Detoxification and detoxification regimens usually become hot after a period of overeating and drinking (such as the New Year holidays). We now see many websites, social pages, and influencers, each of which, with different methods and arguments, encourages us to remove toxins from the body due to habits and lifestyle or exposure to substances. Destroy a dangerous environment. According to these sources, if we do not detoxify the body, the toxins accumulated over time will cause us to lose vitality and health. But what is detoxification? What about detox diets? Are these methods scientifically rooted and verifiable?
What is detoxification?
Before detoxification became ubiquitous today, the word detoxification referred to a medical procedure that cleared the body of large amounts of alcohol, drugs, or life-threatening toxins. Patients undergoing medical detoxification are usually treated in hospitals or clinics. Their treatment includes medications and other combination therapies, depending on the type and severity of the poisoning.
The word poison often refers to chemicals or contaminants such as pesticides, antibiotics and food hormones, detergents, heavy metals, air pollution, and cigarette smoke. The use of a detox diet began with the idea that to stay healthy; one must sometimes get rid of these toxins and wastes and cleanse the body.
Proponents of the detox diet claim that this diet promotes rapid weight loss, improved digestion, strengthens hair and nails, clears the skin, increases energy and concentration, strengthens the immune system, and eliminates cellulite. Detoxification regimens are usually divided into one of three categories:
- Diets that replace fluids with daily foods.
- Diets that claim to support the body’s natural detoxification process.
- Methods that clear the gastrointestinal tract of the large intestine.
These diets last from one day to one month and often include fasting and replacing the food pyramid with green water and vegetables.
History of detoxification:
Detoxification has long roots in the body. Humans have been trying to cleanse their bodies of toxins for thousands of years. Indians believe that performing sweating rituals helps cleanse the body, soul, and mind by expelling toxins and negative energies.
There are more reasons for people to worry today, and they are turning to detox regimes. These reasons include an increase in pathogens, mercury in fish, smoke, and pollutants in the air and rivers. But in the meantime, the claim of the immediate effect of detox diets on weight loss can not be ignored.
Detox diet and weight loss:
One of the reasons people turn to detox diets is rapid weight loss. Many chemicals accumulate in the body’s fat stores. This strategy has highlighted weight loss with a detox diet.
Unfortunately, most detoxification regimens are short-lived and reversible. If you have an eating disorder, it is recommended that you avoid these diets. If your goal is to lose weight, you need to focus on sustainable weight loss strategies with long-lasting effects. In this case, in addition to improving a person’s lifestyle, you can cleanse your body by breaking unhealthy eating habits.
Excessive consumption of foods causes them to be stored as fat. The constant advice of nutritionists about weight loss is to strike the right balance between calories. For example, if you want to lose weight, you need to reduce your calorie intake relative to your daily calorie intake, or more simply, your activity level should be higher than your food intake. After reaching the ideal weight, you can consider this amount in the same way to achieve weight stabilization.
Detox diets often have no scientifically proven basis and have been extensively researched, only leading to immediate and reversible weight loss. Most of this weight loss is due to dehydration or loss of muscle mass.
In addition to the calories you eat, the type of food you eat also affects your weight. Poor quality food confuses the signals of hunger and satiety in the brain and makes you feel more hungry than usual.
As always, we recommend that you consult a nutritionist for a proper and personal diet.
The role of the body in its natural cleansing:
Toxins are absorbed through the skin, the air we breathe, and the food we eat. But the organs of the body, primarily the liver, kidneys, large intestine, and lungs, have a natural excretion system of these toxins.
In short, the body is constantly cleansing. Each of these organs has a different role.
The liver plays a crucial role in purifying the blood and eliminating harmful substances from the body’s normal functioning or external toxins such as drugs, alcohol, or chemicals.
The kidneys help purify the blood and excrete toxins through the urine.
After removing nutrients from food in the small intestine, the large intestine filters out waste products, including toxins, for excretion.
The lungs trap toxins that enter the body through the air we breathe. These contaminants are then excreted by coughing or other natural processes in the body.
Suppose the rate of accumulation and entry of foreign and harmful substances into the body is faster than the rate of purification and excretion by the kidneys, liver, and lungs. In that case, there is a problem with the health of the body. First, to better understand the subject, first get acquainted with the body’s natural detoxification method after consuming the foreign substance.
Imagine you took a pill. The pill is first broken down in the stomach and transported through the intestines to the liver. How to absorb or ignore intestinal cells from this content is the first step in clearing a foreign substance. Once this substance enters the liver, the classical detoxification process begins. Some drugs are not absorbed by the liver and enter the bloodstream. This is precisely what we prescribe to make a supplement or prescription effective. What is left is processed in the following three steps:
This substance changes chemically to be easily absorbed or excreted.
It then attaches to the molecule glutathione (the body’s main antioxidant) or several other carriers to move more efficiently and safely.
This substance is eventually transported through the blood to be filtered by the kidneys.
This process is performed for most materials, as shown above. Some drugs are activated in the first stage of detoxification. This negates the activity of detoxifying enzymes to detoxify the body.
Some plant and natural chemicals can even activate some detoxification processes in the body. Principles of routine detoxification regimens may interfere with the body’s natural detoxification system.
The scientific method of detoxification:
As mentioned earlier, little research has been done on routine detoxification regimens. According to the current study, the advertised methods for detoxification are not reasonable and reliable. Knowing the sources and factors of toxins in the body makes it possible to prevent their absorption to some extent. But the removal of toxins accumulated in the body seems unlikely.
The following are some of the toxins that can accumulate in the body and cause disorders and complications:
Pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites
Molds and their toxins
Synthetic chemicals, environmental pollution, and other sustainable chemicals
Free radicals, reactive oxygen species, and inflammatory stimuli
In the following, practical methods for detoxification of each of the above materials will be mentioned. Note that these methods do not apply to toxins accumulated in the body and can only help reduce and eliminate toxins that enter the body through various factors.
