It seems like everywhere you turn lately, you’ll stumble over the latest juice cleanse or detox diet. Each one makes bold claims about the results it can deliver. If you’re interested in the idea of giving your digestion a break and flushing toxins from your system, you probably have a lot of questions about the best way to do that, like “How long does it take for your body to detox?”
Read on to learn the answer to that question, plus detailed information addressing four more FAQs about detoxes.
1. How Do You Detox Fast?
There are many different cleanse and detox approaches out there. If you’ve ever dipped a toe into the wellness world, you’ve likely come across at least one of the hundreds of different ways to detoxify your system, from juice cleanses to the Whole30 to endless cups of bone broth.
The words “cleanse” and “detox” tend to be used interchangeably and share the same major goal: to flush toxic buildup from your body. Some target specific organs that often get overworked, like your liver or colon, while others focus on overall wellness.
There’s no single detox definition, but they may involve cutting out specific foods, limiting your food intake to pressed juice and other nutrient-rich liquids, or drinking a specific set of juices at certain times throughout the day.
The specifics of what you should and shouldn’t eat will depend on the detox plan you pick, but some general guidelines include choosing easily digestible, whole foods. If you’re someone who enjoys a lot of food variety, look for a detox plan that won’t feel too limiting.
The right detox for you will depend on your personal health history as well as your current health goals. When we talk about detoxing, we typically focus on dietary changes, like the foods you’ll eliminate. But detox plans frequently include lifestyle tweaks and may suggest incorporating natural wellness boosters to facilitate the cleansing process.
2. Is It Good to Do a Detox?
Fans of detoxes and cleanses believe they’re the best way to reset your health when your body gets overwhelmed.
While our bodies have many effective, natural mechanisms for detoxification, the constant exposure to pollutants and chemicals that’s pretty much a feature of modern life can outpace those mechanisms. As a result, our bodies may have difficulty fully flushing toxins from our organs and tissues. When those toxins accumulate, a cascade of health issues can set in.
According to Sarah Asay, a registered dietician, “One negative effect of poor eating and drinking over the course of time is a broken metabolism.” Signs that your metabolism is no longer functioning at peak capacity include:
- Weight gain
- Skin inflammation and outbreaks
- Increased blood pressure
- Elevated cholesterol levels
- Lack of energy
- Food cravings
- Difficulty sleeping
Some experts believe that just about everyone can benefit from detoxing every once in a while. A detox, in essence, is a way to reboot your system and refresh your well-being.
3. How Often Should You Detox?
The answer to this question is, it depends! Some people feel great when they stick to an annual detox ritual. Others prefer detoxing more frequently, perhaps once every three months. And some simply schedule in a detox when they feel sluggish.
To figure out your own optimal detox frequency, you’ll want to tune into your body’s signals that it’s feeling overloaded. Dr. Will Cole, a leading functional-medicine expert, says these are seven signs you need to detox:
- Your stomach is mad at you: This is one of the clearest signals your body can send that a detox is in order. If you’re experiencing regular constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas, and other manifestations of digestive discomfort, that means your gut is in distress. Help it heal by doing a dietary reset.
- “Seasonal” allergies have become everyday: When your gut health becomes compromised, it negatively affects your immune system. Frequent allergy attacks can indicate that all is not well when it comes to your immune system function.
- You’re eating right but still feel off: If you’re eating clean, but still feel like crap, that may mean that you have an undiagnosed food allergy or intolerance. Yes, you can be allergic to health foods! Eliminating common culprits from your diet can help you identify which food (or foods) are causing you problems.
- You just can’t focus: If your ability to concentrate is at an all-time low, or important details keep slipping your mind, you may be dealing with “leaky brain syndrome.” When toxins build up in your body, levels of inflammation soar. And when inflammation reaches a certain point, it can compromise the blood-brain barrier, leading to issues with focus and memory.
- You’re stiff, sore, and achy: Chronic joint and muscle pain is another common symptom of widespread inflammation. If you’re having pain that doesn’t respond to rest days, that’s a big red flag.
- You feel stressed all the time: Ongoing stress can be a sign that something’s out of balance with your physical health. Food-related changes can help, but if this is a big issue for you, you may want to incorporate lifestyle shifts into your detox too.
- You have zero sex drive: Lots of factors influence our sex drives, but hormone levels are quite crucial. Chronic inflammation can throw your hormones out of balance, which can cause your sex drive to nose dive.
4. Will a Detox Help Me Lose Weight?
Wanting to lose weight is a common reason that people seek out detoxes. It’s certainly possible to see rapid, visible changes while detoxing, particularly to the appearance of your face and stomach. But that has more to do with reduced bloating than true weight loss.
The purpose of a detox is to flush toxic buildup from your organs, not shed pounds. Any weight loss that happens during a detox most likely stems from decreased water retention. Making healthy switches like cutting back on sugar and carbs and eliminating foods that upset your gut can help your body release stored-up water. In other words, bye-bye belly bloating!
5. How Long Does It Take for Your Body to Detox?
Every body is unique and will respond to detoxing in its own way. As toxins are released and flushed from your body, you may experience a number of detox side effects. It’s totally normal to actually feel worse before you start to feel better.
Some typical detox side effects include:
- Stronger-smelling sweat and urine
- Coating on the tongue
- Skin outbreaks
Don’t let this deter you! Once you make it through the initial detoxification phase, you will begin to feel better. If you don’t, and those symptoms persist, you should consult a healthcare professional.
Incorporating research-backed natural supplements into your detox program can help you cleanse your system as quickly and effectively as possible. Açaí berries, for instance, can provide support that ensures harmful toxins get completely cleared from your colon on a daily basis. And they’re loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and natural fiber that help you navigate the detox process.