There's a persistent rumor that you can use pectin to pass a urine drug test. If you search the forums, you'll find many people swear by it, but does it really work? It's a cheap solution, but the consequences might be more expensive if you fail a drug test. Here's a quick look at the science to see if there's any evidence for this.
What Is Pectin?
In science talk, pectin is a structural heteropolysaccharide found in the cell walls of land-based plants. It makes an excellent gelling agent, so it's often used in cooking ingredients like Certo and Sure-Jell.
From a drug test point of view, however, what makes pectin so interesting is that it's a source of soluble dietary fiber.
Using Pectin for Urine Cleansing
First of all, we don't recommended relying on using Certo and Sure-Jell to pass a urine drug test, at least not on its own. We explain why later, but first we'll go explain how people commonly use it.The most popular method seems to be to mix a whole packet of Certo (or Sure-Jell) with a bottle of Gatorade and drink it all, probably followed by a heap of water to wash it down. People say that the pectin will bind with fatty acids, which may contain drug metabolites, and transport them to the bowel. In theory, this stops drug metabolites ending up in the urine.
Does It Work?
While the theory sounds nice, there are some catches. First, it's only going to make a difference if a drug is extremely fat-soluble. All drugs need to be fat-soluble to some degree (or they wouldn't have an effect), but only THC is highly fat-soluble. This is what makes THC so hard to detox from, because it gets stored in the body fat, especially for the heaviest users. Most drugs are more water-soluble, so they pass through the body faster.
This means that if it has an effect, it will probably only help with drug tests for weed. Also, this effect probably isn't strong enough to get clean urine. What's more likely is that this method just causes dilution. Dilution can successfully reduce the concentration of drug metabolites in your urine (thanks to peeing more), but it's also one of the most common cheats that labs test for.
If you really want to rely on dilution, you could just drink the water and forget the Certo and Gatorade. We don't recommend this either, though, unless you know your urine won't be tested for adulterants.
Alternatives to Pectin
For the reasons above, you probably don't want to rely on pectin for urine cleansing, but what's the best alternative?
If you want to be able to give a normal urine sample, it's best to just pay a bit more for a high-quality detox drink. These drinks are specially formulated to flush your system clean in just an hour or so. Not only do they reduce drug concentrations, they're undetectable by drug tests. They also maintain the normal properties of your urine, so you'll also pass the adulterant test.