How to Augment and Support Your Natural Detox Capacities

The inscription on the detox board and spinach around. Concept detoxConventional wisdom has decreed that “detox” is a myth. They’re not even sure if toxins even exist, as far as I can tell. On the other side, you’ve got detox gurus prescribing cayenne-maple-lemon tea and glasses full of charcoal water as cures for essentially everything. Where’s the truth lie?

First, detoxification does exist. It’s an established concept, after all, with its very own spot in the dictionary. When we come into contact with toxins—compounds that pose a threat to our healthy homeostasis—we must remove or nullify them. That’s detoxification.

Popular conceptions of how detox works, however, are inaccurate. Both sides are wrong. Both sides are flailing around a false narrative. The conventional side, the skeptics, are attacking a straw-man—that our bodies are passive recipients of toxicity, the damsel tied to the tracks awaiting the oncoming toxin train, and only this special proprietary blend of herbs and spices can sever the bonds. The detox fanatics, meanwhile, overstate their case, with frequent references to “flushing” and “die-off.” They seem to think that detox is about using outside agents to impose order on the body from the top down.

In reality, the body comes equipped with detoxification capabilities. We use the liver, kidneys, and various endogenous antioxidants to remove and/or nullify dangerous compounds that enter the body. And we can improve the functioning of those capacities, either by actively supporting them with necessary precursors or by getting out of their way.

Feel the Heat

Applying heat “just feels good,” they say. Saunas are a placebo, they say. There’s no evidence they actually help you detox anything, they say. It’s an indulgence we’re attempting to justify, they say. And you’re certainly not sweating out any toxins.

But wait…

Exposure to extreme heat increases something called heat shock proteins, or HSPs. HSPs have a range of beneficial hormetic effects on our detoxification capacity. They trigger compensatory adaptations and activate antioxidant defenses in the blood of healthy volunteers. They even increase regeneration of the body’s main detoxifying organ—the liver—after it’s been damaged.

As for that sweating claim, sweat contains contains bioaccumulated toxinsBPA shows up in sweat, for example, even when it doesn’t show up in the blood or urine. Sweat also contains certain phthalate compounds and their metabolites, none of which we want. Sweat also contains arsenic and lead in people exposed to high levels of the metals. Sweating may even improve the function of another important detoxification organ—the kidney—by restoring nitrogen excretion in people with kidney disease. In one study, police officers with chronic illnesses caused by exposure to high levels of meth lab chemicals experienced major improvements after sauna therapy.

Drink Coffee

Coffee is consistently linked to lower rates of type 2 diabetes, which many researchers suggest begins with damage to the liver. More recently, coffee was shown to undo alcohol-related liver damage. And high coffee consumption appears to protect against liver cancer by reducing liver damage. A damaged liver cannot perform its designated functions as well as it should. A damaged liver cannot process, metabolize, and render inert the toxins it’s supposed to be handling.

Moderate coffee consumption also increases serum levels of glutathione, a major player in detoxification.

Make sure you drink it, though. Resist that strange compulsion so many have to shoot it up your colon.

Eat Cruciferous Vegetables

We all know crucifers like broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower are “good for us,” but why? One big reason is that they’re good sources of sulforaphane, a potent activator of a little-known, but extremely important antioxidant called quinone reductase. Quinone reductase protects cells from carcinogenic or toxic insults, and it also helps conduct the activity of glutathione.

Dr. Rhonda Patrick recommends broccoli sprouts, which have up to 100 times the sulforaphane of mature broccoli. A daily broccoli sprout drink was able to quickly and sustainably nullify airborne pollutant-derived oxidative stress in a group of Chinese adults.

Eat Collagen

Glycine, the primary amino acid in collagen, is essential for detoxifying methionine, an amino acid found primarily in muscle meat and eggs. The more meat/eggs you eat, the more collagen you need to replenish.

That means eating collagenous material like cartilage, gristle, and bone broth, or eating dedicated collagen supplements. (I’ve made this a daily priority for myself for quite a while now, and I try to make it easier for others to implement in their diet.)

