I remember my first day detoxing–and that’s because I spent most of it in the bathroom. At age 17, you’re prone to doing dumb things, and the sensual words of a detox supplement had me convinced that my constant fatigue and intermittent weight gain was the fault of so-called deadly toxins. And so on one faithful night I took the detox supplement as prescribed–and then spent the next day making friends with the porcelain goddess.
Thankfully, a clearer head has helped me steer clear of this stuff–and a career in the diet industry has let me in on the real secrets behind detox supplements. Here’s what they don’t want you to know about:
1. Detox supplements often contain a laxative. While it may not be a commercial-grade laxative such as Dulcolax or Ex-Lax, detox supplements often contain ingredients designed to produce a laxative effect in the body. The results, as you can imagine, aren’t pleasant: Most laxatives wrack your stomach with pain, nausea and cause temporary water loss as well. Detox supplements chock this up to the natural healing properties of its herbs, however, choosing not to explain the explosive effects of its more potent ingredients.
What to watch out for: Before reaching for a detox supplement, look for ingredients such as senna, cascara sagrada or buckthorn. All three of these ingredients are natural stimulant laxatives–though natural, they’re still dangerously strong.
2. There’s no proof behind detoxing–period. Truth be told, there’s never been any proof that taking a supplement chocked full of herbs plays any role in the detoxification process, which doctors and health organizations agree on. Worse, the only “proof” of detoxification actually working comes from stories from people, called anecdotes, which make all sorts of outlandish claims that can never be proven.
Of course, if you ask these companies to provide non-sponsored studies, they’ll come up dry. Worse yet, supplement companies themselves can’t agree on what detoxing actually means, according to Medical News Today.
3. Detoxification is just another way to “make things flow.” If you’ve ever looked at a detox bottle before, all of the ingredients share a commonality–they’re designed to encourage bowel movements, or help things flow more easily. Most detox pills contain either a laxative or ingredients rich in fiber, which both help in that elimination process. Essentially, what you’re paying for is a more expensive Metamucil–not a new way to get rid of those so-called deadly toxins.
Oh, and if you’re wondering how to really get rid of toxins, I’ll let you in on a secret: Your kidneys and liver already do this job for you. Should it fail to, your first visit should be to a hospital, since this is a medical emergency.
“Debunking the Detox Myth,” MedicalNewsToday.com