Axe-idental Poisoning (Josh Axe Debunked)

magical periodic table

How are iron and copper released by bentonite clay while chromium and manganese are targeted and swept away?  Dr. Axe doesn’t sufficiently explain this, but accidentally delves into antimatter and magic in his attempt (see text).


So you’ve had another gut-wrenching GMO-free meal at Chi-coli (aka Chipotle) and you’re in need of a quick detox?  Is that what’s bothering you Bunky?  Well set your mind at ease. According to chiropractor and “natural medicine doctor” Josh Axe, all you need to do is eat some dirt.  But not just any dirt.  No, what’s needed here is bentonite clay, a miracle soil that will cleanse and heal the body (get your credit cards ready).1

“Bentonite clay benefits your body by helping to expel many of these toxins [mercury, cadmium, lead, and benzene] and therefore increases immunity and reduces inflammation” 1 — Josh Axe

Golly gee!  I want to know more!

“On top of being able to draw-out toxins from the body, the clay itself has a range of nutrients” 1 — Josh Axe


Wait.  Hold on.  Does the clay draw elements out of the body, or put them in?

“When ingested into the body, either in a drink form or by eating the clay, its vitamins and minerals are absorbed similarly to how a supplement would be. Therefore some people use it as a supplement since the clay is a natural source of important dietary nutrients.” 1 –Axe, again

Clay is a source of “important dietary nutrients”, so it puts them into the body?  OK, I’ll bite (no pun intended).  For the sake of argument, let’s take this claim and run with it.  What are the nutritional benefits of bentonite clay, Dr. Axe?1

dr axe bentonite clay

Dr. Axe’s claimed nutritional benefits for bentonite clay include many elements he claims are toxic. (click/enlarge)


¡Madre de Dios!  Let’s look at some of the “nutritional elements” I’ve highlighted in the above graphic from, and see what the man himself has to say about them:

Mercury exposure, both in one large dose and through low level exposure over time, is linked through scientific data to kidney, brain, urological, fertility, neurological, and renal problems” 2  (emphasis mine)

Low level exposure to mercury over time is linked to some very nasty problems by Axe.  But you’ll find it in the clay he wants you to eat.  The story is even worse with lead:

No level of lead exposure appears to be ‘safe’ and even the current ‘low’ levels of exposure in children are associated with neurodevelopmental deficits.” 3 (emphasis mine)

Axe’s lead quote comes from an article he penned on “toxic” chemicals found in lipstick.  According to him, there’s no safe level of this poisonous element, but you’ll find 1.17mg of lead in each heaping helping tablespoon of his recommended clay.1

Not content with both feet in his mouth, Axe figuratively inserts other remaining body parts as well: in his bentonite clay, you’ll find each and every element I emphasize in his following quote:

The European Union has banned the presence of cadmium, chromium and lead altogether in cosmetics. The Canadian government has set limits for the content of antimony, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, mercury and lead in cosmetics. They’re still trying to determine what levels are avoidable in the manufacturing process.” 3

Why limit the levels of these elements, Dr. Axe?

“While the FDA does limit lead in certain color additives used in cosmetics, it doesn’t set limits on lead in final products.  This is troubling because heavy metals accumulate in the body over time. Low amounts can add up to big effects.3


But… but… all of these “heavy metals”, according to you, Dr. Axe, are found in the clay you’re pushing.  But do go on…  what kind of “big effects” can consumers of your super soil expect to experience as the toxins accumulate in their bodies over time?

dr josh axe warns about these metals accumulating over time

Axe issues dire warnings for specific metals accumulating in the body over time.  But each and every metal on this list is found in the bentonite clay he recommends you eat. (click/enlarge)


Pot.  Kettle.  Black.

Of course, you could still buy into Axe’s contradictory argument that bentonite clay hunts down and removes these metals from the body.  The problem is, he can’t explain how the good metals are dropped off at the physiological bus stop while the bad ones are picked up by the heavy metal police and carted off to jail without ever passing go.  He makes a hilarious attempt, referencing “positively charged electrons” (that’s antimatter!), but in the end it boils down to magic.  So that I’m not accused of quote mining, I invite you to read his entire article.

