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The truth about teatoxes: Why health experts say this celeb-endorsed craze is unnecessary

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It’s one of the latest celebrity-endorsed crazes sweeping social media: Teatoxing, the idea you can detoxify your body, reduce bloat, boost energy, burn stored fat and ultimately flatten your tummy — in part by drinking tea.

But according to Health Canada, the sale of some of these popular brands — with catchy names like FlatTummy Tea, BooTea and SkinnyMint— is not allowed in Canada because the products aren’t properly licensed here.

“Since those products are not registered as [natural health product numbers] … they should not be on the market in Canada,” said Health Canada spokesperson Maryse Durette.

Any product sold in Canada making a health claim must be registered and licensed as a natural health product, according to the federal agency. Even if the product doesn’t list explicit health claims, the implicit meaning in its name can be enough to require a natural health product classification.

Teatox kits typically include a morning and an evening tea blend, and consumers are instructed to drink a cup of each every day for seven, 14, 28 or 30 days. (Dave MacIntosh/CBC)

Marketplace ordered 10 of the most popular teatox kits online and had them shipped to a Canadian address. Three of the brands are Canadian, and the rest are based outside the country.

None of the teatox kits had a natural health product number and none are licensed to be sold in Canada.

After Marketplace reached out to Health Canada with questions about the kits we were able to purchase, the regulator says it is in the process of reviewing these products. Should it confirm any non-compliance, Health Canada says it “will take action.”

Teatoxing unnecessary and ineffective: health professionals

In addition to appearing to violate Health Canada’s rules, the effectiveness of “detoxifying” teas is in question. Nutritionists, dietitians and doctors have repeatedly warned that the need to help your body detoxify is a myth.

That makes detox strategies — and products like teatoxes — unnecessary.

“Detoxing is one in a long line of theories that are created to produce fear and feelings of inadequacy in order to drive people’s behaviour, often toward purchasing a product,” said Dr. Eric Cadesky, a family physician in Vancouver and president of Doctors of BC.

There’s a lot of social media buzz about teatoxes, but doctors and dietitians say that the need to help your body detoxify is a myth. We boil down the science and find that people using some teatoxes may just be flushing their bowels, and we spotlight an ingredient in some teatoxes that experts warn you should watch out for. 3:22

Over many years of evolution, our kidneys and our livers have reached the point where they do all the detoxing for us, he said. If you are interested in helping your body along, Cadesky recommends spending your money on fresh, colourful foods and staying hydrated.

Rhiannon Lambert, a U.K.-based nutritionist specializing in eating disorders and obesity, also disputes the claims that teatoxing can flatten your stomach and assist in weight loss.

“Weight loss from laxatives may also [come] down to dehydration, not fat loss,” said Lambert. “Realistically, the only thing that will be lost when purchasing these products is money.”

Natural laxatives in many evening teas

Teatox kits typically include a morning and an evening tea blend, and consumers are instructed to drink a cup of each every day for seven, 14, 28 or 30 days.

Ingredients you’d find on grocery store shelves, like peppermint, ginger and lemongrass are often in the morning teas, but many also include a natural diuretic of some kind, like dandelion, and have energy-boosting ingredients like green tea and caffeine. Evening teas can also include a diuretic, but most commonly they have leaves or roots that are natural laxatives.

Senna leaf, also known as cassia seed, is the most common ingredient found in the evening teas purchased by Marketplace. Its use concerns both health regulators and dietitians.

Some medical groups warn that detox teas containing senna may have a laxative effect, which can lead to vomiting and diarrhea — and impact the body’s ability to absorb medications, including birth control. (CBC)

Health Canada and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration both warn against taking senna for longer than seven days.

The reason is that your body can develop a dependency on senna, said registered dietitian Christy Brissette. “There’s potential that your body won’t be able to have a bowel movement without it, which is pretty scary,” she said.

Senna stimulates your intestines and causes contractions. In addition to sending you running to the bathroom, Brissette warns senna can cause diarrhea and stomach cramps, though reactions vary depending on the person.

“It’s actually really not a pleasant experience. You feel like you’re seizing up. And it causes you to have really loose stools,” Brissette said.

Some of the teatox brands mention senna’s side effects on their websites or packaging, but few warn about the risks associated with long-term use.

Health Canada’s rules regarding the use of senna are explicitly clear, says Durette.

“Every product containing senna sold in or imported to Canada must have an NHPN [natural health product number] or a DIN [drug information number].”

If a tea is not registered as a natural health product, Health Canada considers it a food product — and senna is not an approved ingredient for any food in Canada.

