Who’s heard the media saying “detox programs are a scam”?
Even reputed medical websites say that detoxing is a waste of time?

Is this true or false?

The popular practice of Detox or inner body cleansing is an ancient practice reported to trigger healing in the body and is practiced all over the world within many different disciplines of natural and traditional medicine and religions. It is still very popular today at retreat centers and through natural health practitioners and health product suppliers. In-fact Detox and Weight Loss is now the biggest selling category in the health supplement industry.

Is this two-thousand-year-old plus practice a scam?

The question we are going to answer: Is the practice of detoxing to improve health true or false?

There are quite a few articles around on the internet that claim detox is a scam and a waste of time and money, including articles on the following ‘purportedly’ credible scientific websites.

These so-called ‘scientific’ sources make some very powerful statements like:

The human body can defend itself very well against most environmental insults and the effects of occasional indulgence. (2)

A healthy liver and pair of kidneys are all most of us need to sufficiently “detox.” (3)

There isn’t any convincing evidence that detox or cleansing programs actually remove toxins from your body or improve your health. (1)

A person who goes on this diet repeatedly may run the risk of developing metabolic acidosis, which results in excessive acidity in the blood and can lead to coma and death. (2)

Detox treatments are entirely unnecessary, have no benefit, Stay away. (3)

Just follow the links above if you want to read the full articles.

Lack of Evidence

According to these highly respected websites, it would appear that toxins have no effect on our health and that detox programs are not only pointless but actually harmful.

The problem with their position is the complete lack of research. None of these websites have any referenced material or present any studies of their own. The entire foundation of science is to assume nothing and to put aside attitudes, opinions, and remain open-minded and unbiased.  Without first gathering data, conducting experimentation, and extensive research to back up your idea, it remains nothing but a theory.

If our body can remain healthy and deal with toxins easily, if detox is a waste of time and is actually harmful, then evidence for these statements would surely exist.

Without studies, trials, tests, and extensive research being presented, none of these statements can be backed up and therefore are scientifically invalid.

The complete lack of evidence provided by these sources leaves the reader uninformed and being simply asked to believe skeptical opinions.

This is not science and is not to be taken seriously.

Is Detox Necessary?

Let’s consider the other side of the argument.

First of all, we need to define a couple of key terms.
Toxic / Toxin – A definition
A toxin is a toxic substance. I refer to the Oxford Dictionary to define toxic where it says for Toxic “Poisonous: the dumping of toxic waste, alcohol is toxic to the ovaries. Relating to or caused by poison: toxic hazards, toxic liver injury, very bad, unpleasant, or harmful: a toxic relationship (5) Toxins are defined as “a poisonous substance and especially one that is produced by a living thing” (6)

Detox – A definition
The word “Detox” is defined in the Oxford Dictionary (4) as “A process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances; detoxification”

However, the word Detox is used in only one context by the mainstream medical system. The medical profession uses the word “detox” referring to drug and alcohol detox, and that’s the only use of that word.

The natural health sector on the other hand uses the word “detox” as an abbreviation for the word “detoxification” as defined by the Oxford dictionary. And, I think that needs to be understood. “Detoxification” means the process by which the body breaks down and eliminates toxins from the system. (7) Therefore the word “detox” is the correct term to be used during any program that empowers one to abstain from toxic substances and encourages the body to naturally perform detoxification.

Toxins Affecting Health

There are a number of commonly ingested toxins, environmental toxins, and internally (endogenous) toxins that our bodies are exposed to.

The question is, do they impact on our health, and can a detox program help remove these toxins restoring health to our body. We will look at this in a little detail below.


