The Right Chemistry: ‘Ditch Your Meds’? Don’t listen to ‘The People’s Chemist’

The absurd statements of Shane Ellison, who markets a large number of “chemical-free” supplements, are surprising, given his background in chemistry.

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The self-declared and misinformed pundits screaming from the top of their soap boxes are a penny a dozen these days. But it is one thing to hear nonsensical rhetoric about the need to avoid substances with unpronounceable names from a scientifically illiterate blogger, and quite another to witness a legitimate chemist urging people to adopt a “chemical-free” lifestyle. However, those are the exact words used by Shane Ellison, who has anointed himself as “The People’s Chemist.”

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“Without chemicals” is a doubly absurd expression. For one thing, nothing but a vacuum cleaner is chemical-free. Chemicals are just the building blocks of all matter. Second, the message implies that “chemicals” are synonymous with “toxins” or “poisons.” Nonsense! Chemicals are neither good nor bad, their specific use must be judged on their merits, as determined by proper scientific research. How the words “chemical free” can come out of the mouth of someone with a master’s degree in organic chemistry is a true mystery.

While “chemical-free” may be construed as benign gibberish, urging people to “ditch their meds” is the opposite. Ellison, who once worked for a pharmaceutical company, is now telling people that the time has come to give up their blood pressure, thyroid, cholesterol-lowering and antidepressant medications because they are evil concoctions that have been imposed on him. world a ruthless for-profit medical industry. complex. Incredibly, neglecting insulin is also included in this regrettable and reckless advice.

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Ellison’s attacks also target COVID vaccines, which he claims contain a “chemical storm to combat the common cold disguised as COVID-19.” It even links vaccines to the production of Zyklon B, the famous cyanide-releasing chemical used in Nazi gas chambers. Zyklon B was manufactured by the IG Farben Company, which Ellison says “after war broke out at Bayer and Merck, which became Modern.” That is ridiculous and even the story is wrong. Merck existed long before IG Farben, and Moderna is not a spinoff of Merck. Just another example of the lengths rogues will go to in order to gain a following. Not surprisingly, Ellison also claims that the “HIV / AIDS hypothesis was a huge mistake” and that “Dr. Fauci and other scientists driven by the pharmaceutical industry” made millions selling treatments that were unnecessary. Just totally nonsense. sense.

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By now you’ve probably guessed that this sage offers an alternative to drugs that he says should be abandoned. A group of “chemical free” supplements is available for purchase through their website. For example, after ruling out vaccines and claiming they are not necessary for a non-existent virus, he powers his own “Immune FX” containing an extract from two plants, Andrographis paniculate and coriander. Plants apparently do not contain chemicals. A literature search on the medicinal value of these plants yields some evidence that coriander has antibiotic effects in the gut of broilers and some Andrographis compounds have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity when tested in cell culture. There is no evidence that “Immune X” has been tested in human trials.

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A supplement labeled “Serotonin FX” suggests that it increases levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that may indeed have an antidepressant effect, as the use of prescription “serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)” clearly demonstrates. Ellison’s formula contains the amino acid L-Tryptophan which, again, is not considered a chemical. While L-tryptophan is in fact the precursor to serotonin in the body, there is no clinical evidence of equivalence to SSRIs. Patients who have been prescribed these drugs go into deep water in case they are replaced with “Serotonin FX”.

The other supplements promoted by People’s Chemist are similarly devoid of evidence. His answer to pain is “Relief FX” with ingredients extracted from white willow bark and ginger root. Willow bark contains salicylic acid which has pain relieving properties, but it also irritates the stomach. That is why it has been replaced by acetylsalicylic acid, better known as aspirin. Synthetic aspirin is superior to natural salicylic acid, so going back to willow bark is pointless. Ginger is a chemically complex mixture of dozens of compounds, some of which have pain relieving effects, but the “Relief FX” label does not provide information on which ginger-derived compounds are present or in what doses.

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Men who are concerned about testosterone levels are offered “Raw-T”, an extract of sarsaparilla root. But they will be disappointed if they replace their prescription testosterone with this concoction. Testosterone is a steroid and sarsaparilla contains related compounds called sterols, however these are not converted to testosterone in the body. There is also no evidence that “Pre-workout” advertised as “Faster, stronger in 59 minutes without chemicals” delivers the products. Never mind that Citrulline, Tyrosine, Hawthorne Extract, Yerba Mate, and Huperzine A are absurdly described as non-chemicals, the claim that any substance can make someone faster, taller, or louder in 59 minutes stalls.

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“The People’s Chemist” curiously uses a microscope as its logo, an instrument chemists do not commonly use. He also describes how he walked away from a “prize-winning career as a medicinal chemist” when he discovered that people taking cholesterol drugs, cancer drugs, and blood thinners were simply victims of Pharma’s insidious marketing practices. There are indeed some reprehensible practices and they should be brought to light, but that doesn’t mean that all drugs should be tarred and feathered with blatantly ridiculous arguments. Ellison says he shed blood, sweat, tears, and years to become a chemist. He could also have used a little common sense poured into his head. With an attempt at humor, he adds that there were actually no tears, because chemists don’t cry. Incorrect! His chatter about a “chemical-free” lifestyle can bring any chemist to tears. The only question is whether it is from laughing or crying.

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Joe Schwarcz is Director of the Office of Science and Society at McGill University (mcgill.ca/oss). Presents The Dr. Joe Show on CJAD Radio 800 AM every Sunday from 3-4pm

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Reference-montrealgazette.com

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