.

“can help anyone feeling tired, uncomfortable or stressed.”

I can’t help but think that a colon cleanse would leave me far more tired, uncomfortable and stressed than I was beforehand…

I had to laugh when I read your post. As you can see by my name my blog is called “The Medical Quack” and for 2 good reasons, first of all my last name is really Duck and secondly I am in the Health IT side of things so when it comes to clinical information, I leave that to the experts of course but can talk some pretty mean code as being in support of healthcare workers:)

I too get all types of solicitations and there are those that I laugh as as well that have no place on the blog; however being I have the name I do, when people look up quacks with a search, they hopefully get a reputable blog to look at too:)

Great post and I related! Visit the Medical Quack and see if I’m on base here, even though it is Health IT related I try to include helpful information in layman’s terms for all.

Barbara Duck
The Medical Quack
http://ducknetweb.blogspot.com

“Colonix”? Just how anal-fixated does one have to be to think that a good brand name? It’s simultaneously scathological and vaguely threatening.

Man, all I get are repeated invitations to some homeopathy conference…

I don’t even get that. Just dodgy maleness improvers or other pills and poisons from dodgy locations using dodgy Ingerlish, not to mention all the people in Nigeria who want to send me millions of dollars, and all the alerts from banks that I don’t have an account with that I need to login using the helpful link provided to fix some problem with my card/account. Oh, yeah, and the offers to ogle naked girls. Which is kindof funny; I live c.100m from the Mediterranean Sea, and if I want to ogle skimpily-clothed people it’s only a short walk…†

A homeopathetic conference would at least be different.

 †  Ok, ok, it’s about a 1km walk to the nearest beach. There. Satisfied? Bloody evidence-based reality pedantic wankers. 😉

There’s been a long tradition of colon-cleanse woo; the Kellogg’s cereal company in part owes its existance to it. (Oddly, so does Post; apparently CW Post was a patient at the Battle Creek Sanitarium (sic) and observed the wheat and corn flaking process there. Industrial espionage is apparently another time-honoured US tradition.) Which reminds me that I have to eventually watch “The Road to Wellville”. If you thought that Anthony Hopkin’s most terrifying role was Hannibal Lecter, wait’ll you see him as a 19th-century woo practitioner.

Shakespere made reference to “clyster pipes” (enema tubes) in “Othello”, and plenty of references (and I believe archeological finds, though I’m not certain on that) exist in Classical Roman and Greek literature. Mayans, IIRC, used to take beer enemas to get boozed-up when they had a Prohibitionist movement making breath tests… though I suppose that’s less woo and more the desperate cunning of a booze hound.

Think of it as the West’s acupuncture, I guess. It’s been around a while, its use far exceeds its clinical utility, and it alas ain’t goin’ nowhere anytime soon.

— Steve

“I can’t help but think that a colon cleanse would leave me far more tired, uncomfortable and stressed than I was beforehand…”

You might wish to watch the colonic videos people post of themselves on YouTube. Up the down staircase as it were.

“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the butts of woman or man, the things which colon therapy hath prepared for you…”

Part of me wonders if these Colonic cleansing systems are anything akin to “Medical Hysteria” of years ago: a medical justification for a bit of pleasure otherwise denied upstanding citizens by society. Tickling the prostrate might make you gay, but if it’s getting a bit of a stim coming and going from an enema, well, that’s doctor’s orders.

Tired? I did just wake up. Uncomfortable? I’m a little uncomfortable most of the time, due to one or another of my conditions. Stressed? Sure, the new university term is coming up soon.

Shoot, I guess I need a good old-fashioned colon cleanse! Except that it won’t help me in the slightest. Darn.

Funny, I’ve got a great idea for a colon cleanse regimen. Every day, you eat lots of vegetables, fruit, and whole grains, and drink plenty of liquids.

Hmmmm, maybe I could make lots of money selling this novel information via the Internet equivalent of cold calls?

When I see the word “detoxification” my Woo-Meter goes to 11. When it’s combined with enemas which can cause bowel irritation and damage the anal cavity I’m running the other way.

Most of the time, it does little harm. Though if you go really stupid, like the coffee enema used in the Gerson therapy, you may kill yourself.