Common Environmental Toxins

  • Carcinogens: Environmental factors including tobacco smoke, nutrition, physical activity, and exposure to environmental carcinogens are estimated to be responsible for 75-80% of cancer diagnosis and death in the US. About 6% of cancer deaths per year (34,000 deaths annually) are directly linked to occupational and environmental exposures to known, specific carcinogens. (17)
  • Arsenic: Groundwater contamination is a major source of chronic arsenic toxicity in parts of the world. (8)
  • Chlorine: The use of chlorine for water treatment to reduce the risk of infectious disease may account for a substantial portion of the cancer risk associated with drinking water. (9)
  • Mercury: Both organic and inorganic mercury has been linked to the pathological and neurochemical changes that may be seen in Alzheimer’s disease. In humans, one of the likely sources of organic mercury such as methylmercury is the consumption of contaminated fish. Dental amalgams are a common source of inorganic mercury. (9)
  • Industrial and Agricultural Waste: Source-water contaminants of concern include arsenic, asbestos, radon, agricultural chemicals, and hazardous waste. (9)
  • Pesticides and sprays: For the 2018 Dirty Dozen list, EWG singled out produce with the highest loads of pesticide residues. This year the list includes, in descending order, strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes, and sweet bell peppers. Each of these foods tested positive for a number of different pesticide residues and contained higher concentrations of pesticides than other produce. Key findings: More than 98 percent of samples of strawberries, spinach, peaches, nectarines, cherries, and apples tested positive for residue of at least one pesticide. A single sample of strawberries showed 20 different pesticides. Spinach samples had, on average, 1.8 times as much pesticide residue by weight than any other crop. (23)
  • Household Chemicals: Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and potential EDCs are mostly man-made, found in various materials such as pesticides, metals, additives or contaminants in food, and personal care products. EDCs have been suspected to be associated with altered reproductive function in males and females; increased incidence of breast cancer, abnormal growth patterns, and neurodevelopmental delays in children, as well as changes in immune function. (18)
  • Air Pollution: Pollution is the largest environmental cause of disease and premature death in the world today. Diseases caused by pollution were responsible for an estimated 9 million premature deaths in 2015—16% of all deaths worldwide—three times more deaths than from AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined and 15 times more than from all wars and other forms of violence. (10)Outdoor air pollution – deaths by disease:
    40% – ischaemic heart disease;
    40% – stroke;
    11% – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD);
    6% – lung cancer; and
    3% – acute lower respiratory infections in children.Indoor air pollution – deaths by disease:
    34% – stroke;
    26% – ischaemic heart disease;
    22% – COPD;
    12% – acute lower respiratory infections in children; and
    6% – lung cancer.

Common Ingested Toxins

  • Pharmaceuticals: Systematic reviews of hospital charts found that even properly prescribed drugs (aside from mis-prescribing, overdosing, or self-prescribing) cause about 1.9 million hospitalizations a year. Another 840,000 hospitalized patients are given drugs that cause serious adverse reactions for a total of 2.74 million serious adverse drug reactions. About 128,000 people die from drugs prescribed to them. (11) Overprescription of antibiotics and pain killers are major sources of pharmaceutical toxicity.
  • Drug-Induced Liver Damage: Drug-induced liver injury (DILI) has become a leading cause of severe liver disease in Western countries and therefore poses a major clinical and regulatory challenge. (12) There are more than a hundred well-known Liver diseases with diversified pathology.
  • Other Liver Toxins: The most frequent causes of hepatic disease include infectious agents (especially hepatitis viral A, B, and C), obesity-related fatty Liver disease, xenobiotics (alcohol, drugs, and chemicals) induced Liver injury (15) Read More
  • Aspartame: A study published in 2005 suggested that aspartame could cause leukemia and lymphoma in rats. Another study, published in 1996, argued that an increase in the rate of brain tumors in the United States could be related to the consumption of aspartame. (13)
  • Sodium Benzoate:  Sodium benzoate in soft drinks may also react with added vitamin C to make benzene, a cancer-causing substance. (13)
  • Processed Meats: According to the most recent estimates by the Global Burden of Disease Project, an independent academic research organization, about 34,000 cancer deaths per year worldwide are attributable to diets high in processed meat. (14) Read More
  • Cigarettes: About 1 million cancer deaths per year globally due to tobacco smoking. (14)
  • Gluten: A significant percentage of the general population report problems caused by wheat and/or gluten ingestion, even though they do not have celiac disease (CD) or wheat allergy because they test negative for both. Most patients report both gastrointestinal and non-gastrointestinal symptoms and all reported improvement of symptoms on a gluten-free diet. This clinical condition has been named non-celiac gluten sensitivity. (16)

Common Endogenous Toxins

  • Metabolic Acid: Many common ailments we suffer from today can be the end result of excess acid in the body. These include Acid Reflux, Osteoarthritis, Back and Muscle Pain, Cancer, Cardiovascular Disorders, Diabetes, Gout, High Blood Pressure, Kidney Stones, Metabolic Syndrome, Stunted Growth, Osteoporosis. It is generally accepted that agricultural humans today have a diet poor in magnesium and potassium as well as fiber and rich in saturated fat, simple sugars, sodium, and chloride as compared to the pre-agricultural period. This results in a diet that may induce metabolic acidosis which is mismatched to the genetically determined nutritional requirements. With aging, there is a gradual loss of renal acid-base regulatory function and a resultant increase in diet-induced metabolic acidosis while on the modern diet. (19) Read More
  • Cholesterol: 80% of the body’s cholesterol is produced by the liver. Having high cholesterol causes your body to have some negative health effects and can lead to a narrowing of the arteries by fatty plaque deposits (known as atherosclerosis). Excess cellular cholesterol induces apoptosis in macrophages, an event likely to promote the progression of atherosclerosis. (20) Having these fatty atherosclerotic plaques in your body may increase your risk of having a heart attack and/or stroke. Read More
  • Insulin Excess: The pancreas produces insulin in response to dietary sugars. A high processed sugar intake and prolonged high blood sugar can lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a significant cause of ill health and premature death in the United States and New Zealand. It affects about 200,000 people in New Zealand but only half of these people have been diagnosed. (21) In the United States, people aged 20 years or older with diabetes total 25.6 million or 11.3 percent of people aged 65 years or older there is 10.9 million or 26.9 percent. (22) Read More

Toxin summary

To keep it readable we have made just a short list of toxins above, which are really only the tip of the iceberg of what the human body is exposed to in our modern society. These are only the most common toxins and yet they include Carcinogens, Arsenic, Chlorine, Mercury, Industrial and Agricultural Waste, Pesticides and sprays, Household Chemicals, Air Pollution, Pharmaceuticals, Drugs and other Liver Toxins, Aspartame, Sodium Benzoate, Processed Meats, Cigarettes, Gluten, Metabolic Acid, Cholesterol, and Blood Sugar.

There are literally hundreds of other chemicals, compounds, food additives, radiation, stressors, and influences that affect our health every day. Yes, we are designed to deal with a certain amount from nature, but most of these toxins have been introduced by man and this raises the serious question we began with, are detox treatments necessary and are these invalidated statements true?

“The human body can defend itself very well against most environmental insults and the effects of occasional indulgence.”

“A healthy liver and pair of kidneys are all most of us need to sufficiently “detox.” 

The natural response to this would be to look at how well our body does cope with what we throw at it by comparing our body’s major detoxification systems with world health statistics.


Natural Detoxification systems

We really need to ask ourselves why there is so many common health conditions listed here that have no known cause.

The medical system is trying to treat the population for conditions for which they do not know the cause. What is it then, that our scientific, medical community appears to be missing when it comes to the causes of our most common diseases? I guess the logical question to answer here is, does our body process all the toxic artificial substances we encounter, and do any of these substances cause disease?

We will focus only on the most common conditions affecting the major systems of detoxification including the bowels, liver, kidneys, and lungs since these are the systems that detox programs claim to assist and the systems that detox skeptics say don’t need any help.

Bowels and Intestine

Acid Reflux: The most common health condition in the developed world for which the most prescriptions are written worldwide. GERD affects about 20 percent of the U.S. population. The causes include (70)

  • unknown
  • increased pressure on your abdomen from being overweight, obese, or pregnant
  • certain medicines, including those that doctors use to treat asthma —a long-lasting disease in your lungs that makes you extra sensitive to things that you’re allergic to
  • calcium channel blockers—medicines that treat high blood pressure
  • antihistamines—medicines that treat allergy symptoms
  • painkillers
  • sedatives—medicines that help put you to sleep
  • antidepressants —medicines that treat depression
  • smoking, or inhaling secondhand smoke

Read More about acid Reflux

Inflammatory Bowel Disease:  In 2015 and 2016, about 3 million US adults (1.3%) reported being diagnosed with IBD (either Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis). This was a large increase from 1999 (2 million, or 0.9% adults reported IBD). We do not yet know the exact cause of IBD, but it is the result of an improper immune response. A normal immune system attacks foreign organisms, such as viruses and bacteria, to protect the body. In IBD, the immune system responds incorrectly to environmental triggers such as smoking, viruses, or bacteria, which may cause inflammation of the GI tract. (68)

Read more about Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Read more about Crohn’s Disease

Bowel Cancer: Of cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States. In 2015, the latest year for which incidence data are available, 140,788 new cases of Colon and Rectum cancer were reported, and 52,396 people died of Colon and Rectum cancer in the United States. For every 100,000 people, 38 new Colon and Rectum cancer cases were reported and 14 died of cancer. The cause is unknown but major risk factors include (69)

  • Inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
  • A diet low in fruit and vegetables
  • A low-fiber and high-fat diet
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Tobacco use


Chronic Liver Disease/Cirrhosis: The number of adults with diagnosed liver disease in 2016 was 4.9 million being 2.0% of the population of the USA, with 40,326 deaths due to chronic liver disease. In 2015 there were 21,028 alcoholic liver disease deaths in the US. (71) Liver cirrhosis causes 1.2 million deaths yearly worldwide, ranking as the 14th and 10th leading cause of death in the world and in most developed countries, respectively. More importantly, 70.9 percent of liver cirrhosis patients died before the age of 65, while 54.6 percent of the patients with the five cancers studied died after the age of 65 years. Therefore, the socioeconomic burden of liver cirrhosis outweighs that of cancers. (72)

Drug-Induced Liver Damage: Experience shows that even when prescribed appropriately at the usual therapeutic dosage, paracetamol can be toxic to the Liver (hepatotoxic). (73) Drug-induced liver injury (DILI) has become a leading cause of severe Liver disease in Western countries and therefore poses a major clinical and regulatory challenge. (74)

Fatty Liver Disease: NAFLD is rapidly becoming the most common Liver disease worldwide. The prevalence of NAFLD in the general population of Western countries is 20-30%. About 2-3% of the general population is estimated to have non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) which may progress to liver cirrhosis and hepatocarcinoma. As a rule, the prevalence of NAFLD is higher in males and increases with increasing age and it is influenced by the diagnostic method and the characteristics of the population, especially lifestyle habits. (75) It is defined by the presence of steatosis (stagnant fat) in more than 5% of liver cells with little or no alcohol consumption involved. Insulin resistance, the metabolic syndrome, or type 2 diabetes seem to play a role in the onset of NAFLD. (76)

Read more about Liver


Kidney disease and failure: More than eight million Americans have a major loss in kidney function. Of those, nearly 400,000 require dialysis or a kidney transplant to stay alive. Kidney disease is increasing at an alarming rate. Because there may be no symptoms until the kidneys have nearly failed, many people do not know they have kidney disease. There is no cure for kidney disease. Blood pressure control, and blood glucose control for people with diabetes, can prevent kidney disease or reduce further damage in people who already have kidney disease. (77)

Kidney stones: Kidney stones are common and are on the rise. About 11 percent of men and 6 percent of women in the United States have kidney stones at least once during their lifetime. Eating animal protein may increase your chances of developing kidney stones. A health care professional may tell you to limit eating animal protein, including beef, chicken, and pork, especially organ meats, eggs, fish and shellfish, milk, cheese, and other dairy products. (78)

Gout: Between 1 and 3% of people worldwide will experience gout. (107)  Gout is caused by a condition known as hyperuricemia, which is where there is too much uric acid in the body. It is your kidney’s job to remove uric acid. The following makes it more likely that you will develop hyperuricemia, which causes gout (79)

  • Being obese.
  • Having certain health conditions—congestive heart failure, hypertension (high blood pressure), insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and poor kidney function.
  • Using certain medications, such as diuretics (water pills).
  • Drinking alcohol. The risk of gout is greater as alcohol intake goes up.
  • Eating or drinking food and drinks high in fructose (a type of sugar).
  • Having a diet high in purines, an organic compound found in some foods, which the body breaks down into uric acid. Purine-rich foods include red meat, organ meat, and some kinds of seafood, such as anchovies, sardines, mussels, scallops, trout, and tuna.


COPD: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, refers to a group of diseases that cause airflow blockage and breathing-related problems. It includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. COPD makes breathing difficult for the 16 million Americans who have this disease. According to WHO estimates, 65 million people have moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). More than 3 million people died of COPD in 2005, which corresponds to 5% of all deaths globally. (81) Millions of more people suffer from COPD, but have not been diagnosed and are not being treated. Tobacco smoke is a key factor in the development and progression of COPD. Exposure to air pollutants in the home and workplace, genetic factors, and respiratory infections also play a role. (80)

Asthma: Some 235 million people currently suffer from asthma. It is a common disease among children. Most asthma-related deaths occur in low- and lower-middle-income countries. According to the latest WHO estimates, released in December 2016, there were 383 000 deaths due to asthma in 2015. The strongest risk factors for developing asthma are inhaled substances and particles that may provoke allergic reactions or irritate the airways. (82)

Detoxification systems in Summary

The above list clearly illustrates a couple of key connections. There is often an ‘unknown’ cause and predominantly a connection with metabolic syndrome, which is a result of overloading the body with meats, processed fats, and sugars, the very things avoided during a detox program. The other common theme is irritation, microbiome or immune dysregulation which means the body is reacting to foreign particles and substances then becoming inflamed.

It appears that our lifestyles have become susceptible to over-consumption and over-exposure. We then turn to drugs as conventional treatments which further exacerbates the situation. There is a raft of other health complaints connected to this exact same over-consumption and over-exposure pattern. Let’s look at them quickly and see if we can draw the same conclusions.


Common health problems potentially related to toxicity

It’s not necessarily the effect of one particular toxin that you could measure, but the combined effect of many toxins over a prolonged period of time that results in these health conditions. For example, when the body is exposed to sprays, chemicals, and pollutants in the environment we start to cough and sneeze or develop asthma, and sinus problems. When combined with processed meat, sugars, and a generally acidic diet, the gut microbiome can become disrupted and sensitive giving rise to acid reflux, IBS, Crohn’s, constipation, and candida overgrowth. Then the kidneys may also begin to struggle with metabolic acid. This subtle combination will often result in weight gain, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, liver function issues, and skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.

The standard practice is to prescribe (and over prescribe) pharmaceuticals to correct these issues, often of unknown cause while disregarding the possibility of detoxification using food and herbs as providing relief. The pharmaceutical drugs themselves having many side effects and toxicity issues themselves, which are generally disregarded and just accepted as collateral damage.

The Largest Epidemics in History

The largest epidemics in the world today are largely related to metabolic overload and toxicity called “metabolic syndrome”. Acidity and inflammation are also directly attributable to systemic toxic overload as explained above.

Acid reflux, Acne, Allergies, Arthritis, Asthma, Bloating, Blood sugar problems, Blood pressure, Candida, Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, Chronic Fatigue, Colitis, Constipation, Eczema, Gas, Gout, Headache, Heartburn, Haemorrhoids, High cholesterol, Indigestion, Irritable bowel, Obesity, Palpitations, Parasites, Psoriasis, Reflux, Sinusitis, Gastric ulcers, Weight gain can all be traced back to this subclinical systemic toxicity syndrome.

