Black Oxygen Organics - the new panacea

December 8, 2021

Categories: Skepticism , Tags: Pseudoscience, Alternative Medicine

Black Oxygen Organics (opens new window) is a recent craze (opens new window) in alternative medicine. Many people swear by it, saying that it can treat all sorts of conditions - from heart issues and ADHD to COVID and cancer.

But what is it, who’s behind it, and does it work? Well, it turns out the answers to the first two questions will help us to figure out the third one.

The Black Oxygen Dynamics website (opens new window) (now archived) calls their product "A gift from the ground" and says:

"Fulvic acid is the end product and smallest particle of the decomposition of ancient, organic matter. Organic matter is just a fancy way of saying peat bog. When extracted, purified and delivered in a liquid supplement form, it carries all the nutritional information, anti-oxidant capacity and genetic coding of everything in that decomposed matter."

So, basically this product is dirt. It’s fairly interesting dirt, as it’s being dug up from the bottom of a peat bog, and has been sitting there for thousands of years breaking down into chemicals such as fulvic acid, but it’s still dirt - and as such this is a very complex mix of chemicals, bacteria and all sorts of stuff. And people are meant to mix it with water and then spread it on their skin, bathe their children in it, and even drink it.

Of course, with something sciencey sounding like fulvic acid, there are going to be unscrupulous people who claim it has healing powers. And the internet is awash with companies selling fulvic acid tonics, drops, pills, powders and lotions. Even in NZ we have companies selling (opens new window) this cure-all and making claims about its amazing abilities.

Black Oxygen Organics, though, has been doing it differently. The company has been advertising their miracle mud through Instagram and Tik Tok, using the hashtag #BOO and harnessing the power of media influencers who are compensated for getting new customers to sign up to buy the dirt, through a Multi Level Marketing scheme - and at $110 for a small bag of dirt. And when it comes to this social media advertising, medical claims are being made by "independent agents" of this MLM, so you end up with an ever escalating list of fantastical claims being made - and an inability for the authorities to police the problem as it’s so widespread. And that’s how the company can get away with making claims of being able to treat autism, cancer and COVID - because technically the company itself isn’t making the claims, their "agents" are.

So, who’s behind this product? Marc Saint-Onge is the creator of Black Oxygen Dynamics, and it turns out that this isn’t his first time selling peat bog to unsuspecting customers:

Marc’s been in trouble in his native Canada since the 80s, when he was fined for practising medicine without a licence. As we just heard, Marc used to run a company called Golden Moor. That’s just one of several companies he’s created over the years since he was first in trouble - he’s also run Anti-Rheuma Bath and NuWTR. He also mentioned that he learned orthotherapy, a massage technique that claims to be able to treat medical conditions, and elsewhere he’s claimed hat he’s a naturopath, reiki master, herbalist and aromatherapist - all classic red flags, as these are all well known to be disproven alternative therapies.

So the claims are hard to believe, and the man has a history of selling mud and getting in trouble for it. But what about the evidence? Of course, there is none - or at least there’s no good quality evidence. That’s par for the course with alternative medicine. But there’s now so many bad claims on the internet that the website WebMD warns:

"People use fulvic acid for conditions such as allergies, eczema (atopic dermatitis), cancer, Alzheimer disease, and others, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses."

Beyond the baseless medical claims, in the US testing has been done on the Black Oxygen Dynamics product, showing that it has elevated levels of lead and arsenic. So this product is not only useless, it’s potentially dangerous. And this is pretty ironic, given that one of the claims made about the product is that it works as a heavy metal detox.

Marc’s LinkedIn page has been deleted, and his company has recently closed down, as has happened with Marc’s previous mud selling companies. Health Canada has been proactive in making this happen, including forcing a recall of their products and putting out an announcement that said things plainly:

"Stop taking these products"

But it looks like there’s a pattern here, though, and Marc will likely be back soon with another company selling his mud to unsuspecting consumers. Now, though, it seems like he’s learned the power of social media, and the ability of Multi Level Marketing schemes to hook people in, and so I suspect his next venture, if he doesn’t end up behind bars, will make him a lot of money again.