The Terrible Truth About Detox Diets

Your body is loaded with toxic chemicals — and you don’t even know it.

There’s a growing spectrum of environmental toxins you can’t help but absorb. They pollute your cells, disrupt your hormones, and damage your liver.

With the onslaught of chemicals you are faced with every day, removing processed foods and giving your body “a break” does some good.


Put this detox ally at the top of your medicine cabinet. LivAmend is full of liver-friendly herbs that support liver decongestion, bile flow, and much more.


The reality is that a few dietary changes — even when consistent over several months — only target the chemicals you consume.

A healthy gut can support your body’s detoxification process. Learn more at our online Healthy Gut Summit.

What about your tap water? That black non-stick stuff that lines your cookware? Your makeup and sunscreen? Your water-resistant parka? These also contain known toxins that your body absorbs.

Unfortunately, you live in an increasingly toxic environment. Detox diets only scrape the surface.

The liver is the number one organ that lessens your toxic burden — by converting harmful compounds that can be eliminated through the large intestine and urinary system. The liver also is equipped to naturally buffer free radical stress.

Want Your Detox Diet to Work? Support Your Liver 

In 2010, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) published a report on the estimated toxic load of the average U.S. resident.1 They found 212 environmental chemicals and their metabolites (what the chemicals break down into).

Of these 212 compounds, 75 were new additions to the previous report published in 2005.2 These include:

  • Plastics
  • Pesticides
  • Heavy metals
  • Air pollution and secondhand smoke
  • Flame retardants
  • Cosmetics, including sun block and hand sanitizer

If your head isn’t spinning yet — add antibiotics to the list.

Recent research shows that veterinary and human antibiotics are environmental contaminants that add to the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.3 

Lucky for you, your liver and kidneys naturally detoxify the massive chemical burden you ingest through the food you eat, the water you drink, and the air you breathe.

Up to a point.

You see, there’s a growing spectrum of environmental toxins you can’t help but absorb. They pollute your cells, disrupt your hormones, and damage your liver.4 In addition to these chemicals, your liver and kidneys have the job of detoxifying the cellular waste you make on a regular basis.

Besides doing your best to avoid exposure to toxins, we suggest supplementing with herbs that enhance your liver’s ability to cleanse and protect your body. You can even add other herbs — like burdock root, garlic, turmeric, and dandelion root — to your daily meals.

What is The Body Ecology Diet all about? Check out our handy blueprint.

8 Master Herbs That Detoxify and Cleanse

Body Ecology has carefully designed a fermented herbal detox formula that magnifies your liver’s ability to neutralize toxins. Each herb has been fermented, a process that predigests herbs for you and, in many cases, dramatically boosts levels of antioxidants. Fermentation also strengthens each herb’s ability to pull pollutant heavy metals from the body.5,6

In the Fermented Herbal Blend, you will find:

  1. Artichoke Leaf: Artichoke leaf improves digestion and lowers blood sugar.7 Animal studies show that it also protects the liver and the kidneys from lead toxicity.8 Researchers suggest that this may have to do with the antioxidant compounds in artichoke leaf. Other studies show that artichoke leaf can safeguard against the development of fatty liver disease and inflammation in the liver.9
  1. Burdock Root: Burdock root protects the liver, scavenges free radicals, and stops inflammation.10 It also contains plant compounds that fight cancer.11,12 Research reveals that burdock root protects the liver against heavy metal damage — specifically cadmium.13 Cadmium is a heavy metal that can be difficult to eliminate and is an increasingly common environmental pollutant.
  1. Garlic Bulb: Garlic is many things. One of its virtues involves protecting the liver against heavy metal damage — and helping the liver get rid of cadmium, mercury, and lead.

Are you eating delicious and nutritious foods that support your liver with antioxidants? You can find our favorite Body Ecology Recipes here.

  1. Milk Thistle Seed: Milk thistle is a medicinal plant that has been used for over 2000 years.14 It is also the most researched plant for liver disease. Milk thistle seeds contain the highest levels of silymarin — a family of compounds that supports the liver.15 Research shows that silymarin promotes liver cell regeneration, reduces blood cholesterol, and helps stop the progression of cancer.16
  1. Turmeric Root: Turmeric contains curcuminoids, which give it its yellow color. Curcumin scavenges free radicals and regulates the immune system — bumping up or down-regulating the immune cells as needed.17 It’s also an anti-inflammatory.18 While curcumin is known to protect the liver, recent research suggests that it also protects the liver against the noxious effects of nicotine.19,20
  1. Desmodium Leaf: Desmodium leaf has been used as a traditional medicine in India, Africa, and Brazil.21 It is a strong antioxidant that reduces inflammation.22 Desmodium also protects against liver damage.23 Note: Desmodium contains anti-fertility compounds that stop implantation. Do not take desmodium or any other cleansing herb if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.24
  1. Holy Basil Leaf: Holy basil leaf is an adaptogenic herb that helps regulate the body’s response to stress. It strengthens the liver.25 Animal studies show that holy basil safeguards against liver damage associated with paracetamol, otherwise known as Tylenol.26 Other research indicates that holy basil may protect the body against mercury toxicity.27
  1. Dandelion Root: Like other detox herbs, dandelion supports a healthy liver while controlling blood sugar, easing inflammation, and reducing the risk of tumors.28 Dandelion even fortifies the liver against alcohol toxicity by boosting levels of antioxidants.29 Other research shows that dandelion can help heal liver fibrosis — encouraging liver cells to regenerate.30

What To Remember Most About This Article:

Detox diets are enticing, but do they really work? You may be exposed to plastics, pesticides, heavy metals, and environmental contaminants like antibiotics by merely existing on a daily basis.

