Detox, detox – is it a new fad? Not exactly. Its origins began in the 19th century with the theory of auto-intoxication, a term coined by Charles Bouchard, a French physician. Other physicians further defined the theory by describing the phenomenon as caused by the putrefaction or decay of proteins in the intestine generating offending toxins. This theory dominated a major part of the 19th century and has survived to this day.During that time, people were told that constipation was at the root of most diseases and the term, auto-intoxication, became the mantra of the medical community. In 1852, a publication called The People’s Medical Lighthouse, a series of popular scientific essays on nature, uses and diseases of the lung, heart, liver, stomach, kidney, womb and blood had this to say about this common digestive problem: “daily evacuation of the bowels is of utmost importance to the maintenance of health”; without the daily movement, the entire system will become deranged and corrupted.” People’s Medicine Lighthouse, Lecture 71. Harmon Knox Root, A.M, M.D. 1852. This theory led to colon cleansing (which still is performed today), which can be dangerous and is not recommended. However, detox is now more commonly associated with juicing and cleanses primarily for the gastrointestinal system.
Do we need juice fasts and cleanses? No – our liver, kidneys, digestive and respiratory systems work together to detoxify the body. Most juicing plans or other cleansing concoctions do not provide the calorie or nutrient requirements we need daily. Protein is a especially a problem. Proteins provide the necessary amino acids we need for protein synthesis. If these are not available for days the synthesis of needed proteins will be affected adversely.