- A third of Gen Z TikTok users admit to using the app for medical advice
- But TikTok doctors share bizarre and dangerous ‘medical’ remedies
- In a popular video, users are urged to pump their fists to prevent heart attacks
It started with the cha cha cha.
Blitzing the soil every morning helps rejuvenate the digestive system, spleen and stomach, suggests Jimmy Yen.
According to the “biohacking” TikTok influencer, who has amassed a gargantuan 1.1 million followers, he “also sees organs restoring function.”
But the claims have no scientific basis, top experts have told MailOnline.
Mr. Yen is not alone, however. Others say that cabbage juice can help cure gastritis and that a colon cleanse will speed up weight loss.
Experts have long warned against misinformation being peddled on social media, not just TikTok.
Yet a third of Gen Z and a quarter of Millennials – around 6 million people in the UK – say they now rely on these sites for healthcare information.
Millions of young people who feel abandoned by the NHS are turning to social media for medical advice, research published last week finds.
Influencers on TikTok and Instagram are increasingly replacing doctors as patients complain they struggle to be taken seriously.
But experts warn there’s a dark side to medical influencers, as anyone can type “Dr” into their TikTok profile and offer “medical” advice or information.
Alongside qualified counselors are naturopaths, chiropractors and beauticians. They are usually not doctors, but some may present themselves as such on social media.
THE TIKTOK INFLUENCERS KIDS LISTEN TO… AND THEIR VOLUNTARY COMPLAINTS
Pumping the palm of your hand with your fist will also help with heart problems, Yen said in a clip seen by tens of thousands of TikTok users.
By ‘stimulating the nerves’ in your hand that are ‘connected to the heart’, you fight high blood pressure and chest pain, he suggests, urging you to ‘beat it until you defeat it’.
Mr. Yen is a licensed acupuncturist and CEO of Achieve Integrative Health in Austin, Texas. He also serves on the Medical Advisory Board of the Neuroopathy Alliance of Texas.
Professor James Ware, a cardiovascular expert from Imperial College London, told MailOnline: ‘Based on our understanding of the physiology of the heart, I don’t think his claims have any scientific basis.
He added: ‘He suggests that stimulation of the skin “stimulates the nerves supplying the heart”, which is incorrect.
The nerves supplying the hand region – C8 cervical root and T1 thoracic root – “do not innervate the heart”, he said.
“Even if it triggered a cardiac reflex, there is no reason to believe that brief stimulation of a reflex would have any lasting beneficial effect on the heart.”
Professor John Chambers, Professor of Clinical Cardiology and Consultant Cardiologist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, added: ‘It makes no scientific sense to expect one hand to hit the palm of the other may be effective for a wide range of different heart conditions.
“The possible danger is that a patient may delay seeking help from a qualified physician for a life-threatening condition such as unstable coronary artery disease.”
Read more: Millions of young people who feel abandoned by the NHS turn to TikTok as one in three young people seek medical advice on social media
Rather, patients should have “guidance from their healthcare professional toward accurate and balanced sites,” he said. It could include the NHS, British Heart Foundation and British Heart Valve Society websites.
Dr Simon Teo
Among Dr. Simon Teo’s videos are the ten signs that apparently show you need to detoxify your body, watched by more than 92,000 people worldwide, or the essential home remedies needed to cure gastritis, seen by only 10,000.
Dr. Teo is a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner in San Jose, CA and owner of Simon Teo Total Wellness.
Apple cider vinegar, yogurt, coconut oil and cabbage juice are just four of the remedies that make a difference.
In contrast, the NHS recommends medicines to control stomach acid, such as antacids or proton pump inhibitors to fight gastritis – when the lining of your stomach becomes irritated.
Professor Kim Barrett, a physiologist and membrane biologist at UC Davis School of Medicine in California, warned that the video could deter patients from seeking medical advice by trying the “so-called cures”.
She told MailOnline: ‘The video providing ten best treatments for gastritis is not evidence-based and may discourage patients from seeking doctor’s help when trying these so-called remedies, even in assuming someone could self-diagnose gastritis in the first place. ‘
While it’s helpful for patients to have an idea of what they think is a cause for concern, it can become difficult when professional medical diagnosis differs from a patient’s results on the internet, the professor said. Ware.
He told MailOnline: ‘Patients are rightly interested in their own health and are motivated to find information online, and I support that.
“There is a lot of reliable health information online – I would direct patients to NHS or British Heart Foundation resources as a first point of contact.
“Unfortunately, there is also a lot of incomplete, misleading, or in some cases completely false information on the Internet, which can create unnecessary distress or lead to patients wasting time or money on ineffective ‘therapies’. “
Bayside Colonic Clinic in Brisbane
The Bayside Colonic Clinic in Brisbane, Australia helps detoxify your colon with up to seven kilograms of ‘waste’.
With up to 21.8 million views per video, in another TikTok, colon hydrotherapists claim that a colon cleanse will help cure IBS, bloating, constipation and brain fog, while also helping to eliminate parasites from the body and accelerate weight loss.
But there is little medical evidence of the procedure’s actual benefits, and no evidence that it can alleviate symptoms attributed to colon cleansing theories.
Since the colon itself usually expels waste, colon cleansing is usually unnecessary.
Colonic irrigation can instead disrupt normal bowel activity, leading to severe dehydration.
Dr Arianna Basile, a research associate in the University of Cambridge’s MRC Toxicology Unit, told MailOnline: ‘Both @bayside_colonics videos are just disgusting.
She added: “I’m very surprised that such an intimate exposure of the human body, quite explicitly showing colon hydrotherapy, isn’t against the guidelines, but again, it’s more for the self. publicity only to give real suggestions.”
However, Dr. Basil acknowledges that much of the TikTok videos made by trained medical professionals are accurate and professional, and that viral videos lurking on teen feeds are not the norm.
“TikTok is trying to replace Google as the main search engine, especially for the younger generation, Gen Z,” she added.
“For experts in any field, becoming video creators is a way to stand out from the competition and gain credibility.”
There is also a growing number of medical professionals who are taking it upon themselves to combat misinformation spread by unqualified influencers.
A TikTok spokesperson told MailOnline: “We care deeply about the health and well-being of our community.
“Our community guidelines make it clear that we don’t allow health misinformation that could cause harm, and we’ve removed videos that violated those policies.”
They added, “We’re proud that TikTok has become a place where people come to learn and get support, and we take our responsibility to protect our platform very seriously.”