There are teas containing senna sold in Canada that are licensed as natural health products. But nine of the 10 teatox kits ordered byMarketplace contained senna or cassia seed, and none were registered with Health Canada.

Concern over contraception

The U.K.’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has warned that detox teas containing senna may have a laxative effect, which can lead to vomiting and diarrhea. That can impact the body’s ability to absorb medications, it says, including birth control pills.

Women who are taking laxatives and experience these symptoms should “use additional contraception while ill and for two days after recovering,” according to the college.

Even if people don’t experience vomiting or diarrhea, the U.S. National Library of Medicine says senna can decrease the effectiveness of some birth controls that include a form of estrogen called ethinyl estradiol.

Six of the nine tea products containing senna or cassia that Marketplace ordered had warnings on their websites that the effectiveness of contraception could be impacted.

Teatox companies asked for response

Of the three Canadian products Marketplace purchased, two had senna listed as an ingredient: Tease and Skinny Teatox. Neither responded to Marketplace‘s repeated requests for information.

The third Canadian product, Victoria-based Purgo Tea, does not list senna on its package, but it does list cassia seed. In emails to Marketplace, the company said it promotes “positive daily habits and [a] healthy lifestyle.”

The company also said their teas are “intended to help [complement] your health and wellness goals.”

Tiny Tea (by Your Tea) responded to Marketplace‘s email asking about the presence of senna in its product, stating, “the use of senna in our Tiny Tea is minuscule and therefore does not cause a laxative effect whatsoever. It is countered with another herb (barley) so that the presence of senna actually doesn’t perform its usual role as it if were on its own.”

BooTea, Flat Tummy Tea Co., SkinnyMint, Teami and Detox Skinny Herb Tea all list senna as an ingredient in their evening tea, but none responded to requests for comment.

FitTea was the only brand that doesn’t contain senna or cassia seed. It lists sencha green tea, rooibos and garcinia cambogia as its lead ingredients. The company also didn’t respond to Marketplace’s emails.

Policing web-based products challenging

Most teatox kits are sold exclusively online and are promoted on social media platforms, primarily Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

But Cadesky warns that effective marketing does not mean effective products. “That’s why it’s so important that people listen to their bodies and talk with their doctors,” he said.

Health Canada said it has been seeing an influx of complaints over web-based products and that policing them is a challenge. 

“People will buy a lot of stuff on the web,” said Durette. “And we keep on saying be careful, it might not be approved in Canada.”

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Post-vaccine surge? Michigan’s spring coronavirus case spike close to previous year’s autumn high

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(Natural News) The spike in new Wuhan coronavirus infections recorded in Michigan over the spring is similar to a spike seen during the 2020 fall season. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the state’s daily coronavirus case count averaged more than 7,000 for almost two weeks – before taking a slight dip to 6,891 on April 20. This echoed similar figures back in November and December 2020, which saw sharp rises in infections for those two months before plunging.

Back in autumn of last year, Michigan averaged more than 7,000 cases per day for a span of 10 days. New infections dropped slightly, then briefly spiked as the December holidays approached. It then fell to the low 1,000s for the succeeding two months – until ascending again in March.

According to University of Michigan internal medicine professor Dr. Vikas Parekh, the sudden increase in new infections could be attributed to several factors. Among the factors he cited was re-openings, which increased people’s interactions and mobility. Parekh said the loosened restrictions contributed to the spread of the highly contagious U.K. B117 variant.

“As the B117 variant spreads nationally, we will likely see other stats [with] their own surges – although I hope none are as bad as Michigan,” the professor remarked. He continued: “The milestone just tells us we are not yet in the clear, especially as we still have large portions of our population who are not vaccinated yet.”

Parekh also expressed optimism over the lower daily caseloads the Great Lakes State reported. He said he believes both cases and hospitalizations have plateaued and will likely decline soon. The professor commented: “[COVID-19] positivity has been declining now for one week, which is usually a leading indicator of case decline.”

Meanwhile, the state cited younger populations and youth sports, such as basketball, wrestling and hockey, to increase new COVID-19 infections. Because of this, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called to suspend youth sports and indoor dining in the state. She also exhorted high schools to conduct remote class sessions for two weeks to curb the spread of the pathogen.

Michigan still experienced the spike in cases despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country

During the opening stages of the U.S.’s immunization drive against COVID-19, Michigan boasted of having one of the highest vaccination rates nationwide. A report by Bridge Michigan even noted the initial “frenzy for vaccines” that “far exceeded the state’s limited supply.” But things have appeared to turn around for Michigan, as it now struggles to reach the 70 percent vaccination rate needed for herd immunity.

