STINGING nettle, mint, goji berries, fruit and vegetable extracts: These ingredients of so-called detox teas, juice cleanses and dietary supplements help rid the body of toxins, their manufacturers say. Do they?
No, according to health experts. “The detoxing claims are scientifically untenable,” declares Annabel Dierks, a nutritionist at Germany’s consumer advice centre in the city of Bremen, saying there’s no proof that toxins accumulate in a healthy person’s body.
It’s another matter in cases of acute poisoning – if you eat a toadstool or swallow chemicals, for example. Then only a doctor can help, not a detox product.
Day after day, your liver and kidneys see to it that most toxins are excreted from your body. For this you don’t need special teas and juice cleanses. They can even be harmful, the consumer centre warns.
Take so-called detox teas. Many have a diuretic effect, increasing the excretion of water and, with it, electrolytes, which are essential minerals vital to many key bodily functions. Over time, this can upset the body’s electrolyte balance, one sign of which is fatigue.
In any case, it’s best to lighten the workload of your liver and kidneys by ingesting as few toxins as possible, particularly nicotine and alcohol. The consumer centre also advises only moderate consumption of offal as well as tuna and swordfish, as they may contain high concentrations of heavy metals.
And you should throw away burnt toast rather than eat it. The darker a slice of bread is toasted, the greater the formation of acrylamide, a chemical said to be carcinogenic.
What’s more, the consumer centre advises caution with dietary supplements from outside Europe, saying they’ve often been found to contain elevated levels of harmful substances.