Debunking Popular Wellness Trends: Is Celery Juice a Sham?

What do you think is the best thing to drink right as you wake up in the morning? Most of you may think it is water or coffee. But no, celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Jenna Dewan, and Kim Kardashian all swear by the famous celery juice. Health drinks such as golden turmeric milk and herbal teas have always been a hit on social media. Recently, celery juice is a health drink that has gained a large amount of following. This bright green juice has over 300 000 posts on Instagram with #CeleryJuice.

A TikTok video showing how to make celery juice using a juicer. The trend has become so popular that people all around the world are recreating and following the trend.

If you simply scroll through TikTok after typing “celery juice” on the search bar you will see countless videos of people drinking this juice. Most people will claim that this juice has miraculously cleared up their skin.

Trisha Paytas a famous YouTuber made a TikTok video of her journey on celery juice. In this video, she claims that this juice has helped her get rid of her cystic acne just by drinking it for 8 days.
A TikTok showing someone’s skin getting cleared up after drinking celery juice for 9 months. She is showing before and after pictures of her skin and according to these images her skin seems to have cleared up after drinking the celery juice.

But that’s not it! On Instagram and on TikTok you will see many people making claims that this so-called celery juice cleanse can help fight autoimmune diseases, diabetes, Lyme disease, edema, and swelling, but these social media posts do not present us with any concrete evidence.

An Instagram user made an infographic explaining the benefits of celery juice. They are simply showing the claims but there is no proof that it is backed up by evidence.
Claims made by a TikTok user that celery juice can help fight many diseases. These are misleading and can be dangerous for people who believe that this can be true. Disclaimer: The diseases mentioned in the video need proper medical attention and if people truly believe that the food can cure them this can possibly lead to a dangerous health outcome.

So how can we believe them if there is no evidence that this juice can cure all the diseases known to mankind? Where did this trend originate from? How does it work?  As a nutrition major and a curious scientist, I believe that it is important to give the celery juice cleanse the benefit of the doubt. Let’s debunk this trend and understand why you should NOT follow this celery juice cleanse.

Where did the Celery juice cleanse originate?

This concept of celery juice being a cure-all originated from Anthony William a self-proclaimed medical medium who wrote a book called, “Celery Juice: The Most Powerful Medicine of Our Time Healing Millions Worldwide”. Although he is not a health care provider nor a licensed doctor, Anthony William has become extremely popular in the wellness world. He identifies himself as a medium because ever since he was 4 years old, he had a voice that would clearly speak in his right ear. He calls this voice “Spirit”. By the age of 8 years old, he got a message that said he should drink 16 ounces of celery juice first thing in the morning on an empty stomach (I am not making this up all of this information can be found on his own blog). And ever since, he claims that the people he helped to heal with this cleanse has seen miraculous benefits:

“I’ve used it [celery juice] for so many problems. It helps digestion problems, constipation, gas, bloating, acid reflux, acne, UTIs, sinus problems, Lyme disease, even ADHD…. It’s miracle tonic that is changing the shape in alternative medicine like never before,”

– William told mbg in a phone interview.

Right off the bat, this self-proclaimed medium that gets his health and wellness information from “Spirits” is clearly not a credible source. He does not have a degree in nutrition or any health-related fields, which means that any information he gives us should be taken with a grain of salt. And quite frankly from what we have seen so far it should not be considered at all.

What is a cleanse?

A cleanse also known as a detox often involves getting rid of certain foods from an individual’s diet to eliminate harmful toxins from your body. This can be found in the form of a diet, a drink, a powder, or even a fast. In this case, the celery juice cleanse is a drink and one of the claims that Anthony makes is that it contains “cluster salts” that can cling to dangerous substances and flush them out of our system. He mentions that: “science has not yet deconstructed or studied these cluster salts”. This proves us once again that his claims are not evidencebased. And If it doesn’t get worse, he is asking us to blindly accept what he says.

YouTube Video by Anthony William self-proclaimed celery juice expert talking about the miracle effects of celery juice. Listen to him talk about the “undiscovered sodium cluster salts” in celery juice.
An actual medical doctor known as Mike Varshavski is explaining the truth about the claims made by Anthony Williams and his followings on celery juice. Listen to him explain this wellness trend and understand its true effects based on concrete evidence (unlike the video on the left…).

Now, if we turn to science for some answers, the truth is that our body has its own natural cleansing process that eliminates toxins. Our liver, kidneys, and digestive tract all play an important role in eliminating toxins out of our bodies. The liver known as the master detoxifier can break down toxic by-products (i.e., medication, alcohol, drugs, etc.) so that they can be filtered through our kidneys. The kidney can filter any harmful chemicals out of our body through urine. The digestive tract can support detoxification primarily by getting rid of toxins by bowel movements. Now that we have established that our body is able to get rid of toxins naturally, do we really need these so-called cleanse to get rid of them? Clearly not!

