4 Detox Symptoms – What to Expect and What They Mean

In the realm of natural health and Herbalism, the notion of detoxification refers to the natural process your body goes through to eliminate toxins from its various systems. The accumulation of toxic substances are due to a myriad of factors, such as your eating habits, lifestyle and environment. Regardless of how these toxins become available to your system, the most important thing to remember is they are not permanent. Through your assistance, you can effectively eliminate toxins from all parts of your body.

More than likely, you’ve read a magazine entry or a blog post regarding the dangers and symptoms of toxin accumulation. Typically, the buildup of these toxins results in physical signs and symptoms. This is where much confusion sets in.

Did you know that based upon your bodily ailments, you can tell what systems need to be cleansed? Your body is constantly trying to communicate with you. Through aches, pains, mental fogginess or even via more detrimental conversations, your body can effectively inform you what system is malfunctioning due to toxin accumulation. However, understanding this communication can take time to master.

Detoxification – Separating Truth from Myth

With the rise in detoxification interest, the distribution of inaccurate information simultaneously increased. Although the concept of toxins and detoxification is scientifically backed by hundreds of clinical trials and research studies, the exact methods in which this natural process executes itself is not always clearly understood. Therefore, before delving into understanding the signs and symptoms of a detox, it’s important to know what’s myth and what’s actual facts.

Myth – Drinking as much water as I can alleviates any detox symptom

While it’s true your body operates at a more optimum rate when you consume ample water, drinking excessive amounts of water with the goal of encouraging toxin relief can actually do far more harm than good. Have you ever heard of a medical condition called water intoxication? This is when you drink too much water, too fast and your body actually begins to deteriorate in a similar manner as overdosing on any number of substances. Symptoms of water intoxication include fatigue, headaches, mental disorientation and uncontrollable vomiting. Avoid this situation by sticking with the recommended 64 ounces of filtered water consumed throughout the day – not all at one sitting.

Myth – I can sweat out all my toxins in a sauna

It’s true, sweating is one of the body’s most effective ways of eliminating certain toxins, it’s by far not a cure-all for toxin accumulation. One of the most dangerous situations you can put yourself through is encouraging toxin release through excessive sweating. Although sauna time can be very beneficial to your overall health, excessive sweating actually disrupts the natural detoxification system. Therefore, you’ll actually do more harm than good by spending too much time in the sauna.

Fact – You can pinpoint areas of your body that need detoxification by physical symptoms

As stated earlier, your body is in a constant act of communication with other bodily systems and to you directly. By focusing on specific symptoms, you can gain great insight into what areas of your body are suffering from toxin accumulation. While you should strive for total body detoxification, an excellent starting point is identifying problem areas and researching specific herbs and detox programs designed to purge that specific body part or system.



Spinach, Apple and Kiwi smoothie

When you undergo a detoxification program – or even when you’re simply living your life – your body can begin to undergo specific changes. The area and severity of these changes or symptoms can reveal a great deal about the overall health of specific bodily processes and organs. When undergoing an active detox program, there are several symptoms most people experience – and for good reason. Many of these symptoms are a direct result of a specific bodily organ releasing toxins and eliminating them through its preferred pathways.

1# | Sudden Skin Breakouts/Acne Flareup

Perhaps one of the most common detoxification symptoms experienced during a program – or even without undergoing a specific detox plan – are sudden acne outbreaks. According to several studies, there is a directly relationship between nutritional content, free radicals and acne breakouts. While the root cause of acne can range from hormonal imbalances to genetic factors, acute symptoms – which are those that appear suddenly and in an uncharacteristic fashion – are typically the result in a shift within your body. This may be a result from toxins being “flushed” out of your skin or the opposite, toxins accumulating in your skin.

2# | Digestive Discomfort 

Many detoxification programs involve the use of fiber-rich sources, such as from fruits, vegetables and fiber supplements. If your digestive system is not used to such high sources of fiber, you may experience temporary digestive discomfort, such as gas and bloating. This is primarily a concern for those who suddenly switch to a diet rich in fat-based foods, such as nuts and seeds, as well as fruit-based programs.

Most commonly, this detox symptom will subside within a few days to one week. Consider this process more of an adjustment period than anything to be too concerned about. If you notice your digestive system taking a turn for the worse, reduce the quantity of fiber supplements and high-fiber foods until your body calms down. Then, slowly reintroduce these compounds back to your body.

If you aren’t undergoing a detoxification process, a sudden disturbance in your digestive system may be a sign of gut imbalances due to toxins found in processed foods. For some, the most effective way to alleviate such symptoms is to undergo a liquid fast for two to five days, such as The Master Cleanse. By eliminating solid foods, you give your GI tract time to rest and heal itself.

3# | Significant Increase in Mental and Physical Fatigue

If you’re experiencing an increase in mental and physical fatigue after beginning a detoxification program, there are several potential causes. The first being a lack of caffeine. Some detox programs eliminate, or significantly, reduce the amount of caffeine and other natural stimulates consumed throughout your day. If you’re used to a certain amount of caffeine, and this level is suddenly dropped, you’ll experience a temporary drop in energy. Thankfully, your natural energy stores will kick in after several days.

