Are Detoxifying Programs Actually Effective?

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There are thousands of products and programs on the market that promise to promote detoxification, but are they based on junk science or are they truly effective? This is a question that everyone who is concerned with health asks when approaching the topic of detoxification. With environmental factors like free radicals, pollution and radiation, and internal factors like stress, colonic blockage, and hormonal fluctuations used as scare tactics, it’s easy to see why we would seek out radical solutions to detoxifying our bodies.

The latest craze in detoxification is the “teatox”, which is another in a series of fad diets that promises to promote weight loss and detoxifying effects by the simple consumption of over-priced teas. There are also detoxification foot pads, “oxygenated” water, juicing, metabolic fasting, and other methods that promise to flush toxins from the body, boost energy, promote weight loss, reduce bloating, and other extreme promises. These methods look and feel natural, but the results are nearly always disappointing. Regardless, there is a lot of money to be made off of the gullible health seeker, and the detox industry rakes in millions of dollars per year off the unsuspecting and hopeful.

Let’s take a look at an example of the promises made by the detoxifying program, CleanseSMART:

CleanseSMART is a two-part, 30-day, advanced herbal cleansing program. It is formulated to stimulate the detoxification process of the body’s seven channels of elimination: the liver, lungs, colon, kidneys, blood, skin, and lymphatic system. In today’s toxic world, cleansing and detoxification is a necessity. Toxins enter our body daily through the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. Over time, these toxins build up and slowly start to affect our health in a negative way. Through cleansing and detoxification, you enable your body to better process this toxic load. Reducing the toxic load in your body decreases the risk of developing chronic health problems, improves overall health and immune response, and can increase energy levels.

Note that the ambiguous language of the paragraph never identifies exactly which toxins “enter our body daily through the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink.” In fact, if you research any detoxification program or diet, no specific toxin is ever named for the simple fact that “toxin” is a meaningless trigger word that sounds scientific enough to pass muster. Another exploitative move by the detoxification community is to decry the build-up of “mucoid plaque” in the colon. Mucoid plaque does not exist, and is another made-up, meaningless trigger word that sounds serious enough to force the consumer into shelling out hundreds of dollars to get rid of this phantom menace. Programs like CleanseSMART are built on the false premise that our bodies have built up toxins to begin with. Unless you are heavily addicted to illicit substances or alcohol, this premise is simply untrue. According to the scientific community at large, there is no evidence for toxic accumulation in the body.

The good news is you are naturally detoxifying your body every day, simply by existing. The human body is a miraculous machine, with built-in answers to many of junk science’s made-up problems.

The good news is you are naturally detoxifying your body every day, simply by existing. The human body is a miraculous machine, with built-in answers to many of junk science’s made-up problems. The body is perfectly capable of clearing out harmful substances on its own, without the assistance of teas, juices, or fancy waters. Healthy gut bacteria in the stomach works first to break down harmful substances entering the body, and is the first wave of protection the body sees against any kind of “toxic” chemical. Furthermore, your liver – which is a sophisticated mechanism that naturally breaks down harmful chemicals which are then excreted by the kidneys – is also protected by healthy gut bacteria. Healthy gut bacteria also prevents lipopolysaccharides in the intestines, which may reduce the likelihood of liver irritation. Between your stomach, liver, and kidneys, your body has all of the detoxification properties necessary to keep you healthy and balanced. So while juicing or detox diets might not miraculously cleanse you from the inside out or make you drop those stubborn pounds, they do make you take a break from junk foods or sugar, and that’s never a bad thing. The one lesson to be learned from all of this is that a healthy gut bacteria is the most important foundation to keep natural detoxification going strong, so the best thing you could do is ignore the false promises of “all-natural, detoxifying agents” and instead invest in a great probiotic.

Editor’s Note: The material in this article is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.

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