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Does Detox Really Work?

Detox Teas, Juice Cleanses, and Meal Replacements - Detox diets, or "detox" diets, are more popular than ever, designed to cleanse the blood and remove harmful toxins from the body. They occupy a billion-dollar market in the global healthcare sector, although it's still not entirely clear how detox diets work, what specific compounds they eliminate, and if they work at all.

We have put together a detailed overview of detox diets and their health effects for you. We only refer to effects that have actually been proven by studies.

What is detox anyway?

Detox or detox diets are typically short-term dietary interventions aimed at removing toxins from the body. A typical detox diet includes a fast, or strict diet of fruits, vegetables, fruit juices, and water. Sometimes herbs and teas or dietary supplements are added that promise to cleanse the intestines or "detoxify". Typical promises of detox diets and detox products can be, for example:

  • Recovery of the intestines and liver through fasting
  • Stimulating the body to eliminate toxins
  • improve metabolism and circulation
  • Weight loss and elimination of "built-up" cellular waste
  • Providing the body with healthy nutrients

Detox therapies are usually recommended when one has been exposed to potentially toxic chemicals in the environment or diet. This includes pollutants, synthetic chemicals, heavy metals and other harmful compounds. It is also claimed that these diets help with various health problems such as obesity, digestive problems, autoimmune diseases, inflammation, allergies and chronic fatigue. [1]

However, studies of detox diets in humans are scarce, and the few studies that do exist are severely flawed [2, 3]. Some people report feeling more focused and energetic during and after a detox diet. However, this improved well-being can also be due simply to eliminating processed foods, alcohol and other unhealthy substances from the diet. It is also possible that the body is simply getting the vitamins and minerals it was previously lacking.

Detox cures are (short-term) measures aimed at removing toxins from the body. It is claimed that they are said to help with various health problems.

The most common detox promises - science or sales pitch?

From total starvation through fasting for several weeks to raw and liquid diets, everything is included. Here are the 5 most common detox promises and what we think they deliver:

The Juice Diet - As with all extreme diets, the juice diet can hardly be sustained in the long term. Already on the 2nd day you will be longing for something firm between your teeth and rightly so. After all, your gut wants to have something to do and work for its nutrients. By pureeing your food ahead of time, you'll take a lot of the work off of it, and you probably won't feel the same satiety as you would if you chewed the apple without pureeing it. Try to switch between liquid and solid food and keep your gut microbiome busy with a few larger plant parts.

The Cabbage Soup Diet - Cabbage is healthy, but does it have to be just cabbage? Even the gastrointestinal tract of a gorilla would have to struggle with that. In addition, other fruits and vegetables are no less healthy. So please don't be irritated and only eat cabbage.

Fast - Several detox diets recommend fasting or strict calorie restriction. Short-term fasting and calorie restriction can actually be very beneficial for regulating blood sugar and supporting autophagy. Long-term fasting, on the other hand, can actually lead to energy, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and an electrolyte imbalance. [4, 5] So here too: please don't overdo it, rather see what makes sense for the individual case.

Detox tea - Detox tea is usually nothing more than herbal tea and is therefore a great supplement, but does not replace the basic food. And above all, detox teas do not have to be expensive. No matter what's in it, most draining herbs like green oats or nettle can even be picked yourself or purchased at health food stores. If you like drinking tea, you can integrate this ritual into your everyday life. We should do more with wild herbs anyway - we think.

There are many types of detox regimens. They are almost always associated with fasting, eating certain foods, avoiding harmful ingredients and/or taking dietary supplements and are very extreme.

What's the problem with the toxins?

Detox diets rarely specify which toxins are to be removed, how much, over what period of time, and most importantly, by what mechanism. Anyone who has completed the first semester of a medical degree will quickly understand why. The human body is so complex that we cannot say exactly what is removed from what, let alone how much and over what period of time. All organs are almost always involved in the excretion and metabolism of substances. Therefore, a statement like "with this tea you will eliminate 1% of your arsenic poisoning within 2 weeks" is simply untenable. In addition, the body is able to cleanse itself via liver, feces, and sweat (otherwise we'd be a walking and foul-smelling disposal bin by now). Our liver's job is to neutralize toxic substances and ensure that they are excreted from the body. [6, 7, 8, 9]

So actually no detox is necessary at all, because the body runs the basic detox program all the time anyway?

