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Understanding Detoxification and Teatox

We’ve all heard of detoxification and detox teas and you must have seen at least one advertisement for at least one of these products in your social media feeds.  They promise to cleanse out your body from all the dirty toxins that you come across in your day which could cause horrible diseases and they also promise help you lose those five pounds that just won’t budge. They even have a familiar famous face to encourage their products.

The definition for detoxification is the physiological or medicinal removal of toxic substances from a living organism, including, but not limited to, the human body, which is mainly carried out by the liver.

Basically, the liver is in charge of clearing up the body from toxins which include alcoholic, drug, metabolic detoxification. Detox has been turned into a sort of marketing strategy that treats a non-existent health condition (key word: non-existent). The actual act of detoxification occurs in a hospital under life threatening conditions usually when there are dangerous levels of drugs, alcohol, or other poisons in the body to extract the poisons out of the blood stream and out of the body. These aren’t products you can buy in a pharmacy and especially not for personal use.

“Detox” methods that are being promoted use a lot of irrelevant medical terminology to give the perception of scientific legitimacy to medically-useless products and services.  All of the false claims around detox are built around pseudoscience theories, but once you can spot the errors it’s easy to not get caught in scaremongering marketing ploys.

When in actual fact, we don’t need to detox to clear our bodies of “built up toxins”. Our body is fully capable of cleansing itself naturally.  The liver performs a series of chemical reactions to convert toxic substances into ones that can be eliminated in bile or urine. The liver is self-cleansing which means that toxins don’t accumulate in it, and unless you have a known liver disease, it normally functions without any problem. The healthy kidney normally excretes waste products into the urine. Anyone that suggests these organs need a “cleanse” is demonstrating their ignorance of human physiology, metabolism, and toxicology.

Detox isn’t limited to just juicing or water diets, there are also teas which claim to detoxify the body from built up crap. (To protect the anonymity of this particular brand I have hidden their name.) This brand of “teatox” claims:

XXXXX makes a point of using only the best natural ingredients for your body.  
That may sound like a mouthful, so we’ll cut the jargon and explain in short how XXXXX will help you achieve your goals.  
The aim of XXXXX is to give you the boost you need to get back on track with your healthy eating and active lifestyle. The ingredients used in our teas have been used for centuries for health and wellbeing purposes but it is only now we have finally brought all these unique ingredients into one perfect, rounded product. Teatox is a fancy word we use to describe the way the body goes through a natural process of elimination, by removing unwanted ‘toxins’ & built up waste matter, from your body via the lungs, kidneys, bowels and skin.
Here, toxins are alluded to –but not named (not even one!) and it’s recommended, even if you feel fine and healthy, you still need to detox and clean your body.  The body does not “build up waste matter”. There is no credible evidence to demonstrate that detox kits do anything at all. They have not been shown to remove “toxins” or offer any health benefits. 

References [1] [2] [3]  [4]