Now, if my boat sinks… Well, saltwater enemas can help with hydration as the colon won’t absorb the salt, but absorb the water. People have survived otherwise certain-death situations because of that.

In some groups recommending a colonic, or any of the many colon cleansing products, is a way of telling someone they are full of shit. I suppose, using the same logic, mentioning liver cleans might substitute for calling them a lush.

Colon cleansing? You have to be kidding me. What’s next? The charlatans will be trying to sell us products to clean the “plaque” from our teeth or a product to blow the excess “mucus” in our sinuses into. Thank goodness we have blogs like this to remind us to make sure that what’s in our colons, stays in our colons.

This is a serious problem. As anyone who’s seen Beverly Hills Cop would know, “by the time the average American is fifty, he’s got five pounds of undigested red meat in his bowels.”

Dear SemiColon,

What physiological benefits do the bacteria forming plaque on your teeth provide?

Signed,
Your colonic microflora providing SCFAs which are a primary energy source for host cells in the colon and preventing pathogen populations from getting out of control and causing disease.

Today, Sunday, August 22, 2010, early AM, NBC Weekend Today had a segment on detox cleansers. The idiots even mentioned the prices for the products ranging from (as I recall) $65 a day to $210 A DAY!

They never mentioned squat about the obvious impossibility of putting that much worth of any ingredients (short of powered gold) into a product that is supposed to actually remove stuff from you. The “registered dietitian” “expert” was a twit. Pure and freakin’ simple. She is brain dead. She is by no means qualified to go on national TV and tell a few million people what they need to know about “detox” which appears to be simply a bogus way to make gobs of money. The interviewer was a credulous as they all seem to be.

NBC and the producers of the Weekend Today show are practicing some pretty weak public education. And they are certainly not journalists. Their little detox segment was more like a commercial for the three products featured.
$210 a day. WTF?

Go out a walk a few miles. Eat some freakin’ veggies and fruit. Detox my ass. Oh. They do that too…

Now, if my boat sinks… Well, saltwater enemas can help with hydration as the colon won’t absorb the salt, but absorb the water. People have survived otherwise certain-death situations because of that.

Be sure to report back after testing this notion.

I cleansed my colon with borax, horse oats and magic, and now it’s so clean you can eat your dinner off it.

I had a “colon cleanse” once – and it was even more “natural” than the one advertised by “Dr. Natura”.

I was working in a remote part of a country in Africa and had a “close encounter” with cholera. I spent the next several days ridding my colon of everything it had accumulated since the moment of my conception. I can assure you, there wasn’t anything hiding in my colon after that “colon cleanse”.

Funny thing, though – I didn’t feel at all “refreshed”, “energised” or less “stressed”. If anything, I felt more tired, stressed and distracted than I had the week before.

Could it be that this “colon cleanse” business is full of s**t?

Prometheus

Isn’t this just another modern version of “peasant medicine”?

If it smells awful, boils your skin off, looks disgusting, hurts like mad or tastes like a swamp – it’s probably good for you.

But colonic cleansing is so natural! Homo erectus learned how to use fire primarily to brew coffee for enemas. Animals in the wild do it all the time! I’ve hardly gone a single day camping without some woodland creature showing up to put their ass on my morning coffee cup.

There’s been a long tradition of colon-cleanse woo; the Kellogg’s cereal company in part owes its existance to it.

If memory serves, the late lamented Alex Comfort devoted a chapter in “The Anxiety Makers” to Kellogg and his bowel obsessions, which by force of showmanship he managed to turn into a recurring theme within the Universe of Woo. Kellogg was so hung up on the dangers of ‘autointoxication’ from insufficiently-cleansed colons that one of his favourite prescriptions was the surgical remedy… yank out a metre or so of colon, and yes, the contents do move through faster.

I say “if memory serves” because I haven’t seen a copy for decades, buggrit

MA’s Law

There is no 19th Century medical idiocy so ridiculous, so repellent or so obviously useless and/or harmful that it will not be adopted by new age alternative medicine woo artists.

I have seen the inside of a colon (someone else’s colonoscopy)after a couple of days of bowel prep consisting of clear liquids and jello diet followed by a couple of doses of a strong liquid and it was completely clean – no signs of the 20 pounds of waste that the woo meister’s claim is there.