Detoxification of heavy metals
Metals and minerals are essential in small amounts, including nutrients. But if metals and minerals are consumed in large quantities and accumulate in the body, they can cause a lot of damage.
Heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury, or radioactive metals should not be present in the body. But being in the environment and the activities we do may expose our bodies to heavy metals. To avoid this, start by eliminating rich metal sources from your daily routine. Familiar sources of these metals are:
- Protein powders, if not approved by the Ministry of Health
- Refined rice and grains that absorb heavy metals from the soil
- Tap water may contain tiny amounts of heavy metals
According to research, some minerals compete with metals for adsorption. If exposure to metals is through the diet, adding more zinc, copper, or selenium to the diet effectively reduces the absorption of other metals. For example, you can eat selenium-rich nuts with fish that are rich in mercury.
Likewise, you can reduce the absorption of metals by eating foods that contain phytic acid. Heavy metals endanger the body by causing oxidative damage. Therefore, you should always think about strengthening your body’s defense system by taking antioxidants.
Detoxification of pathogens
Pathogens cause disease. The gastrointestinal tract contains about 70% of the immune system. Processed fast foods and snacks can damage the gut microbiome (beneficial gut microbes) and the immune system and disrupt the body’s response to infection. Therefore, controlling food intake is one of the essential points in strengthening the immune system.
Detoxification of harmful chemicals
Natural and synthetic chemicals are used in food processing, agriculture, and factories. Every day we are exposed to more of these harmful substances through breathing air. Some of these chemicals are stable in the environment. As a result, they remain in the body indefinitely, and no treatment can eliminate them.
Fortunately, the body’s detoxification mechanism can deal with environmental toxins. But because some of these toxins are so new, they can affect the immune system.
Liver detoxification strategies that boost the body’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification systems are recommended to eliminate harmful plastic molecules, pesticides, and contaminants.
Detoxification of free radicals
Free radicals are tiny molecules that destroy the body. Free radicals are associated with aging, chronic diseases, eating processed and fried foods, and low activity levels. The presence of large amounts of free radicals in the body causes oxidative stress and thus inflammation.
Consumption of diet including vitamins, minerals, plant antioxidants, and other anti-inflammatory agents (such as polyphenols) effectively treats inflammation and oxidative stress.
Sometimes the nutrients in foods can cause worrying symptoms in your body. However, this is different from other detoxification cases. But it is worth mentioning. By excreting intestinal contents, the body can eliminate the symptoms of eating irritating foods.
Sometimes you may not be able to digest certain foods due to a lack of good bacteria in your gut. For the heart to adapt to these types of foods, you need to consume them in small amounts over the long term. Adding digestive enzymes or substances that act like them (such as apple cider vinegar or lemon juice) can be helpful in these cases.
You may not have the proper enzyme to absorb nutrients fully. Such as lactase deficiency for milk lactose digestion. This problem is often solved by eating small amounts of foods to which you are allergic or using digestive enzymes and similar supplements. Some people may be allergic to specific polysaccharides (a type of carbohydrate). This allergy is called irritable bowel syndrome. Some people are also allergic to fat or protein. If you are one of these people, you should limit your food intake with the help of a nutritionist.
For many people with digestive problems, limiting their diet is the only permanent solution that does not involve medication or surgery. These types of diets are not detoxed diets. But it is a comprehensive lifestyle that eliminates toxins.
Detoxification of food products:
The body can remove unwanted toxins from the normal process of metabolism. For example, if the body uses protein as fuel, ammonia is produced. The body gets rid of this toxic substance by converting ammonia to uric acid and excreting it in the urine. This process is entirely natural. But it can get out of control and cause kidney damage.
Almost every process that takes place in the body causes some metabolic loss. Due to the extensive metabolic processes, there is no way to detoxify these substances. Therefore, the only solution is to see a doctor.
The body is usually a desirable and natural detoxification system that can eliminate toxins in the best way without your efforts.
If your liver, kidneys, and lungs are healthy, your body is in good balance. However, most detoxification methods seem safe. But there are risks to using them.
Although an unbalanced and low-quality diet, a green fruit juice detox diet does not quickly harm an utterly healthy person.
People who have a balanced diet and can observe the following two points can strengthen their body’s natural system.
Night sleep should not be less than 7 hours. According to research, the brain undergoes a natural detoxification process in the late hours of the night. During this process, the harmful substances produced are eliminated during a typical day during nerve transmission. Reducing even an hour of sleep a night can increase the risk of diabetes and impair the body’s metabolism. Inadequate rest is generally associated with obesity and high blood pressure and can damage the immune system.
Water stimulates the flow of body fluids and helps the liver, kidneys, and lungs function.
Adequate water opens blood vessels and keeps this waste flowing to the liver and kidneys. Eventually, the liver and kidneys process the waste products. For example, with enough water; Excess ions, sugars, and wastes are transported to the kidneys through the blood and eventually excreted in the urine. If the body is not hydrated, the kidneys try to save water by concentrating urine. This can lead to kidney stones and urinary tract infections in the long run.
With all of the above in mind, keep in mind that some unscientific detoxification methods, such as colon cleansing with abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting, can lead to dehydration, which is only the function of the liver and kidneys. It makes it difficult.
In detox diets, benefits such as rapid weight loss, more vegetable consumption, short-term response, and elimination of toxins accumulated in the body seem tempting. But all these benefits are fleeting, reversible, and unproven. Side effects of detox diets such as decreased energy, dizziness, anesthesia, frequent urination, and dehydration should not be ignored.