"Eat dirt (2016) - Dr Josh Axe" Summary, comments, opinion on the book. (Jul 2018)

Michael Harrop

Active member
Jul 6, 2023
2nd book of my research into the "eat dirt" dogma.

Starts off with an example of his mom's breast cancer & other related health problems being reversed with some standard changes such as removing processed foods, and taking a few supplements. Later on in the book he clarifies that he thinks one of the main things was the "Budwig diet" - a daily drink consisting of "goat's milk kefir (raw and organic), sprouted flax mevvval (meal?), flaxseed oil, stevia to taste".

Attributing only to leaky gut, tons of things that are due to the wide variety of forms of gut dysbiosis. And the solution is to "eat dirt".

Same as with all the others promoting this nonsense, he's misattributing damage done from antibiotics and poor diet to lack of environmental microbes, IE: dirt. Based on the assumption we're born sterile and develop our gut microbiome solely from the environment/dirt.

Most of the recommendations are just general good food/supplements and being outdoors, but the eat dirt stuff is a dangerous misinterpretation of the literature, and jumping to conclusions based on incomplete data.

Gives little to no backing/evidence for his "eat dirt" recommendation. Total junk. It's not even "junk science" as there is no science. It's mostly anecdotes with no scientific studies comparing the results of one behavior vs another, and measuring all health outcomes in both groups.

I wasn't going into this with high expectations based on what I've seen from his website previously, but this guy makes me nonstop facepalm. IMO he's worse than any of the criticisms I've seen directed towards Dr Oz and Mercola.

There are so many conflicting/contradictory statements in this book that I have to wonder at what point in his life did he lose the ability to make logical connections between multiple things. Was it due to problematic microbes he picked up from his dirt eating, or was it something earlier in his development that was the cause? Perhaps he simply inherited dysbiosis from his parents - probably the most common case.

Much of the book is just promoting generally healthy diet. Also promotes the use of essential oils for a variety of things.

To add some perspective on the oils he promotes, one of them - Oil of Oregano, is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial (which is completely contradictory to his warnings about antibiotics, and his overall recommendation to eat dirt) that in my experience was more damaging than many prescription antibiotics. AND it gave me no benefits when at least the prescription antibiotics did (along with their harms).

Look up "appeal to nature fallacy". That's what he's doing.

Common misinformation about probiotics - recommends to get multi-strain & high CFU count. And then later on in the book says to look for specific strains/brands that are effective for your specific condition. It's like he's just regurgitating every bit of information out there, regardless of accurate/inaccurate/contradictory.

"All synthetic drugs cause leaky gut in some way" - bold and broad claim with no citation provided.

"Spikenard, an essential oil widely referenced throughout the Bible, can reduce stress, calm inflamed skin, stimulate the immune system, lower cortisol, and increase spiritual awareness." - example quote

Another perfect example of the major problems in our medical/education systems. This guy is a doctor who is extremely uninformed/misinformed and spreading dangerous, non-evidence-based advice. He's got one of the most popular health websites on the net.

EDIT: someone pointed out I neglected citations in this review. Good point. I naturally stooped to the level of the book, in part because I had given citations elsewhere:

Original 02 Jul 2018.