Detoxing the human body conjures horrifying images of cleaning enemas and long, sleepless, hungry nights. Many people fail at detoxing because they either cannot stand the procedures, or they do not tolerate the foods involved well. Today we understand more about the supplements that can make detoxing much easier and better and more successful.
So, what are the best supplements to detox, according to experts? There are five common and five (relatively) uncommon supplements that are best when detoxing with each affecting a different part of the body.
The 5 Common Supplements and What They Support：
Iron & Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
Vitamins A & D
Vitamins C & E
Free Radical Control
Copper, Zinc, & Selenium
Vitamins K, B1, & B6
The 5 Uncommon Supplements and What They Support/Replace:
This article will focus on how supplements make detoxing safer for the organs and bodily systems plus getting better results.
Common Supplement Combinations that are Great for Detox
The most common vitamins and minerals have earned their place in many detox programs due to their central function in the assistance of organs essential to the body’s natural cleansing processes, in terms of detoxification of blood and removal of waste and toxins, for example. These organs include the liver, skin, DNA, kidneys, and lymphatic system.
These vitamins and minerals are as follows:
Supplements for a Healthy Liver: Iron and Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
The liver is one of the largest organs in the human body and functions as both a gland and part of the digestive system.
To properly function, this organ must be adequately supplemented with the proper nutrients to keep it running in top shape. That is where iron and riboflavin (commonly referred to as Vitamin B2) come in.
The liver is responsible for numerous critical bodily functions, all essential for regular, thorough detoxification of the digestive system.
Some of these functions include the synthesis of proteins for energy, the production of substances (i.e., bile) that help digest food, destruction of old red blood cells, and much more.
This constant, intense workplaces an enormous strain on the liver and can, at times, wear on this organ a bit more than one can handle alone.
To aid in detoxification, taking Vitamin B2 (depending on age, between 1.1mg-1.3mg) and incorporating foods rich in iron (i.e., spinach, legumes, red meat, etc.) will surely help to keep your liver functioning well and free from damage related to being overworked.
Supplements for Healthy Skin: Vitamins A & D
Your skin is your first line of defense against the pathogens and germs of the external world. It is composed of three layers:
- The epidermis
- The dermis
- The hypodermis, or subcutaneous tissue
Within these layers are sensitive nerve cells, sweat glands, connective tissue, fat, and so much more – why is this important? Because all of these structures so densely packed together represent the versatility of the skin’s importance to your body.
Given the wide-reaching functionality of the skin (and all of the sensitive structures contained within it), you must care for your skin to the best of your ability. To do so, you can incorporate Vitamins A and D into your diet.
Vitamins A and D help to nourish and improve the skin by protecting it from harsh UV rays (which, with excessive and unprotected exposure, can lead to skin cancer), and – when Vitamin A is applied as a topical retinoid – aids in the production of new skin cells, supporting regenerative capabilities not only to protect against skin cancer but to maintain the health of the entire organ.
Skin health is essential to detoxification as it has been discovered to be instrumental in the removal of toxins from the body such as heavy metals (arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury) through the sweat glands.
Natural sources of vitamins A and D include sweet potatoes, spinach, carrots, kale, eggs, and fish with a high but healthy fat content.
The All-Encompassing Health Supplements: Vitamins C & E
Vitamin C has many different applications not only for detoxification but for maintenance of your health in general: this supplement plays a part in
- Cellular respiration
- Metabolism of carbohydrates
- Conversion of folic acid (a substance that plays a part in the development of new cells)
- Synthesis of collagen
All of these functions have a similar underlying theme: the destruction of useful or old, unusable structures and substances to construct a new structure or substance. This is central to detoxification, a process that is founded on the removal of waste from the body.
Vitamin E, on the other hand, is essential to the health and maintenance of
- Brain/Nervous system
The role of Vitamin E in the maintenance of blood is of special significance when considering this vitamin as a supplement during a detox. A process performed largely by the liver, the blood must be filtered to remove toxins and waste introduced by the consumption of medications and alcohol, for example.
(Unknown to many, waste products must be removed from the cerebrospinal fluid in the nervous system in a similar manner.)
Defense Against Free Radicals
Vitamins C & E act as antioxidant molecules that safely interact with free radicals to terminate a chain reaction before other vital molecules receive damage.
Free radicals are hundreds of substances leftover when converting food to energy for the body.
Some free radicals come from food or breathing air, while others are generated when sunlight reacts on the skin and in the eyes. Once free radicals form, they can begin a chain reaction where cells function poorly or die.