For Heavy Metals, Try Chelating Agents

EDTA, or ethylenediamine tetra-acetic acid, is a synthetic amino acid with proven efficacy against heavy metal toxicity. Once administered, EDTA literally dissolves heavy metals in the body. EDTA-bound metals are highly water-soluble, so they’re easy to excrete.

It’s extremely similar to how detox gurus talk about magical detox protocols, except it actually works. One recent study that actually sought out to disprove the chelating effects of EDTA ended up getting a massively positive result. There’s even evidence that EDTA chelation can protect against other diseases, like heart disease.

Support Glutathione Production

Glutathione is the master antioxidant. It plays a role in the detoxification of most every toxin that enters your body, from alcohol to BPA to airborne pollutants.

Fortunately, there are many ways to support your glutathione status:

Cytochrome p450 is a class of enzymes that, among other tasks, detoxifies incoming drugs and carcinogens. As with glutathione and the other antioxidants, cytochrome p450 responds to certain dietary components.

Crucifers boost cytochrome p450 activity, while apiaceous vegetables (carrots, parsley, celery) inhibit it. This doesn’t mean that carrots will toxify you. They’re still good to eat. Just don’t eat them in the hope of activating cytochrome p450.

Dietary flavonoids—plant phytochemicals found in foods like chocolate, red wine, tea, berries, and pretty much everything—can also alter cytochrome p450 activity. Some will raise it, some will lower it, but the important thing is that flavonoids in general have a positive effect. Just eat a wide variety of whole foods and you’ll come out ahead.

Support Your Liver

The liver is a chemical processing plant. If something’s being detoxified in your body, the liver is probably involved. There are several things you can do to keep the liver healthy:

Support Your Kidneys

The kidneys excrete many of the toxins you accumulate.

Protein gets a bad rap when it comes to kidney health, but the real culprit appears to be sugar, particularly fructose. Compared to glucose, it has a far more adverse effect on the kidneys. Metabolic syndrome also usually precedes kidney failure.

If you have bad kidney function already, limit protein intake until it’s back on track. But rest assured that even high protein intakes pose no real threat to healthy kidneys.

Support Your Gut

Having good gut health is paramount for detoxification. For one, a leaky gut allows unwanted compounds into circulation to disturb homeostasis. Those are toxins. It may not be the kind of “toxin” most people think of when they hear the word “detox,” but bacterial endotoxin, allergenic proteins, and other irritants that take advantage of a leaky gut wall can do serious damage. To boot, gut bacteria modulate xenobiotic metabolism.

As you can see, there’s nothing magical about detoxification. You’re not introducing some super food that hones in on and eradicates the toxins coursing through your blood. You aren’t physically flushing them out from your colon. There’s no brute force involved. You’re simply supporting and, in some cases, augmenting the natural detoxification pathways human bodies have been using for hundreds of thousands of years.

This also means that detoxification is an ongoing process. It’s not a one-and-done deal. You don’t “do a cleanse” every fortnight and forget about it until the next. You have to maintain and be consistent.

What say you, readers? What do you think of my take on “detox”? As always, I’m sure I’ll have pissed off people from both sides of the argument. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s how good conversation gets started.

More importantly, what are you taking from this post? What will you change—or make sure to maintain—about your lifestyle?

If I missed anything, please let me know. What are some other legitimate ways to augment one’s detoxification ability?

Thanks for reading, everyone. Take care.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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67 thoughts on “How to Augment and Support Your Natural Detox Capacities”

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  1. I guess i will start to take collagen, specially because i eat lots of eggs and lean meats. Also, I would add intermittent fasting once in a while to that list, specially longer fasts.

  2. Ethylenediamine tetra-acetic acid? What the grok is that? And how do I get it?

    1. If found it readily available on Amazon (search for EDTA), but I’d like more info as related to doses. Also if anyone has tried it and their results.

      1. A relative with diabetic retinopathy had IV EDTA chelation therapy for years to keep his eyesight from deteriorating and to counteract other metabolic effects.

        Many years ago, plasma purchase centers replenished IV fluids with an EDTA solution.

        I’d be interested in doses for oral Tx.

