The claim: Detox/cleanse supplements, teas, pills, etc. promote weight loss, increase metabolic rate, cleanse the body of harmful substances, suppress appetite, cure diseases and much more.
The reality: Contrary to popular belief, our body is remarkably resilient. The liver, kidneys, lungs and several other organs work day in and day out to remove any harmful substances and excrete waste products of metabolism. And they don't need any help from a "cleanse", detox tea or any other related product.
There's also the evidence that commercial detox supplements are not based on facts. A 2009 investigation found that "not a single company behind 15 commercial cleanses could name the toxins targeted by their treatment, agree on the definition of the word ‘detox’, or even supply evidence that their products work."
To an extent, the human body does accumulate some levels of toxicants. But based on the evidence, the claim that detox or cleanses get rid of these substances is flat out wrong. There has been no demonstrable proof of the effectiveness of these products.
The only evidence you will find to support the claim of these companies is always anecdotal evidence. As is for any other fad diet. But if you ask any scientist, they'll tell you: Anecdotal evidence is the worst kind of evidence.
John Emsley, chemical scientist and award winning science writer: "There is no scientific reason for people to waste time and money on so-called detox regimes, fancy diets, or expensive remedies, none of which can compare to the detox system that is already inbuilt into our natural system."
Harriet Ball, biologist: “Detox is marketed as the idea that modern living fills us with invisible nasties that our bodies can’t cope with unless we buy the latest jargon-filled remedy. Last year we investigated scientific claims that are plastered on everything from sandwiches to devices that supposedly protect you from radiation. Our new investigation into detox products has convinced us that there is little or no proof that these products work, except to part people from their cash and downplay all the amazing ways in which our bodies can look after themselves!”
Oliver Fenwick, physicist: “The ‘detox’ industry has become a huge success. However, the industry seems to be based almost entirely on a marketing slogan since when you look a little closer you find that most of these products do nothing more than can be achieved by your body on its own.”