Coal Tar and “Restore for Gut Health”

One of the best performing pages on this blog is “Restore for Gut Health: Danger Will Robinson”. Coal tar has been used topically (on skin) for psoriasis vulgaris for decades [2015], but what about internal consumption of coal tar extract (which appears to be substantially what Restore appears to be “Lignite Extract“).

So what are possible risk with internal consumption?

Potential DNA Damage


A reader forwarded me information to find two published studies. The reader noted that these were not done independently, but by members of the company (Aka CONFLICT OF INTERESTS). I reviewed them and quoted below:

  • “The lignite supplement blocked a PT-gliadin dependent decrease in TEER in small intestine and colon cell line membranes. ….demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in apoptosis in RPTCs. Human clinical trials are needed to evaluate the use of RESTORE to support health in gluten-sensitive individuals.” [2016] statistically significant can mean as little as 1% change, some of the confidence intervals as a very high 5% (< 0.05).
    • DAR and ZB are shareholders and employees of Biomic Sciences, LLC, the entity that produces the lignite extract supplement used in the study. JJG is a consultant and shareholder of Biomic Sciences, LLC.
    • “, the lignite supplement was tested by ultra-sensitive mass spectrometry based heavy metal detection and found to be free of potentially toxic heavy metals or soil minerals [7,8].” — the studies referenced were NOT testing their product and further more, 7 states:
      • “Ultrastructural changes of myocardium cells, neurons of sensorimotor cerebral cortex, endothelium of blood microvessels were registered by transmissive electron microscopy in mice receiving rock balm preparations per os. Both stimulating and toxic effects were observed dependently on used concentrations. This necessitates dosage to be strictly observed.” [1993]
      • 8 states “One-fifth of both US-manufactured and Indian-manufactured Ayurvedic medicines purchased via the Internet contain detectable lead, mercury, or arsenic.” [2008]
    • Their 2017  study “Protective Effects of Lignite Extract Supplement on Intestinal Barrier Function in Glyphosate-Mediated Tight Junction Injury
      • “Initially introduced in a 1962 patent, and commercialized in the herbicide Roundup® in 1976, glyphosate is widely used in both industrial agriculture and residential settings.” — so their claim is that it helps Roundup caused damage.
      • ” RESTORE itself is comprised of the 150 mg of Terrahydrite™ lignite extract”, a new fancy TRADEMARK name that was refused on 2017-02-02. Legally, they were required to remove this from all of their websites immediately. They did not.
      • ” Further studies are needed to assess potential clinical applications of lignite extract supplements.”

Update — I have even deeper doubts about this product and the operations of the company selling it.

Bottom Line

There are ZERO published safety studies on this product — this is essential given the nature of the product. Safety studies should include DNA mutations. There are no published studies on it’s effectiveness on PubMed. This product has the appearance of “snake oil” with placebo effects being likely.

The use of coal tar extracts internally does not appear anywhere on PubMed. Studies exists where occupation working with coal tar results in internal consumption — and all of those presenting very undesired consequences.

I strongly advise against using this product.