Posted by Janell:
I have been looking forward to writing this post because quite honestly, I have always been curious about detox plans. So today I wanted to take some time to do some fact finding and share what I found with you.
First of all, if you search “detox” on Google, you get 67 MILLION results. Yikes! Also, as a side benefit, I felt instantly healthier just looking at the pictures!
I did not have the time to dig through 67 million results, but I did spend at least 5 hours reading through what both the skeptics and the believers of over the counter detoxification plans have to say. But before we get into that, let’s start with the facts….
Definition of a toxin: Toxins are substances created by plants and animals that are poisonous to humans. Toxins also include medications that are helpful in small doses, but poisonous when used in large amounts. Most toxins that cause problems in humans are released by germs such as bacteria. For example, cholera is due to a bacterial toxin. Other toxins that cause problems include metals, such as lead, and organic chemicals in the environment.
There are serious detoxification treatments done in hospitals for heavy metal over exposure. This is called chelation therapy and involves powerful chemicals and can result in death if not monitored closely. Additionally, most people are familiar with detox programs for individuals addicted to certain drugs. In both these cases, the detoxification process can be life threatening and is a very serious procedure.
Aside from the medical detoxification procedures, the body does an amazing job on it’s own. The liver is the main detoxification organ that filters ALL of the blood in our body and then the kidneys decide what toxins are excreted out of our body. Our skin also keeps toxins from entering our body in the first place. The two videos below are short, but do a great job explaining how the liver and kidneys work.
I’m constantly amazed at how awesome our bodies are. Please respect your body and treat it well!!!
I also learned that too much of anything can be a toxin. For example, water is crucial to survival, but if you drink too much it can also kill you.
For many people, detoxifying means fasting or going on a juice cleanse with severe calorie restrictions. Fasting has long been tied to religious and cultural traditions and I was honestly surprised to read that fasting for a couple days gives you a sense of clarity and enhanced mental state. I actually found a lot of information about how fasting can clear the mind, and I might actually try it one day! I would not advise prolonged fasting over 2 to 3 days, especially if you are doing a juice only cleanse since juice has a lot of sugar in it.
After spending hours searching, I was not able to find any studies or proof showing that over the counter detoxification plans and supplements have any effect on the body. Honesty, I had a hard time finding any studies at all which I also found interesting. Since the supplement industry is not regulated, manufacturers are not required to prove anything. Some of these plans cost a lot of money, and I caution anyone to research before buying. A lot of these products have some really cool sounding herbs that “support” the liver or kidneys or colon. The bottles are quick to claim a lot of benefits, but like I said…. not much proof.
I think it’s great that people want to keep their body’s healthy and running smoothly. Going through a detoxification plan may help you mentally focus on what you are putting in your body and how you feel. Increasing body awareness and taking control of your health through a disciplined detoxification program can be very empowering.
My commitment is to always give evidence based advice, so I’ll end this blog on this….
- The best way to detox is to let your body do it’s job.
- You can support your liver by not drinking alcohol in excess (2 drinks for men and 1 drink for women each day) and avoid taking an excess of Tylenol (acetaminophen) which is the leading cause of liver failure.
- Fasting for a short period may improve mental clarity.
- A lot of detox plans encourage increased water, fruit and vegetable consumption which is great!!
In the end, do what you feel is right for you!!!