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Scottish mom’s legs turn into a pair of “giant blisters” after first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine

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(Natural News) Sarah Beuckmann of Glasgow, Scotland, felt a tingling sensation in her legs and noticed a rash flaring up around her ankles a week after getting her first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine on March 18.

She also had flu-like symptoms right after the vaccination.

Beuckmann called her doctor to arrange an appointment the morning she noticed the rash, but by the afternoon her skin was already breaking out into blood-filled blisters. Blisters also appeared on her legs, hands, face, arms and bottom.

“I ended up asking my husband to take me to A&E,” said Beuckmann, referring to “accident and emergency,” the equivalent of an emergency room (ER). “When I got there, my heart rate was sitting at 160bpm, which they were very concerned about. I got put on an ECG machine.”

Doctors determine AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine triggers the rash

Medics carried out tests for HIV, herpes and other skin conditions to work out what triggered the rash, but all results came back negative. Doctors finally determined that the vaccine caused her rare reaction after carrying out two biopsies.

“Once they found that it was a reaction to the vaccine, they put me on steroids and that really seems to be helping my progress,” said Beuckmann. She had been advised by her doctor not to get the second dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine because of her reaction.

Beuckmann spent 16 days at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. She was discharged to recover at home. The 34-year-old mother of one is currently wheelchair-bound due to the bandages on her legs and blisters on the soles of her feet. She may need physiotherapy to help strengthen her leg muscles.

“They are starting to heal and they’re looking a lot better than they were but as the blisters started to get worse, they all sort of merged together,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

With the blisters merging, her legs have looked like a pair of “giant blisters.” Beuckmann admitted that at one point she feared her legs might have to be amputated.

Dermatologist agrees COVID-19 vaccine causes the blisters

Dr. Emma Wedgeworth, a consultant dermatologist and spokeswoman at the British Skin Foundation, agreed that Beuckmann had likely suffered a reaction to the vaccine.

“Vaccines are designed to activate the immune system. Occasionally people will have quite dramatic activation of their immune systems which, as happened in this case, can manifest in their skin” Wedgeworth told MailOnline. “This poor lady had a very severe reaction, which thankfully is extremely rare.”

It is not clear why Beuckmann, who works in retail, was invited for a vaccine. Scotland’s vaccine rollout was focused on people over the age of 50 when she got vaccinated, although vaccines are available to those who are considered at risk from the virus, or live with someone considered vulnerable.

At least 20 million Briton have had AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which drug regulators say causes a rash in one percent of cases. They say rashes caused by the jab tend to go away within a week.

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Trojan labs? Chinese biotech company offers to build COVID testing labs in six states

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In 2012, BGI acquired Complete Genomics, a DNA sequencing company and equipment maker. The funds for the $117.6 million purchase were raised from Chinese venture capitals. The company has expanded its footprint globally. According to its website, BGI conducts business in more than 100 countries and areas and has 11 offices and labs in the U.S.

People are concerned about China’s access to American DNA data

Some said that with Complete Genomics providing an American base, BGI would have access to more DNA samples from Americans, helping it compile a huge database of genetic information. Some also worried about the protection of the genetic information’s privacy.

According to a 2019 report from the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), BGI “has formed numerous partnerships with U.S. healthcare providers and research organizations to provide large-scale genetic sequencing to support medical research efforts,”

There are three main reasons why many people in the biotech community and government have expressed concerns about China’s access to American DNA data.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Evanina discussed the very likely scenario in which Chinese companies would be able to micro-target American individuals and offer customized preventative solutions based on their DNA.

Evanina asked: “Do we want to have another nation systematically eliminate our healthcare services? Are we okay with that as a nation?”

The second concern is that China may use DNA to track and attack American individuals. As the USCC report states: “China could target vulnerabilities in specific individuals brought to light by genomic data or health records. Individuals targeted in such attacks would likely be strategically identified persons, such as diplomats, politicians, high-ranking federal officials or military leadership.”

The third concern is that China may devise bioweapons to target non-Asians. Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, discussed it in his article “What Will China Do With Your DNA?” published by The Epoch Times in March 2019.

He wrote: “We know that the Asian genome is genetically distinct from the Caucasian and African in many ways. … Would it be possible to bioengineer a very virulent version of, say, smallpox, that was easily transmitted, fatal to other races, but to which the Chinese enjoyed a natural immunity? … Given our present ability to manipulate genomes, if such a bio-weapon can be imagined, it can probably – given enough time and resources – be realized.”

An article from Technocracy said: “China’s aggressive collection of American DNA should be doubly alarming because it can only spell one ultimate outcome: biowarfare. That is, genetically engineering viruses or other diseases that will be selectively harmful to U.S. populations.”

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