Detox is a word that's thrown around a lot in the New Year, and the whole concept of needing to actively detox with health products and programs is often dismissed as a marketing myth.
But while it's true that the body has an innate detoxification system to deal with toxic substances that come its way, given the overwhelming number of toxins we're exposed to, most of us could do with a helping hand.
Genes, diet and lifestyle factors can all have a big impact on how effectively the body's natural detox processes work (see WDDTY January 2013 and January 2016). Ultimately, an inefficient system could mean that the harmful stuff the body is trying to get rid of can begin to have a negative effect in the form of physical symptoms and disease.
One way you can support your body's detox system is with nutritional supplements. Here are five of our favorites for this job—all with science-backed ingredients.
All in one
Now Foods, Detox Support, $23.99 (90 veg capsules)
UK: www.dolphinfitness.co.uk; tel: 01273 921 222
Ideal if you're looking for an all-in-one supplement, Detox Support contains a blend of herbs and nutrients selected to support the body's natural detoxification system. It's good to see milk thistle, selenium and alpha lipoic acid on the label—all have been shown to increase the body's levels of glutathione, a key player in our detox processes.1 Chlorella is also included, an algae that seems to help with the removal of toxic chemicals such as dioxins from the body.2 The supplement is free of gluten, dairy, soy and genetically modified organisms, plus it's suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
Sun Chlorella, 'A' tablets, $38.25/£21.95 (300 tablets)
US: www.sunchlorellausa.com; tel: 800-829-2828 ext 2455
UK: www.sunchlorella.co.uk; tel: 0800 008 6166
Chlorella pyrenoidosa, a freshwater green algae, is famous in the natural health world for helping to rid the body of environmental toxins such as heavy metals and dioxins, and there's convincing scientific evidence to back this up.3 As there have been concerns that the algae itself can be contaminated by heavy metals, make sure you choose a high-quality supplement, such as this one by Sun Chlorella. Its Chlorella is fed by pure mountain water and processed without heat, chemicals or enzymes.
HMD, Heavy Metal Detox, $67.50/£54.99 (4 oz/120 mL)
US & UK: www.detoxmetals.com
As the name suggests, this product is designed to help remove heavy metals from the body. Made up of homeopathic Chlorella and its growth factor plus coriander (Coriandrum sativum) leaf tincture, the formula was tested in a trial of 350 metal foundry workers.4 Taking 40-60 drops of the liquid three times a day cleared aluminum, antimony, arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, lead, mercury, nickel, thallium and uranium from the body—without removing any essential minerals. Heavy Metal Detox is 100 percent natural, free of allergens, salt and preservatives and is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Love your liver
Dr Mercola, Liver Support, $18.97/£17.95 (60 capsules)
US: products.mercola.com; tel: 877-985-2695
UK: www.evolutionorganics.co.uk; tel: 0345 3700 006
Your liver plays a crucial role in eliminating toxins and harmful substances from the body, and this multi-nutrient supplement is designed to help it do its job. There are generous doses of N-acetylcysteine (500 mg) and milk thistle extract (300 mg) per serving, both of which are boosters of one of the body's top detoxifying agents, glutathione.1 Organic broccoli sprout powder (50 mg) is also included, as it's rich in the phytonutrient glucoraphanin, a precursor to sulforaphane, a substance that supports detox mechanisms in the liver.5
LivOn Labs, Altrient Liposomal R-Alpha Lipoic Acid, $59.95/£71.99 (30 × 226-mg sachets)
US: www.livonlabs.com; tel: 866-790-2107
UK: www.abundanceandhealth.co.uk; tel: 020 3239 4907
Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is a potent antioxidant that plays a vital role in the body's detox processes. Not only does it boost glutathione levels (see Now Foods Detox Support), it also appears to assist with the removal of mercury and other toxic chemicals from the body.1 This ALA supplement from LivOn Labs is expensive, but it uses the natural, more readily absorbed 'R' form of ALA rather than the synthetic 'S' form, along with cutting-edge 'liposomal encapsulation technology' to deliver the nutrient directly into the bloodstream. The company claims that Altrient R-ALA is the most bioavailable and highest dosage oral form of R-ALA available anywhere.