7 Common Side Effects of Detoxing Your Body and Why They Happen

7 Common Side Effects of Detoxing Your Body and Why They Happen

By Jamie Matthewman
October 19th, 2013

If you’re considering a detox or have already begun but finding you’re feeling less than optimal. This is because there are a number of common side effects of detoxing, you should be aware of.

I am fully aware of these detox side effects, because today I’m on day 19 since of my latest detox. This means no caffeine, sugar, alcohol, wheat, dairy or meat.

It’s been a few years since my last full detox, but my diet is generally good so I wasn’t expecting the detoxing side effects I’ve been experiencing.

It’s made me appreciate how out of sync my body is with it’s natural, healthy state when it’s free from ingested contaminants.

I have been finding out first hand than no matter how “clean” a life you lead, your body is still likely to show evidence of accumulated toxicity. In fact a recent study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found 212 toxins present in people’s blood and urine.

These chemicals represent the “human body burden”. A toxic cocktail of chemicals and pollutants that accumulate in your body over a lifetime, and in time, can take a serious toll on your health. So detoxing makes sense.

What’s Happening to the Body During A Detox?

Detoxification is about resting, cleaning and nourishing the body from the inside out. By removing and eliminating toxins, then feeding your body with healthy nutrients. Detoxifying can help protect you from disease and renew your ability to maintain optimum health.

Detoxification means cleaning the blood. So basically the liver is removing impurities from the blood which are then eliminated through the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymph and skin. However, when this system is compromised, impurities aren’t properly filtered and every cell in the body is adversely affected.

What Are Some of The Common Side Effects of Detoxing?

Everyday no matter how hard you try, your body will absorb toxins little by little. But because the human biological system is so advanced and adaptable, it adjust to cope with increasing toxins and we get used to feeling less than our best.

When you detox it’s like resetting the system, giving your body the opportunity to become more aligned with it’s natural state of homeostasis, but this doesn’t cost without some short term pain as I found out.

I knew from past experience, during the cleansing process, detoxing often comes with a host of negative side effects including – aches and pains, pimples, back pain, bad breath, body odor, changes in sleep/increased dreaming, constipation or diarrhea, dizziness, feeling cold, frequent urination, headache, intestinal discomfort, nausea, weakness but I wasn’t expecting to feel quite so rubbish!

I thought I’d avoid these common detox side effects because my diets been clean, but they’ve been pretty horrendous. So I thought I’d look into what’s actually been happening to my body, below I’ve explained the 7 detox symptoms I’ve been experiencing in detail and why they happen.

Detox Side Effect Number 1. Headache

This was by far the worst detox side effect beginning after about 36 hours. My head felt like it was being compressed by a vice. I felt sick and couldn’t concentrate. This is seems is mainly a result of the withdrawal of caffeine from my diet.

Eliminating caffeine can cause vascular constriction (the blood vessels get smaller) resulting in painful headaches, which apparently can be avoided with a more gradual reduction. The severity of headaches depends upon how long you’ve been exposed to the toxin, and how much your body is dependent upon it.

Detox Side Effect Number 2. Aching Limbs

This began on day 3 subsiding after day 7. Aching legs and lower back is apparently a symptom heroin addicts go through when going cold turkey! I am sure my experience wasn’t in the same league, but it was really uncomfortable and unexpected.

If you’re wondering why legs ache during a detox, it’s because as the body scours for toxins and dead or damaged tissue to eradicate, the nerves in the body become irritated. As a result the muscles become tight and sore. Whilst the aching is uncomfortable, it’s a sign the body is completing the healing process.

Detox Side Effect Number 3. Thirst

This lasted the first week to 10 days, caused by toxins and other waste materials released from cells, which are then processed by the kidneys. The toxins are mixed with water to be eliminated from the body through urination.

More toxins mean more processing, which in turn requires more water intake. So there’s no need to be alarmed if you’re visiting the men’s room more often than usual. Make sure you keep your water intake high, at least 2 litres per day for the first week to 10 days.

Detox Side Effect Number 4. Bad Breath

An unfortunate side effect for those close to you, a result of dramatically reducing calorie intake which causes the body to break down fat. This produces chemicals called ketones – the cause of smelly breath. Mouthwash helps but it will pass.

Detox Side Effect Number 5. Greasy Skin

During the first week my skin became quite greasy. The skin is the biggest organ in the body, and like other organs is used by the body to expel toxins. Dependent on the sensitivity of your skin, there’s a chance you could breakout or suffer from rashes.

There isn’t much you can do about this except increase the number of times you wash your face per day to clean the skin surface from toxins to reduce inflammation and infection.

Detox Side Effect Number 6. Low Mood

I felt really low on day 2, but my misery passed pretty quickly (my partner may disagree!). The cause due to chemical changes in the brain. According to Livestrong anxiety, irritability and depression are common emotional disturbances of a detox diet. A true fast brings up more negative emotions than does a more balanced 7-day detox diet.

Detox Side Effect Number 7. Fatigue

This lasted for the first week or so. During the first few days it was the most extreme, especially by the afternoon. My partner who’s doing the detox with me, almost fell asleep at the wheel so be careful! The tiredness is caused by the body using most of it’s energy to break down and eliminate toxins.

During the first week you may find you need to eliminate or dramatically reduce the amount of physical exercise you participate in because of low levels of energy.

The Good News

Typically during a body detox as I’m experiencing, the darkness is followed by the light with benefits that far outweigh the symptoms. These can include deeper sleep, more vivid dreams and even feelings of euphoria.

Personally I have more energy, I look healthier, lighter and perhaps most importantly I’m changing eating habits that I hope will stay with me for the rest of my life.

What have been some of your experiences of detoxing?

Jamie Matthewman

About Jamie Matthewman

Jamie is the founder, main contributor and editor of The Inspired Man.

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