What About All These Detoxes?
“Detox” has been a big buzz word for the past few years. So many of us know someone who flippantly says that they need to detox after a particularly overindulgent weekend or detox to freshen up their skin. What’s the real deal with these detoxes? Can a detox really rejuvenate your body or health?
What is a Detox?
In traditional medicine, a detox took place to remove a toxic material from a person’s body. Usually this kind of detox was administered to a person suffering from alcohol or drug addiction. In alternative medicine and naturopathy, a detox refers to a body cleanse. These cleanses are said to rid the body of harmful toxins, usually unspecific toxins.
As the title of this blog suggests, there are a lot of detoxes available.
- Detox diets – There are dozens of detox diets available including the Master Cleanse, The Lemon Cleanse, 48 hour detox and 7 Day Detox. These diets imply that the food we eat contains toxins which are contaminating our bodies. Following a detox diet will allegedly eliminate the toxins from your blood and body fat stores.
- Colon Cleanse – A colon cleanse or colonic irrigation involves injecting water mixed with herbs or other fluids in to the colon. The aim is to cleanse the colon and intestines of parasites and other toxins.
- Chelation therapy – Chelation therapies are used by people in an attempt to cure a wide range of ailments including autism, heart disease, cancer and mercury poisoning. Chelation therapy involves injecting a synthetic solution in to the bloodstream which is said to remove toxins from the body.
- Aromatherapy– Inhaling or bathing in a bath with a few drops of essential oils is said to detox the body and rid the body of inflammation plus flush out any toxins residing in the body’s lymphatic system.
- Space Clearing – This detox involves cleansing your body and the space you live in with sea salt. Soaking in a sea salt bath and leaving bowls of sea salt around your house will draw out any toxins present. The bath will literally wash the toxins down the drain.
Do Detoxes Work?
There is virtually no scientific evidence to support the use of detoxes. Although people who detox claim to feel better or healthier, it is likely because the detoxes they are following omit a lot of the foods that can cause people to feel sluggish or unwell. It doesn’t necessarily mean the body is any healthier. In fact, the colon, kidneys and liver which do most of the body’s detoxing are pretty robust and, unless a person has a series health condition, they do not need any assistance clearing the body of waste or toxins.
Are Detoxes Safe?
Following a detox diet for a short period of time is relatively safe. However, detoxes shouldn’t be followed for an extended period of time. Detox diets tend to be very restrictive and often deprive the body of the fats, carbohydrates and proteins a person needs to stay healthy and alert. In general, detox diets don’t have a positive effect on cholesterol or blood pressure. Many followers report low blood pressure or blood sugar as well as fatigue, dizziness and difficulty concentrating. Detox diets also don’t rid your body of any toxic build ups……..because toxins don’t build up in the body.
Colon cleanses are somewhat unnecessary. Again, there is little evidence to support the benefits of a colonic. The colon is actually pretty good at keeping itself clean and doesn’t need any help in that department. In some people, colonics can lead to an imbalance in bodily fluids and electrolytes. People with heart or kidney diseases, pregnant or breastfeeding women and people with gastrointestinal disorders should steer clear of colon cleanses.
Chelation detoxes have the least amount of scientific backing. Chelation therapy has only been proven to work in cases of lead poisoning. There is no link between chelation and curing heart disease or other conditions. Chelation therapy can lead to kidney failure, critically low levels of vitamins and calcium, the inability to create new blood cells and death. This is the most dangerous detox and one to avoid!
If you lead a healthy lifestyle and take care of your diet and well-being, you don’t need to detox. Detoxes are an understudied area and can lead to some potentially fatal complications. Take care of your diet and your fitness and your body will take care of the rest!
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