Detoxing the Body: What Does Detox Really Do?

Many talk about detox and the supposed effect on the body. But you feel unsure whether and how this should help your health? This uncertainty is understandable, so we take a close look at the three biggest myths about detox and show you what’s behind them.

In this article you will learn:

  • What detox should mean
  • What an intestinal rehabilitation is and when it makes sense
  • What is behind hyperacidity
  • What slags are and what they are not
  • What else can you read to get more information

This is what the term detox is all about

Spring is just around the corner and off we go: a lot of the media are picking up on the topic of detox and reporting on supposed health benefits . They use the term detox as a synonym for detoxifying or purifying . Detox includes various so-called “cures” that are supposed to bind undesirable substances in the body so that they are then excreted.

Anyone who frowns now and thinks that the human body already has a perfect detoxification apparatus is right: We have two organs, the liver and kidneys , which continuously excrete waste products and harmful substances from the body. This system works perfectly in healthy people.

But detox fans refer to the amount of poison : In today’s everyday life there are so many pollutants that we consciously and unconsciously ingest that the body alone can no longer manage to excrete them. These include additives in foods such as sugar and fat, but also alcohol and nicotine, environmental toxins and stress. Therefore, you have to actively help the body by regularly performing detox cures.

These cures are easy to implement and appear to be healthy because they center around a healthy diet – or what detox fans consider it to be -, exercise, and exercise to help you relax. Therefore , Detox sounds soothing at first glance and tries to give itself a believable appearance using medical terms such as cures, detoxifying and rehabilitation.

But if you take a closer look at the individual “cures” and terms, you will quickly come across the first myths. Now we’re clearing up three of the biggest myths about detox .

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Myth 1: The colon needs to be cleaned regularly

The intestine is an extremely important organ and in itself it is positive that people think about what is good for this organ and what is not. Unfortunately, there are also many misunderstandings here. One of them is the myth of intestinal rehabilitation . Detox supporters believe that the aforementioned harmful substances disrupt the intestinal flora and cause digestive problems such as flatulence or diarrhea. In order to strengthen the intestine, detox supporters therefore recommend a so-called intestinal cleansing or colon cleansing with laxatives and then some nutritional supplements.

At first glance, it all sounds easy to understand, but as soon as you deal with the intestine from a medical point of view, you immediately notice that much of the concept of detoxing cannot be medically proven .

Warning: We are talking about healthy people who want to strengthen their health with such detoxification. There are of course medical reasons that require detoxification under medical supervision . But these cases have to be considered separately and have nothing to do with detox in general. Anyone who worries that their intestines may not be working properly should contact their family doctor and / or request a referral to a specialist.

Anyone who speaks of colon cleansing but means therapeutic fasting is  confusing two completely different terms. First of all, the term colon cleansing: The colon cleansing is already done with a thorough laxative procedure . This is used, for example, before a planned gastroscopy and colonoscopy. Colon cleansing can only be achieved through thorough emptying of the bowel, for example using laxatives in combination with avoiding any food . Only water is drunk and drained at the same time until the digestive tract is really free of any food components. However, this is not a cure, it should only be implemented when necessary, such as before a colonoscopy.

During therapeutic fasting, the intestines should be cleaned.

In this sense, therapeutic fasting does not clean the intestines – especially if you continue to drink fruit juices or vegetable broth. Therapeutic fasting is a non-evidence-based method that is often used in alternative medicine.

If you would like to know more about intestinal rehabilitation and intestinal flora, we recommend our blog post Intestinal rehabilitation after diarrhea: Real booster for your intestinal flora?

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Myth 2: The body needs to be deacidified

If you enter the question “Do I have to deacidify my body?” On Google , you will get around 278,000 results – and many more questions that all point in the same direction:

  • What can I eat if I have acidosis?
  • What over-acidifies the body?
  • What are the symptoms of hyperacidity?

All these questions do not have to be answered, because already to “Do I have to deacidify a body?” We answer directly with no . Nobody has to deacidify their body and accordingly neither pay attention to foods that trigger them nor research symptoms. There is a real core behind the idea of hyperacidity, which is mixed with many myths:


This term is used to summarize the physiological control mechanisms that together pursue the purpose of keeping the proton concentration and ultimately the pH value constant. Deviations from the ideal value can be caused by health disorders such as diabetes, kidney insufficiency or also by chronic vomiting. Such disorders are referred to as respiratory alkalosis / acidosis or metabolic alkalosis / acidosis.


The human body has several coordinated buffer systems that ensure that the required physiological pH value is maintained in the blood and in the tissue. This value fluctuates from place to place. For example, the blood has an average pH of 7.4, while urine has an average pH of 6, with values ​​ranging from five to nine. Therefore it is not possible to measure the total pH of the body.


Acidosis is a disorder of the acid-base balance in humans and animals. These arise from illnesses or poisoning. Acidoses are not caused by an improper diet, and the classification of foods into base-rich and acidic has not been medically proven. Often it also happens that this classification is made arbitrarily and individual sources contradict each other.

In fact, there is no need to avoid foods that are said to cause hyperacidity.

Myth 3: waste products are deposited in the body

Anyone who deals with detox will read or hear a term very often, the so-called slags . Some know the word from areas such as combustion as a term for the combustion residue or as part of volcanic lava.

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In connection with detox, the word is intended to denote breakdown products of the metabolism in the body . Therefore, detox is also called purification, as it is here that you get rid of the supposed waste. In everyday life , dialysis is also sometimes referred to as purification, i.e. the process of cleaning the blood. Of course, this has nothing to do with purification in the sense of detox.

At this point we don’t have to go too deep, because these cinders are a myth . There is simply no medically recognized evidence for the occurrence of waste products in the human body. We do not have an internal garbage dump on which such waste products are deposited and which we then have to remove from the body through purification.

But be careful: There are medical emergencies, such as acute or chronic poisoning, in which one talks about harmful substances, such as harmful molecules, in the body and which are bound with antidotes or complexing agents. However, these are processes that always take place under medical supervision and should not be confused with detox.

Detox and detox is often offered as a regimen.

Detox myths in check

Intestinal cleansing, acidification, waste products – three common terms that are mentioned in connection with detox. With the promise of improving health, many are tempted to just try it out. After all, we all want to be healthy, and Detox sounds believable at first glance . It also plays with methods that anyone can easily apply and that are generally considered healthy: healthy eating, exercise, relaxation.

The intestinal expert Dr. Sarah Schwitalla in an interview about intestinal-healthy nutrition .

But if you follow in the footsteps of these myths, you can quickly unmask these terms: as three of the greatest myths of detox. But basically it is absolutely right to take care of your own health . The three areas of nutrition, sport and relaxation are well suited for this. Only the implementation should be based on evidence-based methods, i.e. medically recognized and sensible.

If you now   want to deal intensively with the fields of nutrition , sport  and relaxation , you can read a few posts on our blog. Here you will find specific nutrition tips, such as recipes for everything to do with soul food, and exercises to help you relax, such as yoga . We hope you enjoy browsing and trying out.

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