Your liver and kidneys are designed to naturally cleanse this massive chemical burden from food, water, and air — but they need some help.

Cleansing diets only scrape the surface. Body Ecology’s fermented herbal detox formula is predigested to neutralize toxins with powerful antioxidants. These fermented herbs can more effectively pull pollutants and heavy metals from the body:

  1. Artichoke Leaf: Improves digestion, lowers blood sugar, and protects the liver and kidneys from lead toxicity.
  2. Burdock Root: Protects the liver, neutralizes free radicals, and calms inflammation.
  3. Garlic Bulb: Shields the liver against heavy metal damage.
  4. Milk Thistle Seed: Rich in silymarin to promote liver cell regeneration, reduce cholesterol, and halt cancer growth.
  5. Turmeric Root: Fights free radicals and regulates the immune system with anti-inflammatory properties.
  6. Desmodium Leaf: Powerful anti-inflammatory antioxidant to protect against liver damage; not advised for pregnant women or women trying to conceive.
  7. Holy Basil Leaf: Regulates body’s stress response and strengthens the liver.
  8. Dandelion Root: Ensures healthy liver function by managing blood sugar, curbing inflammation, and reducing tumor risk.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), & Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2009). Fourth national report on human exposure to environmental chemicals. Atlanta (GA).
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2005). Third national report on human exposure to environmental chemicals: Executive summary. In Third national report on human exposure to environmental chemicals: executive summary. NCEH.
  3. Wang, H., Wang, B., Zhao, Q., Zhao, Y., Fu, C., Feng, X., … & Jiang, Q. (2015). Antibiotic body burden of Chinese school children: a multisite biomonitoring-based study. Environmental science & technology.
  4. Crinnion, W. J. (2010). The CDC fourth national report on human exposure to environmental chemicals: what it tells us about our toxic burden and how it assist environmental medicine physicians. Alternative medicine review: a journal of clinical therapeutic, 15(2), 101-109.
  5. Liang, C., & Cho, C. W. (2014). Article: Screening of Bioconversion Components from Gumiganghwal-tang on Fermentation by Lactobacillus Strains. Natural Product Sciences, 20(2), 102-106.
  6. Bose, S., Song, M. Y., Nam, J. K., Lee, M. J., & Kim, H. (2012). In vitro and in vivo protective effects of fermented preparations of dietary herbs against lipopolysaccharide insult. Food chemistry, 134(2), 758-765.
  7. Fallah Huseini, H., Zaree Mahmoudabady, A., Naghdi Badi, H., Alavian, S. M., Mohammadi Savadroodbari, R., & Mehdizadeh, M. The Protective Effect of Medicinal Herbs Extracts Including Cynara scolymus L., Cichorium intybus L. Taraxacum officinal L. and Berberis vulgaris L. in Single and in Combination Form in CCl4 Induced Rat Liver Toxicity.
  8. Ghanem, K. Z., Ramadan, M. M., Farrag, A. R. H., Ghanem, H. Z., & Farouk, A. (2009). Egyptian artichoke volatile compounds protect against lead-induced hepatic and renal toxicity in male rats. Polish Journal of Food and Nutrition Sciences, 59(2).
  9. Mohamed, S. H., Ahmed, H. H., Farrag, A. R. H., Abdel-Azim, N. S., & Shahat, A. A. (2013). Cynara Scolymus For Relieving On NonAlcoholic Steatohepatits Induced In Rats. Int J Pharm Pharm Sci, 5: 57-66.
  10. Predes, F. S., Ruiz, A. L., Carvalho, J. E., Foglio, M. A., & Dolder, H. (2011). Antioxidative and in vitro antiproliferative activity of Arctium lappa root extracts. BMC complementary and alternative medicine, 11(1), 25.
  11. Matsumoto, T., Hosono-Nishiyama, K., & Yamada, H. (2006). Antiproliferative and apoptotic effects of butyrolactone lignans from Arctium lappa on leukemic cells. Planta medica, 72(3), 276-278.
  12. Wang, P., Phan, T., Gordon, D., Chung, S., Henning, S. M., & Vadgama, J. V. (2014). Arctigenin in combination with quercetin synergistically enhances the antiproliferative effect in prostate cancer cells. Molecular nutrition & food research.
  13. de Souza Predes, F., da Silva Diamante, M. A., Foglio, M. A., Camargo, C. A., Aoyama, H., Miranda, S. C., … & Dolder, H. (2014). Hepatoprotective Effect of Arctium lappa Root Extract on Cadmium Toxicity in Adult Wistar Rats. Biological trace element research, 160(2), 250-257.
