Alternative medicine is deeply rooted in the notion of ‘detox’. This website is one of thousands and displays some of the issues in an exemplary fashion:
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…There are more than 80,000 chemicals used in the industrialized world. Accumulate enough of these toxins and you might suffer, at the very least, fatigue, headaches, muscle soreness, bloating, depression and, at the worst, chronic disease and cancer… This is why regular detoxification is so important in our modern world. It helps your body eliminate toxic waste stored in your tissues. Plus you’ll get:
- More energy
- Stronger immunity
- Faster fat burning
- Fewer allergies
- Fewer aches and pains
- Healthier skin, hair and nails
You’ll find plenty of detoxification kits – or “detox in a box” – at pharmacies and health-food stores. But there is little if any scientific evidence that any of these quick fixes work. Instead, you’re better off using natural detoxification methods that are safe and reliable. Here’s what I recommend:
Step 1: Live without Toxins
There are many natural ways to rid yourself of toxins to look and feel your best:
- Limit your exposure to hormones. If you eat grain-fed meat, eat only lean cuts and trim off the fat. If you eat grass-fed beef, it’s okay to eat the fat – it’s good for you.
- Reduce your intake of caffeine, grains, carbohydrates and sugar. They make it harder for your body to fully process estrogen.
- Stretch and massage your limbs. This will release acids and toxins stored in your own tissues so your body can eliminate them.
- Hit the sauna. Perspiring in the heat releases toxins through your skin.
Step 2: Eat Purifying Foods
Did you know there are everyday foods that act as detoxifiers to help your body discard built-up toxins? Foods rich in vitamin C like fruits, berries and fresh vegetables will help do the trick, along with fiber-rich nuts, seeds and grains.
Signs You Need to Detox
- You have unexplained headaches or back pain
- You have joint pain or arthritis
- Your memory is failing
- You’re depressed or lack energy
- You have brittle nails and hair
- You’re suffering from psoriasis
- You have abnormal body odor, a coated tongue or bad breath
- You’ve experienced an unexplained weight gain
- You have frequent allergies
Grapefruit is another food that binds to toxins and helps flush them from your body. It contains a flavonoid called naringenin, a potent antioxidant that decreases your body’s insulin resistance to help prevent diabetes, and reprogram your liver to melt excess fat, instead of storing it.
Why is this important to detoxification? Because toxins tend to collect in the fat around your tissues, like your liver, and eating grapefruit will help you stop this process.
Another food that can help clean out your body is garlic. Garlic increases phagocytosis. This boosts the ability of your white blood cells to fight the effects of toxins in your body.
Eating three cloves of fresh garlic per day will help you detox. If you don’t like the smell of garlic, you can get odorless aged garlic supplements at any health food store.
There’s also chlorella. You can find in most health-food stores, and C. Pyreneidosa is the form with the best metal-absorbing properties.
Most people can tolerate high doses of it with great success. Take 1 gram with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can increase the dose to up to 3 grams 3 to 4 times a day.
Another option is fresh cilantro, one of the best detoxifiers for your central nervous system. It mobilizes so much mercury, it can’t always carry it out of the body fast enough. So use it in combination with chlorella.
Eat organic cilantro, make a pesto or tea, or buy a tincture. Take 2 drops 2 times a day before meals or 30 minutes after taking chlorella. Increase your dose to up to 10 drops three times a day.
Step 3: Cleanse Your Internal Organs
Herbs can help clear toxins from your bloodstream, restore liver function and help flush out your kidneys. Detoxifying your liver a couple of times a year can also lower your cholesterol.
Here’s a list of herbal products that work well:
Milk thistle – I recommend 200 mg in capsule form twice a day. Look for dried extract with a minimum of 80 percent silymarin – the liver-cleaning active ingredient.
Alfalfa – This herb has been known to lower cholesterol by 25 percent in lab animals. It’s a good source of protein, vitamins A, D, E, B-6 and K, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, trace minerals and digestive enzymes.
Dandelion – This root stimulates bile and acts as a diuretic for excess water. Asians use it to treat hepatitis, jaundice, swelling of the liver, and deficient bile secretion. Use 4-10 grams of the dried leaf or 4 to 10 milliliters (1:1) of fluid extract.
Sarsaparilla – This is one of my favorite teas. It tastes great and acts as an effective blood detox. Native Americans have used it as a restorative tonic for centuries. Use 1-4 grams of the dried root, or 8-12 milliliters (2 to 3 teaspoons) (1:1) liquid extract, or 250 milligrams (4:1) of solid extract.
Burdock Root – This ancient remedy is a diuretic and a diaphoretic. It increases urine and perspiration production by exercising and strengthening these natural purging systems.
Step 4: Cleanse Your Colon
For an effective, natural way to flush out your colon, find and take the following herbs in combination:
- Cascara Sagrada bark
- Aloe leaf
- Marshmallow root
- Flax seed
- Rhubarb root
- Slippery Elm bark
Take them all at once, but be careful not to take too much because you could get some gurgling and it could loosen up your stool. They’re pretty powerful when you use them in this combination.