Another, more serious, cause of acute fatigue is a lack of calories. When you do not consume ample calories throughout your day, your body can react in a very noticeable way. By reducing your energy levels and causing other symptoms, such as headaches or body aches, your body is communicating its need for energy – aka calories. However, sometimes this symptom is not based out of a genuine need, but rather out of habit. Those who overeat and then suddenly decrease their food intake will experience food withdrawal symptoms. This does not mean the body is actually starving for calories.

4# | Acute Headaches 

As you begin to adjust your intake of foods, and the types of foods, your body can temporarily respond by causing headaches. While this typically does not have to deal with toxin elimination, many who engage in severe detox programs, such as a juice fast, will typically experience a mild headache within the first 24 to 48 hours of the program. There are several causes for this bodily response. The most common is a reduction in caffeine intake. Known as caffeine withdrawals, these headaches are temporary; however, they can be quite painful depending on your history of caffeine usage.

There are occasions when your headache has nothing to do with the physical changes in your body, but rather psychological alterations. Many people who engage in a detox program suddenly become hyper aware of their body. By abstaining from comfort foods, beverages and habits, your brain is suddenly stimulated by their lack of presence. When this occurs, it’s not uncommon to experience phantom headaches and body aches. While some state this is a “sign” of toxin release, it’s more likely a physical response to chemical and hormonal changes occurring in your brain. This is especially true when detoxing from caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.


In most cases, the aforementioned – and many other -detox symptoms will resolve themselves within matter of days. At most, severe detox symptoms should subside within one week. However, should you still be experiencing negative physical or mental symptoms after one week, then it’s imperative you make alterations to your detox plan.

Healthy beetroot smoothie

More than likely, you’re not consuming ample calories or nutrients, such as as amino acids. When you have nutritional gaps that go uncorrected for too long, your body will begin manifesting a host of symptoms to encourage a dietary change. Begin consuming more calories from organic, healthy food choices. If you’re undergoing a juice cleanse, add fresh vegetables and fruits into your daily diet. After ensuring you’re consuming ample nutrition, and symptoms do not improve, you should immediately visit your doctor to rule out the possibility of a serious illness.

When to Stop a Detox Plan

There are times when your body simply does not enjoy the specific plan you sought out. There is nothing wrong with this. In fact, the only error would be continuing with a detoxification plan that’ actually hurting your body. As a general rule, if your detox symptoms are not improved within two weeks, discontinue your current plan and immediately adopt a “whole foods diet.” That is, a diet that consists of fully organic, fresh and non-processed foods. Often times, you can meet your dietary needs while still enjoying detoxification benefits by consuming whole foods.

By consuming foods full of vitamins, minerals and various nutrients, you’re supporting your entire body without suffering adverse reactions from a lack of calories. In fact, many find adopting a whole foods diet plan is not only more effective than a short-term detoxification plan, but their body begins to experience a myriad of benefits from this smarter way of eating. Combine this new diet plan with herbal detoxification supplements to continue the promotion of toxin release without having to undergo such dramatic dietary or lifestyle changes.


While it’s important to know when to stop a specific detoxification plan, there are also several steps you may take to help avoid experiencing any negative symptoms throughout a specific treatment. The most effective ways to accomplish this goal is by supporting the body’s natural detox pathways. This is a simple, yet powerful, way to expedite the detoxification process while simultaneously inhibiting the onset of negative symptoms. The most effective ways to avoid detox symptoms include:

Support Regular Bowel Movements – Sustaining regular bowel movements during a detoxification plan is crucial for its success. There are two powerful ways to accomplish this goal. This includes taking a magnesium supplement or a pure vitamin C supplement.

Cleanse With Warm Water Enemas – While this is up for debate in many circles, natural health proponents throughout the world recommend a warm water enema to help aid in the detoxification process. Flushing out the rectum and lower bowel can ease discomfort due to impaction while eradicating waste that resupplies the body with fresh toxins.


Green vegetable Smoothie

Consume Activated Charcoal – Considered a universal antidote due to its powerful ability to effectively pull toxins, waste and pathogens out of the body, activate charcoal is a must for anyone who’s undergoing a detoxification program. By consuming, toxins are drawn out of your body and safely expelled during your next bowel movement.

Soaking in an Epsom Salt Bath – This is perhaps the most common – yet most effective – way to support a detoxification program. By soaking in an Epsom salt bath, the magnesium within the salt is absorbed by your skin and immediately begins to draw out toxins and support the production of over 375 bodily enzymes.

Liver Castor Oil Soaks – No, you don’t actually soak your liver in castor oil. Rather, you cover the area of your skin with castor oil, which is effectively absorbed by your skin and utilized by your liver to help filter blood. Not only does this easy and effective detox method support the natural processes of your liver, but it simultaneously stimulates your lymphatic system, which plays a vital role in cleansing your body from toxins at the cellular level.