Detoxification diets are fads that come and go. Patients believe that they need to detoxify themselves, or particular organs (eg. colon, liver) in order to rid the body of accumulated wastes. For the average healthy person, this is absolute nonsense. Even in the case of those who are constipated, simple laxatives are far more effective. The liver and other organs never need detoxification, but stopping a high fat diet or reducing alcohol intake may assist the liver function.
Proponents claim that their product removes everything from sludge (whatever that is) and excess mucus to environmental pollutants and fatty deposits. Some claim to remove all bacteria from the body, which is impossibility – or if it was possible, we would rapidly die: we depend on bacteria for the micro processing of food and the good health of everything from our intestine to our skin. Others suggest that good bacteria should be added to the body in order to purify it, when good bacteria are usually in adequate supply in the intestine (with the possible exception of those who have recently taken antibiotics).
Detox kits are more a marketing exercise of far greater benefit to the vendor’s wallet than the patient’s health. The idea that a quick fix cleanse of the inner body with a specific product has no scientific proof. Anecdotal evidence from celebrities and testimonials from anonymous users are a long way from proof.
Patients wishing to go on a preservative free, fat free, salt free and sugar diet may do so if they wish, but doing so should not be expensive and can be undertaken without the assistance of any supplements or by paying any experts.
Herbal, vitamin or mineral tablets or supplements are themselves medications as they are designed to have an effect upon the body. But quite often the chemicals, herbs and other ingredients of detox kits are not listed, not quantified or listed in a meaningless way. Some of the ingredients may actually interact with other medications that are being taken and can adversely affect the patient.
Detox kits are not free of side effects and bloating, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and nausea are quite common. Other side effects may include cramps, muscle aches, vomiting, joint pains, increased urination and headache. The loss of vital electrolytes, particularly potassium, may have serious effects in some patients.
There is no scientific evidence to support the use of detoxification diets; there is no evidence that our colons are clogged with detritus, and no evidence that detoxification diets improve the health of those who use them. Save your money, eat sensibly and bring any significant symptoms that you may develop to the attention of a doctor.