What Are 250 Million Americans Infected With?
March 31, 2014
Even for weird internet ads, this one is especially disgusting. It looks like it was drawn in crayon by a six year old, and shows three equally icky images. One is a "white coated tongue" sticking out, another is a naked guy with rashes all over his body and arrows pointing at him listing all sorts of ailments, and the third is someone sitting on a toilet, apparently suffering from constipation. And the text reads "250m Americans infected" with an arrow that invites you to "learn more."
On the surface, this looks like just another "one weird trick" ad, using cheap animation and ugly art to promise secret knowledge of miracle products at low, low prices. But "250 million Americans" infected with something is a lofty claim, even for the internet. Is there anything to be concerned about regarding this apparently horrible plague? And could YOU be infected with...whatever it is?
As per the other "one weird trick" ads, clicking on the link is going to give you a lot of information, but none of it with any value. Like many of the other ads of this genre, this ad takes you to a half-hour animated video drawn in the same crude style as the ad. The video is a long blather delving into the usual food conspiracy about the FDA and Big Pharma using aspartame to make us fat, sick and stupid. Nothing you haven't heard before. It's only 16 minutes into the video that you even find out what "the infection" is.
But when you do, it's really bad. It's presented as "a consequence of the unnatural elements we've been exposed to" and "the deep, dark secret the food conglomerates are, as we speak, spending millions of dollars to sweep under the rug." It's described as a "killer" that "takes over your body from the inside" and you "never know it's there — until it's too late."
"It" turns out to be candida, a variety of yeasts that lives in our guts, on our skin and in other parts of the body. Everyone has it and it normally doesn't hurt anyone. It's a completely harmless fungus that occasionally multiplies out of control due to stress, sickness or antibiotic use. This can cause a yeast infection, or thrush, if it's occurring in the mouth.
Despite the almost total harmlessness of candida, a fake condition called "Candida sickness" or hypersensitivity has become very popular among alternative medicine advocates. It's looked at as the new one-size fits all disease, causing everything from obesity to allergies to weight gain to "feeling bad all over" to cancer. The concept actually dates back to the late 70's and the vitamin megadosing movement. It took off in the popular culture thanks to a 1983 book called The Yeast Connection, written by allergist Dr. William Crook.
According to Steven Novella at Science Based Medicine:
Crook proposed the idea that systemic candidiasis, or Candida hypersensitivity, was responsible for a host of common conditions and non-specific symptoms, such as fatigue, sexual dysfunction, asthma, and psoriasis.Despite the fact that Crook published no research confirming any of his theories, or maybe because of it, candida sickness became another fake illness to throw useless treatments at. Dubious medical "publications" have since theorized that up to 90 percent of the population unknowingly battles candida overgrowth, caused by sugar consumption and causing a laundry list of ailments.
Of course, this is all unscientific nonsense. As Novella writes:
There is absolutely no science behind the claim that 90 percent of the population "have a problem with candida" or that Candida causes cancer, or that cancer is actually a fungal infection.And that's where we come back to the 30 minute video. Probiotics are pitched as the cure for "the American parasite" and wouldn't you know, the video is happy to provide you with them. The entire thing turns out to be a sales pitch for a "super-probiotic supplement" called Keybiotics. This vegetarian, gluten-free super something is sold exclusively by Whole Body Research, and priced at the lofty sum of $39.99 a bottle.
Beyond Keybiotics, Whole Body Research sells a variety of pseudo-medical junk, from fat burning weight loss pills to hair growth formula to "pure" vitamins. All of it is ludicrously overpriced — especially their probiotics. Keybiotics must be super indeed, because it costs over a dollar a pill. Even if you needed to take probiotics, which most people probably don't, there are far cheaper options out there that almost certainly do the same thing.
Not that you need to take probiotics or anything else for "candida hypersensitivity", because it's not a real thing, and no reputable doctor has ever diagnosed it in anyone.
So we're left with what we're almost always left with when we talk about miracle cures: an expensive treatment for a disease that you don't have. 250 million Americans aren't infected with anything, except an overabundance of companies that want to take their money.
@Skeptoid Media, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit