Coffee can be an amazing, if not necessary, for many of us to start our days. Of course the ingredient we care most about is caffeine, which doesn’t actually “wake you up.” Because the chemical structure of caffeine is similar to that of adenosine, a chemical in your brain that makes you feel sleepy, caffeine binds to the adenosine receptors so that we don’t feel as sleepy. This is why if you drink a lot of caffeine, you have to drink more for the desired effect -your brain will develop even more adenosine receptors. And when you stop drinking caffeine, your brain still has all these adenosine receptors who want nothing more in life than to be filled, which means you get more adenosine in your brain, making you all the more tired. It’s a vicious cycle.
But we’re not here to talk about the miracle and horror that is caffeine (but if you want to learn more, check out this excellent video by asapSCIENCE). Instead, we’re here to talk about celebrity Gwyneth Paltrow’s brand, called Goop, who wants you to start your day out with a coffee enema for the low, low price of just $135. You read that correctly – Goop wants you to put coffee in your ass.
I consider myself extremely open-minded, but this is just weird.
First, I applaud Goop’s attempt to bypass my tongue and go right to getting caffeine in my butt. I’m on the record as saying that I think coffee is gross. It tastes like boiled dirt that requires sweetener and cream to be drinkable, and I can’t respect any food item that undergoes such a dramatic change to be worthy of consumption (the same goes for pancakes). So that’s strike 1.
Strike 2 is the risk behind (pun intended) putting any sort of substance in your rectum like this. While the LD50 of caffeine comes out to be around 80 cups of coffee, that doesn’t mean you won’t start seeing ill effects at lower dosages. The Mayo Clinic suggests limiting your daily caffeine intake to 400mg, or four cups of coffee (or ten sodas). Adverse effects can include muscle spasms, upset stomach, fast heartbeat, being jittery, and generally being unpleasant to be around.
The final strike is the cost. If I’m going to spent $135 on something to put in my ass, it damn well better take me out to dinner first.
Yes, Goop suggests that a coffee enema is a “clutch” way to “supercharge” your “annual goop detox” and start the year in tip-top health. In its latest guide for “deep detoxification,” the Goop team recommends a device called an “Implant O’Rama” for squirting coffee up your keister at home. The product, sold by Implant O’Rama LLC for a bargain $135, is merely a glass bottle with silicone tubing attached.
If you plan on buying this thing, then I also have a timeshare I’d like you to buy. As I’ve told my podcast partner Natalie numerous times, if we lacked any sense of morality or character, we would absolutely get into this game. We could come up with the most ridiculous products that would likely do next to nothing, but could seriously injure you, then charge outrageous prices for them. Something I don’t think I would have done is name it “implant o rama” though – that’s just too ridiculous to be satire.
But this is being done under the guise of a detox which, as I’ve said before (and here and here, too), is bullshit. If your body needs to be detoxed, that means your liver is not working and you need to be taken to a hospital immediately, because you are dying.
For its part, Implant O’Rama LLC claims on its website that coffee gulped from the glutes “can mean relief from depression, confusion, general nervous tension, many allergy related symptoms, and, most importantly, relief from severe pain. Coffee enemas lower serum toxins.”
But the claims are quickly followed by a lengthy disclaimer that notes such claims are “not necessarily” based on scientific evidence, and the company’s products are not intended to “treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure any condition or disease.” The company ends by stating that by “using this site for any purpose whatsoever… you are agreeing to indemnify Implant O’Rama LLC… from any claims or responsibility for anything.”
There’s no actual evidence that coffee enemas do anything helpful other than avoid getting the nasty taste of coffee in your mouth. But there have been documented examples of coffee enema-related electrolyte imbalances causing death, and other examples of colon inflammation.
So, you know, just don’t put coffee in your butt, okay?
This post originally appeared on A Science Enthusiast and was re-posted with permission.