Environmental and Biological Ethics Detoxifying the Body Discussion
Environmental and Biological Ethics Detoxifying the Body Discussion
Discussion post: Research and describe one technique people use to detoxify the body. Did you find the information compelling? Have you used or would you use such a technique?
A full body detox is a practice that some people believe can eliminate toxins from the body. It may involve following a particular diet, fasting, taking supplements, or using a sauna.
Detoxes can encourage habits that may enhance the body’s normal detoxification processes, such as eating a healthful diet, getting enough exercise, and staying hydrated.
However, there are also risks involved, and some detox products can be harmful.
This article looks at what a full body detox entails, the potential benefits and risks, and how to follow a detox safely.
What does a full body detox involve?
A full body detox, or cleanse, is a plan that people follow in an effort to eliminate toxins from the body.
Toxins, such as poisons or pollutants, are substances that negatively affect health. The body can already eliminate these substances on its own through the liver, kidneys, digestive system, and skin.
Proponents of detoxes claim that a detox can help with this process. There is no single definition of what a full body detox involves, but it may requireTrusted Source a person to:
follow a specific diet
drink more water or juices
use colonic irrigation, enemas, or laxatives
use a sauna
reduce exposure to toxins in their environment
Are they necessary?
While some people believe that full body detoxes provide health benefits, they are not necessary for most people. The body already has its own highly efficient detoxification system to eliminate toxins from the body.
Sometimes, people have medical conditions that require help with detoxification. For example, people with heavy metal poisoning may undergo chelation therapy. This is a procedure that removesTrusted Source heavy metals from the body.
However, people who are healthy typically do not require additional help with detoxification.
While detoxes are not medically necessary for most people, under certain circumstances, they may offer some health benefits, such as:
Weight loss: A 2017 reviewTrusted Source notes that detoxification diets can result in weight loss. However, the researchers note that this is likely due to the severe calorie restriction of some diets.
Fruits and vegetables: Many detox diets may involve consuming fruits and vegetables. According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, roughly three-quartersTrusted Source of people in the United States do not consume enough fruit and vegetables.
Hydration: Many full body detoxes also promote water consumption. Water is vitalTrusted Source for health and helps the body remove waste through sweating, urination, and bowel movements.
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Antioxidants: According to a 2014 reviewTrusted Source, some studies have found that certain detox diets can aid liver function and that certain foods can increase the antioxidant glutathione. Glutathione can help removeTrusted Source toxins, such as heavy metals, from the body. However, the researchers highlight that many of these studies had design flaws, involved a small number of participants, or were animal studies.
Many of the potential benefits of detoxes do not last long and end once a person resumes their normal diet. At present, researchTrusted Source does not support the use of detox diets for either weight management or toxin elimination.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative HealthTrusted Source, some detoxes pose health risks by encouraging people to:
restrict food intake, leading to a lack of necessary nutrients
drink large quantities of juices or teas, which may lead to a dangerous electrolyte imbalance
drink juices that contain large amounts of oxalates, which may raise the risk for kidney problems
use detox products that contain laxatives, which may result in severe diarrhea and dehydration
try diet plans that exacerbate underlying conditions, such as diabetes
Both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Trusted Source and the Federal Trade Commission have taken action against companies selling detox products, as some contain harmful or illegal ingredients.
People should always discuss supplements, detox products, and new diets with a doctor or dietitian before trying them.
How to try a full body detox safely
If a person wishes to try their own version of a full body detox in order to feel healthier, there is a safer way to do so. In many cases, making simple changes to diet or lifestyle can improve general health.
Here are some ideas for how to support the body’s detoxification system.
Stop smoking or drinking
Tobacco smoke and alcohol both place strain on the body in various ways. Alcohol in particular affectsTrusted Source the liver, which is the body’s main detoxification organ.
If a person smokes or drinks regularly, they can begin a detox by reducing these habits or stopping entirely.
Drinking enough water is important for general health and also for detoxification. How much water a person needs depends onTrusted Source their level of physical activity and age, among other factors.
Begin eating a nutrient-dense diet
Adequate nutrition allows the body’s detoxification system to work effectively. People should avoid refined carbohydrates, added sugars, and processed foods and try to include more:
foods high in antioxidants, such as berries and nuts
dark leafy greens, such as kale, spinach, and chard
complex carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes or quinoa
fresh herbs and spices, such as ginger, turmeric, or cilantro
Oily fish are another source of beneficial nutrients. However, it is important to note that some oily fish, such as tuna, can contain mercury. The FDA advise eating 2–3 servingsTrusted Source of low-mercury fish or seafood per week.
Learn more about eating a balanced diet here.
Get enough sleep
Sleep allows the brain to remove toxic waste productsTrusted Source that accumulate throughout the day. This makes adequate sleep an essential part of detoxification.
Learn about how much sleep a person needs here.
Improve indoor air quality
While it is not always possible for individuals to control pollution exposure outdoors, there are things people can do to reduce exposure indoors, such as:
asking household members to smoke outdoors
avoiding products that contain high amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as aerosols and air fresheners
keeping rooms well ventilated when someone is using solvents, household paints, and other DIY products
choosing carpets, couches, and mattresses that do not emit VOCs
addressing issues such as damp and mold
using an air purifier with a HEPA filter
People can check the air quality in their area using AirNow.
When to contact a doctor
Before a person attempts a full body detox or makes significant lifestyle changes, it is advisable for them to consult a healthcare professional.
It is also best to consult a doctor if a person is having ongoing symptoms that make them feel the need for a detox. These could be a sign of an underlying condition, which may require treatment.
If a person decides to try a full body detox and begins to feel unwell or experiences symptoms such as diarrhea, fatigue, dizziness, or vomiting, they should stop the detox and contact a doctor.