Speaking of buying:  Bien sûr, after Axe sings the praises of bentonite clay, he just so happens to have a particular brand he recommends…

dr axe's hidden affiliate link

“Dr.” Axe has a favorite clay–and an undisclosed affiliate link. (click/enlarge)


Not only does Axe recommend bentonite, he earns money when you buy it.   In the above image, I’ve highlighted the hidden, encoded affiliate link.  When you’re redirected to Amazon to snag this product, not only does Josh Axe get a cut of the purchase price, he’s also set up to earn commissions on anything else you happen to buy during your shopping session.4,5  Amazon pays out because they’re grateful to Axe for directing you to their web site.  The problem is, legally, the good doctor is supposed to clearly disclose his affiliation when he sends you off to buy–but he never does.

axe hidden link expanded

You can clearly see Axe’s affiliation in the decoded URL (uniform resource locator) after being directed to Amazon.  Axe earns money not only from this purchase, but others you make as well. (click/enlarge)


I’ve covered a lot of ground (another dirt pun; sorry) in this piece, and for good reason: there are few things worse, in my humble opinion, than a person hiding behind the title of “doctor” using bad science and fear mongering to sell you products that contain the very same ingredients they’re telling you will harm you.  Here’s a brief recap and, as always, thanks for reading:

  • Axe simultaneously claims bentonite clay both sweeps elements out of your system and puts them in.  Which is it?
  • No scientific explanation is given for the above contradiction.  Axe ascribes near-magical abilities to bentonite, allowing it to hunt down toxins with “positively charged electrons” (antimatter?  WTF?) after coming into contact with water.  Harry Potter would be proud.
  • The so-called doctor’s mastery of chemistry is so poor he can’t differentiate between elements and minerals.
  • The “no safe level of chemical to ingest” mantra could not be more clear in Axe’s writing, yet he proudly lists the levels of each proclaimed toxic chemical in bentonite clay.  Does he ever read his own words and labels?


axe unadvertised affiliate link

Help Dr. Axe go on vacation by giving him a cut of all qualifying purchased you make after visiting via his hidden affiliate link.  (click/enlarge)


Image Credits
Josh Axe, Redmond Clay, and website screen snapshots are used in strict compliance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (commonly known as “fair use law”). This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

Snippet of the periodic table of the elements taken from and also used under Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (commonly known as “fair use law”) with the intent of providing education.  Happy faces poorly drawn by the author.


(1) 10 Proven Bentonite Clay Benefits And Uses

(2) Dangers of Amalgam Fillings

(3) Is Your Lipstick Toxic?

(4) Affiliate Program Description

(5) Affiliate Compensation Schedule


54 thoughts on “Axe-idental Poisoning (Josh Axe Debunked)

  1. You might want to start providing “archive” URLs to these webpages because charlatans have a bad habit of deleting stuff without making note of it. This has become very popular recently with regards to shoddy journalism but this is another useful application.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for posting this. Calling this guy a quack is an insult to quacks. There are some alternative med people doing really good work but if they’re trying to sell you something, run don’t walk.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad someone else is saying this.

      All too often people assume you have to be either pro-western medicine or pro-alternative medicine. There is misinformation on both sides; whether it’s from pharmaceutical companies or hacks like Dr Axe. But that doesn’t mean that either are entirely bullshit.


  3. I was recently introduced to this Dirty Crack, D.C. via Facebook inviting me to an online seminar that promised to solve all of my unknown problems. Hmmm? A few keys and clicks later, I’m finishing up a comment in reply to one of the most amusing and well-stated articles I’ve enjoyed, thanks!


  4. I just saw him on PBS, categorizing people according to gut type. Autoimmune diseases defined one group; skin diseases, another. Psoriasis, a skin disease, is an autoimmune disease,as are some other skin diseases. His ignorance of basic science and medicine is worrisome.


  5. I love Dr. Axe and have followed some of his protocol for leaky gut and am having wonderful results so far. I have been studying natural health as a hobby for over 20 years now and I feel he is right on target from things I’ve learned through the years. I feel he is very trustworthy. Dr Axe is NOT a quack…sorry to disagree. I think he’s great!!


    • Thanks for reading and commenting Pam. Disagreement is great and debate is welcome here. I’d be honestly interested in knowing how you feel about the fact that Axe is selling products with the same ingredients he says will poison you.


      • If you bother to listen to the video, he does explain. The heavy metals are already bonded or will bond with other minerals in the clay, and it passes right through your body. The bad led & other heavy metals are not bonded, so they stick around and accumulate. The clay sucks those unbounded heavy metals and removes them out your poop shooter. I listened to the video, then wanted to check for myself, as any responsible person should. I found this website, but honestly, it looks like you guys just saw that key words like led / mercury / ect. and stopped researching there. That does make sense, thinking “why would I put something in my body that I’m trying to remove,” but he also breaks down how spinach, for example, has many, many times led than anything you’d be getting from the clay. It’s always good to get a different viewpoint, but I’d hate for someone to get turned off from something that could be very healthy for them by a bit of non-fully researched misinformation presented on this website. I have MS & very much wanting to remove any unwanted heavy metals from my brain. Do you personally have any suggestions? I’d love to hear. Thanks 😉


  6. I was looking at some of his products on-line. I was curious about his bone broth, collagen and leaky gut powders. I defintely have gut issues I am working to remedy. I understand the clay issue but are you saying none his product have merit or value or just particulary when we are talking about the clay. With other products I have ask the same question – how does a product keep the good and only eliminate the bad….. ?