MA, have you thought of packaging the clear liquid and jello in a fancy box, and selling it for $59.99? Might get you on NBC as “cheaper alternative to high price pharma products”

It certainly sounds more pleasant than what I’ve heard from older relatives who had to get their first colonoscopy, and were told to use the whimsically named “GoLytely” for their bowel prep. Dave Barry had a hilarious column devoted to his experience with it.

heh. I direct a social media team at a global PR firm and I’m sending a link to this post to the entire team with the subject header “if you ever do anything this stupid I will hunt you down.”

Now, if my boat sinks… Well, saltwater enemas can help with hydration as the colon won’t absorb the salt, but absorb the water. People have survived otherwise certain-death situations because of that.

Be sure to report back after testing this notion.

Posted by: Otto | August 22, 2010 8:04 PM

I don’t need to test it. It’s already been demonstrated multiple times in real-world, life-or-death situations.

And it’s not a panacea by any means and I certainly didn’t mean for anyone to somehow believe it was viable in some sort of long-term strategy for survival. At the point in time you start, it’s that or die as it’ll only give you a few days before the technique itself becomes detrimental to your health.

It works better if you can dilute the salinity of the water. Such as, non-potable, but salinity-reduced water you might have accumulated in your life-raft during a storm.

Bottom-line though, it is a desperate last-resort attempt at saving one’s life in a worst-case scenario and is taught in military survival training because it does work as a desperate, last-measure to buy some time. Catty comments to the contrary.

I would have thought cleansing the internal digestive organs was beneficial. Why else should we consume fiber?

“I don’t need to test it. It’s already been demonstrated multiple times in real-world, life-or-death situations.”

And the control group? In other words it has not been tested, but there are people that believe in it. Yes they survived but so have others that did not resort to it. I have read quite a few stories of lost mariners, they did not all do it.

Eating fiber doesn’t cleanse the digestive tract any more than any other food. What it does is give your intestines something more to grab on to. (As I understand it, anyway. I’m a layperson.)

As far as clinical trials of last-ditch hydration by saltwater enema….. Good luck getting that by an IRB, sailor. I would think you’d even have trouble testing that on animals, as you must necessarily get them close to death, and will be testing how many actually perish of dehydration in the control and study groups.

I would have thought cleansing the internal digestive organs was beneficial.

Cleanse them of what? People have this weird idea that their bowels cannot cope without constant supervision, and left to themselves they will hang onto old food like a childhood grudge. Personally I suspect that my bowels know what they’re doing better than I do.

William Burroughs said it best, years ago:
“Americans have a special horror of giving up control, of letting things happen in their own way without interference. They would like to jump down into their own stomachs and digest the food and shovel the shit out.”

Though if Sailor has external digestive organs, as the reference to “internal digestive organs” leads one to infer, then of course his or her mileage may vary.

“I have seen the inside of a colon (someone else’s colonoscopy)after a couple of days of bowel prep consisting of clear liquids and jello diet followed by a couple of doses of a strong liquid and it was completely clean – no signs of the 20 pounds of waste that the woo meister’s claim is there.”

You won’t find it in the large colon, its in the small colon. Eat french fries with gravy every day, wash it down with a large milkshake, eat some donuts for desert, eat no fiber (IOW, SAD) and watch what happens to your small colon. It won’t stay small for very long. That stuff, especially the dairy mixed with sugar forms an adhesive that will stick to anything including your intestinal pipes. Biofilms can then form and you end up with an intestinal infection that even antibiotics can’t reach. The only solution at that point is removal of the sludge. Or suffer along with the diagnosis of IBS, your choice.

At least you get great comedy material from this colon obsession.
Like Absolutely Fabulous-:

Eddie: Why do you have to pick on everything I do? Darling, all I want is a few little things, a few little pleasures, a few little crutches to help me get through life, darling.
Saffie: Get through? Mum, you’ve absolved yourself of responsibility. You live from self-induced crisis to self-induced crisis. Someone does your hair, someone chooses what you wear, someone does your brain, someone tells you what to eat and three times a week someone sticks a hose up your bum and flushes it all out of you.
Eddie: Oh. OH… It’s called colonic irrigation, darling. It’s not to be sniffed at.
Saffie: Why can’t you just go to the toilet like normal people?
Eddie: Is that what you really want me to be, darling? NORMAL? Some boring, old, normal, old, toilet goer, huh? HMM? “Where is mommy?” “She’s on the TOILET.” “But I want to go somewhere interesting and meet exciting people”. “Well, she can’t take you while she’s on the bloody TOILET”. Why, anybody can go to the toilet, darling, these days.
Saffie: Well, they obviously haven’t seen YOU drunk.