Without vitamins C & E, free radical molecules are missing an electron in their outer shells and go to any lengths to steal an electron from the body’s cellular structure.
This theft damages DNA, cell membranes, and enzymes, which could lead to diseases and speed up the aging process.
Minerals for Kidney Support: Copper, Zinc, and Selenium
One of the ways the body removes toxins is through the kidneys. The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located just below the rib cage on either side of the spine.
Their job is to filter around one-half cup of blood every minute and any extra water that makes urine.
Antioxidants such as copper, zinc, and selenium supplements can aid in kidney health during detox, thus strengthening the arsenal of weapons against kidney disease.
Liver (& other organ meats)
Nuts and seeds(particularly almonds, cashews and sesame)
Meat (red meat in particular)
Seeds (hemp, pumpkin, squash and sesame)
Nuts (pinenuts, peanuts, cashews and almonds)
Whole grains (i.e., wheat, quinoa, rice, oats)
Fish (yellowfin tuna, sardines, oysters, etc.)
Kidneys are vital to remove wastes from the body, including acid that is produced by the cells of the body. Without the kidneys, nerves, muscles, and other tissues of the body do not work normally, and severe illness in these important organs will eventually cause death.
So, it is easy to see how important taking copper, zinc, and selenium are in protecting the kidneys during detox.
Supplements to Boost Your Lymphatic System: Vitamins K, B1, & B6
During detox, the lymphatic system must be supported through the introduction of vitamins K, B1, and B6.
The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs that rid the body of waste and other unwanted materials.
Its primary function is to transport a substance called lymph, a material that contains infection-fighting white blood cells through the body.
During detox, it isn’t only the toxins that get rinsed out of the body, vital nutrients do as well, and this can lead to a lymphatic system that does not work effectively.
Some signs the lymphatic system is not doing well are as follows:
- Swollen glands
- Swelling in the fingers or ankles
- Puffiness in the eyes or face
- Soreness or stiffness when walking
The reason for these all-over symptoms is that the lymphatic system is responsible for cellular cleanup and detoxing of blood.
Taking Vitamins K, B1, and B6 can prevent the lymphatic system from breaking down and make detoxing safer.
Below are some foods from which you can find these vitamins:
Five Uncommon Supplements Taken During Detox
The six unusual arrows in the quiver of supplements to aid in detoxing contain some uncommon yet natural plants and other herbs. Some of these supplements are exotic and found in nature, while others like magnesium are more down to earth.
These substances are called:
- Milk Thistle
- Diatomaceous Earth
Find below an explanation of each of these substances, their uses, and any cautions one needs to be aware of while consuming them.
Milk Thistle for Liver Support, Skin, Cholesterol, and Weight Loss
Milk thistle is a flowering plant that hails from the same family as the daisy and grows in the Mediterranean countries.
Some claim milk thistle can treat cirrhosis, jaundice, hepatitis, and gallbladder disorders. As if one couldn’t tell, all these diseases are related to the liver, although other health benefits involve heart-healthy and managing type 2 diabetes.
There are other benefits to supplementing a diet with milk thistle other than supporting the liver, including:
- Promoting skin health
- Reduction of cholesterol
- Supporting weight loss
- Reduces insulin resistance
- Limits the spread of cancer
Since the reasons most people detox have lots to do with the benefits of using milk thistle as a supplement, many people use it during their detoxification process.
The Many Uses of Diatomaceous Earth for Detoxification
Diatomaceous earth is manufactured from diatoms, fossilized, tiny, aquatic organisms. Diatoms have skeletons made of natural silica that over the millennia have accumulated at the bottoms of rivers, lakes, streams, and oceans.
Diatomaceous earth is a cheap, simple, and effective manner to detox, and it doesn’t require fasting or health foods. It has been used with success by lots of people, and because it is absorbent and abrasive, it makes an ideal cleanser.
There are many reasons to take diatomaceous earth, including:
- Restless sleeping
- Skin rashes
- Food cravings
- Constipation or diarrhea
The way it works is as diatomaceous earth passes through the digestive system, it absorbs harmful toxins without requiring any change to the diet or lifestyle of the person taking it.
When working with diatomaceous earth, be certain not to inhale it because it will cause respiratory distress.
Schisandra for Liver Support and Anti-Aging Benefits
The fruit of the Schisandra is a wonderful source of nutrition and vitamins for a detox regimen. A potent, general tonic, Schisandra is purported to decrease fatigue, promote endurance, and enhance physical performance.
