We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Detoxification?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Detoxification or detox is a process which is designed to rid the body of toxins. There are many different styles and approaches to detoxification, ranging from residential programs for people with substance abuse problems to detoxification cleanses used to promote weight loss. The fundamental underlying assumption to detoxification is that some form of toxin is present in the body, and that eliminating it will promote health and wellness. The precise definition of a “toxin” varies, depending on who you talk to, and this accounts for the diversity of approaches.

It is important to be aware that detoxification programs may not always be able to rid the body of toxins in the sense of substances which cause ill health. Some toxins bioaccumulate, settling in the bones, fat, organs, and muscles, and they will be present in the body until death, regardless as to how many detoxification programs one embarks upon. While there are medical approaches to removing some toxins from the body, many detoxification programs are considered alternative medicine, and they will be of varying effectiveness.

In medical detoxification, the goal is to get toxins which are causing immediate health problems out of the body. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, ranging from filtering the blood with dialysis to promoting vomiting to encourage someone to vomit an ingested toxin. Long-term detoxification programs for substance abusers typically focus on helping people through withdrawal symptoms, and providing psychological support as people struggle with addictions and cravings.

In the world of alternative health, detoxification programs or cleanses are often diet-orientated. People may be directed to ingest specific foods, or to fast, consuming limited amounts of liquids for a set period of time to flush substances from the body. The medical community often views these detoxification programs as questionable, because the toxins involved and their effects on the body are usually poorly defined. Some people do appear to benefit from the diet and lifestyle changes associated with detoxification in this sense, but body cleanses can also aggravate serious medical problems, and they should not be undertaken without the advice of a doctor.

Some alternative health detox programs claim that adherents will lose weight on the program. Strictly speaking, this is often true, because radically restricting caloric intake, as usually happens on these programs, will promote weight loss. However, the weight loss is not lasting, and as soon as the adherent goes back to eating normally, the weight will reappear. Temporary fasts can also be very dangerous for people with underlying medical problems.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.