I hear this word all the time, I have never understood what it means.

Please explain what it means and the rationale behind it

I’m not sure what kind of detox the OP is asking about exactly, but this may be more of a GQ question than a GD one.

It means to undertake a regimen that will remove toxins from the body. As the liver, kidneys and other organs are perfectly caable of doing this on their own, most usages of this word are misleading or fraudulent.

Yes , I should have made it more clear, I was talking about the notion that certain diets, fasting, methods etc have a detoxifying effect on the body

In that case, it means absolutely nothing except as a way of detoxing your wallet of all that posionous money sitting in it.

Seriously, detox is a very handy shortcut. As soon as you see the word in this context you know you can stop reading, cover your credit cards, and run for the exit.

Well, the term is also used in a medical context to refer to the process of medically supervised withdrawal from addictive drugs. See drug detox.

Right. And that’s why I specified in this context. And why Marlety questioned the OP. And why the OP came back to clarify that he didn’t mean the context you raise.

But other than that… Wait, there is nothing other that.

A perfect combo of username and subject matter.

“Detoxification” is the all-encompassing answer to what ails you. Tired? Cranky? Achy? Got an annoying skin rash? It must be Those Darn Toxins. Take these capsules, buy a Detox Foot Bath, have a nice coffee enema, etc.

The key questions to ask: 1) Are these substances actually toxic to humans? 2) Are they present in sufficient concentration to have a deleterious effect? 3) Does the proposed treatment have demonstrated efficacy for removing the toxins? 4) Is there good evidence that removing the toxins results in better health? 5) Can the “detoxification” procedure itself prove harmful, and are any benefits worth the risk?

Odds of getting satisfactory answer to these questions from “detox” promoters: zero.

Detoxification in terms of diet, supplements, fasting, etc. is a very old idea that’s, sadly, very wrong, scientifically speaking. Some people believe that there are things called “toxins” in your body that your body can’t remove and these practices or substances will help your body to get them out. When asked what chemical compounds these “toxins” are, exactly, there is no good answer.

The idea of herbs or foods or exercises that “detox” a person goes way, way back to our earliest records of medical theory and practice. Unfortunately (unlike some other very good and useful ideas), there’s just nothing to it. The body is a very good self-cleaning machine. When we go and look - either with tissue biopses under a microscope or fluid samples in a lab - for these “toxins”, there just isn’t anything there that shouldn’t be.

There are a very few cases, generally involving the toxic heavy metals lead, arsenic and mercury (and sometimes iron), where a medical professional will use drugs that bind with those metals to get them out of your body. That is, the body can’t excrete them directly, but when combined with these other substances, they’re now in a form which the body can excrete. This could be called “detoxifying”, but generally it’s called “chelation therapy”. (Pronounced kee-LAY-shun)

Which is a shame, mrAru has some seriously toxic gas … I wish there was something I could feed him to get rid of it… I just make him go out to the barn and build something if he insists on eating beans … :eek:

Since the question’s been answered and the issue of scam prevalence raised, wasn’t there some Asian foot pad product on the market awhile back that claimed to address this very issue? Something about soaking up body toxins via contact with a person’s feet? They showed a series of pads that at first were filthy with absorbed detritus and eventually they cleansed the body to the point of remaining white?

ETA: Found it… Kinoki.

This message

reminds me somehow of this message


These foot pads/baths that claim to absorb toxins are quackery, pure and simple.

I have a sense that promoters of detoxing have morphed the idea into a kind of generic expression that sounds nicely sciency for anything that is supposed to improve your health, such as weight loss. You are “detoxing” from your otherwise toxic eating habits, etc. In much the same way as the word “health” in health spa just means beauty treatment, the word “detox” is just general code for supposed lifestyle improvement. Something similar happened with “cleanse”, as in “lemon cleansing diet”. It’s a marketing word that seems to strike a chord with punters irrespective of considerations of rational meaning.

And yes, the presence of the word makes life easy - as soon as you see it, you know you are being sold snake oil.