Detox – A Load of Old Tosh?

This is the same response I gave 2 years ago when, funnily enough, the same media stories were out then…


“You – and millions of others – can’t fail to have seen all the detox bashing that’s been going on in the media since Christmas. Not sure where the basis of this has come from, but I thought it might be helpful if I added my two penny-worth!


So, is detoxing a waste of time and money? Well, yes, actually, in the vast majority of cases! If that sounds like heresy, then let me explain. Most of the detox stuff around is a complete waste of money as, in my opinion, it won’t work. This is mainly because they aren’t strong enough, they will give only a tiny boost, if any, to eliminatory organs and they aren’t done for long enough. Many of the creams and potions around are in toxic bases, so what’s the point of that? The jury is out on the detox foot pads – some patients have told me they’ve helped them, but so far I’ve not worked out if or how they do.


Detox has become a trendy marketing word and doesn’t really mean much. Consequently, it has been really easy for product manufacturers and therapists to invent detox stuff to sell to us.


Detoxing to us at the clinic is a very different thing and is based on scientific research. The argument doing the rounds is that the body is very capable of detoxifying itself quite nicely thank you after a Christmas binge. Well, yes, it is – or should be. We have wonderful bodies that cope with toxic by-products of everyday cellular function plus all those chemicals we take in on a daily basis from air, food, water, creams, smoking, alcohol etc. But, to achieve this detoxification via the cells, liver and kidneys takes an awful lot of nutrients – and the simple fact is, in my opinion, that most of us don’t have the resources to do it to optimum level. Add to that the massive increase in the number of chemicals we now take in. We are consequently generally more toxic than we should be.


We give patients – as many of you know! – a full cellular detoxification, which can be pretty life-changing. To detoxify properly, the body has to be able to oxidise or conjugate the toxin. Without getting too technical, this simply means that a chemical can be oxidised and changed into a derivative of the original chemical to enable it to be broken down properly. Or, it is attached to another molecule called a ligand to lower its toxicity and enable it to be broken down – this is conjugation. However, this is completely dependent on what are called Phase 1 and Phase 2 detoxification enzymes, which themselves are totally dependent on nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Therefore, to detoxify effectively – in the true scientific meaning of the word – you need to feed the body the right nutrients. 


It is relatively simple to help bowel matter (toxicity) move outward and this is helped by herbs etc eg. in colon cleanses or herb tinctures, and it’s again quite easy to repopulate the gut with probiotics, although this takes time. But most people eating a western type diet and living a typically stressful lifestyle will be taking in far more chemicals than they can effectively process and nowhere near enough nutrients to support the detoxifying organs and enzyme systems. These toxins do damage (and there is scientific proof of this) and often end up in cells – especially fat cells! – as they have to be stored somewhere. The more toxic you are, the more fat and water you carry.


The detox diet and lifestyle we give you is to get you to change the amount of chemicals you are taking in both during the detox phase but more importantly to help you identify what you should be doing for the rest of your life! As always, our advice is to give your body a rest from the foods, chemicals, drinks and habits that can do you harm, drink more water, skinbrush, do a full cellular detox once a year or take an excellent multivitamin and mineral, fatty acids and probiotics throughout the year. That way, your toxicity level will remain low as you have given your body a lighter load to deal with but at the same time, you have ensured the nutrients needed to keep pace. 


Homeopathy can also achieve detoxification from an energetic level. If we feel the body needs more energetic help or simply isn’t ready to use a biochemical detox (as above), a homeopathic detox is really useful and gets great results, but from a different perspective. It doesn’t alter the need for nutrients which would still have to be given when the body was ready, but sometimes we feel the homeopathic detox is more suitable initially, especially if someone is blocked, cellularly weak (as in chronic fatigue), very young, very old or pregnant. We will also use homeopathy to encourage the detoxification of heavy metals.


Lastly – a word on body treatments. Massage will always help lymphatic flow and therefore encourages your body to drain more effectively, thus making it less toxic generally. The lymph system doesn’t have a pump like the blood circulation system, so exercise, skinbrushing and massage all help to keep it moving. However, beware using non-organic oils, creams etc as you are then simply adding to the lymph’s toxic load rather than helping it. Creams that include caffeine, seaweeds etc will increase circulation or encourage lymph drainage to a small amount and can help if you combine them with diet change, massage, skinbrushing and lots of water, but used on their own have limited use.


I hope that helps to clear up a few of the myths being banded about! Any questions, please ask! If anyone wants to read more on this, ask us for a free copy of Lawrence Plaskett’s Detoxification Newsletter, which explains it in a lot more detail than I have. ”


2 Replies to “Detox – A Load of Old Tosh?”

  1. A great response to the usual detox detractors. I find it incredulous that these so called scientists can say that the body detoxifies itself well without any help from detox diets and products.

    How do they account for the fact that we are all full of toxic chemicals that the liver has been unable to cope with? No evidence that detox works they say. They obviously have not seen the substantial research done at the Functional Medicine Research Center in Gig Harbor, Washington nor the results of the New York Rescue workers detox program.

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