What are the risks associated with this trend?

Anthony William and many of his followers are quick to denote the benefits of celery juice as seen previously with the Instagram posts and TikToks. To explain these benefits, Rachel Goodman a registered dietician who owns a private practice called Rachel Good Nutrition believes that people are seeing that celery is helping digestion, decreasing bloat, and clearing up their skin because of how hydrating celery is. She believes that these miraculous effects are being seen because it is giving us the hydration that our body needs and probably does not get enough of. Although there may be some benefits of drinking such large amounts of celery juice, they come at a cost.

Firstly, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), celery juice has 189 mg of sodium in one cup (i.e., 240 ml), which is considered a really high amount. According to Health Canada, an adult should limit their consumption of sodium to about 2,300 mg per day. That being said, drinking several glasses of celery juice per day can make it challenging for an individual to stay under this amount. In addition, studies have suggested that high sodium intake may contribute to increased blood pressure in people that are salt-sensitive. Thus, celery juice could possibly increase blood pressure levels if consumed in large amounts and this could lead to the development of high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

Secondly, celery juice is very high in vitamin K, which plays a key role in blood clotting (i.e., prevents excessive bleeding). In healthy individuals, this is not much of a problem but it is actually preferred, however, the issue here would be if there is a former heart attack or stroke patient that needs to take warfarin, which is a medication used to prevent blood clots. Now, vitamin K does the opposite (i.e., helps in the formation of blood clots), if it is taken with warfarin, it could have serious repercussions on someone’s health. For instance, if a person needs to prevent blood clots from forming, the vitamin K from the celery juice can counteract this effect and cause blood clots to form. This can put someone’s life in danger.

Last but not least, this trend claims that it can treat many diseases as mentioned previously in one of the TikToks. The main issue here is that patients may believe in this miraculous remedy and decide to discontinue seeing their doctor or even stop a treatment to follow this celery juice regimen. If there is one thing that we are being taught by our instructors in my previous nutrition courses is to never downplay the importance of actual medicine in the treatment of diseases. It takes on average 10 years before any type of medication is put out in the market. During that time, it will go through several clinical trials, which are extensive research studies that are performed on humans to prove their efficacy for the specific disease that it is targeting. In contrast, most of the research findings on celery juice are seen in animal research. Animal research is used mainly to obtain preliminary data on a particular research topic that we are interested in. Research done on animals cannot be directly extrapolated to humans since we have completely different physiologically. This means that we still need to conduct the same experiments on human beings to confirm their effects.

This infographic represents the hierarchy of scientific evidence. It shows the studies that are considered as being very strong at the top of the pyramid and the ones considered as being weak are presented at the bottom of the pyramid. As you can see animal research that was mostly used as evidence for celery juice is considered a weak study compared to randomized controlled trials (i.e., clinical trials) that are used to validate medications.

So, for some health guru that has no prior nutrition or medical training to come and tell you that celery juice can be used as the medication is not only insulting but also manipulative. As you can imagine, believing that you can solve chronic health issues with food can be life-threatening.

Is it really worth it?

Now that we have gone through where this cleanse originated from and the different risks that it can impose on someone’s health, I think it is safe to say that the risks outweigh the benefits when it comes to this trend. Firstly, we saw that the creator of the celery juice trend Anthony Williams is a self-proclaimed medical medium, and he has to background in nutrition or health and disease. Therefore, he is clearly not a credible source. Secondly, we were able to see that one of the most important claims of this juice is that it can cleanse our body from harmful toxins, but we saw that physiologically our body has natural processes that can get rid of these harmful substances. In addition, we saw that these attractive claims about celery juice pushed by Anthony Williams are based on no evidence whatsoever! On his website, he clearly mentions that there are no studies conducted on celery juice and how it can help chronic illnesses. It does not even make sense why he, himself is endorsing this trend. If researchers and other experts believed that celery juice could be a cure for all illnesses, don’t you think that they would have investigated it already?

Once again, the celery juice cleanse is another trend that can be harmful to one’s health. Drinking large quantities of this salty juice can increase your blood pressure and lead to developing hypertension and predispose you to heart disease and stroke. Not only that but we saw that it can interact with certain medications such as warfarin and attenuate its effects, which can lead to life-threatening situations. If there is one message to take away from this post is to not believe everything you see or hear on the internet.

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