The Juice Detox: Is It Dangerous?
With the Oscars just days away, Hollywood’s juicers and blenders are undoubtedly working overtime this week. Celebrities are known to embrace the ubiquitous “juice cleanse” with the same amount of zest and zeal used to commit to that next great role. But are strict Detox regimens really healthy for us? Award-Winning Preventive Medicine Doctor, Susan Blum, M.D has successfully been using her personalized Medical Detoxification program with her patients for years, and therefore, weighs in with a medical perspective on what’s healthy and what’s not:
I don’t believe in juicing as a Detox strategy – it can do more harm than good.
Juices give the body concentrated vitamins and also rests the body from food, which is why people feel so light for the first few days. However, there is a starvation aspect to juice cleanses which are not optimal for Medical Detoxification. The liver is our natural “detox” organ—it needs many nutrients to do its job, especially protein. These amino acids are critical for the last step in detoxification: sending the toxins out through the bile, into the stool and then out of the body. If there aren’t enough amino acids, you can actually feel worse from a “cleanse” as the toxins start moving out since they can often get stuck before the last step. So, while juicing for one day might be okay, longer juice fasting can actually be harmful, especially if the toxin burden in the body is very high. Additionally, many juices are high in sugar which can damage the insulin system.
A Medically-Supervised Detox is not a quick fix but rather a safer alternative to cleansing, with potentially life-changing long term health benefits.
At my new Integrative Medicine and Lifestyle Education Center, Blum Center for Health, we offer a comprehensive, personalized Medical Detoxification Program. The program is a combination of eating a restrictive diet and drinking Detox powders, which are protein powders containing additional supplements that help the liver work well to remove toxins from the body. The results are profound: improvement in energy, skin, bowel function and mood. People also learn to identify, and ultimately eliminate, those foods that previously made them feel sick.
Dr. Susan Blum is the founder of the Blum Center Health, a new kind of health center, where all the tools you need to live a vibrant, happy and healthy life are under one roof. She completed her Internal Medicine training at St-Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital, her residency in Preventive Medicine at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, and is Board Certified in Preventive Medicine. She received her Masters in Public Health at Columbia University, and her training in Functional Medicine from The Institute for Functional Medicine, in Gig Harbor, Washington.