My grandfather is a living inspiration, turning 92 last December. Even with more than 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical world and over 40 years of experience in the supplement world between my father and me, grandpa’s wisdom in healthy living takes the cake. Grandpa’s advice was simple: (1) don’t eat too much of anything, (2) focus more on fish and vegetables, (3) drink more tea. What does this mean for detox tea and weight loss?
Detoxification and weight loss, while two completely different things, are both relevant in our modern quality of life. The NIH National Institute of Diabetes and Kidney Diseases in a 2009-2010 national survey reported that 68% of adults in America are considered overweight or obese, and are at a considerably higher risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other conditions. What does science say about weight loss?
A recent study involving 76 rhesus monkeys at the University of Wisconsin concluded that a calorie restrictive diet (30% less than control) resulted in a 3-fold reduction in the occurrence of disease and death (1). While the researchers caution that it’s too early to translate the results to human beings, the findings provide a research tool for scientists to investigate age-related disease susceptibility. The study nonetheless provides support for achieving a healthier lifestyle by not gorging on food. For the 68% of adults in America that are overweight, weight loss through sustainable calorie restriction and physical activity can significantly improve quality of life.
With regards to Detoxification, a 2009 book (2) written by George Nichopoulos, MD highlighted how chronic constipation, a commonplace, treatable disease, was to blame for the death of Elvis Presley. The Mayo Clinic currently recommends, before drugs and surgery, the following changes in lifestyle and diet for chronic constipation:
1. Increase Fiber Intake.
2. Moderate exercise most days of the week.
3. Don’t ignore the urge to have a bowel movement.
4. Take laxatives to make it easier to have a bowel movement.
Taking fiber supplements and laxatives does have its drawbacks. A sudden increase in the fiber in one’s diet can give rise to gas and bloating. Taking laxatives too often can cause fecal impaction in the colon. As a result, any lifestyle and diet changes must first be discussed with your primary healthcare provider.
Returning to my grandpa’s life advice, what else can we do to encourage a healthy gastrointestinal tract and a healthy weight? Can we believe the detox tea and weight loss supplements out there currently in the market?
First of all, detoxification is removal of toxins from the body. A misnomer in the alternative medicine world where the toxin is often undefined, detoxification is more appropriately referring to the healthful function of the liver and kidneys, which are the chemical factories in the human body. The gastrointestinal tract functions to process what we eat and eliminate waste. Therefore, a good detox tea aids in the good health of the liver, kidneys, and gastrointestinal tract. Such supplements include, but are certainly not limited to:
1. Psyllium Husk Fiber, a natural source of soluble fiber
2. Senna Leaf, an FDA-approved nonprescription laxative
3. Chamomile Flower, a natural digestive relaxant (pregnant women should not take this)
4. Fennel Seed, a natural carminative (gas removal from gastrointestinal tract)
Teas are generally recommended in the alternative medicine world due to its inherently lesser potency when compared to solid dosage forms such as capsules and tablets. Steeped in hot water, the active ingredients are extracted from the botanical solids. This inefficient process is yet more inefficient due to the high temperature of extraction, which may denature the active ingredients. So why is this actually a good thing for detox tea?
Botanicals, despite being natural products, can actually be quite potent. For example, the FDA cautions against taking Senna Leaf for more than two weeks at a time. When we take too much of a botanical, adverse reactions and side effects can manifest. By drinking detox tea, we allow ourselves to observe the changes in our bodies, thereby allowing us to titrate our natural therapy in a safe manner.
In summary, grandpa was right! We should avoid eating too much of anything, and we should all enjoy our favorite teas.
Please check out the detox tea we’ve formulated to great success!
In Good Health,
Joe Su, PhD
1. Colman, R. J. et al. Caloric restriction reduces age-related and all-cause mortality in rhesus monkeys. Nat. Commun. 5:3557 (2014).
2. Nichopoulous, G. The King and Dr. Nick: What Really Happened to Elvis and Me, 2009.