Scientists dismiss 'detox myth'

By Rightnow289 · Jan 5, 2009 · ·
  1. Rightnow289
    There is no evidence that products widely promoted to help the body "detox" work, scientists warn.


    The charitable trust Sense About Science reviewed 15 products, from bottled water to face scrub, and found many detox claims were "meaningless".
    Anyone worried about the after-effects of Christmas overindulgence would get the same benefits from eating healthily and getting plenty of sleep, they said.
    Advertising regulators said they looked at such issues on a case-by-case basis.
    The investigation, done by research members of the Voice of Young Science network, was kicked off by a campaign to unpick "dodgy" science claims - where companies use phrases that sound scientific but do not actually mean anything.
    They challenged the companies behind products such as vitamins, shampoo, detox patches and a body brush on the evidence they had to support the detox claims made.
    No two companies seemed to use the same definition of detox - defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as the removal of toxic substances or qualities.
    In the majority of cases, producers and retailers were forced to admit that they had simply renamed processes like cleaning or brushing, as detox, the scientists said.


    One researcher investigated a Garnier face wash which claimed to detoxify the skin by removing toxins.

    ''Your body is the best detox product you have'' - Sense about Science
    The "toxins" turned out to be the dirt, make-up and skin oils that any cleanser would be expected to remove, she said.

    A five-day detox plan from Boots which claimed to detoxify the body and flush away toxins was also criticised for not being backed by evidence.
    Evelyn Harvey, a biologist who looked into the product, said that if consumers followed the healthy diet that was recommended alongside the supplement they would probably feel better - but it would have nothing to do with the product itself.
    The researchers warned that, at worst, some detox diets could have dangerous consequences and, at best, they were a waste of money.
    Tom Wells, a chemist who took part in the research, said: "The minimum sellers of detox products should be able to offer is a clear understanding of what detox is and proof that their product actually works.
    "The people we contacted could do neither."
    Alice Tuff, from Sense About Science, added: "It is ridiculous that we're seeing a return to mystical properties being claimed for products in the 21st Century and I'm really pleased that young scientists are sharing their concerns about this with the public."
    The Advertising Standards Authority said it would investigate such claims on a case-by-case basis if a complaint was made.
    "If a product is making claims not substantiated by the evidence submitted by the company we would challenge that."
    A spokeswoman from Boots said its five-day detox plan encouraged people to drink water and includes ingredients that "battle against toxins and help protect from the dangers of free radicals".
    And Garnier commented: "All Garnier products undergo rigorous testing and evaluation to ensure that our claims are accurate and noticeable by our consumers."

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  1. Nature Boy
    This is nothing new. The idea of 'detox' is simply a glamourised pseudoscientific concept that vaguely introduces the idea of drinking lots of water in order to combat the overindulgence associated with the holiday season. If you're dehydrated, drink some water, but don't kid yourself into thinking it's some kind of miracle cure for all those extra pounds you've put on from drinking Belgian beers and chomping into the Christmas pudding.
  2. Potter
    Seen people get into all sorts of dumb ideas over "detoxing", unhealthy fastings, enemas, restricted diets, make them selves as weak as a newborn kitten.

    One girl was extolling the virtues of coca leaf for detoxing. Said she knew it was potent because the next day she'd have yellow runny stool, and on other detox diets it took 5 whole days to do this! Tried to explain to her that swallowing that much baking soda will do that, it's a laxative, but to no avail. She said "coca strips all the vitamins out of you and you could never live on it. blah blah blah...

    Pseudo-science is everywhere.
  3. Jasim
    What exactly is detox anyway? I mean how would you know if one of those products actually did anything or not?
  4. Nature Boy
    Good question. I guess the idea is to remove toxins from the body by eating well and drinking plenty of water. Whilst this is fair enough, radically altering one's diet may have more harmful results than good. The body has a remarkable ability to remove toxins on its own accord. There's no point taking up a detox diet if it results in lightheadedness, nutrient deficiency and an all-round lack of sustenance.
  5. Pope Albacore
    You mean these nightingale droppings that I've been applying to my face at night will not cure my love handles?