        1. For all things heavy metals and detox, check out Dr. Chris Shade PhD, Quicksilver Scientific.

    2. Sounded wonderful until I noticed the modifier, “synthetic” right before “amino acid….”

      1. Hahaha hahaahahhaha! Yeah? That just means it isn’t a natural amino acid…just one made differently and will have a different effect. There are other amino acids that chelate but not as much/strong…

  3. What is it about coffee, exactly, and can you get the same effect from other foods? Coffee is out for me because I am so highly sensitive to caffeine.

    1. I stopped drinking coffee years ago because it was causing so many problems. The human body is perfectly capable of detoxing itself and, in most cases, it does a darn good job of it. If it didn’t, we’d all be dead. I doubt that anyone really needs to be employing cockamamie recipes or the many commercial products supposedly designed to assist the process. A healthy diet rich in a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables is all that’s necessary to support the body’s natural cleansing abilities.

      1. As someone with a family full of people who have varying severities of MTHFR polymorphisms (ie gene mutations), I wish that “the human body is perfectly capable of detoxing itself” was actually the case.

        The MTHFR gene is one of the ones that impacts the methylation cycle – AKA the body’s detoxification pathways. Depending on the number and location of the polymorphism(S) on the gene, it can cause depression, anxiety, CFS, fibromyalgia, multiple miscarriages, DVT, and more.

        Something like 60% of the population have MTHFR mutations. It’s not exactly rare. And the only treatments for it are personalised dietary, supplemental, and lifestyle changes that are designed to support/cover the gaps in the body’s methylation cycle caused by the polymorphism.

    2. Probably the polyphenols. Coffee is probably the single largest source of them in the western diet. Any darkly-colored berry and also chocolate and some teas/herbal teas will also have a lot. Of course, chocolate and tea also contain some stimulants.

      1. Yep, and there are “toxic” effects of some compounds in coffee (i.e. furans) that may stimulate the body too, we don’t know a lot…just like low levels of radiation can stimulate a health response (we do know that)…we actually know very little about most everything…sad but true, there are thousands of compounds in coffee, we know about 30ish? 🙁

        (Trimethylxanthine -is caffeine- in coffee, tea, guarana, etc, the weaker Dimethylxanthine or Theobromine is the stimulant in chocolate, thought of as a weaker form of caffeine, but in fact is a different chemical form of methylxanthine — and not actually a caffeine except under very broad terms of “all methyxanthines are caffeine”, but they all do affect the body/brain in similar ways– “same but different” LOL).

        Oh, and Cacau had the highest polyphenol levels by far of all foods I saw on the USDA analysis list…a lot higher, including higher than red wine, berries, apples, etc. by far.

        Yay! Go Chocolate!! 🙂

    3. How about decaf?

      I drink 8-12 cups a day of strong coffee. Most folks don’t know it, but it is a major source of soluble fiber and potassium, too.

      1. Even decaf, green tea, and dark chocolate are too much for me. It’s extreme. But my sleep is so much better without it!

  4. “Make sure you drink it, though. Resist that strange compulsion so many have to shoot it up your colon”

    Well, there goes my weekend…

  5. How would you know if you have heavy metals that you should be trying to detox with EDTA? Just curious… is it something that everyone probably has, or something that only those with likely exposure should worry about?

    1. My doctor did a hair sample test to determine if I had any issues with heavy metals. I didn’t, so it totally depends on each persons situation I guess.

    2. I live in Alaska in an area that has extremely high levels of arsenic in my well water. It was not until the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale found the culprit though, that I knew.. That Center specializes in neurological problems and I already have polio from childhood so we just could not figure out what was going on, as I slowly deteriorated. Post Polio Syndrome is real and mine was triggered by arsenic. I went thru chelation to get rid of the heavy metal fast and now I follow a hybrid lifestyle of Marks Way and The Wahls Protocol and I am chugging right along. I will definitely have to add collagen to my diet to offset my diet. Thanks Mark!
      Hair Analysis works as does a specific blood test for heavy metals, but for insurance to pay for it, it has to be framed in such a way that it is for exploratory diagnosis

  6. Collagen is the super-food of the Paleo community, but it really messes me up. Bloating and constipation, acne on my neck and hairline, and, the last straw, extended bleeding during my period (from my norm of 7 days to 10-14 days). I tried a couple tablespoons in my coffee for 6 months and the side effects never abated. I cut it out in December and have been fine ever since. Is there any evidence to back up my experience? Bone broth seems to cause the same bloating issue, but I haven’t noticed the others, probably because I don’t have broth every day.

