The act of detoxing one’s body, or detoxification, is commonly touted as a way to boost one’s overall health in a short period of time. But what does “detox” refer to exactly? And what role might supplemental vitamins and nutrients play in this process?
What Is a Detox?
Per healthline.com, detoxification typically refers to the process of actively working to remove toxins from one’s body using diet and products that claim to do so. While you can enhance this process in your body, and should in certain circumstances, your body is actually made in such a way that it can withstand and rid itself of toxins that occur within it. The toxins that the body produces are known as endotoxins. A detox is a temporary measure, not a permanent one.
There are different common approaches to detoxing one’s body through dietary measures. One common way is to stick to a diet of only non-solid foods, with the intent that it allows the digestive system to absorb nutrients better, per health.clevelandclinic.com. Another method is limiting intake only to water combined with a few other ingredients, such as lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper.
Why Detox? And Where Do Supplements Come In?
There are a variety of reasons one might choose to engage in a detox. One common reason is for rapid weight loss. Detoxing, however, is not an ideal or long-term solution for losing weight, per health.clevelandclinic.com. Other reasons are more sensical and beneficial to your overall health. Per thenewpotato.com, symptoms such as bloating, cravings for unhealthy foods, constipation, and others may be indicators that a detox could be useful.
Per drjockers.com, there are certain supplements which are of use for detoxification. However, they should not be the first course when you choose to go on a detox, and they are likely not effective when used alone with no other lifestyle or diet changes. Other changes such as drinking more water, lessening/eliminating alcohol consumption, and eating the right foods are the primary ways to facilitate a detox, per healthline.com.
Supplements used with the intent to detox should be carefully considered, as the ones that will be effective all have specific utility in detoxifying your body. When used in tandem with certain lifestyle changes, these supplements have the potential to greatly enhance your detox.
Recommended Supplements for Detoxification
Chlorella is a type of algae that has a variety of potential benefits, one of them being the ability to help cleanse your body of heavy metals, per healthline.com. A small number of metals, such as iron and copper, are healthy and necessary in small amounts. However, too much of them can be toxic. Animal studies have shown that chlorella can effectively detox these heavy metals, and it is suspected that this benefit can be carried over to humans.
Glutathione is a highly effective antioxidant. Per drjockers.com, this substance is actually produced in every cell in the body, and it might be an indicator of how long one is likely to live. It works by helping to protect cells from damage done by free radicals. This critical substance actually occurs in three different forms, which are known as n-acetyl cysteine, liposomal glutathione, and acetylated glutathione. It is most effective as a detox when all three forms are taken supplementally.
Milk thistle is a plant-based compound that helps your body to effectively eliminate toxins, per drjockers.com. It also helps to protect your digestive tract from damage that could occur from colitis, leaky gut, and ulcers. The active compound in milk thistle responsible for these effects is called silymarin. It is also effective at boosting the glutathione, as mentioned above.
Garcinia cambogia is a fruit native to southeast Asia, and is useful when taken as an extract in supplement form. Per thenewpotato.com, garcinia cambogia can be useful to the detox process for its ability to reduce cravings. When detoxing, cravings for sugary, unhealthy foods are one of the common foils to the process. This supplement can help you eliminate these cravings, and it might also be helpful with enhancing bowel movements.
Selenium is a mineral that acts as an antioxidant and can play a part in detoxification and immune regulation, per drjockers.com. Like chlorella, selenium can be effective in getting rid of heavy metals. It has been known to be efficacious in removing mercury, among other toxins.
Magnesium can be effective in aiding the physical process of detoxification by aiding bowel movements, per thenewpotato.com. This can be especially helpful, since constipation actually sometimes occurs as a result of undertaking a detox. Magnesium accomplishes this by helping to relax the walls of the digestive tract and neutralizing stomach acid.