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A Doctor’s Final Word on Detoxes

Superfoods_400I say don’t believe the hype about those supplements, cleanses, and detoxes that claim to spur weight loss or jumpstart your immunity. Here’s why they’re nonsense. From A Short Guide to a Long Life.

Your body is expertly designed to detox naturally thanks to your kidneys, liver, sweat glands, lungs, and digestive system. You don’t need to take drastic, sometimes dangerous, measures to detoxify your body, and this includes the use of supplements and detox formulas marketed to clean you out. They are nonsense. Many of these protocols have few or no studies to back up their overpromising claims, which include reducing or removing toxins, cleansing the colon, purifying the blood, spurring weight loss, flushing fat, and treating disease. Some can be downright scary—not to mention perilous for the body. Before you even consider embarking on one of these regimes, insist on randomized studies that show these agents will produce a meaningful result. In the meantime, don’t experiment on yourself before the real proof is available and widely accepted by the medical community.

We do live in a more polluted world now, but we need to be careful about accepting brash, extreme statements about the connection between toxins and possible impacts. I should point out that one of the longest-living communities on Earth—where a remarkable number of people live past one hundred—is tucked behind smoggy Los Angeles in Loma Linda. Toxins will accumulate in your body over time; it’s as inevitable as the wrinkles that you’ll get and the gray hair you’ll grow. But there’s no safe way to remove them other than relying on the body’s built-in systems, which are well equipped to handle the job.

And there’s no such thing as an “immune-boosting” anything. The best way to enhance your immune system is to eat well and stay active. Superfoods don’t exist, either. Yes, some foods contain more nutrients than others, but it’s quite hyperbolic and misleading to call any food a “superfood.” Don’t be fooled by anyone selling you something to “oxygenate” your body. Your lungs do that for you. Watch out for the word “cleansing,” too. Your body has built-in mechanisms for that. The only things we should be cleansing are our skin, hair, teeth, and probably our garages.

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