Remember when kale was ‘the new beef’?
Well, move over kale because a new veggie is making its way and it’s selling out in grocery stores everywhere.
Now there are a lot of claims being made about juicing celery, and I’ve had a lot of people asking me for my thoughts on the topic, which is why I’ve decided to write this article:
Celery juice for weight loss: Does it actually work?
If you’re new to the celery juice-craze, just take a moment to Google or search the hashtag #celeryjuice on any social platform. Numerous videos and photos will come up with die-hard fans raving about celery juice performing near ‘acts of God’ on their bodies. The phenomenon was started by Anthony William, author of Medical Medium who claims that celery juice is almost a cure-all for everything from Epstein-Barr virus to H.pylori, and even weight loss. While I am not a fan of William’s work or many of his theories (especially regarding sugar and fat), I will leave those off the table. I also want to be clear that this article in no way is advocating William’s work. Rather, my objective here is to concentrate on the whole celery juice craze (which I get was born from Anthony William) because there’s so much to say about just that one topic! If you’re not familiar with William’s work, he has no medical experience, but rather “receives healing messages from the Spirit.”
Now before you think I’m being judgy, understand that while I am a science nerd, I also consider myself a woman-of-the-woo. The purpose of this article is to dig deeper about celery juice and to answer the question, “Is it really all that it’s cracked up to be?”
Let me start out by saying this: weight loss is a symptom, not the root cause.
In fact, every individual who struggles with a weight condition will have individual causative factors as to why they’re overweight to begin with. There may be digestive issues, a thyroid and adrenal imbalance, heavy metal toxicity and more. I actually talk all about this in my free, online weight loss masterclass happening on Tuesday January 22nd at 7pmEST – grab your spot here.
Okay, so according to William, celery juice can:
*Please note my correlations to weight loss are italicized below each point.
- Improve digestion
All of which can aid with weight loss
- Cure H.pylori
We often see this associated with Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune thyroid condition where women can also struggle with weight
- Heals the thyroid and support the adrenals
When cortisol levels are out of whack, it can lead to weight gain around the abdomen. Furthermore, we require a healthy thyroid to maintain our weight because if your metabolism is a revved engine, thyroid hormone acts as the gas behind it
- Calms inflammation
Weight is a form of inflammation.
- Detoxifies the liver and aids in methylation activity
Which is responsible for eliminating excess estrogens and can lead to weight around the hips, bum and thighs.
And that’s just skimming the surface to many of the claims made. So that list alone should be enough to convince anyone that this miracle juice from the Gods will not only slim us down, but help us feel like a rockstar, right?
Well, there’s more to it than just that. #BuzzKill
While William does claim that he receives messages from Spirit and that many of these messages haven’t even been discovered by science yet, I still wanted to dig for any information I could find.
I fully realize that much of the information I’m looking for is limited. I also understand that I’ll be up against a lot of die-hard fans, some of whom will have their fingers eagerly waiting to attack their keyboard with potentially aggressive responses.
So with all that said, let’s dive right in!
CLAIM: Celery juice improves digestion
Bloating is one of the biggest complaints I hear in practice which often times which begins in the gut because most people have low stomach acid. Reasons for low stomach acid vary, but common reasons are: stress, zinc deficiency (or subsequent copper toxicity), aging, medications and H.pylori – which affects 2/3rds of the world’s population.
If we aren’t breaking down the food in our gut, our intestines have more work to break it down and assimilate nutrients – much of which requires stomach acid.
From a weight loss perspective, the health of your gut plays a crucial role in weight loss , so if you incorporate various therapies (nutritional, supplemental, lifestyle) to heal the gut, then weight loss could absolutely follow.
Enter, celery juice.
So does celery juice reduce bloating?
It’s absolutely possible and the reason for it is due to the mineral salts, specifically the sodium which is naturally found in the vegetable. Sodium is needed to produce hydrochloric acid (ie. stomach acid) and it’s likely the reason why William suggests that celery juice is consumed on an empty stomach to fire up the gut. It’s also the reason why in practice I’ve advocated that people add Celtic sea salt to their water.
But does celery juice eradicate H.pylori?
This was a huge one for me because I’ve worked with so many people with H.pylori, so could celery juice be the answer?