The fruit reduces stress by lowering stress hormone levels, which boosts the body’s ability to not only recover during detox but can also aid athletes in their sports.
Schisandra contains adaptogens, substances that increase resistance to disease and stress and, by doing so, extend the human lifespan, preventing early aging, normalizing blood sugar and pressure, plus stimulating the immune system. The fruit is also used to treat liver disease and to protect the liver from toxins.
Eaten as food, the chemicals in Schisandra stimulate enzymes and thereby improves liver function and promoting liver cell growth.
Although these reported benefits to the consumption of this fruit are not yet well-understood, there is a growing foundation of research evidence in favor of Schisandra as a reliable antioxidant and a supplement for liver support.
While Schisandra fruit is safe when used appropriately, when consumed in excess, it can cause an upset stomach, decreased appetite, heartburn, stomach pain, and a skin rash.
(Note: Similar to many dietary supplements, Schisandra should not be consumed by pregnant or breast-feeding women without first consulting their gynecologist as it might cause the uterus to contract, leading to miscarriage.)
Magnesium for Removal of Heavy Metals
Magnesium is also a huge player in the detoxification processes of the body. It plays a vital role in displacing toxic heavy metals from the body such as aluminum, cadmium, mercury, nickel, and lead.
Additionally, this element is reportedly good at helping to prevent several conditions including:
- Migraine Headaches
- Heart Health Problems
- Bone Health Problems
- Decreased Energy
The best and safest way to utilize magnesium in a detox diet is to eat containing it, rather than as an isolated supplement. Such foods are:
- Sunflower Seeds
- Dark Chocolate
Lack of magnesium is extremely dangerous and should be avoided when possible. Another caution is to not ingest magnesium regularly as it will compromise digestion and absorption of this vital element, causing illness.
Sulfur: Strengthening Your Body’s Skeletal System and Keratin
Sulfur is an abundant mineral that is necessary for building bodily structures and regulating many important enzymes in the human body.
It is vital for building the structure and regulating many important enzymes, which makes sulfur vital to many biological and metabolic processes.
Sulfur is found in many parts of the human anatomy, including:
- Immune Cells
- Connective Tissue
Cells have their own environment with many complex internal systems that sulfur-containing amino acids help regulate. They need sulfur to remove toxins that can threaten the function of cells. Sulfur is vital for the following reasons:
- Cell Strength
- Removal of Toxins
- Forming the Antioxidant Glutathione
- To Aid the Liver in Detoxifying
- To Reduce Inflammation
Taking a look at these vital roles of sulfur may explain its importance better.
Sulfur helps to maintain the structure of cell membranes that controls what the cell takes in and releases. That makes sulfur have a significant role in removing toxins from the body.
Removal of Toxins
Sulfur might help detoxify environmental artificial chemicals that have entered the body. Sulfur binds with and assists the body to eliminate toxic chemicals like aluminum, barium, and mercury.
Forming the Antioxidant Glutathione
Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant, and sulfur makes its formation possible. Since glutathione is vital to increasing detoxification of many bodily functions, sulfur is important for healing, healthy aging, and maintaining health.
To Aid the Liver in Detoxifying
Sulfur is required to detoxify the liver, and so sulfur is vital to our body’s most essential detoxifying functions.
To Reduce Inflammation
Sulfur and glutathione work together with other minerals, vitamins, and fatty acids to heal the body by making prostaglandins that reduce inflammation.
Taken as directed, sulfur is a relatively safe mineral to ingest. However, as with all supplements, consult a doctor before any weight loss program or before including new vitamins or minerals to your diet.
Also, remember that some of these minerals and vitamins can change the action of any medications you may be taking.
The Three Different Types of Detoxes
Detoxes are popular methods to rid the body of toxins and to give the digestive system time to rest. They are used to feel younger, feel more energized, and sometimes to treat health problems.
There are three basic types of detoxes:
- Those that cleanse the digestive tract
- Those that support the body’s natural detoxification processes
- Those that replace solid food with liquids
Although the goal of detoxing is to cleanse the body of toxins that are taken every day, all of the above methods can have negative side effects on one’s health if undertaken without proper water and nutrient intake.
Detoxing incorrectly can harm one’s health by greatly restricting the intake of vital nutrients and can make matters worse for the person trying to get healthier.
Why Do You Need Supplements for Detoxification?
Unfortunately, some people believe that juices and other such diet staples, along with fasting and cleansing, are the only source of nutrition for detoxing.
However, these methods do not supply all the nutrients needed to effectively remove toxins from the body, necessitating the addition of such supplements as the ones discussed in this guide.
