Helping Americans

Live Healthier, Happier Lives


Doctors Warn Against "Dangerous" Detox Diets

December 30, 2019

If the bad eating habits over the holidays have you considering one of those “detoxes” you’ve been hearing about from your friends, you may want to reconsider. The British Medical Journal Case Reports says “detoxing” is not necessarily healthy, and most of the time not backed by medical science.

The report highlights the case of a 47-year-old woman admitted to a hospital in need of intensive care. The woman was on a cocktail of herbs, including milk thistle, mokosan, I-theanine, glutamine, vitamin B compound, vervain, and valerian root. She was also reportedly drinking lots of water, green tea and sage tea in the few days before she suddenly collapsed and had a seizure.

Doctors say she had dangerously low levels of sodium in her body.

The British Dietetic Association says the idea of “detoxing” is a hazardous misconception. “The body has numerous organs, such as the skin, gut, liver and kidney, that continually ‘detoxify’ the body from head to toe,” says a representative. “Being well-hydrated is a sensible strategy, but drinking too much water can be as dangerous as not drinking enough.”

They say the popular belief that excessive water intake is a way of purifying and cleansing the body, because harmful waste products can be “washed” from the body is a misconception. Doctors recommend for most people, the safest approach to recovering from over-indulgence during the holidays is the predictable route of a sensible diet and regular physical activity.