In classic fashion, I took to PubMed to look for any data. However the only studies I could find was one study done with a crude alcoholic extract of celery seed  and another study where an extract of celery seed was used on rats.
This isn’t to say that celery juice can’t help, but what was studied were extracts which are generally more potent, so it’s not exactly a mirrored comparison to juicing the vegetable.
And while, I know, Spirit says that this info hasn’t been discovered by science yet, I’m a practitioner who also appreciates some level of scientific backing or at least some level of clinical proof that it works. So while the testimonials for celery juice have been incredible, remember that there are variables to each one.
Do I believe that celery juice can eradicate H.pylori?
I’m not entirely convinced.
I certainly don’t think it’s a bad addition to an H.pylori protocol. And certainly drinking the green stuff could potentially prevent the proliferation of H.pylori to begin with if it’s helping to indirectly produce hydrochloric acid.
CLAIM: Heals the thyroid and supports the adrenals
As someone with Hashimoto’s, this absolutely peaked my interest because I’m always looking for ways to improve the function of my thyroid (which has greatly improved since I was diagnosed back in 2017). A big part of William’s book on the thyroid claims that Epstein-Barr virus (a virus which afflicts over 95% of the population) is the culprit.
Now while studies suggest potential ties between Hashimoto’s and Epstein-Barr virus(EBV), I found zero studies on the ability of celery juice to eradicate EBV.
I did however find one study  that noted that the flavonoid, apigenin, does inhibit the reactivation of EBV. However the study was done on apigenin in general, and just a side note, parsley has the highest amount of apigenin.
Parsley juice anyone?
But here’s where celery can aid thyroid function:
It has a shit ton of potassium: ranging between 500-600mg per 8oz (obviously this depends on the sizes of stalks juiced).
In practice, one thing we offer in my programs and membership is the ability for people to upgrade to testing – one of which is hair trace mineral analysis (HTMA). One area of the results we look at are four minerals in particular as a starting point. They are: calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium.
With individuals who have adrenal issues, hypothyroidism and/or Hashimoto’s, potassium is notoriously low on test results along with sodium and magnesium.
I am always looking for food sources of potassium because they’re better absorbed than through supplementation. In fact, from a mineral perspective alone, the average person should aim to get roughly 4,500mg of potassium daily – and yes, I understand that far exceeds the RDA.
So by nature of the minerals alone, celery juice is certainly promising.
But is it a silver bullet?
If your adrenals are run down and you’ve got thyroid issues, there are other causative factors including: gut dysbiosis, heavy metal toxicity, eating refined, processed foods and overdoing it on stimulants like coffee. And let’s not forget that lifestyle choices can never be overlooked (sleep deprivation being a huge one).
I don’t care how much celery juice you drink, if you’re staying up watching shows on Netflix, or scrolling through Instagram aimlessly until all hours of the night, you’ll still be a tired, miserable person with green shit on your face.
CLAIM: Celery juice calms inflammation.
If you’ve looked at the hashtag #celeryjuice, the testimonials are compelling! You’ll see before and after photos of people with eczema that now have clear skin and puffiness in the face reduced substantially.
These, just like weight, are all byproducts of inflammation.
It’s one of the reasons why when I work with women who want to lose weight, I stress that we need to reduce the inflammation to address the weight. But even more importantly, I stress the importance of finding out WHERE the inflammation is coming from to begin with.
So when I hear claims that celery juice “calms inflammation”, my first question is, by what mechanism?
There is no question that celery juice has anti-inflammatory properties via phytochemicals and antioxidants associated with reducing inflammation. In fact, celery (seed that is) can be seen listed in the Indian Materia Medica with raving reviews.
Does this mean that juicing the stalks has no merit in comparison to the seeds or the extracts?
No not at all, but again, it’s just not an apples-to-apples comparison. Plus there are many vegetables out there which contain a much greater content of flavonoids than celery.
This doesn’t mean I’m advising you to stop juicing celery (which is $5 per bundle in some stores!). I mean, let’s face it, it’s incredibly hydrating, rich in minerals and contains a substantial amount of flavonoids, which means that it’s going to have some level of impact.
