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Is detoxifying the kidneys really necessary?

Whether it’s through the benefits of tea, lemon juice or parsley, detox enthusiasts promote regimens that aim to eliminate waste from the body, especially from the kidneys. But is this really necessary?

The function of the kidneys

Les reins ont pour mission de filtrer le sang afin d’éliminer les déchets toxiques et de réguler la quantité d’eau dans notre corps. Ils s’assurent de maintenir un niveau équilibré d’eau, de sel et de minéraux dans le sang.

Why detoxify the kidneys and body?

According to proponents of detoxification (also called cleansing), toxins accumulate in the kidneys and should be cleansed regularly. They believe that certain foods, drinks and diets can detoxify the kidneys and body. [1]

What a detoxification regimen looks like

Not all detox diets are the same. However, they usually include a period of fasting followed by a diet of only raw vegetables, fruit and water. Some diets also include herbs and other supplements as well as colonic enemas to empty the bowels. [2]

Read more: The harmful effects of salt on your health

Why detoxification is unnecessary

It’s true that some foods and herbs in detox regimens may have benefits for kidney health. However, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, there’s no convincing evidence that detox regimens successfully remove toxins from the body or improve health. [3]

According to toxicologist Claude Viau, Director of the Institut de recherche en santé publique at Université de Montréal, some toxic agents leave traces in the body. However, they are generally present in minute quantities and no treatment can eliminate them, not even detox diets. Industrial poisoning is a special case since there are treatments for exposure to lead and certain other heavy metals.

For those who still want to help their kidneys do their job well, Dr. Eric Cadesky, a family doctor in Vancouver, recommends eating fresh, colourful foods, and drinking plenty of water. [4]

Do detox diets boost energy?

Although detoxification regimens don’t eliminate toxins, some people claim that they feel more focused and have more energy during and after these diets. These benefits may be due to the elimination of processed foods that contain high amounts of fat and sugar. [5]

Conclusion

At first thought, detoxifying the body may seem like a good idea. But in reality, research has not been able to demonstrate the benefits of these diets for the elimination of toxins.

The best remedy to keep our kidneys healthy is to choose healthy foods and drink enough water. Your kidneys and other organs take care of the rest.

Read more: What is a kidney stone?

For professional support, we’re here.

We provide services that can help your doctor diagnose kidney-related disorders and determine the appropriate treatment.

Do you have a doctor's prescription on hand for one of these tests? Book an appointment online or contact Biron Health Group’s customer service at 1 833 590-2712.

  1. Catherine Crépeau, “Parsley to cleanse the kidneys? False” (in French), September 22, 2020. http://www.scientifique-en-chef.gouv.qc.ca/en/impacts-of-research-cat/parsley-to-cleanse-the-kidneys-false-french-version-only-2/ (consulted April 2, 2021)
  2. Katherine Zeratsky, R. D., L.D., “Do Detox Diets Offer Any Health Benefits?” Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/detox-diets/faq-20058040 (consulted April 2, 2021)
  3. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, “‘Detoxes’ and ‘Cleanses’: What You Need to Know.” https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/detoxes-and-cleanses-what-you-need-to-know (consulted April 2, 2021)
  4. Radio-Canada, “La détoxification au thé : une démarche inutile, selon des experts” (in French), November 3, 2018. https://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1133792/sante-the-detoxification-enquete (consulted April 2, 2021)
  5. Katherine Zeratsky, op. cit.