    1. A histamine reaction, perhaps? Collagen and bone broth are both high in histamines.

  7. I’d suggest adding a skin scrubbing routine to the list. Many cultures do it, from the Vikings to the Orient. I found it helped a lot this past decade while I detoxed 911 out of my system. Easy: use a rough wash cloth, a luffa,or a nylon scrubbie with an oil based soap. Scrub everywhere then rinse off. It takes away the dead skin that holds onto toxic sweat & leaves the smooth under layers to regenerate faster. I used to do it daily when I was really sick from the poisons, but now just weekly or more since I’m better. Moderation is a good thing.

  8. Doesn’t you own body create “toxins” from normal processes that also need to be removed? This article seems to stress only those external toxins. So even if you lived in a pure toxin free Eden, if there were such a place, you would still need you body’s detox systems to be working well.

  9. Great info! I see so many people make themselves crazy on these short term detoxes then go right back to eating crap (so they can detox again). I blended collagen into my coffee this am and just ate some broccoli roasted in avocado oil (Primal Kitchen, of course!) I eat liver from time to time and even take liver capsules when I feel the need for more organ meats in my life. Worked up a great sweat this am during my session climbing the stairs. After reading this I feel like I am on the right track!

  10. I wonder, do the coffee related benefits apply to decaffeinated coffee also?

    1. And piggybacking on that, I recently had a functional medicine practitioner remind me in passing that decaf coffee is bad for the body because of what is done to the coffee bean during the decaffeinating process. But we didn’t talk about what was so bad about the process and for the body, because it was in passing. Is decaf really verboten? I hope not.

  11. Thanks for another really helpful article. I’ll buy your collagen supplement as soon as it’s organic. As I’m sure you know, grass-fed is good, but it doesn’t mean organic.

    1. Just remember; “organic” doesn’t mean “grass fed” either….

      1. Agreed. But given the choice between grass-fed and organic, I’ll choose organic every day of the week. I prefer when things are both, but if I can only have one, organic is my choice. God only knows what these ranchers spray on their grass, or from what kinds of seeds (GMO seems like a strong possibility) it’s grown.

        1. Sure, but you have to wonder what “organic” even means anymore…Of course, I’d like to think that, at the very least, with “organic,” we are minimizing our exposure to deleterious elements. But along those lines, the label “organic” seems to be more of a line to be blurred more so than it is a veritable commitment by the purveyor. Somehow, “grass fed” seems more sincere to me than “organic” at this point. I could be in error, but I feel that butter like Kerrygold, for instance, because it’s grass fed, will be relatively free from such worrisome factors because the farmer/producer inherently understands about the importance of an animal’s natural environment. Grass fed and finished means “pastured” or “free range” essentially, so why would there be a need for pesticides and herbicides to placed upon the grass?…. Furthermore, “organic” milk, for instance, means organic feed but it doesn’t mean, “the cow’s natural diet items.” Corn, soy or other grains, while they may indeed be “organic” in nature, are NOT part of a cow’s natural diet. However, grass certainly is. The implications for the efficacy and nutrition of the various products that they produce are obvious.

  12. There’s good evidence that sweating or using the sauna, is excellent for those with Hashimoto/hypothyroid, due to sluggish liver on one hand and far from optimal natural sweating on the other hand. On the same subject, I have been drinking coffee (espresso and Turkish) for ~50 years; and in fact, I used to drink it late at night without it effecting my sleep. But as of late, even a short espresso (Italian not Starbucks nonsense as I recall from from my past) makes me jumpy, so sadly, I will have to stay clear off or drink it sparingly, which mean that I have to find an alternative for my rocket fuel morning late 🙁 By the way, NAC gives me a rash around the neck; anyone else experiencing something similar?