    • // I understand the clay issue but are you saying none his product have merit or value or just particulary when we are talking about the clay //

      He himself says the products aren’t intended to diagnose or cure any disease. They’re not tested or approved for such purposes. In this particular case, you are asking a very wise question: how does a product keep the good features and only eliminate the bad, when it contains the very ingredients that Josh Axe says are dangerous? I’d love to talk to Axe himself and have him explain this.


      • This is a legal issue, not an evidentiary one. These products are dietary supplements under DSHEA (Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act) and are treated as food, so the FDA doesn’t subject them to the rigorous approval process applied to drugs. Since they are not drugs, the Act requires the disclaimer, “This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.” Essentially, it’s boilerplate language that you’ll find on virtually all supplement labels. The burden is on the FDA to restrict products that are obviously unsafe; the manufacturer has no duty to establish that the products are safe and/or effective before they are marketed.


  7. Of course, your suggestion is correct: Axe can’t have it both ways. Some forms of heavy metals are more toxic than others, such as methyl mercury vs elemental mercury, and the amounts may differ depending on where the mineral is sourced. These factors are unlikely to change the bottom line that the product contains unsafe ingredients. Unfortunately, there’s no duty on the part of Axe (and little inclination on the part of the FDA due to staffing, $, etc.) to delve into this and determine whether the benefits outweigh the risks. Caveat emptor.


  8. I love these comments trying to call Dr. Axe a quack…I didn’t know people even used that terminology anymore??? You’re right why should I listen to this guy who obviously incredibly healthy when I can go to my 300lb medical doctor because they are doing a fantastic job getting Americans healthy! Oh wait, they’ve tried for over 100 years with their medical practices to restore health and we now lead the WORLD in cancer, heart disease, depression and obesity….so yeah I’m going with the “quacks” every day of the week because I figure the value of a doctor should be determined not by the number of meds they are able to put their patients on but by the number of meds they are able to help them get off of or even better prevent them from ever taking!!! Oh and don’t forget if you’re just concerned about what the FDA says is safe, remember they say that McDonald’s and Twinkees are safe…let that sink in!!!


    • Aaron, thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I’m hoping you’ll write back with one more reply because I appreciate honest dialogue: how do you feel about the fact the Axe is selling supplements that contain exactly the same in ingredients he says will harm you?

      Also, I’m not sure where you’re getting your information on the USA leading the world in heart disease? Unless I’m mistaken, the top 5 countries are


      And we’ve lowered the cancer death rates in nearly every category.

      Looking forward to hearing back from you.


      • “how do you feel about the fact the Axe is selling supplements that contain exactly the same in ingredients he says will harm you?”

        Why are you obsessing over this point so greatly? Several people have tried to widen the discussion to something more constructive and this is all you seem to be able to respond with?

        Of course if it is effing ridiculous if Dr Axe is pushing a product containing ingredients he says are harmful. Anyone can see that. It is dishonest and unprofessional.

        However, this does not discredit all of his views on the benefits of nutrition – many of which are held by people of whom I hold in high regard, unlike Dr Axe.

        All too often people seem so hell-bent on debunking “shills” that they are unable to see the flaws in our own western model of medicine.


  9. Thank you for taking the time to debunk the claims made by this guy. He is obviously not trained in Medicine. All of these people use the same basic template to market their products, same buzz words and phrases. if you watch or listen to enough of their infomercials ,you can begin to see the same patterns.


  10. Seems like he has deleted his profile!! Can’t find your health degrees or credentials anywhere Mr. Alsip. Enlighten me so…. what college did you graduate from? What degree in any medical field do you have? Or are you simply just a nieve idiot like the millions of other Americans who refuse to see what our food supply and medical doctors are doing to us. Go ahead live up your life eating all the non organic gmo pesticide laced food and when you fall ill maybe you’ll realize what these people were trying to tell you. You have a great day sir!! Oh top it off with some good ole’ Mt. Dew for us…


    • Thanks for reading and commenting. In your reply, I don’t see any rebuttal of the fact that Axe is selling supplements that contain the same ingredients he says are dangerous. Did you accidentally leave that out?


