Kimberley Hibbert, in an article in the jamaicaobserver.com, noted that there are many dangers surrounding the much-touted detox that people are unaware of and this could be detrimental to their health.
She wrote that given the multitude of diseases related to food and the environment, it has now become common practice for people to go to the extreme in ridding the body of “accumulated toxins” based on the beliefs that many of the illnesses and diseases today are rooted in toxins.
In her piece, she elicited the views of Dr. Alfred Dawes, general, laparoscopic and bariatric surgeon who proffered his views accordingly:
Unfortunately, nobody can say exactly which toxins are being expelled from your body by these treatments, the doctor reportedly noted.
When questioned on the safety of the fad surrounding detox diets, Dr. Dawes reportedly said in addition to the questionable efficacy of these treatments, some can be downright dangerous.
“Your body has a very good natural detoxification system in the skin, liver, kidneys, and even in the gastrointestinal tract,” he said.
“The teas, cleanses and ‘washouts’ that result in copious watery stool can lead to dehydration. This is especially dangerous for the elderly and those who do not adequately rehydrate their bodies during these cleanses. Dehydration can lead to low blood pressure, kidney failure, dizziness, and even comas. These cleanse also have the potential to wash out the good bacteria we need in our colons to help digest food and vitamins,” he added.
He explained that one popular method, colonic irrigation, is safe only in expert hands.
“Colonic irrigation involves putting a tube up your anus and washing out supposed toxins and plaques of feces stuck to the wall of the colon. This is a safe procedure in expert hands, but there is still the risk of perforation of the rectal wall, leading to leakage of stool in the abdomen and severe infection. The majority of the water we drink is absorbed by the colon. It has an amazing capacity to absorb fluids. If large volumes of water are used in colonic irrigation, it can be absorbed enough to dilute the blood and cause chemical imbalances as well as fluid overload. Patients who are at risk for heart failure or have kidney disease should be especially cautious of this treatment.”
With regards to detox diets, Dr. Dawes said these are particularly dangerous.
“These fruits, juicing, or tea diets are often nothing more than starvation diets that limit calorie intake. They are associated with rapid weight loss that often makes the user feel good – supposedly the effect of the removal of toxins. The truth is that much of that weight loss is from losing body water and the breakdown of muscles. Starvation diets are often done as regular detoxes. The effect of repeated starvation diets is the body going into starvation mode and storing fat more efficiently, leading to weight gain and its attendant complications,” he pointed out.
Dr. Dawes said a hidden danger of detox is that patients forego proven medical treatments in favor of detoxes, and in so doing worsen their illnesses by delaying definitive care.
“People, especially with cancers, tend to gravitate to natural remedies that will flush cancer or change the acidity of their bodies with the hope of a cure. In my practice people have shown up with advanced tumors that were being treated with these therapies in a hope to avoid surgery and chemotherapy. This is also seen in people who use various potions to flush gallstones out of the body,” he said.
He cautioned: “They don’t work. Delaying treatments that work is the single most dangerous aspect of detox therapy.”
Edited by Jesus Chan
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