    To Kelly above: Which brand did you get? Perhaps you are acting to histamines; some can’t eat aged beef, canned sardines or fermented vegetables for the same reason. I’m overseas so I can’t order via Primal Kitchen, but Great lakes brand works well for me.

  13. I had an interesting detox experience about a year ago. I suffer from polymyalgia, a kind of chronic fatigue that leads to muscle cramps/pain and exhaustion.It is supposed to be incurable. All the doctors offer is steroids. So I tried the L Ron Hubbard protocol as recommended by Ben Greenfield. This is not for the fainthearted. 4 hours a day in the sauna for a month, whilst taking large doses of niacin and buckets of supplements. But wow! At the end of the treatment, I was completely symptom free.
    Sadly, the symptoms began to come back after about 6 weeks. Long story short, there was an underlying problem that the detox didn’t cure. But it did relieve the pressure on my liver by detoxing through the lymph system. Now I am treating the underlying illness while still using a toned down version of the protocol. I am tons better.
    Detoxing the right way definitely works, but look out for WHY you are ill in the first place and look to heal rather than just clean.

    1. seriously consider just adding several different formulas of magnesium to your daily diet spread out over 24 hours. I use 4 different formulas . Magnesium is the 4th most abundant mineral in the human body and most people are deficient in it at times and some of us with neurological and muscle issues are always deficient in it.. I was able to remove 2 RX’s once I started this protocol and its been 3 solid years. When I slack on the magnesium all of my symptoms return along with the strange pain that pain killers don’t touch- that twitching tight muscle pain. Try some!

  14. I’m curious as to your reasons for being against coffee enemas. I’ve read up on them, and some people swear by them for gentle detoxification, but I’d love to hear your side.

    1. Leah, enemas are useless except for those cashing in on the service. Furthermore, enemas are based on the notion that they wash the Colon from encrusted food particles that get attached to its wall. It’s valid no more than the idea that if you eat meat, it will rotten in your belly. There are two types of toxins: environmental and ingested. Environmental toxins accumulate in various fat cells and one gets rid of them when sweating and/or loosing fat mass, or, when doing aerobic exercise at optimal heart rate (MAF method), which draws on stored fat cells for energy; and of course when adopting high fat diet (eating healthy fats). Getting rid of ingested toxins on the other hand, is possible when one cleans up his/her diet and stops eating certain foods and proteins (wheat, sugar or seed oils for example). And let’s not forget the almighty liver which is responsible for clearing the body from what he deem unnecessary and harmful.

      P.S Mark, site acting up as I keep getting “comment awaiting moderation” no matter how long I wait. last attempt via smartphone before I give up. Unfortunate, since I believe I had something of value to contribute

    2. So if finally worked…. sorry for the trio response 🙂

  15. I’ve heard of, agree with, and use many of the things mentioned. Many of your words or phrases meant nothing to me, even though I’m a retired nurse. Maybe you could do a similar, but simplified version.

  16. I’ve suggested to friends to eat the foods that are less processed. In another words, real food.
    Lean towards Paleo/Primal.
    Supplements should be just that. A supplement.
    Always read this news letter.
    Can’t go wrong.
    Thanks Mark

  17. There are a lot more than “two” sides to a subject like this.

  18. When I fast and or ingest more fructose than I would like, I take konjac root powder supplements. It is a long chain polysaccharide with no caloric value. It essentially is a fiber bulking agent that gut bugs like and help carry out toxic waste efficiently.

  19. I’ve done the whole “castor oil” purge thing where you oleate for several days then drink castor oil and eliminate all night. The first time felt exhilarating, the second time not so dramatic, the third time–I was just plain tired. I’ve also done the lemon/maple syrup thing–made me break out in canker sores (I cannot take that much acid). In other words, no cofee enemas, no more weird concoctions. Some healthy food, especially fruits and vegetables that act as “nature’s broom”, starting the day with hot lemon water (or just hot water), and a few cups of coffee (down the gullet not up the poopshoot). Works for me.

  20. I only knew about muscle meat, I didn’t know about the eggs! Also, I’d like to know if gelatine works or if collagen would be better. Thanks!

  21. There are quite a few natural detox drinks and smoothies which can be made by vegetables and fruits, that can also help to increase detoxification ability.