  14. Křen, V., & Walterova, D. (2005). Silybin and silymarin-new effects and applications. Biomedical papers, 149(1), 29-41.
  15. Freedman, N. D., Curto, T. M., Morishima, C., Seeff, L. B., Goodman, Z. D., Wright, E. C., … & Everhart, J. E. (2011). Silymarin use and liver disease progression in the Hepatitis C Antiviral Long‐Term Treatment against Cirrhosis trial. Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics, 33(1), 127-137.
  16. Vaknin, Y., Hadas, R., Schafferman, D., Murkhovsky, L., & Bashan, N. (2008). The potential of milk thistle (Silybum marianum L.), an Israeli native, as a source of edible sprouts rich in antioxidants. International journal of food sciences and nutrition, 59(4), 339-346.
  17. Sengupta, M., Sharma, G. D., & Chakraborty, B. (2011). Hepatoprotective and immunomodulatory properties of aqueous extract of Curcuma longa in carbon tetra chloride intoxicated Swiss albino mice. Asian Pacific journal of tropical biomedicine, 1(3), 193-199.
  18. Ramadan, G., Al-Kahtani, M. A., & El-Sayed, W. M. (2011). Anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties of Curcuma longa (Turmeric) versus Zingiber officinale (Ginger) rhizomes in rat adjuvant-induced arthritis. Inflammation, 34(4), 291-301.
  19. Deshpande, U. R., Gadre, S. G., Raste, A. S., Pillai, D., Bhide, S. V., & Samuel, A. M. (1998). Protective effect of turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) extract on carbon tetrachloride-induced liver damage in rats. Indian journal of experimental biology, 36(6), 573-577.
  20. Salahshoor, M., Mohamadian, S., Kakabaraei, S., Roshankhah, S., & Jalili, C. (2015). Curcumin improves liver damage in male mice exposed to nicotine. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine.
  21. Rastogi, S., Pandey, M. M., & Rawat, A. K. S. (2011). An ethnomedicinal, phytochemical and pharmacological profile of Desmodium gangeticum (L.) DC. and Desmodium adscendens (Sw.) DC. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 136(2), 283-296.
  22. Govindarajan, R., Vijayakumar, M., Shirwaikar, A. N. N. I. E., Rawat, A. K. S., Mehrotra, S. H. A. N. T. A., & Pushpangadan, P. A. L. P. U. (2006). Antioxidant activity of Desmodium gangeticum and its phenolics in arthritic rats. ACTA PHARMACEUTICA-ZAGREB-, 56(4), 489.
  23. Latha, P., Govindasamy, S., & Balakrishna, K. (1997). Effect of gangetin on fertility of male rats. Phytotherapy Research, 11(5), 372-375.
  24. Magielse, J., Arcoraci, T., Breynaert, A., van Dooren, I., Kanyanga, C., Fransen, E., … & Hermans, N. (2013). Antihepatotoxic activity of a quantified Desmodium adscendens decoction and d-pinitol against chemically-induced liver damage in rats. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 146(1), 250-256.
  25. Seethalakshmi, B., Narasappa, A. P., & Kenchaveerappa, S. (1982). Protective effect of Ocimum sanctum in experimental liver injury in albino rats.
  26. Chattopadhyay, R. R., Sarkar, S. K., Ganguly, S., Medda, C., & Basu, T. K. (1992). Hepatoprotective activity of Ocimum sanctum leaf extract against paracetamol induced hepatic damage in rats. Indian Journal of Pharmacology, 24(3), 163.
  27. Sharma, M. K., Kumar, M., & Kumar, A. (2002). Ocimum sanctum aqueous leaf extract provides protection against mercury induced toxicity in Swiss albino mice. Indian journal of experimental biology, 40(9), 1079-1082.
  28. Schütz, K., Kammerer, D. R., Carle, R., & Schieber, A. (2005). Characterization of phenolic acids and flavonoids in dandelion (Taraxacum officinale WEB. ex WIGG.) root and herb by high‐performance liquid chromatography/electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 19(2), 179-186.
  29. You, Y., Yoo, S., Yoon, H. G., Park, J., Lee, Y. H., Kim, S., … & Jun, W. (2010). In vitro and in vivo hepatoprotective effects of the aqueous extract from Taraxacum officinale (dandelion) root against alcohol-induced oxidative stress. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 48(6), 1632-1637.
  30. Domitrović, R., Jakovac, H., Romić, Ž., Rahelić, D., & Tadić, Ž. (2010). Antifibrotic activity of Taraxacum officinale root in carbon tetrachloride-induced liver damage in mice. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 130(3), 569-577.
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