Why a 3-Day Detox Doesn't Actually Detoxify Your Body

2 minute read
When you think of a detox, what often comes to mind is a diet where you would eliminate everything except a particular ingredient or type of food (think “juice cleanse” or “citrus detox”).

Three-day detoxes are a popular online search for people who are looking to reset their bodies without a long-term commitment. Often, what comes to mind is a diet where you would eliminate everything except a particular ingredient or type of food (think “juice cleanse” or “citrus detox”). The general expectation is that this will “flush” your system of toxins and you get the start you need moving forward.

However, our bodies can’t truly detox in just three days. It also won’t work to simply eliminate all but one type of food or drink. Our bodies have a lot to accomplish during a detox – a three-stage process of bioactivation, conjugation, and transport (elimination). We’re working to transport toxins from our cells, not just clear out our colon: that’s why a three-day liquid diet isn’t enough.

A true metabolic detoxification is a full cycle of the three stages, and that takes time. We need at least 10 days to effectively support our bodies to be better at removing toxins, and even longer if you’re particularly toxic or have never done a metabolic detox before.


The three phases of detox

In the first phase (bioactivation), enzymes transform toxins into reactive intermediates requiring quick neutralization. In the second phase (conjugation), enzymes neutralize the toxin by converting it into a non-toxic, water-soluble molecule. During the third and final phase of detox (transport), toxins are eliminated from the body.


For more details about the three phases of detox, read our post “What is Detoxing, and Why Should I Consider Doing a Detox?


Food is important during detox

Nutritional support during each stage of detox is key. A wide range of whole foods are necessary for proper support; your body has a lot of work to do, and eliminating all or most food is counterproductive. Additionally, consuming just one “magic” ingredient isn’t enough for an effective detox. This biotransformation process requires energy, first and foremost, through the intake of macronutrients in whole foods (did you catch the plural on that one?). Hydration is also important for detox, as water intake supports urinary toxin elimination.

Additionally, an array of fruits and vegetables provide necessary enzymes and antioxidant micronutrients to support a healthy detox. Antioxidant vitamins like vitamins A, C, and E; minerals like selenium, copper, zinc, and manganese; as well as several phytonutrients from plants have antioxidant activity that protect the body from oxidative stress.


That’s why our detoxification philosophy here at Standard Process includes either a 10-day or 28-day detox approach with full nutritional guidance designed to support each step of a metabolic detox. The bottom line is this: a true metabolic detox takes time and a wide variety of nutrients to remove toxins successfully and healthfully from the body. We are exposed to toxins every day, and a “three-day detox” or a “special detoxifying ingredient” are not adequate to effectively detox the body and make your detox mechanisms more efficient.

Kara Credle, MA
About the Author

Kara Credle, MA, manages content development and strategy for WholisticMatters.com as the Clinical Nutrition Communication Specialist at Standard Process Inc. Her background is in scientific writing with a focus on biomedical sciences, nutrition, health, and wellness and a passion for translating scientific findings for different audiences.

More Posts by Kara Credle, MA