Health Awareness and Detox - New Trends Conquering the Scene
Health awareness, the understanding of the importance of one’s own health and wellbeing and the wish to improve the same, is growing and sparking a revolution in the Healthcare field. Health supplements, Nutraceuticals and Multi-Vitamins are booming and becoming a fixed part in our daily routine to support our health with the aim to prevent deficiencies, diseases and the necessity for a doctor’s visit.
According to scientific research, the majority of common diseases are caused by a deficiency in vital vitamins, minerals, or nutrients.1,4 Therefore, Health supplements or Nutraceuticals are becoming more and more popular for taking care of your body’s requirements to prevent deficiencies. In spite of this, merely providing your body with nourishment alone may not be sufficient to prevent sickness.
In our daily life we are confronted with countless harmful substance, such as Pollutants, Chemicals and Medicines, which can hamper our health.5 Therefore, Detox or Body Detoxifying is a rather new and popular approach to advance your health with the aim of removing harmful substances from your body and preserving good organ health.
A plethora of different Detox Supplements are on the market to support customer’s health and enhance proper organ functioning. As a result, the Global Detox market size is estimated with USD 37.7 Billion in 2023 and will be reaching USD 68.0 Billion in 2033 with a CAGR of 6.1%, according to Future Market Insights.
However, what are the health benefits that can be gained from detoxification? Which lifestyle- choices are harmful and how we can avoid those and improve our health instead? Let’s take a look at these questions from the scientific perspective.
Lifestyle and its Impact on our Health
Our modern lifestyle is filled with stress, hard work and unhealthy lifestyle-choices, such as Junk Food, smoking and drinking alcohol. Manifold studies are reporting that our way of living has a huge impact on our health and on the development of diseases: So called Lifestyle diseases, such as Obesity, Diabetes, heart- and liver-related diseases, are non-communicable diseases and are caused by an unhealthy lifestyle.5,6 Globally, these diseases cause millions of deaths per year, and they are therefore one of the major causes of mortality worldwide as a result of their high prevalence.
Stress: A Contributing Factor
Stress is an omni-present factor in our modern life, which has a huge impact on our health. Studies have found a direct connection between high levels of stress and an increased risk of developing a number of diseases, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke, obesity, impaired immunological functions, and faster rates of disease progression.8 Furthermore, studies showed that stress is also associated with enhanced eating of unhealthy foods and reduced consumption of healthy foods, which in terms deteriorate the health status further.9
Therefore, it is from utmost importance to reduce daily Stress and take care of the body’s requirement for sleep and wellness. Stress-Detox is a rather newer concept, which emerged in the fairway of health awareness and is focusing on the reduction of the perceived stress and enhancement of wellbeing. Particular rest timings and sleep are important to control the stress level and the recreation of the body, as sleep enables your brain to renew and clean itself from waste byproducts. Interestingly, the glymphatic system, the clearing system of the brain, is mostly active during sleep. Studies reported that sleep disturbances and disruptions can contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.10,11 Additionally, short sleep duration has been linked to stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.12
Experts advise to relief stress by meditation, physical activity, a healthy diet and switching to a more mindful and healthier lifestyle.
Pick your Poison- Alcohol
As mentioned before, lifestyle-choices have a huge impact on our health. Especially drinking alcohol puts a heavy burden on our body. It doesn’t only damage the liver, it can also affect multiple organs in our body, including the gut and the brain as well.
Alcohol is transported to the liver after consumption, where it is mostly converted into the cancer-causing chemical acetaldehyde before being detoxified with the help of liver enzymes. However high levels of this substance can induce various forms of DNA damage leading to cancer development.13 Additionally, it can seriously impair the function of your liver by promoting fat accumulation, inflammation, and scarring.14 The alcoholic liver disease’s natural course can progress from an alcoholic fatty liver to an inflammatory condition known as alcoholic steatohepatitis, and can ultimately result in fibrosis and cirrhosis, as well as in some cases, cancer. The progression of this disease is also associated with a high risk of liver failure and high mortality.15 Avoiding alcohol is crucial because patients with alcoholic hepatitis have a very poor prognosis and mortality is approximately 50% higher for those who continue drinking than for those who abstain.16
But before your health gets hampered in such a severe way, healthcare professionals suggest to protect your liver by avoiding excessive alcohol consume from the beginning and start to improve your health with positive and healthy lifestyle-choices.
Furthermore, anti-inflammatory and beneficial herbal remedies, such as milk thistle, can support your liver and consequently strengthen your health by reducing inflammation, oxidative stress and cytotoxicity. 17
The Detox approach focuses heavily on the idea of natural remedies to support body functions and organs. Let’s have a look how natural herbs, plants and a healthy diet can help our body and support its natural functions.
How Detox is Beneficial- Listen to your Body
Our health is connected to a delicate balance of essential Vitamins, Minerals and Nutrients. An imbalance might lead to deficiency and diseases. Similarly, toxins and harmful substances, which we are in contact with every day, can lead to disruptions of the natural functioning of our organs and cause a wide range of health issues, including chronic diseases, weakened immune system, hormone imbalances, and several more. Mostly, they can cause build-ups in our body if they are not excreted efficiently. Our body is equipped with powerful detoxification systems, primarily carried out by the liver, kidneys, lungs, and gut. These organs work together to eliminate toxins on a daily basis. However, adopting an unhealthy lifestyle increases the burden and raises the possibility of organ damage and function loss, which can result in health problems and illnesses.
