Thursday, March 2, 2023

#2622: Zach Bush

The official strategy of integrative medicine is to integrate poorly researched health claims with scientifically based medicine. One obvious obstacle to taking that strategy seriously is that the claims of integrative medicine practitioners blatantly contradict science – integrating pseudoscience with science is not only going to fail to make science better, but has to be based on rejecting science. Zachary Bush is a case in point. Bush is an MD (a professional degree, not a scientific one) who runs something called the M Clinic and “Intrinsic Health” center in Charlottesville, and who sells his own RESTORE line of supplements.


Bush is excited about genetics, but seems to fail its basic concepts (unless his claims just rely on potential customers failing basic concepts of genetics). According to Bush, genetically speaking, humans are pathetically simplesince we only have 20,000 genes whereas fungi have 2 trillion: that’s PIDOOMA, of course – fungal genomes are similar to ours in size, but people like Bush aren’t going to let vulgar facts stop them. To Bush, the difference, which isn’t there, means thatif microorganisms were the enemy, we’d be dead, because microorganisms are of course a unified group with a single mind – either they’re with us or they’re against us (he has also claimed that human and pig DNA are identical: the bits have just been scrambled in different positions to yield different animals). Fortunately for us, the DNA repair enzymetravels near the speed of light (he’s off by some impressive 16 orders of magnitude). Also, junk DNA is a myth because “there’s no waste in nature; so-called junk DNA is really microRNA, as Bush imagines it. And microRNA can be transmitted by breathing: yes, you can go to the gym and, instead of working out, just breathe in others’ microRNA, and get the workout benefit by fooling your cells to think that they worked out. On the other hand, eating microRNA from “bored” corn grown in a monocultural field of corn will make us afraid of diversity, and is thus a central cause of racism and mass shootings. Oh, yeah.


Bush’s health- and wellness persona is built not only on incoherent ramblings about genetics, however. His website offers a range of alternative therapies and pseudoscientific bullshit, often supported by “Deepak Chopra like nonsense-statements”. On COVID-19, for instance, Bush can tell us that “May this respiratory virus that now shares space and time with us teach us of the grave mistakes we have made in disconnecting from our nature and warring against the foundation of the microbiome. If we choose to learn from, rather than fear, this virus, it can reveal the source of our chronic disease epidemics that are the real threat to our species.” Yeah, no. But Bush does want to sell you products that can boost your immune system. Of course he does. He also promotes various COVID conspiracy theorists, including the infamous Plandemic movie.


His nonsense has had some impact among those seeking pseudoscience for autism; Bush promotes the idea that gut health as the root cause of autism, and although the hypothesis has been (barely!) on the fringy edge of the table, Bush is decades ahead of the research and the evidence: he’s already got remedies to sell you! To audiences at the Autism One quackfest in 2016, Bush for instance advertised his “plant-derived mineral supplement, RESTORE ($49.95 for a one-month supply) to strengthen cell membranes in the gut to keep toxins from leaking out.” Asking for at least tentative evidence or research just shows that you’re a paid shill! And of course Bush pushes the autism epidemic myth – “We are on target to experience 1 in 3 children with Autism by 2035,” says Bush, for what better way to market his products by some fear, uncertainty and doubt, regardless of how utterly detached from reality it may be?


But even what we have mentioned is just scratching the surface. Bush is on record promoting germ theory denialism – viruses don’t really cause disease (viruses, according to Bush, are merely ways for Mother Nature to update our genetic software and can’t cause disease in healthy individuals), and we can cure ourselves by tapping into ecstasy (if we could only avail ourselves to the “orgasm” of biting into a fresh tomato, our hormonal surge would give us “the opposite of cancer”)  – and vaccine denialism. Instead of true statements, Bush claims that all chronic diseases are caused by mitochondrial malfunction, for which he offers month-long “immersion” programs ($495), premium eight-week programs ($1,495), and various supplements based on conspiracy theory claims about e.g. pesticides and health (glyphosate, of course, which but according to Bush is “the most abundant antibiotic on Earth”; glyphosate is not an antibiotic), some cherry-picked and misrepresented science, and his own grand, unified theory of health according to which Mother Nature is a “miraculous hyper-intelligence. He’s got products to help with gut health, immune health, and sleep, e.g. a mineral supplement that ostensibly helps with “damage from toxins such as glyphosate” (there’s a version for your pets, too). He also rejects the theory of evolution: his false claim that human and pig DNA are identical, just scrambled together differently, means that Darwin was wrong: new species do not slowly transition out of older ones but miraculously appear overnight after radical genomic shakeups. Facts and evidence, once again, are just not the relevant standards here.


And the road to COVID denialism is obvious, for how could there be a COVID pandemic when viruses can’t make you sick? According to Bush, the media has usurped science to create a climate of fear – unlike himself, of course – for the way Bush reads it, the science is already there to prove the damage” from vaccines. No, he’s not reading science.


In 2019, Bush even succeeded in having some pseudoscientific spam reprinted in an article in Scientific American, who at least admitted their mistake.


Diagnosis: Given how judiciously selected and designed his marketing strategies are, and how aware he seems to be of the limits to what’s legally actionable, it is hard not to suspect foul play. Medika concludes their profile of Bush by juding him to be “a health predator, no matter how you dress him up, and he is an embarrassment to traditional medicine and the healthcare profession in general”. We have nothing really to add.


Hat-tip: Chad Hayes; medika; Jonathan Jarry


  1. How lucky this guy is! He doesn't have to ride on a horse and carriage through to the American Wild West to sell his bottled "treatment" anymore, coz he (& other charlatans like him) have the Internet and can reach out to more "sick in the head" folks who can hardly wait for supplements that he prepares with love & care for them!

    What a magnificent time for those bastards to get rich on behalf of millions of idiots who can't wait to be "naturally cured".

    (Besides, it seems to me that he has learned genetics /when he bubbles about the monocultural corn fields/ from the infamous papa Stallins favorite "scientist" Lysenko. But I might be wrong)

    1. This guy is a small fish in the pond who is here today and gone tomorrow. My concern are those BIG fishes who get super rich by bribing the government to mandate their worthless products and then call it "science"! Of course the government big shots benefit as well, while we the people pay the bill!

    2. If you again carefully re-read the answers given to you by the G.D. under the entry name of Christian Bogner on this blog (22. September 2022.), you will find the answer (or my comment) to you about big & small fish in the pond.

    3. There is a lot of give and take in that entry. I stand behind everything I wrote! Nothing has changed.

    4. "Nothing has changed."

      Wrong answer. But, nor was I anticipating, nor it is even possible that something would change in the head of a dead brain person. It would be too much to expect such a miracle.

      Have a nice day!

    5. Sounds like you need another booster shot GF!

    6. Well, for now, everything is ok. But if there would be needed for boosting that's also ok.

      (You see, I'm not an egotist like you and I always have in mind my family and other humans that I meet. Of course, there is always a chance to transmit the virus even if one is vaccinated, but that can be minimized with another shot. Still, you never know, but that's the life we live)

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