Harvard Medical School: Dubious Practice of Detox

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Claudia
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Harvard Medical School: Dubious Practice of Detox

Post by Claudia » Sat 10 Jan 2009 19:13

The Dubious Practice of Detox

Harvard Medical School, July 22, 2008

Detox used to refer primarily to medical procedures used to rid the body of dangerous levels of alcohol, drugs, or poisons. Now, it is the subject of a growing number of infomercials, Web sites, and print articles that urge us to eliminate alleged toxins claimed to cause everything from headaches to bloating, joint pain, fatigue, and depression. Detox products are sold in retail stores, at spas, over the Internet, and by direct mail. Many are advertised as useful for detoxifying specific organs or systems; others are portrayed as “whole body” cleansers. But do detox practices really offer the benefits they claim?

https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbe ... 8.htm#art1

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LymeEnigma
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Re: Harvard Medical School: Dubious Practice of Detox

Post by LymeEnigma » Sun 11 Jan 2009 4:34

Thanks for sharing that! I cringed the other day when I was at Target and saw that, not only do they sell Kinoki detox foot pads, but they were on SALE as a featured item.... :evil:

kelmo
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Re: Harvard Medical School: Dubious Practice of Detox

Post by kelmo » Sun 11 Jan 2009 5:26

Is all detoxing bad? What about drinking plenty of water, sometimes with lemon? Sweating in an infrared sauna? Having a good bowel movement? We considered that detoxing.

OneGuest
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Re: Harvard Medical School: Dubious Practice of Detox

Post by OneGuest » Sun 11 Jan 2009 15:10

I think that the detox stuff does have to be broken down into
some common sense categories, for want of a better word.

The problem these articles address is the marketing aspect.
Promoters are using a physiological process and practice, and
slapping together everyday components to make a
product, and then,
using the health/aging craze as advertising
gimmicks, to make it seem that these are
necessary to life extension and health supremacy.

The problem also is that the general public
is unaware of how they are being manipulated,
and is unaware of their own physiology.

So, I think detox is a legitimate concept,
but it has become twisted and abused and
used by petty entrepeneurs.

To talk of "detox" as if it were not legitimate, I think
is misguided. The extent to which this concept
is marketed with false claims and false problems and
false hopes and magical potions, is the problem.

The article is both right and wrong. And again, it
also contributes to false impressions, since it
implies that all detox products/methods are
unnecessary. (with a little lip service to
2 conditions).

The problem is the word itself has become another
buzzword for people to use. And it sells.

OG

OneGuest
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Re: Harvard Medical School: Dubious Practice of Detox

Post by OneGuest » Sun 11 Jan 2009 15:42

Specifically, Harvard mentions 3 practices.

Detox Diet: they address the maple sugar/lemon
juice/cayenne Master Cleanse routine. They do
not address any other practice or product. So does
this mean that other products/practices are similarly
useless and dangerous? Who knows, but people
will read the "detox diet", and assume that all
practices are similarly useless/dangerous, etc.

Intestinal Cleansing (notice they do not offer evidence
that parasitic treatment is useless, even though it
is mentioned in the first paragraph.)
These are those packaged kits. I agree that
these are marketing ploys.

Achieving Regularity for Dummies.

However, some people may not know what it means to
be regular, and feel safer with a "program"....blind faith in
the seller.

Yet, once they see what it feels like to be "regular",
they may change their diet.
This is a +/- for me.

The black gunk stuff is the fear factor advertising...



Foot Detox.

I will vote for this one as being misguided, and all that.

Now, are there any direct evidence based studies to support claims?
The FDA will nail them if they make direct cure claims.

-----------
Dont ya love capitalism?

OG

Claudia
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Re: Harvard Medical School: Dubious Practice of Detox

Post by Claudia » Sun 11 Jan 2009 16:14

I don't know if you saw this link to the new leaflet produced by Sense About Science, it attempts to approach this topic from a common sense point of view:

http://www.senseaboutscience.org.uk/PDF ... eaflet.pdf

OneGuest
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Re: Harvard Medical School: Dubious Practice of Detox

Post by OneGuest » Sun 11 Jan 2009 16:47

I cannot access the pdf in a readable form...comes out as heiroglyphics.
It had a picture of the footpad...I voted (-) for the footpads, but may not
have made it clear.