In an effort to restore the natural balance in our bodies, detoxification aids in the removal of these harmful and toxic compounds from our systems. However, it does even more than maintaining the health of your organs by providing a more holistic approach, involving increased awareness and behaviour changes. This heightened awareness includes paying closer attention to one owns habits, including dietary choices and lifestyle factors and can lead to positive behaviour changes, such as adopting healthier eating habits, increasing physical activity, and reducing the consumption of harmful substances.
The body’s susceptibility to hazardous compounds, derived either internally or from the environment, may be impacted by genetic variability and dietary factors, according to studies on the subject.5 Therefore, a focus on diet can be beneficial to support your Detox journey. According to recent research, a whole food diet in particular has a positive impact on detoxification since it improves free radical scavenging and preserved the natural balance.18
Let's concentrate on the internal detoxification process and how it affects our major organs.
A Healthy Gut for a Healthy Life
A gut detox is intended to stimulate the removal of toxins, rebalance the gut microbiota, and advance general digestive health. It involves establishing a clean, nutritious diet that eliminates or reduces processed foods, added sugars, refined grains, and potential allergens. Instead, it places a focus on whole foods, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats as well as healthy fats. This dietary strategy seeks to supply necessary nutrients and promote the development of healthy gut flora.
The best way to maintain a balanced gut microbiota, is the supplement of Probiotics, the good microorganisms, which are found in our gut. Studies showed that they are effective for treating stomach-related problems, including abdominal discomfort, flatulence, constipation and diarrhea. Furthermore, probiotics can reduce “bad” cholesterol levels, regulate blood pressure, enhance fat metabolism, and promote weight loss.19
Dietary fibres, Inulin, β-Glucan (from oats), Guar gum, Pectin, Psyllium, and Fructo- oligosaccharides (FOS), known as prebiotics serve as food for these beneficial bacteria.20 A gut detox plan that incorporates probiotic- and prebiotic-rich foods, such as oats, onions, garlic, bananas, and yoghurt, may help to enhance gut health and encourage a varied microbiome.
Additionally, you can support your gut health with natural remedies, such as Dandelion or Ginger. With its strong anti-inflammatory activity, Dandelion protects the gut from several diseases, including indigestion, reflux disease, gastritis, ulcers, and cancer. Furthermore, it is a valuable source of Nutrients, Minerals and Vitamins.21
Ginger has long been used as a natural solution for a variety of ailments, including nausea, stomach ache, and headaches. With its anticancer, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti- neuroinflammation properties, it can also help to reduce inflammation, improve circulation, and boost the immune system.22
Kidney and Liver
As major filtration organs, our kidneys and liver filter harmful substances from the blood. As already mentioned earlier, it is important to take care of your liver and kidneys to prevent severe diseases later in life.
The liver detoxification system is mainly supported by enzymes and antioxidants, which we build naturally or take up with our diet. These help to reduce reactive oxygen species and free radicals, as well as facilitate the detoxification various substances, including medicines, toxins, and environmental chemicals.18
Additionally, herbal remedies such as Stinging nettle, Cranberries, Milk Thistle and Curcumin can help to improve your kidney and liver health by their manifold beneficial properties and effects on the human body.
The anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, pain-relieving, anti-infectious, blood pressure- lowering, and detoxifying properties of stinging nettle are well known, especially for kidney- related problems.23
Similarly, Cranberries are an excellent treatment for urinary tract infections and chronic kidney disease because they contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties as well as the ability to balance the microbiome.24
Berberine, a component of barberries, has antibacterial, anticancer, and immunomodulatory properties that help to protect the kidney from conditions, such as diabetes-related kidney damage, renal fibrosis, and kidney stones.25
Milk thistle contains silymarin, which possesses anti-cancer, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antifibrotic properties that can improve symptoms from liver injury, acute and chronic viral hepatitis, alcoholic liver disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver.17
Curcumin, a natural compound found in turmeric, has been the subject of scientific research regarding its potential liver-protective effects. Studies have shown promising results in various liver conditions, including acute and chronic liver damage, fibrosis, and cirrhosis. Curcumin exhibits potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which are believed to contribute to its liver-protective effects. Oxidative stress and inflammation are known to play a role in liver damage and disease progression. Furthermore, it has been found to enhance the activity of detoxification enzymes in the liver, including those involved in the metabolism and elimination of toxins. Therefore it can potentially aid in the liver’s natural detoxification processes.26
Finally, also adequate hydration and dietary fiber are important for supporting liver and kidney detoxification. Water helps to flush out toxins through urine, while fiber helps to promote regular bowel movements, preventing the reabsorption of toxins in the intestines. Furthermore, recent animal studies showed that dietary fibers can have a beneficially impact on liver health by decreasing lipid peroxidation and increasing antioxidant enzyme activity.20
In summary, Detox supplements with herbal remedies can help you to enhance your health by supporting the body’s natural detoxification processes of toxins and harmful substances while improving your organs’ health and wellbeing.
Healthcare professionals generally advise consuming healthy food, besides regular exercise, getting enough sleep, and quit smoking and drinking alcohol to prevent diesease.6,27 By actively choosing a healthy lifestyle and avoiding harmful substances, such as cigarettes and alcohol, you can further enhance your health and maintain good organ function.