Honorary Professor of Alternative Medicine Edzard Ernst dispelled the myths that you can completely clear the body, writes CMT Science.
“Let's be clear. Detox is of two types: normal and abnormal. Normal is done for medical reasons, such as life-threatening drug addiction. Abnormal is when a medical term is taken up by fraudsters and charlatans in order to sell counterfeit medicines that supposedly should rid you of the toxins accumulated in your body, ”the professor said.
However, Edzard Ernst believes that if there were so many toxins in the body that the excretory system could not cope with them, then you would either have died or need serious treatment.
“A healthy body has kidneys, liver, skin, even lungs — which are detoxifying while we are talking. They have not yet come up with a way - and this is certainly not a detox program - to make something that already works great in a healthy body work even better, ”the expert emphasized.
In 2009, a group of scientists assembled by the British charitable organization "Common sense in science" (Sense about Science) contacted the manufacturers of 15 products sold in pharmacies and supermarkets and claimed to detoxify. This list includes a wide range of products, from dietary supplements to smoothies and shampoos. In response to a request for specific evidence confirming the claimed properties, none of the manufacturers was able to determine exactly what is meant by cleaning toxins, not to call these toxins.
However, in an inexplicable way, the shelves of health food stores are still filled with products that use the word “detox” on their packaging - this is the marketing equivalent of strips and stickers that should add speed to the car. If you sit on a weekly detox diet, you will probably be able to lose weight, but this has nothing to do with toxins, it is connected with a week-long hunger strike.
And there is hydrocolonotherapy. Her supporters will tell you that malignant fecal plaques can cunningly lurk on the walls of your intestines for months and years, facilitating the penetration of disease-causing toxins back into the body. However, for a modest fee, they will insert a hose into your back and wash it all clean. Unfortunately for them — and perhaps fortunately for you — not a single doctor has ever seen these mythical plaques, and many of them even warn against this procedure, claiming that it can damage the intestines.
There are more cunning methods. Some intestinal cleaning tablets contain a polymerizing component that turns the excrement into something like plastic, so when you see a huge rubber fecal snake sliding into the toilet, you will feel that the purchase of tablets was completely justified. Detox patches for the feet become brown overnight, and manufacturers claim that this is due to the toxins and slags that they have pulled out of your body. But the substance in their products has nothing to do with slags, it is corny colored in brown from water from sweat.
"This mess. This is a criminal exploitation of the gullibility and naivety of the layman, because they promise the key to what everyone would be happy to receive - a simple recipe that will free us from our sins, so to speak. It is pleasant to hope that such exists, but alas, it is not so ”, - Ernst is indignant.
Alcohol splitting process in the liver takes place in two stages. First, under the action of enzymes alcohol turns into acetaldehyde, an extremely toxic compound that damages the liver cells. Therefore, it is almost immediately converted into carbon dioxide and water, which are released from the body. If you drink too much, then no enzymes will be enough - acetic aldehyde accumulates and destroys the liver. However, drinking occasionally and moderately may even have a positive effect. Population studies, according to Collins, showed that the average life expectancy of absolute non-drinkers, like those who drink a lot, is slightly less than those who drink alcohol from time to time in moderation.
“According to our information, it seems that alcohol in small doses is even beneficial. Maybe because of the sedative effect, which helps to relax, or because it keeps the liver and its enzymes on the alert so it can better deal with other toxins entering the body. A bit like the principle “what does not kill us makes us stronger,” says the doctor.
This adage, by the way, is quite unexpectedly applicable to broccoli, the unchanging favorite, which is included in literally every detox salad. Yes, broccoli has a positive effect on the liver, but not because of its special purity and goodness. In broccoli, as in all members of the cabbage family - in Brussels sprouts, mustard, white cabbage - contains cyanide. Eating a microscopic amount of poison, we, as in the case of alcohol, support liver enzymes in their willingness to cope with other poisons.
As for super foods, this idea can only cause a healthy laugh to a nutritionist:
“Most people think it’s necessary to restrict certain product groups, but that’s absolutely not the point,” she says. “The most effective detox is lifestyle, smoking cessation, physical activity and a balanced diet, such as the Mediterranean diet.”
Close your eyes if you like and imagine a Mediterranean diet. A red checkered tablecloth is placed on the table, with meat, fish, olive oil, cheeses, salads, whole grain cereals, nuts and fruits placed on it. All these products - sources of protein, unsaturated fatty acids, fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals - help to ensure that the body, and in particular the immunity that protects you, functions in the best possible way.
So why, although it is not enough for us, and all this abundance is recommended by doctors, do we feel the need to punish ourselves in order to be healthy? Maybe we have a congenital detoxification, considering that cleansing is practiced in most religions? Maybe scientific and technological progress put evil spirits on the periphery and replaced them with toxins, from which we now feel the need to cleanse ourselves?
Suzanne Marchant-Heykoks, a psychologist from London, does not think so:
“The idea of detox has the same relationship to ancient religious practices as the button accordion to the goat. Just look at the trends in society over the past decades. In the 70s, all these fitness clubs appeared, from which the craze for diets, fears about certain foods, and so on began to spread. The detox industry is just a logical development of these ideas. You can make money from this, and there are many people who make this money. ”
Peter Ayton, a professor of psychology at the University of London, agrees. He says that we tend to fall for such tricks, because our life is filled with information, so we are happy to shift some of the responsibility to those who, we think, understand a certain area better than us.
“Even to understand shampoo, you have to have a degree in chemistry,” says Ayton. - But most of them don't. If something seems reasonable, believable and associated with familiar concepts, for example, detox, we may well agree with that. "
We, as consumers, are not very literate, many of our decisions are based on assumptions that we rarely question and verify.
People believe that the world around us is controlled by various kinds of organizations that protect us from making mistakes of any kind. Many marketing strategies are gradually feeding this idea. So a person with reputable papers, certificates (and sometimes a white coat) is enough, automatically gives us confidence, we believe that the advice of a physician should be heeded.
Ernst is not so lenient: “Let's ask the trade control organizations what they do. Anyone offering a detox program is, by definition, a scam. And the prosecution of fraudsters should not fall on the shoulders of charities and academics. ”