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Detoxification

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Detoxification or Detox, in general is the removal of toxic substances from the body. It is one of the major functions of the liver, lower gastrointestinal tract and kidneys, but can also be achieved artificially by techniques such as dialysis and (in a very limited number of cases) chelation therapy.

Other less mainstream methods for eliminating toxic substances from the body include the modification of the diet and addition of certain herbs and rituals such as Colon hydrotherapy, Body cleansing juice fasting and sweat lodges. All these methods are claimed to assist the body's natural detoxification process.

Specific meanings of detoxification or detox:

  • A form of drug rehabilitation, used to treat alcoholism or other drug addiction. The process involves abstinence to clear the drug from the body, accompanied by social and environmental support during the associated physiological and psychological changes. A non-drug method for detox from drugs or alcohol is acupuncture detoxification.
  • A class of diets whose underlying assumption is that the body accumulates toxins that must be purged, especially after unhealthy periods such as over-eating during festivals. Toxins, in this case, refer to toxic substances - often of undefined nature - from foods, the environment and the body's own wastes. "Detox diet" is a common phrase, as is "I'm on a detox". See detox diet.
  • Forms of complementary medicine that claim to remove such toxins from the body: for instance, by herbal, electrical or electromagnetic treatments. As the definition of toxins in this and the previous context has little scientific basis, the validity of such techniques is questionable. There is no evidence for such accumulation; the liver and kidneys automatically detoxify and excrete many toxic materials, including metabolic wastes. Under this theory if toxins are too rapidly released without being safely eliminated (such as burning fat that stores toxins) they can pollute the body causing malaise.
  • A process by which a substance is made less toxic.

See also

nl:Afkicken
ja:デトックス
pl:Detoks
sr:Детоксикација
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