Yes and no. Despite permanent "detoxification" or shall we say "excretion of unwanted or disproportionate substances", there are still some substances that cannot be removed so easily by these mechanisms. This includes, for example, persistent organic pollutants such as phthalates, bisphenol A (BPA) and heavy metals such as arsenic or mercury. These are substances with which we have been increasingly confronted, especially in the last few decades, due to our rapid social and economic progress. Unfortunately, our body hasn't kept up with its detoxification program as quickly as we have with the production of plastic and mercury fumes. As a result, the consumption of contaminated food can actually lead to an accumulation of such toxins in the fatty tissue and in the blood. [12, 1314]
It can take up to years for the body to clear them [15, 16]. In the meantime, these compounds have been removed from commercial products or are only used to a limited extent [17]. Nevertheless, a certain environmental pollution with these substances has built up over the years.

Detox diets rarely identify the specific toxins they purport to eliminate. In most cases, evidence of the necessary mechanism is completely lacking. The body can rid itself of most toxins through the liver, feces, and sweat. However, a few toxins have accumulated in the seas in recent years and can actually accumulate in fatty tissue and blood as a result of an unfavorable lifestyle and diet.

How effective are the detox measures for this?

It doesn't have to be an expensive detox tea or a restrictive juice cleanse for several weeks. Most importantly, you can still support your body in the long term to sort between good and bad nutrients. Many often wish for some kind of reset button after a holiday or after an eventful weekend where they went over the top. If this supports your thinking and your well-being, then take advantage of it and start making better decisions and go on a nutrient search instead of a starvation course from now on.

Here are ours 5 Reviews for you, which you can immediately integrate into your everyday life:

  1. buy fruits and vegetables, which you eat with shell, in Organic quality a and meat and dairy products at least from a better form of husbandry.
  2. Avoid highly stressed fish species like tuna and tilapia.
  3. Try to store less in aluminum foil and plastic and instead put it on Wooden, glass and stainless steel containers.
  4. Reach for cleaning products that are labeled as such environmentally friendly(he is. If you protect the environment, then usually also your body, which after all is part of the environment.
  5. Use creams and body care products made from natural cosmetics. Go for curd soap or at least Soap that does not contain microplastics contains.

    What can you eat to support your body in the long term?

    Chlorella - is a seaweed that contains many nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. In animals, algae, including chlorella, have been found to reduce heavy metal toxicity to the liver, brain, and kidneys [18]. In addition, chlorella has been shown to help reduce the absorption of harmful chemicals sometimes found in food. One is dioxin, a hormone disruptor that can contaminate animals in the food supply [19, 20]. When choosing your chlorella supplements, make sure they are lab tested so they aren't already loaded with heavy metals before they can even strip you of heavy metals. In addition, the cell walls should be "broken open" so that they can be optimally absorbed. 

    Chaga - The chaga is a mushroom that grows mainly on birch trees in cold climates. It has an appearance similar to burnt charcoal and has been harvested as a traditional medicine for centuries. In a study on mice, for example, this reduced Chaga Extract Inflammation and intestinal damage by inhibiting inflammatory cytokines. The healthier your gut is, the fewer pollutants it allows. Chaga is therefore our drug of choice when it comes to caring for the intestines. [21]

    ginger - In order to prevent toxins from accumulating at all, it makes sense to break down excess fat cells, because it is precisely there that toxins are primarily stored. A 2019 literature review of functional foods concluded that ginger has a very positive effect on obesity and weight loss. A reduction in body weight was consistently observed in rats and mice fed ginger water or ginger extract, even when fed a high-fat diet at the same time. [22, 23]

    Spinach, mint, and green leafy vegetables such as kale and chard or fresh herbs are high in nutrients and chlorophyll. Simply by taking in more valuable and usable nutrients, you support your body in the elimination of less usable substances, because in the end it is always about the right ratio of usable to useless nutrients.

    Our conclusion to you: don't be a detox tester but a nutrient seeker!

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