We are continually bombarded with marketing for the latest detox products, but how safe and effective are they? Today we explore some popular detox trends and explain why the methods are far from optimal for true cellular detox.
This article has been medically reviewed by Dr. Charles Penick, MD
Why You May Need a Cellular Detox
Numerous factors can contribute to toxins building up in our bodies. Some toxicity sources include environmental factors, food and water toxins, exposure to heavy metals, and cellular damage.1-4 Other factors that cause cellular damage and would determine if you need a cellular detox include:
GMO Toxicity: GMOs are genetically modified organisms that are in our food. The natural genetic material found in plant or animal products is altered in a laboratory. This genetic alter changes the nutritional content, causing an allergic response and resulting in a toxicity buildup in our body. Because many of our plant and animal products contain GMOs causing health issues and disease, cellular detoxification is critical to get our bodily health back on track.5
Mold Exposure: Mold growth can happen in our homes and be a root cause of toxin buildup in our bodies. Mold can grow in roofs, windows, pipes, and even the very walls of our homes. The effects of mold exposure can cause skin irritation, throat irritation, and other sicknesses directly related to toxin buildup at a cellular level.6
Free Radical Damage: When toxins are present in our body, they can cause increased production of free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that damage other molecules, such as DNA, lipids, and protein. This free radical production can completely alter our body’s health and cause cancer, atherosclerosis, diabetes, and inflammatory joint disease.7
Heavy Metal Toxicity: Heavy metals can become present in our bodies in many different ways. They can occur from air or water pollution, foods, medicine, amalgam fillings (silver fillings), aluminum antiperspirant and certain vaccinations, or industrial exposure. Some of the different toxic metals in the body include lead, mercury, arsenic, aluminum, and cadmium.1
Symptoms of Toxic Overload
Toxicity can affect the body through different symptoms and diseases. Below are symptoms you could be experiencing that show you need a cellular detox.
- Chronic fatigue
- Weight gain
- Weight loss plateau
- Skin rashes
- Brain fog
- Impaired digestion
Popular Detox Trends and Their Pitfalls
If you’re reading this article, odds are you are no stranger to the various toxic exposures that can lead to ill health. The chronic low-level exposure to things we breathe, swallow and expose our bodies to builds up over time until we begin to feel an array of symptoms.
Ranging from brain fog, lethargy, and weight gain to more serious neurological diseases, autoimmune conditions, and even cancer: toxicity and the cellular dysfunction accompanying it is sweeping the nation.9,10
As a result, the detox culture emerged, and products and services worldwide have popped up to cater to those who want to get healthier by reducing their toxic load. Unfortunately, many of these trends do not address the root cause of the problem and can often do more harm than good.
A liver cleanse can provide some powerful herbs and spices to help reduce liver inflammation. Milk Thistle, for example, has been heavily studied in liver health and provides some profound support for liver function.  Since the liver function is a player in the body’s detox pathway, this can give the liver gentle support. However, it does not address all the upstream pathways operating correctly for the toxins to exit the body safely.
A colon cleanse often promotes the consumption of high fiber and binding ingredients like flax, psyllium, and chia to help “unclog” the gunk that may build up in the colon over time. Colon cleanses also often have a flushing component, using water, salt, or enemas to help push out debris.12
Although this may provide short-term relief from bloating and constipation, they do not address toxins built up in fatty cells and tissues like the brain. Clearing out the colon does not get even close to the root of the problem of cellular toxicity.
Foot detoxes come in s a few different forms. One involves soaking your feet in a bath, also known as ionic cleansing, that uses an electric current that runs through a saline solution giving it a positive charge. By immersing your feet in the solution, this positive charge is said to draw out negatively charged toxins out of your feet, binding to toxins like heavy metals.
Another form involves placing pads on your feet while you sleep, which claims to draw out similar impurities and heavy metals. Although some western medicine-based studies suggest that these foot detox’s do nothing to lighten the body’s toxic load, the method itself is rooted in eastern philosophies, namely Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). 
According to TCM philosophies, the feet operate like a second heart and pump blood throughout the body. Feet contain 72,000 nerve endings, and six meridians (liver, gall bladder, kidney, bladder, spleen, and stomach) run through the feet, with over 70 acupuncture points. Applying a poultice to the feet to draw out impurities has been documented in China for over 500 years! 
Whether you believe them or not, the problem with foot detoxing is that they (at best) would only draw out impurities that are free-flowing in the blood.
