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Does do-it-yourself colon cleansing really improve health?

Rating

5 Star

Does do-it-yourself colon cleansing really improve health?

Our Review Summary

Starting with a dry comment about how obsessed some people are with their digestive tracts, and what a boon this is for the alternative medicine industry, this story goes on to evaluate the claims in a way we only wish would be applied more often to more treatments, tests, products and procedures. Another 5-star score for the Healthy Skeptic.  Why don’t more news organizations do something like this?

 

Why This Matters

Punch line to this story:  claims that colon cleansing supplements can somehow detoxify the colon and improve overall health "have no basis in science."

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Satisfactory

This column always does a good job discussing costs – and raising questions of cost-effectiveness.  So why do more than 70% of the stories we’ve reviewed fail to discuss costs?

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Satisfactory

The "no basis in science" quote applies here as well.

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?

Satisfactory

Harms are usually dismissed with such products.  But this column states: 

  • Kastenberg warns that the large amounts of magnesium in Oxy-Powder could be dangerous for people with kidney trouble. Inadomi adds that germanium, another ingredient in Oxy-Powder, is considered a potential "human health hazard" by the Food and Drug Administration. Because NuAge doesn’t disclose ingredients on its site, neither Kastenberg nor Inadomi could speculate on the potential safety of that product.

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Satisfactory

Short and sweet excerpt:  "claims that colon cleansing supplements can somehow detoxify the colon and improve overall health ‘have no basis in science.’ "

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Satisfactory

The opposite of disease-mongering.  Great debunking excerpt:

  • "The often-repeated claim that most colons are clogged with 10, 20 or even 40 pounds of impacted material is ridiculous, Inadomi says. He notes that people preparing for a colonoscopy have to take a strong laxative that completely cleans out the colon. Even with this total scrubbing, "they only lose a couple of pounds, maybe 5 at the most," he says. He’s never heard of anyone losing anything close to 40 pounds: "You’d have to check the ‘Guinness Book of World Records’ for that one," he says."

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?

Satisfactory

The column quoted two independent experts.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Satisfactory

The column really drove home the option of choosing NOT to cleanse one’s colon given the lack of evidence of benefits in doing so.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Satisfactory

The story makes clear that these products are readily available.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Not Applicable

Not applicable.  This column wasn’t about letting companies get away with making claims of novelty.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?

Satisfactory

It’s clear that this column did not rely solely or largely on a news release.

Total Score: 9 of 9 Satisfactory

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