  22. I definitely think that fasting should be on the list. You are not ingesting anything but water, giving your body time to deal with its internal stuff rather than having to process food and whatever that comes with it.
    No food = nothing coming in that needs to be detoxified = more time to repair and expel what’s broken inside.
    I do “dinner-to-dinner” fasts ( 24 hours ) every other day and have been for a couple of months.
    The results are amazing. my workouts have improved, I shifted 6kg in my body composition ( lost 3kg of fat, gained 3 kg of muscle – confirmed by DEXA scan – a bathroom scale would have told me that my weight is the same )
    Not to mention how much I enjoy my food when I break the fast.

  23. Well, OTB admits to having a knowledge re-alignment. Always scoffing at the woo woo detox beliefs. Which, I guess still has some validity, but here comes Mark with his (as always) spot on clarification of what detox really is. No magic herbs, fasts, or periodic cleanses, just right diet. I’m good with that.

    As an acknowledged heavy drinker here and to my doctors, I want to amplify on the matter of saturated fats and liver health. I’ve researched this a lot, especially peer reviewed experiments. Over and over, they find that it’s PUFA’s in combination with alcohol this destroy the liver. And that SatFats not only prevent, but can reverse the damage of PUFA’s. My lipid ratios run about 4:2:1, Sat, MUFA, PUFA and my liver enzyme tests are always at the “Excellent” level.

  24. Grok and wild animals has always used CLAY in different forms for cleaning,
    purification, detoxing, both internal and external. That’s what I stick to.

    1. I have used Betonite Clay in the past. What dosage and frequency do you use? Only issue was that it made me extremely constipated. I may try it again during a 24 hour fast.

  25. Mark, as usual, I find you mainly on the button with your posts about metabolic related subjects. I realize that your entire endeavor is predicated upon the research that it requires in order to be so informed and to be able to pass it along but I still find it commendable that you can be so broad while remaining accurate in your advice. I say, “mainly” because, pertaining to this article anyhow, I might object to your dismissal of “die off.” I get what you are saying about the over wrought citations of “magic bullets” or “flushing” rituals but the “die off” thing is something that I’ve experienced first hand. Call it a prototypical N=1 circumstance. I have noticed, almost without fail though to differing degrees, that when I confront my suspected Candida over growth with food ingredients such as, garlic, turmeric, oregano, cumin/coriander, cayenne, ACV, citrus water, etc., or a combination thereof, I will “suffer” some sort of herxheimer reaction..and also without fail, will feel wonderful by the next day. Now, without these exogenous compounds, my default detox system isn’t able to take the necessary steps in order to exorcise them from my body. The “die-off” is exactly that; the death of pathogens which in turn, can begin the expunging of their cellular matter and resultant endotoxins.

    “Die-off” is a very real event. Maybe “flushing” is indeed overwrought but it stands to reason that there would be a optimal level of water that might be required for proper eradication of toxins. It certainly doesn’t hurt to have proper hydration. But “flushing’ also plays a major role in the mitigation of the herxheimer “hang over,” much like it would with a conventional hang over.

    1. agreed. Dislodged toxins CAN cause issues before they are excreted!

  26. I find it humorous that people think the paleo/primal diet is real. Aside from that very few people need to “detox.” This is a myth created by people wanting to sell their book or products. There are many reason why you are having constipation, acne, low energy etc. Having body that is full toxic chemicals is usually not one of them.
    I have first hand experience with this as I was diagnosed with eczema at an early age. I had skin eruptions on and off throughout my life. For many years the eczema went away as I changed my diet. I did not know which foods caused the eczema.
    Around age forty I started to experience a racing heart with pain in my chest. I deduced that the culprit was wheat. I asked a cardiologist about wheat causing my symptoms and he agreed. When I stopped eating wheat all of the symptoms went away.
    Fast forward another 10 years. I had a rash on my face, underarms and around my anus. I did not really understand what was happening until I gave up dairy. Slowly all of the rashes on my body faded. I had tried digestive enzymes, milk thistle, and other colon cleanses. None of it worked because the problem was from food allergies not toxins.
    Most of what you experience is NOT from toxins rather it is from an misdiagnosed food allergy. Finding your hidden food allergies is much better than trying so called cleanses.
    One more thing I would like to comment on. You do not need collagen to promote L- glutathione. The amino acid N-acetyl-cysteine is a direct precursor to glutathione.

