A good detox supplement typically should contain antioxidants, probiotics, fiber, a diuretic, and natural herbs — particularly milk thistle and cranberry extract. In selecting the best detox supplement, many seek one with all of these ingredients to encourage removal of toxins from the skin, hair, lymphatic system, digestive system, and gastrointestinal system. A detox supplement with an excessive amount of laxatives is generally considered a poor choice because laxatives can encourage dehydration and an imbalance of minerals during a detox. While not an absolute requirement, amino acids are viewed as a positive ingredient in detox supplements because they repair cell tissue and nerves.
Antioxidants, such as vitamin C, glutathione, and polyphenols, are generally valued in a detox supplement because they can reduce and remove free radicals that cause the body’s cells to degrade and age. Cranberry extract rids the body of superfluous bacteria by preventing the bacteria from adhering to the tissues and linings of the body. Probiotics replenish the beneficial bacteria that usually are flushed out along with bad bacteria during detoxification. Fiber, along with the diuretic, flushes out the colon and typically keeps loosened toxic waste moving out of the body. The liver uses milk thistle to help filter out impurities.
Many people on detox supplements drink at least half of their body weight in water daily to ensure hydration, especially since diuretics are part of the cleansing ritual. Users generally take a detox supplement for at least a week. Afterward, many claim to have increased energy, weight loss, mental sharpness, and better skin. Doctors generally advise against teens and children taking detox supplements because they can lose too many vitamins, minerals, and necessary bacteria.
While taking the supplements, people who are detoxing typically avoid caffeine, dairy, refined starches, and alcoholic beverages. Raw foods, raw vegetables, and whole grains usually anchor detox diets during the period of supplementation because these foods aid digestion and help cleanse the body of waste. Prescriptions, such as birth control pills and heart medication, are sometimes avoided unless the user consults with his or her physician. This is because detox supplements are not regulated by any government entity and could potentially counteract medication.
The liver and kidneys are the body’s natural detox organs. A detox supplement, however, can provide assistance when waste and toxins build up excessively. People can accumulate toxins from the environment, as well as from foods that have been tainted with chemicals, pesticides, and metals. Symptoms indicating a person might need the aid of a detox supplement include lethargy, skin breakouts, foul breath, mood swings, poor digestion, constipation, bloating, excessive food cravings, and a metallic taste on the tongue.