You see, most people I see in practice are dehydrated and usually start off their day with coffee. And even if they are drinking water, it’s void of minerals which really doesn’t help you efficiently hydrate (minerals helps you hydrate on a cellular level). Without hydration, your levels of inflammation will shoot up. So starting your day off with 16-32oz of celery juice isn’t exactly a bad idea and no surprise why many people will rave about feeling and looking better.
CLAIM: Celery juice detoxes the liver and aids in methylation activity
One of the claims I’ve read is that celery juice helps detoxify the liver and I’ll tell you that from clinical practice, the liver needs support if you’re trying to lose weight.
But let me be clear, the liver has over 560 functions and contrary to popular belief, it has a total of four phases of detoxification (not two).
- Phase 0: Helps to identify the toxin / foreign hormone and mobilize it. This is almost the body’s way of putting a sticky note on the toxin’s back to identify it before the next phase can happen.
- Phase I: This is your first line of defence and while there are a group of enzymes that neutralize toxins, there are some toxins which pose a toxic threat to the body.
- Phase II: Here we takes those toxins that pose a threat and add something to them (which is a process called, “conjugation”) so they can be safely excreted.
- Phase III: Alas, comes the excretion of toxins and hormones before they can become unconjugated (and virulent).
This is a HUGE pet peeve of mine when people state that a specific food or even supplement can detox the liver. I always ask, “Well which phase of detoxification does it activate?”
It’s why I never send people to a health food store to buy a liver detox kit because most of those kits can’t even detox a hamster. A true liver detox will support all four phases and are carefully crafted by a skilled practitioner.
Sure you can support the liver, but giving credit to one vegetable to activate all four phases? Not likely.
The was a study done on mice  to show that celery leaves (mind you, they were dried and ground into a powder) did have a hepatoprotective effect, regulating fat metabolism and may even reduce a fatty liver. But again, there are variables here to consider since it’s not a direct comparison to the actual juice.
From a Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM) perspective, when supporting the liver (which energetically has the tendency to run hot and produce symptoms of anger and frustration), you need to consume green vegetables, which for the most part are cooling (some more than others). Celery in particular is very cooling because it’s so hydrating. So all these points do support that it would aid the liver – at least from a TCM perspective.
And the next time you decide to chuck back a glass or two of celery juice, you’ll soon discover it’s rather bitter (the thinner stalks with leaves are probably the worst for this). While the bitter flavour does have an affinity to the heart in TCM, it also aids the liver, especially if you factor that according to Five Element theory, the liver is the “mother of the heart”.
But I digress, because that’s just going down the rabbit hole that is Chinese Medicine.
Does it increase methylation activity of the liver?
If you refer to the phases I noted above, methylation falls under the phase II category. There are some individuals that do have sluggish phase II liver detoxification (this is something we look at when doing hormone testing in practice). And we want to be detoxing efficiently or we run the risk of elevated levels of inflammation, poor hormone and toxin clearance all of which can lead to weight gain.
If you have been found to have poor methylation activity (some of which can be due to genetic factors), you can try adding in supplements like SAM-e, vitamin B12, magnesium and pyridoxal-5-phosphate (aka B6).
But what about celery? One study  (done on mice) found that the flavonoid, apigenin, was shown to increase NrF2 pathway. And if you’re left scratching your head about what the heck that means, just know that you want to stimulate the NrF2 pathway, you’re doing a GOOD thing because its the master regulator of antioxidants, it helps with detoxification and cell defence gene expression. Fancy, huh?
But again, the study was done on mice and from an apigenin level, parsley supersedes celery by far.
The final verdict?
If celery is working for you and you feel amazing, then by all means, continue doing it. No judgement here.
Would I recommend it to people I work with? Sure, but only for the reasons I suggested in this article: it’s a whole foods source of hydration that’s mineral-rich – all of which supports the adrenals and thyroid (which are glands I see so many people struggling with). Plus it’s a green juice that’s low in sugar, so why the heck not?
I won’t however be making diehard claims. I also won’t tell you to scour the city, shooting up your cortisol levels as you frantically look for organic celery either. In cases where you just can’t find celery for your morning juice, then just add ¼ tsp of Celtic sea salt to your water. Easy peasy.
And when all else fails, who knows, maybe parsley will be the next to make waves.
I mean, parsley, can be the new beef, right?
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