Detox Scams are Worthless and Potentially Dangerous

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A recent case report in BMJ Case Reports tells the story of a 47 year old healthy woman who decided to do a New Year’s detox and wound up in intensive care:

A 47-year-old woman presented with seizures secondary to euvolaemic hyponatraemia. A collateral history revealed recent increased oral fluid intake and increased use of herbal remedies including valerian root over the New Year period. There was no history of psychiatric disease to support psychogenic polydipsia. She responded to careful sodium replacement in the intensive care unit and was discharged with no neurological sequelae.

It seems about once a year we remind our readers that detox is a scam. The basic idea is that modern life results in the accumulation of “toxins” in your body, and every now and then you should have a tune up by flushing those toxins out. The specific toxins


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