Mu @33 & Calli @34 – I left out the word laxative after the words strong liquid. I think it was magnesium citrate.

@41 Citation Needed (one that does not violate Scopies Law

The Colon cleanses that are are sold in health food stores usually contain a swelling clay (I think it was Montmorillonite or Bentonite). This results in the user shitting a dark cast of their colon thereby convincing the customer that the cleanse got rid of a huge volume of the dreaded toxic sludge.

You won’t find it in the large colon, its in the small colon.
Regrettably, I cannot find the “small colon” in any medical textbook, let alone find toxic waste therein.

“Regrettably, I cannot find the “small colon” in any medical textbook, let alone find toxic waste therein.”

You won’t find “toxic waste” in a medical textbook, you need to look in the colon 🙂

Not sure what textbook you have but it should show a long intestinal tube with a small diameter connected to a shorter intestinal tube with a larger diameter. Perhaps they use the term bowel, intestine, or some other variation and that’s what fooled you. Anyway, the reason you can’t find the “toxic waste” as you put it, is because the epithelial glycocalyx might be in a separate chapter or perhaps not covered in that textbook.

“Perhaps they use the term bowel, intestine, or some other variation and that’s what fooled you. Anyway, the reason you can’t find the “toxic waste” as you put it, is because the epithelial glycocalyx might be in a separate chapter or perhaps not covered in that textbook. ”

Perhaps it’s all a big pharma conspiracy to hide the existence of the ‘small colon’ for their own nefarious ends?!!111!

P.S blog post is entitled ‘More in the annals of “Boy, did they ever send this to the wrong Blogger”‘- more like anals, amirite?

So a “colon cleanse” is actually intended to clean the small intestine?

Why do alties keep misusing basic terminology? It’s as if they don’t want my money.

The one thing I learned in primary school is that if you don’t know the difference between a letterbox and an elephant then I shouldn’t ask you to post my letters.
The same applies to someone who thinks the colon and the small intestine are interchangeable.

MA’s Law
There is no 19th Century medical idiocy so ridiculous, so repellent or so obviously useless and/or harmful that it will not be adopted by new age alternative medicine woo artists.

Gotcha. Radium.
Also, limburger cheese.

herr doktor bimler, you are mistaken about the radium, though perhaps not the limburger cheese.

A parasitologist once told me that he was driven to distraction by people who believed their GI tracts were infested with various unlikely parasites. He said people were forever bringing him pieces of partly digested food they had found in their stools that they were convinced were some new species of worm unknown to science. His best story was of someone bringing him some worms that had been given to them by their colonic therapist after an irrigation, as evidence of the benefits – “Look what I washed out of your colon!”. They were planarian worms, of the sort commonly sold by aquariums as fish food.

Personally I would tell the Colonix spammers where to stick it…

@41

That makes absolutely no sense at all. Do you know what is the role of the small intestine ? It’s the place you absorb nutriments – to where they get where they can be used, in the bloostream.

If something got stuck into its walls like you imply, or if it was infected, it would destroy its ability to absorb foodstuff in the bloodstream, since it does so via its surface epithelium. Food absorption does not happen passively, ie, with nutriment molecules going in via “holes”, it must be done actively, by living tissue, on living cell surfaces. Destroy that surface by infection or cover it up with “biofilm”, and that transport capability is lost.

The effect it would have is you would waste away and starve to death, not get fatter, as we can readily observe of people who gorge themselves on donuts, milkshakes and sodas.

The food you just described is actually mostly very clean fuel – sugars, which are the main source of energy for metabolism. It makes you grow fat precisely because it is so easy to treat, has very little residue to interfere with absorption, and is very energetically dense, as in, one bite of these contains much more calories than, say brocoli, which is full of undigestible material (cellulose, or if you prefer, fiber).

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