The most common – and potentially dangerous – mistake many people make while detoxing is not getting enough nutrients to supply and replenish vital organs during the process.
Detoxing normally happens in two stages: the detoxification phase and the fasting phase. During the detoxification phase, wherein the liver, for example, absorbs minerals and vitamins to make a compound that is itself highly toxic and can damage it if it is not removed appropriately.
During phase two, the liver needs amino acids to bond with the toxins to make them water-soluble for elimination from the body.
This is only one of the many organs that crave nutrients that must be replaced by taking supplements during the detoxification process.
Common Mistakes Made While Detoxing
The excitement of beginning a new detoxification regimen can pave the way for even an experienced individual to make some simple mistakes.
Some of the most common mistakes are:
Detoxing too quickly is typically a mistake that comes with shorter detox programs, as the individual may find themselves trying to rush too much progress into a time frame that was not intended for such a drastic physical change.
The body’s systems and processes intended for toxin elimination and waste removal become overloaded, a reaction that can result in headaches, fatigue, and digestive discomfort.
By attempting too much too soon, many people drastically downsize their intake of foods by largely eliminating protein and other minerals and vitamins from their diet. This is harmful to the detoxing effort.
Without adequate nutrients and calories, the body will go into starvation mode and hold onto every calorie eaten, thus destroying any weight loss or fitness-related benefits that were planned.
You can avoid these mistakes by slowly and deliberately planning your goals and timeline of detoxification ahead of time.
Before beginning, choose the supplements you feel are most important to achieving your detox goals and plan your meals and vitamins accordingly.
Reliance on Laxatives
A lot of people place laxative cleanses at the top of their list of priorities for the detoxification of the colon. However, laxatives are harsh and do not provide sustainable weight loss, plus their extended use can lead to several health dangers.
The largest danger is dehydration as laxatives deplete a body of water, which can be life-threatening.
Laxatives can also cause bowel perforation, which is also a danger to one’s life. Laxatives also can be addictive and make the bowel dependent upon them for having a bowel movement.
Fiber serves to gently remove wastes, toxins, and harmful bacteria from your digestive system. Supplements, including folic acid, calcium, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and Magnesium are ideal for improving colon health as well.
Restricted Food Detoxing
Detoxing through restricting food intake, flushes the body of toxins, and improves the overall health of the dieter. When done correctly, a cleanse done by restricting the diet can also aid in bringing relief to food allergies.
However, specialists urge that dieters be strategic in their dietary restrictions by eliminating foods thought to be harmful, and then adding them back slowly.
If gas, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea result, then removing that food from the diet would be good for your health.
One must be cautious about eliminating too many foods or whole food groups from the diet all at once like some food cleanses say you need to do as it will only inhibit your progress toward your detox goals.
The Liver Detox Diet
Liver detoxes aim to deliver a boost to the body’s natural detoxifying system, which is the job of the liver.
This idea sounds great, but not eating foods that are needed to support a healthy liver one takes the chance of doing more harm than good.
Because of the seriousness of the side effect of liver damage, a liver detox diet should be undertaken with the supervision of a physician.
Ask your doctor which supplements can help mitigate any problems. (These supplements are covered later)
The Colon Cleanse
While most cleanses rid the body of toxins through dietary changes, cleanses flush toxins from the body. Colon cleanses rinse the digestive tract by promoting bowel movements by way of supplements or laxatives.
Also known as a colonic, colon hydrotherapy removes waste by flushing the colon with water.
These colon rinses claim to remove built-up waste that also removes toxins to improve the health of the person cleansing.
The negatives of colon cleanses are that they are both unpleasant and dangerous. They are unpleasant because they can cause crampy diarrhea and vomiting. They are dangerous because they can cause a bacterial infection, electrolyte imbalances, or even perforation of the bowel.
It is vital while completing a colon cleansing detox to make sure and drink plenty of fluids and take supplements such as potassium and other vitamins plus minerals.
Detoxification can be a truly rewarding experience when done safely. Being mindful about the speed at which you’re detoxing and the supplements (vitamins, minerals) and calories you are taking in, in addition to plenty of water, will ensure the achievement of your detox goals.
Whether you are aiming for weight loss, an energy boost, clearer skin, a strong immune system, or all of the above, you must take the time to plan the integration of your necessary supplements into the core of your detox routine.
Proper planning of dietary necessities will eliminate any worries of under- or over-consuming the essential supplements discussed in this guide.
Stay safe, and happy detoxing!