I recently described the ‘health correspondents’ who feature in a local free publication called the Ponsonby News. This month they have a new one, Deborah Kelland*. In her first article entitled ‘Is your dog as healthy as you?’** Ms Kelland described how she has recently completed four liver/gallbladder cleanses
“to rid myself of hundreds of gallstones (that I never realised that I had)”
as a result of reading Andreas Moritz***‘s book ‘The liver and gallbladder miracle cleanse’. Ms Kelland has a hypothyroid Giant Schnauzer called Strauss who she says frequently suffers from infections and
“all kinds of immunity issues”
Declaring herself convinced that the liver “is the fundamental issue in all health disorders”, Ms Kelland decides she should try the liver/gallbladder cleanse regime (five days of apple juice followed by a day of Epsom salts and olive oil, in case you were wondering) on Strauss. She decided to contact Andreas Moritz for guidance, via his Facebook page.
Apparently Mr Moritz could not see how it was feasible to administer his health regime to a dog. Instead he suggested she try Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS), described by Jim Humble in his 2006 self-published book, The Miracle Mineral Solution of the 21st Century, as a cure for HIV, malaria, hepatitis viruses, the H1N1 flu virus, common colds, acne, cancer. You get the picture. And what is this miracle mineral solution? Essentially bleach. Scary. Sold by the tales that MMS detoxifies the body, Ms Kelland started adding a few drops to Strauss’ daily water. The result?
“He excreted days of black tar”
To be fair, she also says he has gone on to gain energy and vitality. Phew.
Needless to say, I’ve written a letter to the editor**** and contacted the vet who’s column appeared alongside hers and urged him to comment too. Isn’t it sad that someone would choose to discuss the health of their pet with a modern day snake-oil salesman over Facebook instead of consulting a vet, and then not worry when they start to excrete black tar? <sigh>
UPDATE 25/9/11: Thanks to Alison Campbell for telling me about this paper in the Lancet by two doctors who analysed ‘gallstones’ given to them by a patient who had been on the ‘gallbladder/liver cleanse’ and found them not to be gallstones at all but ‘soap stones which contained cholesterol, bilirubin, or calcium by established wet chemical methods. Instead they seem to form from the action of gastrointestinal enzymes on the olive oil taken as part of the ‘cleanse’.
* Who I believe is a real estate agent.
** You can read her article in its entirety on page 143 of the online version of the Ponsonby News.
***Actually i’m assuming its this guy, she calls him Andreas Mortiz. Pharyngula on the other hand calls him a ‘cancer quack’!
**** My letter to the editor:
I felt compelled to emerge from my ivory profit-driven tower long enough to warn PN readers of the dangers of following the advice of your latest ‘health correspondent’, Deborah Kelland, who I believe is a real estate agent. Putting aside her odd belief that the liver is the ‘root of all wellbeing and disorder’, I am deeply concerned by her advocating the use of Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS) by people on either themselves or their pets (Is your dog as healthy as you? September issue).
It is certainly true that MMS, which is the rather grandiose name for what is essentially bleach, is capable of killing the malaria parasite and other nasty microbes. However, it is not widely used as a treatment not because of a global conspiracy by the medical establishment against ‘science for people’, but because it is a dangerous chemical capable of killing the patient as well as ‘curing’ the disease. I am relieved that Ms Kelland administered a low enough dose to her Giant Schnauzer to only cause him to have some diarrhoea and I hope that the animal does not suffer any lasting damage.
It saddens me that someone would choose to discuss the health of their pet with a modern day snake-oil salesman over Facebook instead of consulting a vet. I’m afraid MMS is more a case of ‘pseudoscience for profit’ and would urge PN readers to more thoroughly research the subject if tempted to give it a try.
Dr Siouxsie Wiles
Ponsonby resident and University of Auckland medical researcher.
PS I would like to declare that I have no competing interests – I am neither a vet nor medical doctor and do not make a living selling an alternative to bleach to cure all ails. I am a scientist who passionately believes it is important to raise the dangers of believing poorly researched pseudoscientific health claims, regardless of whether they are made by alternative health practitioners or the medical establishment.