Here is the webpage with the pdf link:
http://www.senseaboutscience.org.uk/ind ... roject/14/

Detox
VoYS launches Detox Dossier - January 2009

‘Detox’ has no meaning outside of the clinical treatment for drug addiction or poisoning. Today young scientists and engineers are publishing a dossier on their hunt for the evidence behind detox claims made for products and diets, and beginning a campaign to alert the public. They found:

1. No two companies seem to use the same definition of ‘detox’.
This is the biggest problem...they (marketers) use this label for anything. It is all spin.
That may be why I think the product rather than the concept.
needs to be individually assessed for truthfulness, validity, effectiveness.

I do disagree with their statement that:
Detox' has no meaning outside of the clinical treatment for drug addiction or poisoning.
First, they have not defined "'detox", and so fall prey to their first rationale
for their alert!

Secondly, there are studies using products for
radiation poisoning, and so forth. So are these "detox"? If not detox,
but they do show effect, what are the products doing?

UK is somewhat different than the U.S. They seem to have more
alt (homeopathic, energy work, etc) in the public eye, than here.
I admit this may be a misperception. Their newspapers/media seem
to misrepresent science studies, according to UK science websites that
I have read.

To discuss "detox" here, what would be a more productive way to
evaluate? At the general principle level (requiring a definition), or at the body/physiological level/
specific conditions such as a specific chronic illness, or
at the product level?

I think it is an important and legitimate topic, but needs to have
some groundwork so it does not spiral off.

OG

Claudia
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Re: Harvard Medical School: Dubious Practice of Detox

Post by Claudia » Sun 11 Jan 2009 17:52

I think that they have defined the meaning of "detox" here:

1) "detox" as a medical treatment for a known clinical condition: substance abuse/addiction and poisoning (which would include your example of radiation poisoning).

and

2) "detox" as marketing hype to sell useless and needless products and procedures, for the removal of un-named and alleged "toxins," that have no or very little possible therapeutic effect based on chemistry, physiology or biology as claimed.

These processes (The body's own detoxification processes) do not occur more effectively as a result of taking “detox” tablets, wearing “detox” socks, having a “detox” body wrap, eating Nettle Root extract, drinking herbal infusions or “oxygenated” water, following a special “detox” diet, or using any of the other products and rituals that are promoted. They waste money and sow confusion about how our bodies, nutrition and chemistry actually work.

Claudia
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Re: Harvard Medical School: Dubious Practice of Detox

Post by Claudia » Sun 11 Jan 2009 18:20

kelmo wrote:Is all detoxing bad? What about drinking plenty of water, sometimes with lemon? Sweating in an infrared sauna? Having a good bowel movement? We considered that detoxing.
Saunas are a nice way to relax and soothe sore muscles, but as far as a meaningful, therapeutic "detoxing" goes, sweat is mainly water and excess salt -- with small amounts of other chemicals:
Sweating is a way for the body to chill out when it gets overheated from hot temperatures, physical activity, spicy foods, or even embarrassment. The perspiration that forms on your skin is evaporated by the outside air cooling you down when things get too hot. Sweating also helps rid the body of small amounts of "waste" products, such as salt, ammonia, and uric acid. Sweat contains electrolytes (chemicals that are essential for regulating the fluid balance within the body) — this is why athletes are always chugging "sports drinks" to replace the sodium, potassium, and chloride that their bodies are sweating out all over their athletic gear.

http://www.goaskalice.columbia.edu/2139.html
Kelmo, what is it about adding lemon to water? Beside making it taste good, what is the added benefit?

OneGuest
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Re: Harvard Medical School: Dubious Practice of Detox

Post by OneGuest » Sun 11 Jan 2009 19:07

(Claudia's post)
"detox" as a medical treatment for a known clinical condition: substance abuse/addiction and poisoning (which would include your example of radiation poisoning).
OK, I think that is a workable starting place. Agreed about the radiation as poisoning.

I think the first thing I would ask, is the treatment a detox if it removes the poison or is it because it counterracts it? What would poisons mean, in other words.
Is that what you think they mean by their poison detox (in their "legitimate" sense)?
Then, is poison an internally generated condition, or an externally applied condition?

Then, I wonder what they accept as a"known clinical condition".

I totally agree with the second aspect of the media hype/marketing aspect. That was
the main reason I thought that product orientation might be more productive.

But then we could learn other things with the "medical treatment" approach,
as people fill in.

I really need to scoot out of the house today..will think some more about this.

OG.

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