Detox nonsense

Posted by on Jan 5, 2009 in Uncategorized | One Comment


Are you planning to spend the next few weeks "detoxing"?

Have you got your milk thistle/nettle extract etc elephant pills to take 3 times daily? Are you using a special "detox" brush (as above from Boots the Chemist)? Are you avoiding wheat and dairy to "give your body a chance to rest?"

You are?  Because you do know that the popular notion of detox is b******, don't you?

"‘Detox’ has no meaning outside of the clinical treatment for drug addiction or poisoning"
[download the Sense on Science  dossier on dodgy detox marketing claims]

This really is the kind of thing that gives marketing a bad name: pseudo, nonsense, worse-than-the-magic-man science.

If you want to detox, the best things you can do are to cut out the fags and booze, drink tap water, eat a bit better and take a bit more exercise: you see, your body naturally detoxes itself. It has a detox mechanism of its own: your liver and kidneys. There is no reliable – scientifically robust – evidence for any of the other things working…

If you're in the mood, it's worth having a listen to the lovely Ben "Bad Science" Goldacre on BBC Radio 4 orning challenging a snakeoil salesperson from Detox in a Box over her deceptive claims

While you're at it, you should take the time to scroll through the 80 or so comments on generated by Ben's post in less than 12 hours. More interesting info from the Bad Science Posse…

[BTW What is this, if not a community of purpose forming itself as folk gather together, collaborating and achieving much more together than they might apart?]

UPDATE: Hadley Freeman – fashion editor at the Guardian – has this to say

1 Comment

  1. Mike Tyldesley
    January 6, 2009

    Mark; You can always detox in Oslo later this month. Just back from a week there – you should enjoy it, but you may find the heat a little hard to take at first. (Ha ha. I think.) Excellent Veggie caff in the Fritjof Nansen Plass next to the Radhus. Their aubergine and spud curry is very tasty. Take lots of money though. A lot of Oslo’s plastic machines have a habit of not taking Brit credit/debit cards, and it is fiercely expensive.