Is detoxing good for you?

Want to lose weight? Have more energy? Live pain-free? Sleep better?

Detox products — things like supplements, smoothies, diets and exercises — claim to be remedies for all these problems. They tout themselves as aids in removing toxins from the body, promising improved health and increased energy.

Do detox diets or cleanses work?

In my practice, I tell my patients to steer clear of those detox products, especially those with lots of added supplements. That’s because it’s unlikely they’ll do any good. In some cases, they can actually cause serious harm.

The truth is, a normal, healthy body detoxes on its own. That’s what keeps us alive.

However, there are healthy, inexpensive ways to help your body detox itself, but it’s not easy as drinking a supplement-filled smoothie.

What is a detox?

A detox is the process of removing toxins — a generic term for something that makes you feel unwell — from your body. Your body does this automatically, though. That’s the job of the liver and other organs. If you eat something you’re not supposed to, or take too much of a medication, the liver helps metabolize everything.

When you say, “I just need to detox,” what are you really saying? Are you fatigued? Having joint pains? Gaining weight? Noticing changes in bowel movements? Those are concrete things your medical provider can address.