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Despite growing popularity and extensive marketing, detox diets and treatments are not supported by any solid medical evidence. Many researchers and medical organizations consider marketing detox products to be deliberate misinformation.

Until now there has been no clear evidence to prove that detox kits do anything at all. There has been no single clinical study that supports the idea that detox kits and treatments remove toxins from the body. 

So what is it that these detox kits actually contain?

Though contents may vary from one kit to another, mainly they contain two types of ingredients:

1.      A liver "booster": Milk thistle (Silibum marianum) is the most popular product used to boost liver effectiveness. So far, there are no published studies that demonstrate milk thistle having any detoxifying effect on the liver. A study done on patients suffering from hepatitis B or C and alcoholic liver disease didn’t show milk thistle having any meaningful effect on the liver. Therefore, whether the consumption of milk thistle improves the liver functionality or removes unnamed toxins is still unknown.

2.      A laxative: This is the main ingredient in many detox kits that gives you the feeling, and makes you see and conclude, that toxins are being removed from the body. They are typically Senna, magnesium hydroxide, cascara, and similar ingredients. Regular use of these laxatives may cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. These laxatives are normally used for short periods to lessen constipation or to clear bowels before a medical procedure. Taking them regularly may make the bowels get accustomed to their effects and cause constipation once they are stopped.

These detox kits have no place in the pharmacy and there is no published evidence that they have any beneficial effects.

These kits and products underline faulty impressions and focus on irrelevant issues, giving an impression that a bad lifestyle habit can be fixed quickly. Remember that improved health isn’t found in a box of herbs and laxatives. A poor diet, smoking, lack of exercise and other lifestyle implications cannot be flushed away just in couple of days.

How Should You Cleanse Your Body, Then?

A healthy body does not require any form of cleansing treatment. Its organs, liver, lungs, and kidneys are capable enough to cleanse themselves on a daily basis by converting toxins into non-toxic substances which are further excreted by the body.

There are specific food groups and foods which help to boost our natural detoxification system. Foods like green vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, onions, garlic, citrus fruits, turmeric, and leeks are all great components to include in your daily diet.

A brief detox diet for a healthy person may still be acceptable but avoid any detoxification treatment if you are pregnant or nursing, or suffer from a medical condition. Do not offer these products to growing children, adolescents, or elderly people. Increasing your intake of whole grains, fruits and vegetables can by default improve your health. This is a better approach than opting for any of the cleansing techniques.

A Few Final Remarks...

Do not be fooled by the words "detox" or "cleanse" on the products; they will only be effective at cleansing your wallet of cash. It is advisable to consult your doctor before opting for any detoxifying treatment. Your doctor will examine whether your body has enough nutrients to sustain over the period of fasting and altering your diet and if your body is capable of taking that much stress by skipping food and other nutrients for five to seven days. If you choose to follow any of these detoxifying treatments or diets, try to use them as a "habit breaker" that will allow you to live a health lifestyle in the future.

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  • Photo courtesy of Times Up Linz via Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/times_up/15536602832
  • Photo courtesy of Times Up Linz via Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/times_up/15536602832
  • Photo courtesy of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources via Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/widnr/6549284621

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