Josh Axe: Fly On A Windshield

josh axe heavy metals cover

Sitting at a stoplight yesterday, I noticed a fly on my windshield.  It stubbornly held on while I accelerated to 10MPH.  It was still there at 20, 30, then 40MPH.  At 45MPH I admit a cruel streak brought on thoughts of flipping on the windshield washer, but the scientist in me fought off the urge, and so, curious, I accelerated hard and, finally, at 55MPH, the creature succumbed to the inevitable.

Chiropractor Josh Axe is a lot like that insect  Give him a bad idea and he’ll cling to it like a fly to a windshield in a tempest.  Hang on at all costs.  Never, ever, let go, despite the obvious outcome.  No matter how much the right thing to do would be to let go (of your incorrect opinion).

Back in December, 2015, I wrote that Axe was pushing Bentonite clay as a detox agent, even though the product was loaded with the same “toxic” heavy metals Josh claimed would kill you.1  Undeterred, on November 19, 2018, Axe used Facebook to recycle another Bentonite detox post.  Like a fly on a windshield, Josh clings to irony in a hurricane of hilarious gaffes.2  Let’s have some fun.

For reference, below is an analysis of one of the Bentonite clay products Axe was hawking back in 2015.1  I don’t have a breakdown of the bath product he’s pushing in his 2018 Bentonite resurrection, but it’s reasonable to assume the clays are chemically similar:

Chemical analysis of a Josh Axe Bentonite product from 2015

Chemical analysis of a Josh Axe Bentonite product from 2015 .1
Note the lead, cadmium, and mercury.

According to Axe, Bentonite clay is used to remove toxic heavy metals from the body, by either consuming or applying the mud topically.  Quoth the raven, er, chiropractor:

“Heavy metal toxins” usually refer to substances like mercury, cadmium, lead and benzene.”4 — Josh Axe, Ten Bentonite Clay Benefits and Uses

Isn’t it ironic then, that Axe’s own chemical analysis revels that Bentonite contains mercury, cadmium, and lead, the very elements he’s trying to remove?1 (See the chart above)

Now, this is the part in our story where Axe defenders leap in to invent a magical chemical matrix that works synergistically to scoop up the toxic heavy metals and channel them safely away.  “Even though they’re present,” (I hear you, David Avocado Wolfe!) “they aren’t toxic.  Their ionic charges are reversed causing them to blah blah blah…”

Go ahead Axe fans.  Make something up, I’ll wait. Then I’ll shoot you down in Axe’s own words.  Time is on my side.


Ready now?  You see, in his article, Axe confesses that Bentonite clay does not trap toxins.  He acknowledges that lead is present in the clay, and warns that it’s a danger, but only to pregnant women, except when you’re pregnant.  SAY WHAT?  OK, walk through this with me… it’s all from the same article:

“Bentonite clay benefits your body by helping to expel many of these toxins–Josh Axe, Ten Bentonite Clay Uses and Benefits3


“Some bentonite clay products contains trace amounts of lead and other heavy metals and may not be appropriate for consumption by children and pregnant women.”–Josh Axe, Ten Bentonite Clay Uses and Benefits3


“Some people use bentonite clay as relief for nausea and vomiting by pregnant women–Josh Axe, Ten Bentonite Clay Uses and Benefits3

So Bentonite clay expels toxins, except that it retains them when you’re pregnant (why only then?), so pregnant women shouldn’t use it, except that pregnant women should use it for nausea relief.  And what about the mercury and lead?

Oh God, just shoot me now. Josh Axe calls himself a doctor and he cranks out medical advice like this?

Dear reader, I humbly submit to you that (1) if you wish to eat mud it’s going to taste, well, muddy, but the trace amounts of metals found therein are not going to be of any health concern and, more importantly, (2) you can find far, far better sources of health information than chiropractors who falsely call themselves doctors and make their living selling you bone broth and mud for a living.

Live long and prosper.

(1) Axe-idental Poisoning (Bad Science Debunked)
Retrieved 20 Nov 2018

(2) Ten Detox Bath Recipes
Warning: Not a reputable/scientific article
Retrieved 20 Nov 2018

(3) Ten Bentonite Clay Benefits and Uses
Warning: Not a reputable/scientific article
Retrieved 20 Nov 2018

Image Credits
Josh Axe, Redmond Clay, 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.

Forrest Gump meme used under parody provisions of 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.

Link to Rolling Stones/YouTube clip is done using tools provided by YouTube/Google, Inc.  Author does this in good faith, believing tools to link and embed are provided for this this purpose, and that videos available on YouTube are displayed legally, with the consent of the copyright owner. Author assumes, and makes no copyright claims to the linked/embedded video.


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