“Detoxes” and “Cleanses”: What You Need To Know

What are “detoxes” and “cleanses”?
A variety of “detoxification” diets, regimens, and therapies—sometimes called “detoxes” or “cleanses”—have been suggested as ways to remove toxins from your body, lose weight, or promote health.

“Detoxification” programs may involve a single process or a variety of approaches. These include:

Drinking only juices or similar beverages
Eating only certain foods
Using dietary supplements or other commercial products
Using herbs
Cleansing the colon (lower intestinal tract) with enemas, laxatives, or colon hydrotherapy (also called “colonic irrigation” or “colonics”)
Reducing environmental exposures
Using a sauna.
These programs may be advertised commercially, offered at health centers, or part of naturopathic treatment.

Some “detoxification” programs can be unsafe and falsely advertised. For more information on safety, see the “What about safety?” section below.

(The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends chelation therapy, a type of chemical detoxification procedure, for removing toxic metals from the body in some specific serious cases. This page does not address that type of detoxification.)