Woman claims wellness influencer’s advice sent her to hospital with burnt esophagus

 (TikTok / @lutinii)
(TikTok / @lutinii)

A woman has claimed that she was sent to the hospital with a burnt esophagus after following a wellness influencer’s digestive health recipe.

In a viral TikTok video, a woman warned about the dangers of following health and wellness advice from social media influencers. TikTok user @lutinii took to the platform in April to share her disastrous results after she tested out an influencer’s “holistic” recipe to help with digestion.

“Y’all better be careful about listening to those health and wellness influencers, otherwise you might just end up in the hospital like I did,” she began her viral video, which has been viewed more than two million times.

The woman explained that about six years ago, she started following a “well known” health and wellness creator on social media. The unnamed influencer purportedly shared content about “healing her body from a chronic illness,” which was something that the TikToker could relate to.

“It was one day when I stumbled upon one of her videos, talking about how you could help your digestion by coating an orange with cinnamon and cayenne pepper and eating it, peel and all,” she said. “It was absolutely not pleasant going down and I thought it was in the name of health. I thought I was doing the right thing for my body and it would thank me later. Wrong.”

She revealed that she “ended up so sick” from ingesting the influencer’s digestive health recipe that she had to go to the hospital. She informed the doctor that she had eaten an orange coated in cinnamon and cayenne, to which she said he replied: “Why would you do that?”

“You know what my answer was?” the woman asked the camera. “‘I saw someone do it online.’ As soon as it came out of my mouth I was like, I deserve this. This is what I get.”

The doctor suggested that she might’ve burned her esophagus from eating the orange with cinnamon and cayenne, and for several months later she visited a variety of specialists to treat her esophagus.

“I got an endoscopy and it turns out I did, in fact, burn my esophagus,” she said.

While the incident occurred years ago, the TikToker said she was prompted to post about her hospital experience after noticing that the wellness influencer had recently reposted the same digestive health recipe to her social media page.

“It just makes me upset because there are now hundreds of thousands of people looking to her for information,” the woman expressed. “It’s dangerous to recommend something for someone and say: ‘This is the cure to your digestion issue,’ but it’s even more dangerous to believe everything you see.”

“While I do think it’s an influencer and a content creator’s responsibility to be mindful, I think we have even more responsibility to discern and to take everything you see with a grain of salt,” she added. “This is the last time I will listen to a health and wellness influencer.”

In her caption, the TikToker shared the important reminder that “no one body is the same and there is no one size fits all.”

Although the woman didn’t name the health and wellness influencer in her video, it didn’t take long for the internet to suggest the content creator was Lilsipper – a popular influencer with more than one million followers on Instagram. Lilsipper, also known as Bethany, has gained a large online following for her recipes and hacks that focus on improving digestive health.

In May 2022, she shared a video for a recipe that seemed very similar to the one that allegedly burnt the TikToker’s esophagus. The recipe, which showed a navel orange coated with cayenne pepper and cinnamon, claimed to provide constipation relief “in about five minutes.” She shared a similar video with the same recipe again in December 2023.

The comments section had thousands of messages from users referencing @lutinii’s video about her hospital experience. “Coming from the video of the person who was hospitalized,” one person wrote, while another user said: “Who else ended up here after watching the girl who got sent to the ER for trying it?”

Despite the TikToker’s negative experience, cayenne pepper is known to cause some relief for digestion issues by increasing “gastric juices and enzyme production in the stomach, which helps us break down food” and “promote a healthy microbiome,” according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Navel oranges can also help with digestion because they contain about three grams of fiber, which aids the digestive system in processing food and maintaining regular bowel movements. Meanwhile, cinnamon has long been used as a method to support digestive health.

The Independent has contacted Lilsipper and @lutinii for comment.