How to Detox Your Liver and Kidneys

After dispelling the myth of detoxing in a previous episode, Get-Fit Guy explains how your liver and kidneys work to clear your body of harmful toxins. And how you can help those vital organs do their job well.

Ben Greenfield
4-minute read
Episode #217


In last week's episode, Is Detoxing Really a Myth?, we dissected the claims made by a recent article in The Guardian entitled, "You can’t detox your body. It’s a myth. So how do you get healthy?"

In the article, author Dara Mohammadi said:

“…detoxing – the idea that you can flush your system of impurities and leave your organs squeaky clean and raring to go – is a scam. It’s a pseudo-medical concept designed to sell you things.”

We learned that The Guardian actually oversimplified their claims. In fact there is actually overwhelming evidence in support of the detoxification properties of several compounds, including spirulina and milk thistle extract. Be sure to check out episode 216 Is Detoxinig Really a Myth? for more details and facts (not hearsay) about detoxing.

The article in question tackled one other aspect of detoxing that you probably always wonder about with trepidation: colon cleanses. 

Does The Colon Store Toxins?

The article's author Dara Mohammadi writes:

“…proponents will tell you that mischievous plaques of impacted poo can lurk in your colon for months or years and pump disease-causing toxins back into your system. Pay them a small fee, though, and they’ll insert a hose up your bottom and wash them all away.”

She goes on to say:

“Some colon-cleansing tablets contain a polymerising agent that turns your faeces into something like a plastic, so that when a massive rubbery poo snake slithers into your toilet you can stare back at it and feel vindicated in your purchase.”

When you think about it, the idea of toxins being somehow reabsorbed by your body as they sit in your colon actually makes some sense. After all, rectal suppositories are used to rapidly administer drugs – so if drugs can enter your bloodstream from your colon, it’s certainly possible that toxins could be entering that way too.

However, your colon is equipped with several natural mechanisms to keep toxins from building up. For example:

I personally suspect that if colon cleansing or enemas have any effect in making you feel like you have more energy or have been “cleansed,” it is more likely to do with an activation of specific reflexes in your gut that cause your nervous system to relax, along with stimulation of bile production by the liver, which can indeed improve digestion, have a laxative effect, and relieve constipation.

Sure, this could potentially make you feel better by allowing you to better digest your food, or to even pass some feces that may have built up over the past few days, but this is one point on which I completely agree with the The Guardian. There is no evidence that waste can simply sit inside you for years, slowly rotting and toxifying your body.


All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own health provider. Please consult a licensed health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.

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