Detoxification refers to the process of removing poisons or toxins from the body. Various detoxification programs are marketed and include herbal supplements, vitamins, minerals, special diets, enemas, and other methods.

Detoxification is used for weight loss, stomach problems, general health and wellness, and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses. Detoxification can also be unsafe.
Some methods of detoxification can cause significant side effects.

When taken by mouth: There are many different types of detoxification diets. One specific diet, called the Wellnessup detoxification diet, is POSSIBLY SAFE when followed for up to 4 weeks. This diet consists of organic fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains. But there isn't enough reliable information to know if other methods of detoxifications are safe. Detox diets that severely limit the types of foods eaten can cause several side effects, such as diarrhea, which can cause fluid loss and dehydration. This is especially true for detox diets that include laxatives.

High-fiber diets sometimes cause constipation. Diets that eliminate or reduce protein intake by eliminating meat can result in mood changes, fatigue, tiredness, and a variety of other symptoms. Long-term fasting can result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies and protein deficiency.

When given as an enema (rectally): Rectally administered coffee enemas are POSSIBLY UNSAFE. They have been linked to at least three deaths. Two of these deaths are related to severe electrolyte imbalance, and a third is associated with infection following the use of coffee enema.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if detoxification is safe when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Anemia: People with iron-deficiency or vitamin-deficiency anemia should avoid detoxification programs that restrict food sources that provide iron and vitamins. Dietary restriction of these nutrients could make anemia worse.

Critical illness: Patients with a serious illness such as cancer should avoid detoxification programs that limit the types of food that can be eaten. Restricting nutrients from important food groups could make serious illness worse.

Endocrine disorders: People with diabetes, thyroid disorder, or other endocrine disorders should avoid detoxification programs that require dramatically changing food and calorie intake without appropriate medical supervision. Substantial dietary changes could make these conditions worse or require changes in treatment.


NatMed Pro rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
Likely effective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly effective Effectiveness definitions
Likely ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Insufficient evidence Effectiveness definitions
  • Obesity. Early research shows that adhering to a specific diet called the Wellnessup detoxification diet for 4 weeks results in a small amount of weight loss. This diet consists of organic fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains and allows only 1225 calories per day. The effects of other detoxification diets on weight loss are unclear.
  • Other uses.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of detoxification for these uses.

Dosing & administration

The appropriate or safe use of detoxification depends on several factors such as the condition being treated or the person administering the treatment. Be sure to seek and follow relevant directions from your physician or other healthcare professional before using this treatment.

Interactions with pharmaceuticals

It is not known if this treatment interacts with any medicines. Before using this treatment, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.

Interactions with herbs & supplements

There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

Interactions with foods

There are no known interactions with foods.


Some people think that the body accumulates harmful toxins such as metals, pesticides, and other chemicals. They believe that special diets or special treatments including herbals or supplements taken by mouth or rectally are needed to remove these toxins from the body. Some detox protocols include exercise and sauna regimens in addition to supplements.

Some "detox diets" focus on eating foods that contain a minimal amount of chemical contamination such as organic foods. These diets often exclude caffeine and alcohol. They also often emphasize foods with high nutrient content as well as foods with high fiber content. Proponents argue that high-nutrient, high-fiber foods help remove toxic substances.

Some people also believe that normal digestion causes stress. To relieve this stress and allow the body to rest, they fast and drink only water or juice.

There is no scientifically reliable information to support these beliefs. There is no reliable evidence that normal digestion makes the body tired or stressed or that the body retains numerous toxins that are dangerous to health. The kidney and liver filter, process, and remove toxins efficiently. has licensed monographs from TRC Healthcare.
This monograph was last reviewed on 30/04/2023 10:00:00 and last updated on 26/12/2012 18:15:16. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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