  11. I use bentonite clay to make pottery…in powder form, you need to wear a mask so as to not inhale it. Not something I would want to ingest! I don’t know a lot about this guy, but a lot of what he is promoting/ selling seems fishy. Thanks for the story.


  12. Thank you for your post. I am an MD who is open to natural medicine but not MLM supplement hype or quackery. For some reason I had liked this guy’s page on facebook. He was “live” today with some other guy (probably another one touting himself as a “physician” when he is not an MD), Their topic was “5 steps to improve autism and ADHD”. They had the usual — eliminate gluten, casein, add omega 3’s, but then of course they recommended essential oils and he was talking about his bone broth. Then of course they added “there are many causes — vaccines, heavy metals….” The sketchy “doctor” had just stepped into the realm of quackery. I also heard how if these products were eliminated and others were added, that the kids would be “cured”. “i had a patient who blah blah blah and after we made these changes, he was suddenly talking!” I guess the 1850’s snake oil salesman never faded away. I finally had to add my comments — said he had veered into quack territory with his implication of vaccines. Almost immediately, someone said “were you sent by big Pharma?” And a few seconds later, I was muted by someone monitoring his page, and could no longer post. After all, anyone dissenting with this man’s schlock recommendations might reduce his ability to make $$$$! I’m sure “Dr.” Axe, himself makes quite a profit, but I guess that’s OK because it’s not “big pharma”? I also went back to his facebook page and there’s a photo of him with Dr. Oz. Nuff said. Keep exposing this fraud!!


    • Thanks so much for sharing your experience. Not coincidentally, I was just banned by Axe for pointing out he’s selling supplements that contain PABA while at the same time claiming PABA will kill you! And, of course, before my comments were deleted, I was accused of fronting for Big Pharma. (sigh) 🙂


    • as a person with aspergers all i can say is focusing on nutrition and aiming to improve digestion (or know what works well for myself and what sets me feeling worse) and absorption has benifited me the most. the struggles an autistic person faces are often a matter of trial and error with our own selves, no, it doesnt give me the right to say for certain that “this substance works in this way,” but i would be readily happy and totally up for doing any volunteer as a guinea pig for bonafide scientific trial research into whether any of such folk remedies, traditional hebals, natural and other quakery claims, if i thought it would help science get a firm understanding on how or why something worked/failed, i am just as interested as anyone else to know the specifics of why if i ate this i get this result and why if i ate that i had this result. As much of the advice given about autism is aimed for the parents of autistic kids, and that tends to focus on the behavioural therapies, which can definitly help,( im glad there is more awareness these days about how autistics need different kinds of methods ) but autism doesn’t disappear when you grow up, a good foundation and optimal nutrition is a good start for us autistics who tend to be more sensitive to basically everything, ..Im talking about managment, not cure, no way, i don’t expect a cure, I was told by my doctor that Aspergers has a specific genetic pattern of it’s own, so i doubt any claims of silver bullet cures unless you want to claim to be modifing my dna, (who is brave for that? maybe i can join the xmen) but everyone autistic or not would want to aim for optimal health that they can afford to maintain. then again, I see every time a food / vegetable / fruit is “scientifically proven” to actually be good for you, and it can be clearly explained why and how …thats when it’s price skyrockets, so. yeah.


  13. Thanks for the time you take, for research and clear straightforward thinking.

    I wonder, if he wouldn’t have made this “big mistake” about what the clay actually has in it, how easy it would have been to debunk other stuff he is doing. Its probably getting easier with time, as he must be getting sloppy to miss something that obvious. Of course, you have to pick the lowest hanging fruit and go for the simplest, most obvious – with so many quacks, how else can you hope to get to them all!


  14. Mr. Dr. Axe is not a real doctor, Ms. Dr. Axe is neither.. this is called scam. Some of the stuff he says makes sense, but seeing how he uses the word Dr, makes me cringe and get sick. Abuse of image for self-profit.


    • I’m not a professional dietician but it looks like a lot of woo. I don’t see any contradictions vs. the ingredients he says to avoid, but I know you can easily get the same nutrients from less expensive food.


  15. Excellent post, Mr. Alsip!!
    I love seeing pseudo-scientific B.S. debunked.
    I’m also really enjoying all the Axe defenders lame attempts to stick up for the dude, and not responding when you get back to them showing evidence of his quackery, or asking their opinions on his frequent self-contradiction and harmful ideas.

    Any chance you’d consider doing a few about Anabolic Men?
    It’s a website and youtube page, that basically sells people a lot of crazy ideas.
    Like telling people “we should all be eating more salt and sugar, and drinking less water”, and selling herbal pills that “increase testosterone and improve metabolism”.


