Food by VICE

Scientists Say Don't Listen to Gwyneth Paltrow's Advice to Put Coffee in Your Butt

Goop says putting a latte in your bum bum will make you feel great, but medical professionals think otherwise.

by Jelisa Castrodale
Jan 9 2018, 1:00pm

Photo via Flickr user Serra Boten

We’re barely a week into the 2018, but it’s already time for one of our annual explorations of Things Gwyneth Paltrow Says to Shove in Your Holes. Last January, Paltrow’s lifestyle website, Goop, suggested that women should put jade eggs in their vaginas in an attempt to “help connect the [heart] chakra to with the yoni.” A year later, after our yoni have been successfully rewired, Goop has turned its attention to our buttholes, advising that what we all need is a $135 do-it-ourselves coffee enema kit.

In its latest Beauty & Wellness Detox Guide, the editors at Goop recommend not one but two at-home kits for power-washing our colons: the $125 Iyasu Metaphysical Colon Hydrotherapy Kit and that aforementioned At-Home Coffee Enema, manufactured by a company called Implant O’Rama. Even if you ignore the fact that Implant O’Rama sounds like one of the stores that flanked Ned Flanders’ ill-fated Leftorium, most experts are in agreement that a coffee enema is a terrible idea. (MUNCHIES has reached out to Goop for comment on the recommendation but has not yet received a response).

The enema itself isn’t the problem, but squeezing water into your rectum is typically used as a “last resort” treatment for severe constipation, not something you do after you eat your Goop-approved Raspberry Overnight Oats. The combination of liquid—along with the nozzle of the enema itself—can stimulate even the most Quikrete of colons to produce a bowel movement. But even when used correctly (and sparingly), enemas can cause dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and, in rare cases, kidney failure.

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Websites that make dubious health claims allege that coffee enemas can do everything from detoxing and flushing “heavy metals” out of your digestive tract to fighting cancer and helping with depression. (Though, is there truly anything more depressing than laying facedown on the bathroom floor and putting a tube of Maxwell House into your anus?) Doctors and scientists say otherwise.

A team of researchers from the Georgetown University School of Medicine wrote a paper decrying the concept of colon cleansing as ineffective at best, dangerous at worst. “Despite colon cleansing’s long history and current popularity, the literature does not support its purported benefits,” they said. “Historically, colon cleansing was thought to prevent autointoxication from toxins originating in the colon, but the evidence for this claim is limited.”

According to Ars Technica, one British gastroenterologist described coffee enemas as a “triumph of ignorance over science.” And Forbes cataloged the coffee-enema-related injuries that have been written about in medical journals, including rectal perforation, rectal burns, septicemia (blood poisoning) and a 1980 report about two deaths attributed to the treatment.

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“The Implant O'Rama is an enema kit for individuals to use as they like. People do all sorts of enemas including coffee, water, or nutrient implants,” Implant O’Rama told MUNCHIES. “They are easy to use. We make no claims about the benefits of enemas for health. Please read our Terms and Conditions on our website. Should you choose to do it yourself, we suggest you contact a health practitioner or medical doctor for advice.”

It’s clearly up to you to decide whether to believe medical professionals or a website that is probably a year from recommending that you put a family of doves in your asshole (you know, for purity). Either way, just remove your jade egg before you fire up the Implant O’Rama and make sure a bathroom is nearby when the caffeine buzz hits.