    -Pope Albacore
  6. Potter
    Guy nobody used to learn yoga from did "bone scrappings" to remove "toxins". Heave back massage, then he'd take a rounded, rectangular piece of bone, and scrape your back. You'd get bruises and those were the "toxins". He said this could be use to diagnosis problems. Nobody does not deal with the man any longer.

    It was a hella ice back massage, but that's all.
  7. snapper
    Nightingale droppings should be applied to the love handles to melt them away, not the face..
    No go have a nice colon cleanse shake and get it right this time .
  8. Richard_smoker
    speaking of detox bullshit products...

    There is some full-of-shit-guy who I saw on an infomercial recently who talks IN GREAT DETAIL about how that toxins build up inside your colon after years and years of shit-deposits...

    no shit. this guy actually CLAIMED that by the time we reach middle age (in our 'western society') we often have as much as 20 POUNDS of accumulated shit-plaque-buildup inside our colonic cavities.

    (unless you take his product and fast for a few days...then your colonic shit-wall-plaque-buildup problem will be CURED as your intestinal lining will be able to slough-off this massive crust of fecal plastic...)


    If so, then maybe you need to follow a Gastroenterologist around for a day. Watch the big screen play-by-play when they stick a camera up someone's receptive asshole for a colonoscopy voyage... you'll find that there's no 20 pound hard fecal lining ANYWHERE in your shit-tube.
  9. snapper
    SWIM has occasionally been involved in surgery and the walls of the small and large bowel are never encrusted with shit. There may be shit inside, but not adhered to the walls. Enteric (intestinal) cells turn over very fast and constantly so as to prevent this. Sure fasting and maybe drinking some extra water may be a good way to detox, but not the crap they sell.
    However, constipation is a bad thing and a common problem with "western" lifestyles. Everyone should have lots of fiber in their diet as the prolonged retention of fecal material is bad for you. SWIM guesses the benefit of the infomercial product is that of a cathartic laxative.
    SWIM finds whole kratom leaf to be an excellent source of fiber, as is whole ground kava root.
  10. Jasim
    LOL, that's awesome. Swim never thought of that. Get your fiber and your kicks too! They should advertise it. 'Kratom, now with more Fiber!'
  11. 0utrider
    how come?

    true, detox is BS.

    but nevertheless there are medicines and prducts than can support your body in doing so, e.g. acetylcysteine for the lungs, milk thistle for the liver.. right now im looking for stuff like that, does anyone know of other products similar to these that don't have negative side effects/are worth it?!
  12. Potter
    Milk thistle does seem to have some good data standing behind it, especially when it comes to protecting the liver from mycotoxins. Nobody's going to be keeping some around for this summer's mushroom season, to be used a prophylactic when trying new species.

    Kind of surprised none of the crystal waving flakes around here have come to defend "detoxing". There was a post a while ago in some for all about some sort of crystal imbedded near infra-red mat some girl was claiming got her high and cured her lyme's disease. Of course there's a good chance she got done in by Lyme's if she was expecting crystals "to penetrate the vital organs with healing energies".

    Though nobody remains skeptic until they've read more, there does seem to be some evidence supporting various mushrooms to have either anti-cancer activity or other weird health benefits. I'm still doing research but will have something posted on Lion's Mane's reputed neurogenerative effects down in ethnobotanacles.
  13. Routemaster Flash
    A similar myth is peddled by evangelical vegetarians about god-knows-how-many pounds of 'undigested meat' built up in the colon (makes you wonder how it got there if not by being digested :applause:) of the average adult meat-eater. Goes without saying it's total rubbish - though it may have a small seed of truth to it, in that having (digested) meat sit around in your colon for too long can increase your risk of colonic cancer. The obvious answer is not to avoid meat but simply to eat adequate amounts of fibre, of course.
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