Which Detox Cleanse Product is Right for You?

By Michael A. Smith, MD

As we covered in our recent blog post, Optimizing Your Body's Natural Detox System, the first step to detoxifying and cleansing your body is optimizing your liver’s function. If you’ve already got that covered, you’re now ready to explore the different types of detox cleanses that are available.

Unfortunately, this is a really hard matrix of products to unravel. The market is literally flooded with different types of cleanses, and within each type there’s a myriad of products to weed through.

As is often the case, the best place to start is by identifying what goal you’re trying to achieve. Below we’ll outline each scenario to help you navigate the product landscape.

“I Want to Eliminate Toxins from My Body”

If this is what you’re after, you’re probably seeking a “total body cleanse.” This type of cleanse can help you eliminate the unwanted byproducts that result from your normal processes, such as taking in oxygen, water, and food for metabolism.

Aside from the normal byproducts of metabolism, we’re also exposed to environmental toxins that need to be metabolized and eliminated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently studied 116 environmental toxins that affect humans either through pollution or consumer products.1

In the study, exposure to these toxins was measured through blood and urine samples. The final report found positive results for 89 chemicals including PCBs, dioxins, phthalates, pesticides, herbicides and disinfectants.

To be categorized as a total body cleanse, the product you choose should address all seven channels of elimination: blood, skin, lymphatic, lungs, liver, bowel and kidneys.

But be careful — a total body cleanse can also be tough on your system. It’s common to feel a little run-down and fatigued during the process. Some people even say it makes them feel like they’re getting sick with the flu.

Throughout the cleansing process, make sure that you drink lots of water and get plenty of rest. In fact, it’s probably best to plan on laying low for a few days.

Remember, it’s not necessary to do a full-fledged total body cleanse more than 3-4 times a year – so please don’t overdo it. However, milder, “daily use” total body cleanses are also available these days for more frequent use.

One final recommendation: Be sure to take your foundational supplements during a total body cleanse, including a multivitamin, since a total cleanse can deplete your body of essential nutrients.

“I Want to Improve My Energy Level”

If you want to stop feeling tired all of the time and improve your energy level, you may consider a liver cleanse, otherwise known as a liver “flush.”

Your liver is ultimately responsible for the metabolizing the food, nutrients, and chemicals that enter your body. So if your liver can’t perform its duties, your metabolism will suffer and you’ll begin to feel tired.

Here’s a quick list of what your liver is responsible for:

  • Eliminating Toxins & Byproducts of Normal Metabolism
  • Synthesizing Cholesterol, Lipoproteins, & Fat
  • Synthesizing & Releasing Bile to Digest Fat
  • Regulating Carbohydrate & Protein Metabolism
  • Storing the Fat Soluble Vitamins
So if you’re looking to improve your energy levels and rev-up your metabolism, a liver cleanse may not be a bad idea at all. Here’s how a liver cleanse can help:

  • Improves Digestion and Eliminates Toxins from your Body
  • Maintains Healthy Cholesterol
  • Increases Energy & Boosts Metabolism
The best liver cleanse products are made from all-natural plant and spice extracts. Here’s a list of some of the more common ingredients to look out for:

  • Lecithin
  • Dandelion Root Extract
  • Artichoke Extract
  • Milk Thistle Extract
  • Ginger Root Extract
  • Rosemary
  • Peppermint
Please remember that this is different from a daily liver support regimen. A liver cleanse like this really only needs to be done 3-4 times a year at most.

And much like a total body cleanse, a liver cleanse can also make you feel sick and sluggish for the first few days. Plan accordingly!

“I Want to Cleanse my Colon”

A colon cleanse is designed to remove feces and other nonspecific toxins from your colon and intestinal tract. Colon cleansing can be accomplished by either colon hydrotherapy (also called a colonic) or by using oral cleansing products.

Some forms of colon hydrotherapy use tubes to inject water, sometimes mixed with herbs or with other liquids, into the colon via the rectum using special equipment. Oral cleansing products, however, consist of dietary fibers, herbs, or laxatives that are ingested.

People who choose colon cleanses are typically concerned about the build-up of fecal residue in their bodies. The premise is that left-over fecal matter creates a toxic environment that can damage the cells lining your colon.

Common ingredients in oral colon cleanses include:

  • Bentonite Clay – This works by trapping toxins within the colon and carrying them out of the body. The clay absorbs harmful substances and carries them through the colon to be eliminated.
  • Psyllium Husk – This is a soluble fiber. Like Bentonite clay, psyllium binds to impurities allowing for passage through the colon.
  • Cascara Sagrada – This is a natural, herbal laxative. It promotes healthy bowel movements. It’s also used in Ayurvedic medicine to support the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder.
Be careful though — it’s easy to overdo it. Repeated colon cleanses can disrupt your fluid and electrolyte balance, which can sometimes lead to dehydration.

Detox Your Body for a Renewed Perspective on Health

Dr. Andrew Weil, a well-known health and wellness expert, says this about cleansing: “It’s the perfect way to get in tune with your body and really get back to basics. It forces you to give up the vices that you take for granted, break your bad eating habits and start again from the beginning. It gives you clarity on what your body really needs, not craves.”

Sound like something you’d like to experience? Then try giving a detox cleanse a shot. We hope that this post has made the product selection process a little easier for you.

And don’t forget, please speak with your doctor before starting any cleansing program!

If you’re interested in a detox cleanse and could use a bit more personalized guidance, our health advisors will be more than happy to help. Call them whenever you’d like at 1-800-226-2370.

Do you have any detox cleanse product preferences? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments.


  1. The Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemical, 2009. http://www.cdc.gov/exposurereport/pdf/FourthReport.pdf. Accessed 8/17/2011.


Edwin Dearborn said...

I have recently completed a detox program that changed my life. I am glad that you helping like-minded individuals to find detox solutions so that they can elevate the health, as well as their state of mind.

detox said...

We just get and consume it, unaware what hazardous toxins we might be digesting unknowingly during the process. Scientists believe that toxins build up in your body as we continue our routines and it important that they are cleaned.

LifeExtension said...

detox - Right! Toxins build up in the body. That's why it's important to do an occasional detox. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. :-)

Kathreen Miller said...

The body has several systems in place for removing waste. The excretory system plays the largest role in detoxification.Colon cleanses come in many different types, methods, and prices, but the main idea is to use water, fiber, and/or supplements to flush all the gunk out of your intestines so you can start fresh.I have been using supplement like bowtrol for cleansing my colon.

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