The dubious practice of detox - Harvard Health



I can’t pinpoint the source, but one of the sources I read while researching this article had the most awesome quote I wanted to share with you, “Sometimes feeling like you’re poisoned means you are actually being poisoned.” Don’t think that feeling bad is good. Sometimes feeling bad is legit (like the Herxheimer Reaction), but sometimes it is the cause of something serious, dangerous, or even deadly. No joke, people die from negligent and/or extreme detoxing, which is why it is NEVER recommended unless under medical supervision.


But you need to be careful with these kinds of cleanses, and especially juice cleanses. If you are drinking fiber-less juices with wheatgrass, celery, carrots, etc. at the same time as you are taking detox supplements, there will not be enough fiber in your body to pull the toxins out of the blood. Instead, they will be reabsorbed by the liver and reintroduce dangerous concentrations of toxins to your body. Additionally, your carbohydrate count will be dangerously low. Additions of laxatives can cause dehydration, deplete electrolytes, and impair normal bowel function.

It’s one of the tamer and less drastic methods people have used in an attempt to “detoxify” the body, while rarely mentioning with specificity the kinds of toxins that would be removed. Or providing any kind of real evidence that it works.

Cleanses and juicing seem to be the most popular detox diets of late. The Master Cleanse is on trend with all of the Hollywood celebrities. Dr. Oz’s 3 Day Detox Cleanse is extremely popular as well. But how do these cleanses work and do they really work?

Detox Diets: Do They Work? Are They Healthy?

Done correctly, and under proper medical supervision, a detox may have significant positive effects on your health. I personally can honestly say that the several detoxes I have been through, I have felt much better on the other side! Interestingly enough, while my doctor was helping me through healing my medical issues via detox, I decided to add my own “emotional” detox at the same time. I used prayer and meditation together and healing thoughts to help me through some emotional barriers I was facing. I was actually really surprised at how “complete” I felt on the other side – not just healthier, but also more grounded. Which brings me to the next point…




Your body is inundated with toxins on a daily basis, such as pharmaceuticals, heavy metals, ammonia, and chemicals. That amalgam filling still in your mouth? Mercury is now in your body. The Roundup you just sprayed on your weeds? Glyphosate is now in your environment. The lunch you just heated up in a plastic container in the microwave? Bisphenol-A has leeched into your food. The list is endless.


You can’t go into a detox without being emotionally prepared to spend some time in the bathroom. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the smelliest), normal, healthy poop should smell like a 2-3. You notice it’s there, but it’s not an obnoxious foul odor. Detox movements will send you to the stank factor of a 10 or beyond (not that I know from personal experience, let’s just say hypothetically speaking…).