Infographic: Debunking Detox


We all hear the claims on T.V. and see the ads in magazines for this detox diet, or this body cleanse for detox, but what exactly is detox and which ones work, and how?

Real detox is used by medical professionals to help treat those with life threatening drug addictions.  In March of 2013, there were 1,249,629 patients in substance abuse facilities across the nation with more than 30% of them for opioid detox. Overall, 42.7% were there for drugs and alcohol abuse, 39.4% were in for drug detox only, 17.4% were kicking the alcohol habit, and 0.5% had other reasons to be there. 2,581 out of the 14,148 facilities offered detox services, and 78.5% routinely used drugs as part of their detoxification.

Then, there’s the other sort of detox which claims to remove toxins from your body. While toxins are real, with there being 12 neuro-toxins identified by experts thus far, there are “other toxins” which you come into contact with by breathing or going about your normal routine. In 2009, scientists contacted manufacturers of 15 different products sold in pharmacies to find out what their definition of “detox” was and which toxins it was supposed to remove. The companies were unable to provide clear answers. Most of these are just selling you a liver booster, such as milk thistle, and a mild laxative.

Then there’s colonic hydrotherapy which supposedly removes fecal plaque which seeps toxins back into the system and often recommends at least three treatments at $80-$100 each session. However, it can cause changes in gut bacteria, dehydration, perforated bowels, and skew electrolyte levels. It can also cause liver damage and in extreme cases, death.

Foot Pads, with wild claims to seep toxins from the bottoms of your feet while you sleep and “even turn brown to prove it”, there was never any evidence to back up any claims that they ever did anything other than turn brown.

Juice cleanses are very popular, but they also have risks involved. They are low in protein, fiber, and calories, and tend to put your body in starvation mode. There is no evidence that juice is better than just eating the fruits and vegetables, nor is there scientific evidence that it cleanses the body. It also causes unstable blood sugar which makes it a bad idea for diabetics. It can cost up to $75 a day, depending on the juices.

With so many false or unfounded claims, why do people still buy into these ideas of detox? 30% of adults and 12% of children use health care approaches outside of modern medicine, such as holistic or naturopathic medicines. Most manufacturers have pseudoscientific claims, which lures in the unsuspecting consumer. With all these methods being debunked, how do you fight all these toxins in our world? Fortunately the body has its own line of defense against toxins. The best way to detox is help your body out by staying hydrated, eating well, and getting enough rest and exercise. Take care of yourself and let your body detox itself.


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