  16. Anyone who goes on the Dr Oz show should be taken with a grain of salt and not be trusted. I am trying MCT oils now because i did find legit studies on PUB Med, i almost did not try them because i saw that Dr Axe commented on them. Most things coming out of Dr Axe and Dr Oz should be avoided most of the time and the claims for these products is highly exaggerated, same as Dr Mercola.


  17. I was just about to sign up for his program to heal the leaky gut syndrome! I am glad I did some research online and came across your site.
    I am sadden that you can not trust anything that sound so good and promising. I was so looking forward to get some help with his program… back to do more


    • It’s okay this doesn’t mean you have to stop searching for a nutrition/lifestyle based method of recovery. Now you just know where not to look!

      I’m sure you can find someone more honest and qualified than Dr Axe to get information from 🙂


  18. I am also concerned about Dr Axe promoting the ingestion of essential oils. It is basic science that oil and water don’t mix yet he says it’s OK. This is something that should concern people as well.


  19. Hey Alsip, There is nothing worse than someone “debunking” something they know nothing about. Here are PEER REVIEWED scientific studies showing bentonite removes lead. Where are yours?Also why did you not answer “Concerned American” when he requested your credentials, educational background, etc. ?


    • Your logical fallacies are “argument from authority” and “ad hominem”. Oh, and “shifting the burden of proof.”

      Now, back to it: I believe the article you’re commenting on shows one of your Heroes selling a product that contains the same ingredient he says is toxic. Rather than pivoting, why not address the topic? Looking forward to your reply?


  20. Does the discrepancy have nothing to do with organic vs. man-made aluminum? I was under the impression that the aluminum, lead, chromium, copper, etc. that occur naturally in our dirt, water, and plant life was ok – and that it is the industrial aluminum in things such as deodorant, that can accumulate in the body causing issues. Is this not the case?


    • Thanks for reading and commenting Sarah.

      There’s no such thing as man-made aluminum, so no, that line of reasoning wouldn’t apply. The aluminum you find in your deodorants (and wherever else you look) came out of the ground, just like the aluminum you find in dirt, water, etc. Anyone who tells you differently is playing fast and loose with facts.


        • To be blunt Sarah, it is an outright lie. You do not have to take my word for this. The link claims there is no aluminum in the clay, but openly admits there is “alumina oxide” (Al2SO3).

          Al2SO3 means that there are two ALUMINUM atoms, one sulphur atom, and three oxygen atoms in a molecule of their clay. They’re openly showing you the aluminum.

          They also are wrong in identifying Al2SO3 as an “element”. It absolutely is not an element. Aluminum, sulphur, and oxygen are elements. In their clay, they make up the compound named ALUMINUM OXIDE. Note how they say “alumina” instead of aluminum to seemingly further disguise the presence of aluminum.


          • I believe “man made aluminum” would refer to the process of extracting aluminum from the soil and all the other nutrients around it. Kind of how cocoa leaves contain cocaine, but until you “man make” that cocaine, by removing all the other nutrients & plant parts, it’s just a mild stimulant in a leaf. Cocoa leaves = basically ok, cocaine = highly addictive drug with horrible & potential fatal side effects. Aluminum is definitely not man made, but the bulk amount that is sold as aluminum foil & other products is definitely a processed material. As with most / any heavily processed materiel, you’re making a potentially dangerous product.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Thanks for reading and commenting Jason.

            The hucksters I’m criticizing say the mere presence of aluminum is dangerous, so you’d have to fight that battle with them. It IS in their products. They claim it is dangerous, not me.

            toxicity isn’t determined by whether something is “natural” or “processed”. Dosage, route of administration, even a condition such as kidney disease (which would hamper an individual’s ability to eliminate aluminum) are some of the many factors that come into play.

            Please don’t fall into the “appeal to nature” fallacy. It’s a dangerous trap. Thanks again for the feedback!


  21. Sadly, he suggest eating Liver to “detox” your own liver, after saying to stop eating regular meat found in stores. Makes no sense, since the Liver of the animal you are eating was used to STRAIN all the TOXINS out of that ANIMALS BODY in the first place. Bad, bad advice.


    • LOL, good catch! Maybe he’s suggesting homeopathic liver… taking all the toxin-retaining tissue and diluting it until there’s no original material left and… and…

      no I just can’t go there. One of his followers might pick up on the theory and believe it’s real 😉

      Thanks for reading and commenting nolivereatinghere!


  22. Pingback: Another Miracle Cure – Whole Foods Plant Based North Carolina

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