Since toxins accumulate in the body over decades, it’s only the tip of the iceberg when they are in the blood. Over time, the body stores away these toxins in our fatty cells and tissues to protect the body. Of course, this only works to protect us up to a point when the proverbial bucket is too full and begins to overflow.
Juice detoxes are among the most popular methods of mainstream detoxing and can wreak havoc on the body for various reasons. A juice cleanse may give the body less digestive burden and caloric deprivation, which, like a colon cleanses, may lead to less bloating and weight loss in the short run. Although these two results suggest a successful detox, they do not address the root of cellular toxicity.
Upon taking a closer look, some of the problems with a juice cleanse include the following:
- Hardcore caloric deprivation can be too stressful for someone with significant toxicity symptoms. Fasting must be implemented mindfully and ensure the body is adequately prepared to undergo the stress of a fast.
- Juice fasting does not reap the benefits of water fasting because the body is regularly pumped with pure sugar. Whether your juices are higher (fruit) or lower (green vegetables) in sugar: all juices are pure. This leads to dramatic blood sugar swings, no ketosis, and interferes with cellular-cleansing mechanisms like autophagy during a water fast or a fasting-mimicking diet.15
- They do not target the stored toxins found in fatty cells, accumulated over time to protect the body. Juice fasting is an extremely surface-level detox conceptually, which isn’t even detoxing much at all due to the constant sugar dumping into the system.
Although these popular detox strategies may play a supporting role in mitigating surface-level symptoms, they are too far downstream from the main problem to make any significant impact. Many people accumulate toxins over the decades, so you cannot expect to safely or effectively get rid of them in a 30-minute foot soak or a seven days juice fast.
The over-arching problem with all these ‘detoxes’ is that they don’t address the whole body or target the root of the problem: cellular dysfunction caused by toxic overload.
True Cellular Detox
Unlike fad detox programs and surface-level protocols, true cellular detox delves deep into the root of the problem. It adequately prepares the body for detox so that the whole process can happen safely and effectively.
1 Prep Phase: Strength downstream detox pathways to support toxin removal
The first phase of this detox program prepares the body for cellular detox by opening up all the downstream detox pathways. Instead of dealing with just the liver, the prep phase gets to the root of the problem by establishing methylation, nourishing cellular receptors, and reseeding the gut with high-potency probiotics. By supporting the kidneys, liver, GI tract, and cellular membranes, this phase prepares your body and the primary detox pathways so that toxins can safely and effectively exit the body.
- Assist in preparing the body and brain for cleansing.
- Support optimal liver and kidney function.
- Provides high-potency probiotics.
- Supports cellular purification.
2 Body Phase: Removes toxins at the cellular level and sets up concentration gradient to move toxins from deeper tissue stores
The second phase embarks on the first “sweep” of toxins found in the body. This phase prepares for the next phase of targeting the brain by tackling the first intracellular cleansing level. During this phase, we also increase methylation support to the next level, cleanse the liver, and increase mitochondrial support.
- Assist in preparing the body for purification of the brain.
- Assist healthy liver enterohepatic circulation cycle cleansing.
- Supports normal methylation processes.
- Supports normal mitochondria function for optimal cellular energy.
3. Brain Phase: Clears deeper bio-accumulated neurotoxins that lead to most symptoms
Finally, the brain phase introduces potent fat-soluble binders to help penetrate and pull out impurities from the brain. These binders enable deep cleansing of the neurotoxins that build up in brain tissues. By clinging to them, they can exit the body safely thanks to the previous two phases that have opened up the detox pathways and prepared the body for safe and effective detoxification. This phase also nourishes the brain and body with intracellular and neuronal antioxidant and multi-mineral support.
- Assist in purifying the brain.
- Supports the safe elimination of impurities.
- Supports normal brain function.
- Provides intracellular and neuronal antioxidant support.
Due to the build-up of an array of toxins over a lifetime, cellular detox may be required to reclaim health. Although many people know that detox is an option, most popular detox trends do not address the root cause of toxicity at the cellular level. Although protocols like a colon cleanse, liver cleanse, and detox foot baths may provide some support at the surface level, true cellular detox requires a multi-faceted and more in-depth approach.
By embarking on a three-step program to target the entire detox pathway and supporting the body’s methylation, and cellular energy levels, and including binders, antioxidants, and minerals: the 3-phase true cellular detox program ensures that detox is safe and effective.
Medical Disclaimer: This article is based on the opinions of The Cell Health team. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended to share knowledge and information from the research and experience of the Cell Health team. This article has been medically reviewed by Dr. Charles Penick, MD, for the accuracy of the information provided. Still, we encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and in partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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