DETOXIFICATION Overview Information
Detoxification refers to the process of removing poisons or toxins from the body. Various detoxification programs are marketed and include herbal supplements, vitamins, minerals, special diets, enemas, and other methods.
A variety of natural medicines including herbs, vitamins, minerals, and specific foods are taken by mouth in an effort to detoxify the body.
Rectally, substances such as coffee or coffee grounds and various fluids are administered to remove toxins from the colon.
How does it work?
Some people think that the body accumulates harmful toxins such as metals, pesticides, and other chemicals. They believe that special treatments including herbals or supplements taken by mouth or rectally or special diets are needed to remove these toxins from the body.
Some “detox diets” focus on eating foods that contain a minimal amount of chemical contamination such as organic foods. These diets often exclude caffeine and alcohol. They also often emphasize foods with high nutrient content as well as foods with high fiber content. Proponents argue that high-nutrient, high-fiber foods help remove toxic substances.
Some people also believe that normal digestion causes the body stress. To relieve this stress and allow the body to rest, they fast and drink only water or juice.
There is no scientifically reliable information to support these beliefs. There is no reliable evidence that normal digestion makes the body tired or stressed or that the body retains numerous toxins that are dangerous to health. The kidney and liver filter, process, and remove toxins efficiently.
- Any use. There is no reliable scientific information that detoxification is beneficial for any use.
DETOXIFICATION Side Effects & Safety
Some methods of detoxification can cause significant side effects.
Detox diets that change the types of foods eaten can cause several side effects. Diets that eliminate caffeine can cause caffeine withdrawal headaches. Detox diets can also result in diarrhea, which can cause fluid loss and dehydration.
High-fiber diets sometimes cause constipation. Diets that eliminate or reduce protein intake by eliminating meat can result in mood changes, fatigue, tiredness, and a variety of other symptoms.
Detoxification programs often include laxatives. These can cause significant diarrhea, resulting in fluid loss and electrolyte imbalances.
Some methods of fasting can be safely done short-term. Long-term fasting can result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies and protein deficiency.
Rectally administered coffee enemas are considered UNSAFE. They have been linked to at least three deaths. Two of these deaths are related to severe electrolyte imbalance, and a third is associated with infection following the use of coffee enema.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of detoxification during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Anemia: People with iron-deficiency or vitamin-deficiency anemia should avoid detoxification programs that restrict food sources that provide iron and vitamins. Dietary restriction of these nutrients could make anemia worse.
Critical illness: Patients with a serious illness such as cancer should avoid detoxification programs that limit the types of food that can be eaten. Restricting nutrients from important food groups could make serious illness worse.
Endocrine disorders: People with diabetes, thyroid disorder, or other endocrine disorders should avoid detoxification programs that require dramatically changing food and calorie intake without appropriate medical supervision. Substantial dietary changes could make these conditions worse or require changes in treatment.
The appropriate or safe use of detoxification depends on several factors such as the condition being treated or the person administering the treatment. Be sure to seek and follow relevant directions from your physician or other healthcare professional before using this treatment.