    1. I can appreciate your obvious strides to think independently and thus, critically, but how is that you seriously contend the idea that the Paleo/Primal “diet” is “real.” What exactly is not real about the juxtapositioning of macro-nutrients and the omission of grains and uber processed vegetable oils from one’s diet?

  27. As someone who is currently undergoing chelation for heavy metal poisoning this post was really comforting to read – the idea of coffee as liver support was a totally new (and exciting) idea for me. I underwent a 24 hour chelation test with a high dose of DMSA tablets (you collect your urine over 24 hours and a sample is then tested for heavy metals) and it came back with the highest level of nickel my doctor had ever seen as well as high levels of mercury and lower levels of barium and thallium toxicity. I also have a MTHFR mutation as someone else mentioned above, but it’s worth mentioning that there are a few variations of mutation and they’re not all created equal. B vitamins and COQ10 ubiquinol can help manage these and your B’s should be monitored through blood tests. I wouldn’t recommend chelation just for the hell of it, and if you are having it then I would suggest being monitored by a doctor as regular blood tests are required to ensure your liver and kidneys are coping with it. A considered approach is so important as the pills need to be taken at very specific times and a cocktail of other supplements taken which will help support your body and replenish anything good that the chelation process depletes. For me this includes the vitamins for my MTHFR mutation, liposomal vit c (potentially as effective as vit c when given through iv), l-carnitine (not acetyl-l-carnitine), magnesium glycinate plus zinc picolinate and selenium with vit E which are both powerful natural chelators, selenium especially. After 6 weeks I’ll add alpha lipoic acid, another chelating agent which crosses the blood brain barrier. My herbalist also provided me with a mix of rosemary oil (which aids stage 2 detoxification) with a bunch a other gut aids like marshmallow and licorice. Diet is obviously important during process and unsurprisingly it’s paleo that is indirectly recommended plus inclusion of raw garlic, corriander (another powerful chelator), turmeric and a mostly cooked food diet is encouraged. Fasting is NOT an option during chelation. My own advice if you’re undergoing chelation is to make sure you’re not sleeping with the enemy – any potential sources of heavy metal need to be avoided (nickel is in the air so good luck with that haha), and to make sure you go to the toilet as often as possible to keep flushing everything out! (Dandelion tea – another great liver supporter – with pure coconut cream never fails to help me in this department.) Sorry for the novel guys but hopefully this helps someone as so many of the posts here have helped me 🙂

  28. Green tea is a a big one for me. There’s a lot of research surrounding green tea consumption and detoxification. All of the other sources mentioned are also clearly valuable. I do think that we often ignore our other “systems”. Everyone talks about gut health today but as Mark points out, our liver and kidneys do play a vital role. Often times individuals will get blood work done and while a particular hormone may show as “low”, when you look at their kidney function you can see that maybe can’t process the hormone fast enough or process it too fast. Good read.

  29. I had been a coffee lover just recently after my doctor introduced it to me saying it does have detoxification properties. I am also taking a fitness coffee brew from that helps me lose weight. Well I guess coffee and me have something going on right now.

  30. My only question is about collagen. I eat a nutritional ketogenic diet. I use the chronometer to help me track. I am only allotted about 35 grams of protein (which is a bit of a bummer, but that’s just the way it is). Collagen has quite a bit of protein in it. It would, therefore, take away from what I’m allowed to eat and chew and savor and enjoy…. (Can you tell I love my protein?) How much collagen should I then add? Should I add a serving of collagen in addition to my allotted protein? Great article, by the way.

  31. Mark, I encourage you to write an unbiased review on coffee enemas! I was surprised to see your comment that seemed to discredit them.

    Just like the topic of detoxification, there is misinformation and overstatements on both sides. I would love to hear your thoughts upon further investigation.

  32. I REALLY like Mark’s Daily Apple – very informative and useful