Step 5: Rid Your Tissues of Heavy Metals
These two compounds will remove chemicals and keep your body clean and pure like it’s supposed to be.
DMSA – This is a compound that removes heavy metal toxins (its real name is meso-2, 3-dimercaptosuccinic acid, but forget that tongue twister… it’s known simply as DMSA).
DMSA has receptor sites that the toxins bind to. The toxins reside inside the cells of the body and DMSA cannot enter the cells. Instead glutathione (your body’s natural toxin remover) residing in the cell pushes the metals out of the cell, where they’re picked up by DMSA and excreted.
DMSA should be taken in on-again/off-again cycles – ideally, three days on and 11 days off because your body needs 11 days to regenerate its glutathione levels.
Activated Charcoal – This is a form of carbon that’s been processed into a fine, black powder. It’s odorless, tasteless, safe to consume and very potent.
In fact, you can take a small amount of charcoal and wipe out decades of toxic heavy metals like arsenic, copper, mercury and lead that have been building up in your body.
You can find activated charcoal in any health-food store. It’s relatively inexpensive and easy to take. Because it’s a powder, you can take it just like you would your favorite protein drink, mixed into a liquid.
Take 20-30 grams a day of powdered activated charcoal (in divided doses) mixed with water over a period of 1-2 weeks.
Step 6: Detoxify Naturally with Citrus Pectin
Modified citrus pectin is made from the inner peel of citrus fruits and is one of the most powerful detoxifying substances I’ve found in the world. It’s also been proven to work in human clinical studies.
In one U.S.D.A. study, scientists gave modified citrus pectin to people for six days and measured the amount of toxins excreted in their urine before taking it and 24 hours after taking it. Here’s what they found:
- The amount of deadly arsenic excreted increased by 130 percent
- Toxic mercury excreted increased by 150 percent
- Cadmium excreted increased by 230 percent
- Toxic lead excreted increased by 560 percent4
What’s great about modified citrus pectin is that while it eliminates toxic metals and pesticides, it doesn’t deplete your body of zinc, calcium or magnesium. However, consult your physician before taking modified citrus pectin capsules and caplets to make sure they are the kind used in clinical studies and the proper dosage.
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This text is so full of unproven notions, disproven theories, implausible assumptions and misunderstood science that I cannot possible address them all here (almost as bad as Prince Charles’ famous ‘detox tincture’). I will therefore only focus on the author’s final CITRUS PECTIN recommendation which apparently is even supported by real evidence. The study cited might have been this one:
This clinical study was performed to determine if the oral administration of modified citrus pectin (MCP) is effective at lowering lead toxicity in the blood of children between the ages of 5 and 12 years. Hospitalized children with a blood serum level greater than 20 microg/dL, as measured by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry (GFAAS), who had not received any form of chelating and/or detoxification medication for 3 months prior were given 15 g of MCP (PectaSol) in 3 divided dosages a day. Blood serum and 24-hour urine excretion collection GFAAS analysis were performed on day 0, day 14, day 21, and day 28. This study showed a dramatic decrease in blood serum levels of lead (P = .0016; 161% average change) and a dramatic increase in 24-hour urine collection (P = .0007; 132% average change). The need for a gentle, safe heavy metal-chelating agent, especially for children with high environmental chronic exposure, is great. The dramatic results and no observed adverse effects in this pilot study along with previous reports of the safe and effective use of MCP in adults indicate that MCP could be such an agent. Further studies to confirm its benefits are justified.
Apart from the fact that it was published in one of the most notorious altmed journals ever, one ought to mention that it has been rightly criticised for its many and fatal flaws:
• Although the trial was conducted at a university hospital, there is no mention of the study’s approval by an institutional review board
• The study’s criteria for inclusion and exclusion were not noted. Although the authors state the MCP product was used for other children not in the study, their results were not included because they did not fit the inclusion criteria.
• The study had no control/placebo group, although the article states the study was conducted at a hospital that works with lead-poisoned individuals where it is reasonable to assume a group control would be available.
• Aside from baseline blood levels, only discharge levels were reported. Presumably, weekly measurements were taken in order to monitor progress and determine when to discharge, but that data was not reported.
There are one or two other human studies on this subject but all of them are of a similar calibre as the one above.
I think this story provides several important lessons:
- the detox notion is hugely popular in alternative medicine;
- it is alarmist and takes advantage of our fear to get poisoned by modern life;
- it is packaged into sciency language in order to appear plausible to lay people;
- one hardly needs to scratch the surface to find that the ‘science’ is, in fact, pseudoscience of the worst kind;
- alternative detox thus turns out to be little more than a cunning but dishonest and unethical sales pitch.
If your life-style is unhealthy, don’t think that detox will help, but change your ways.
If the air that you breathe or the water that you drink are polluted, don’t think that detox is the solution, but punish the government that is responsible for these disasters and vote for someone more responsible.
Detox, as used in alternative medicine, is stupid, unethical nonsense promoted by charlatans of the worst kind; don’t fall for it!!!