5 Supplements That Help You Detox

From Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS.

Symptoms like constipation, bloating, gas, headaches, skin problems, cravings for unhealthy foods, bad breath, and mood swings are annoying to say the least. But aside from making us feel less than your best, these common occurrences may also be a sign that your body is experiencing toxic overload and in desperate need of a detox.

“Detox” is a buzz word that’s been on the lips of every health and wellness guru for years now—and for good reason. When you regularly rid the body of the junk and pollutants that you encounter from the environment, processed foods, stress, etc., every single part of your body can function more optimally, from your digestion, to your immune system, to your cognition.

A few of the easiest things to encourage natural detoxification on a daily basis include eating a nutrient-dense whole foods diet, getting outside in the sunshine and fresh air, and getting plenty of regular exercise. But sometimes, our bodies need some extra detoxification help. The following supplements will help your body detox naturally, without the harmful side effects of artificial cleanses.

Milk Thistle

When it comes to detoxifying supplements, milk thistle is by far one of the best for detoxifying the body, especially our main detoxifying organ: the liver. Milk thistle is a natural herb that comes in supplement form and has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Milk thistle works by strengthening the liver’s cell walls, protecting the liver from invading toxins, supporting liver regeneration, and boosting the formation of an important antioxidant known as glutathione. Milk thistle has even been shown to decrease or reverse damage to the liver resulting from antibiotics, prescription medications, heavy metals, alcohol consumption, and pollution. The seeds and leaves of the milk thistle plant can be consumed as a dietary supplement in pill, powder, tincture, extract, or tea form.

The recommended daily intake of milk thistle is 150 milligrams 1–3x daily. This is a somewhat high dose that can act as a natural liver “detox.” For ongoing use and liver support, take 50 to 150 milligrams daily.

Magnesium

Bowel movements are one of the body’s most effective ways to detox on a daily basis, but a toxic overload can disrupt this process, causing constipation and slowing down the body’s removal of toxins.

Magnesium counteracts this by helping to relax the muscles within the digestive tract—including the intestinal wall, which controls your ability to go to the bathroom. Magnesium also helps to neutralize stomach acid and move stool through the intestines. As a result, taking magnesium supplements is a natural way to encourage one of our most crucial detoxification processes.

Supplementing with 250 milligrams of magnesium 2–4x daily typically improves constipation and supports natural detoxification. Just remember that a magnesium supplement is best added to the diet slowly and you should cut back if it causes diarrhea.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a natural product rich in silica that is made up of fossilized remains of tiny, aquatic organisms called diatoms. It sounds weird, but diatomaceous earth (DE) comes in a food grade form that can be taken as a supplement. And not only is DE an incredible natural detoxifying agent, but it’s also known for having liver-cleansing, antiviral, and antiparasitic effects.

Possible benefits of using DE internally include cleansing the digestive tract, reducing gas and odors, and absorbing harmful toxins within the blood. Diatomaceous earth’s natural silica content also makes it excellent at removing heavy metals from the body.

To safely detox, take about one teaspoon of food grade diatomaceous earth with water once a day for 10 days on and 10 days off, for a total of 90 days. DE is best taken on an empty at least one hour before or two hours after eating. To improve the effects of DE, drink a cup of water after each dose and, in general, make sure to stay well hydrated while taking DE.

Garcinia Cambogia

Garcinia cambogia is a small, pumpkin-shaped fruit native to India and Southeast Asia that is now available in supplement form and has recently been making news for its ability to assist in weight loss, thanks to an ingredient it contains called hydroxycitric acid (HCA).

So how can this fruit possibly help your detox efforts? Research has demonstrated that garcinia cambogia can help to reduce cravings—especially for unhealthy sugar-rich foods—by increasing serotonin (often referred to as a “happiness chemical”) in the body. When you’re trying to detox your body, the last thing you want is to be craving the sugary, processed, chemical-laden foods that likely contributed to your toxicity in the first place. Plus, like magnesium, garcinia cambogia can help to improve bowel function.

Studies monitoring the effects of garcinia cambogia have used a range of doses from 1,000 gram to 2,800 milligrams daily. Typical doses are usually between 250–1,000 milligrams per day for no longer than 12 weeks.

Schisandra

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been employing the benefits of the medicinal schisandra berry for thousands of years, and one of the top benefits of supplementing with schisandra is a boost to liver function, which is great news for anyone looking to detox.

Schisandra is loaded with antioxidants that help to boost detoxification and cleansing functions, protect cells from free radical damage, and ward off diseases. A great deal of research on schisandra has focused on liver function, especially its positive effect on the production of various liver detoxifying enzymes.

You can take schisandra in several different forms including pill, capsule, dried fruit extract in water, or as a tea. To support detox efforts, take 1–3 grams daily with meals.

Want more from Dr. Axe? Learn to break your weight loss plateau and which foods encourage muscle growth.

The New Potato and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease or ailment. All content on The New Potato (even when supplied by a medical professional) is intended for educational and conversational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or healthcare provider before beginning any new diet, exercise regime, or wellness routine.