Whether it is cucumbers splashing into water, or models sitting smugly next to a pile of vegetables, it’s tough not to be sucked in by the detox craze. Detoxing certainly sounds sexy and healthy. The idea that you can wash away your calorific sins, flush your system of impurities, and leave your organs squeaky clean is the perfect antidote to our fast-food lifestyles.

But What Does Detox Really Mean In The Context Of Human Biology?

Detoxification – often shortened as “detox” – refers to the processes in the body involved with cleaning the blood of toxins found in the human diet and environment such as antibiotics, preservatives, heavy metals, and pesticides.

According to the detoxification theory, the build-up of these toxins to high levels in the body can manifest as a variety of symptoms such as:

  • Inability to lose weight
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches & Joint pain
  • Skin changes
  • Inflammation & Allergies
  • Bloating

And, detox regimens, fasts, diets, juices, teas, foods, etc., with their miraculous powers, are supposed to help your body eliminate these toxins in a short period of time so you can live healthily ever after.

But before you dust off that juicer or jump on the next water fast trend, there are two things you should know:

  1. Detoxing is a scam designed to sell you things, and there is absolutely no compelling research to support the use of any of these “detox” diets or regimens for eliminating toxins from the body, losing weight, or any other purpose really. 
  2. Your body doesn’t need help in detoxing itself.

In fact, if toxins did build up in a way that your body couldn’t excrete, you’d likely be dead or in need of serious medical intervention.

What Evidence Has To Say On Detoxing

  • While there has been only a very small number of studies on detox programs in people, most of these studies have been of very poor quality—with major problems in the study design, very few participants, or lack of peer review (evaluation by other experts to ensure rigor and quality).
  • There are no studies on the long-term effects of detox programs.
  • Information on detox diets can be misleading – A 2017 review said that juicing and “detox” diets can cause initial weight loss because of low intake of calories but that they tend to lead to weight gain once a person resumes a normal diet. This is also true for all types of detoxes that only provide quick and temporary fixes to long-term issues without treating the root causes.
  • Certain detox regimens can be even dangerous – case reports have demonstrated that certain detox regimens could pose potential dangers such as severe food restriction, nutrient deficiencies, and overdosing on supplements, herbal teas, laxatives, diuretics, and water, causing diarrhea that is severe enough to lead to dehydration and dangerous electrolyte imbalances.
  • Some juices used in “detoxes” and “cleanses” that haven’t been pasteurized or treated in other ways to kill harmful bacteria can also make people sick. The illnesses can be serious in children, elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems.
  • Some juices are made from foods that are high in oxalate, a naturally occurring substance. Two examples of high-oxalate foods are spinach and beets. Drinking large quantities of high-oxalate juice can increase the risk for kidney problems.

The Body’s Own Detox System

The human body is naturally capable of removing impurities from the blood, primarily through the liver, where toxins are processed for elimination. Thus, the liver serves as the body’s primary detoxifying agent. The body also eliminates toxins through:

  • Kidneys
  • Intestines
  • Lungs
  • Lymph
  • Skin
  • Immune system 

Why Testing Your Liver & Kidneys is Smarter Than Detoxing

Because the body is filled with thousands of toxins, testing for all of them is nearly impossible. Assessing the functions of your liver and kidneys, the key organs responsible for detoxification in the body, is however a smarter way of understanding how toxic your insides may be.

Valeo allows you to examine the levels of 10 liver biomarkers including 4 key enzymes (GGT, ALT, AST, and ALP) that are involved in detoxification, in addition to 4 key kidney biomarkers that show how well your kidneys are able to filter toxins out of your blood.  

From there, Valeo can recommend the right foods, supplements, and lifestyle that you need to optimize your body’s natural detoxing abilities. No crazy pseudo-scientific trends involved.