Home Health news Nurse warns against viral TikTok weight loss trend – says it won’t work and causes ‘violent’ diarrhea

Nurse warns against viral TikTok weight loss trend – says it won’t work and causes ‘violent’ diarrhea

by Editor

A nurse has sounded the alarm about a viral social media trend in which dieters drink and bathe in oil in an attempt to lose weight

Search for the term castor oil on TikTok and you’ll find an onslaught of clips that have attracted almost 100 million views. 

The videos feature young women drizzling the oil on their bodies and glugging it while touting supposed benefits, including ‘burning fat’ and ‘preventing cancer‘.

But Jane Clarke, an incontinence nurse from the UK, said that following the trend is likely to leave you with debilitating stomach problems. 

‘Consuming castor oil can cause violent diarrhea – even in small doses,’ she said. ‘In large doses it can cause abdominal cramps, potential electrolyte imbalances, potential dehydration and nausea and vomiting.’

There are almost a million videos on TikTok advising different ways to use castor oil, including putting in the belly button or ingesting it, for everything from weight loss to supposedly curing cancer

There are almost a million videos on TikTok advising different ways to use castor oil, including putting in the belly button or ingesting it, for everything from weight loss to supposedly curing cancer

Even drinking castor oil in small doses can lead to explosive diarrhea, Ms Clarke warned

Even drinking castor oil in small doses can lead to explosive diarrhea, Ms Clarke warned

Some influencers even recommend putting the oil in your belly button. The only effect this will have is ruining your clothes, nurse Clarke said

Some influencers even recommend putting the oil in your belly button. The only effect this will have is ruining your clothes, nurse Clarke said

Further, she added it is unlikely oil drinkers will see any change in their weight or disease risk.

TikToker Lindsey Schmidt said that she applies a few drops of castor oil to her belly button and massages and touted benefits such as improved digestion, sleep and stress. 

Another user, Maryam Hampton, said doing a ‘castor oil cleanse’ by drinking the liquid can make you feel ‘five pounds lighter.’

Castor oil has long been used in the alternative health sphere as a ‘natural’ laxative to cure constipation. 

It was also an ancient remedy for inducing labor in overdue expectant mothers, but experts do not recommend using it in either of these situations due to safety concerns.

Researchers have found that the main fatty acid in castor oil, called ricinoleic acid, binds to receptors on muscle cells in our colon.

When absorbed by the receptors, it causes the muscles to contract and push out stool.

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This laxative effect is why some believe castor might help with weight loss.

However, experts explain that using the bathroom often isn’t real and lasting weight loss. 

The food we eat goes through many processes before it reaches your bowel and becomes stool.

The body absorbs the calories, fat, and the majority of nutrients before they reach the large intestine.

What is left is mainly water and some minerals which your body does not need. Some of it is absorbed by the body in the large intestine.

If someone takes castor oil or laxatives and loses weight, they are only losing water. 

As soon as they drink something, they will regain the weight back.

Some people even claim castor oil can cure cancer, but Ms Clarke said ‘none of these things are true.’

The oil is ‘perfectly safe to use externally’, she said, but is unlikely to have any benefit other than soft skin.

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