You probably know somebody in your own family who has suffered from breathing difficulty, diabetes, a heart attack, a stroke, or even cancer.  That’s because these are the biggest killers globally and they are definitely on the rise in recent decades. In-fact up to 70% of the population die from one of these causes.

Cancer: in 2012 alone, there were 14.1 million new cases and 8.2 million deaths worldwide. The most commonly diagnosed cancers were lung (1.82 million), breast (1.67 million), and colorectal (1.36 million) and the most common causes of cancer death were lung cancer (1.6 million deaths), liver cancer (745,000 deaths), and stomach cancer (723,000 deaths). (24) Causes are either unknown or due to carcinogens (toxic substances that our body fails to deal with)

Metabolic syndrome: is a disorder of energy utilization and storage, diagnosed by a co-occurrence of three out of five of the following medical conditions: abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol levels. Some studies have shown the prevalence in the USA to be an estimated 34% of the adult population, and the prevalence increases with age. (25) With the successful conquest of communicable infectious diseases in most of the world, this new non-communicable disease (NCD) has become the major health hazard of the modern world. The incidence of the metabolic syndrome often parallels the incidence of obesity and incidence of type 2 diabetes therefore the global prevalence can be estimated to be about one-quarter of the world population. In other words, over a billion people in the world are now affected by metabolic syndrome. (83)

To Answer the first statements

The human body can defend itself very well against most environmental insults and the effects of occasional indulgence. (2)

A healthy liver and pair of kidneys are all most of us need to sufficiently “detox.” (3)

I think if you have actually read this article this far and have followed the links to the research you will have drawn your conclusion by now.

It would appear that indeed there are many toxins that affect our health and in-fact they may be causing the biggest epidemics in the world today.

It would also appear that our body’s innate detoxification systems are not capable of dealing with what our modern lives expose them to.

The next statement to answer is:

“There isn’t any convincing evidence that detox or cleansing programs actually remove toxins from your body or improve your health.”

The scientific response to this statement would be to provide some evidence.

Most detox programs involve a varying combination of herbs to assist the bowel, liver, and kidneys to function better, while consuming a clean diet of mostly raw fruits and vegetables.

This widely varying combination would be very hard to study within a clinical trial environment and no natural health company has spent millions on such a trial as there is potentially no commercial gain to be made. This is because it’s almost impossible to patent herbal products.

Probably, for this reason, no peer-reviewed clinical trials or double-blind placebo studies have been done on herbal detox programs to date.

Therefore in order to assess whether there is any merit in detox programs we should consider the information above about the effect of the toxins on the body and weigh that up against the disease conditions affecting the population. Then you can potentially see how the health benefits of the natural herbs and foods listed below may contribute towards improving health.

I have listed below the herbs and foods used in a popular herbal detox program. You can follow the heading links and references to find out more.

You can then draw your conclusion from the evidence presented.


Evidence for the herbs used in a herbal detox program

These brief references are just the tip of the iceberg. Click on the names of the herbs themselves for the full research articles and Monographs.

Aloe Vera

Blood Sugar Balance – In a pilot study, two Aloe products in patients with prediabetes over an 8-week period, tended to revert the impaired fasting glucose and impaired glucose tolerance observed in conditions of prediabetes/metabolic syndrome. (26)

Inflammatory Bowel disease – The anti-inflammatory actions of aloe vera gel in vitro provide support for the proposal that it may have a therapeutic effect in inflammatory bowel disease. (27)

Barley Grass

Liver Protection – One study suggests that the protective effect of barley sprouts against alcohol-induced liver injury is potentially attributable to its inhibition of the inflammatory response induced by alcohol. (28)

Anti-inflammatory – Barley leaf sprouts also contain a high content of the bioflavonoid saponarin, which has shown both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities. (28)

Black Walnut

Anti-parasitic – In vitro studies have suggested that plumbagin, an active constituent of Black walnut, may inhibit the motility and hatching of specific worm larvae. (29)

Cascara Sagrada

Laxative – Firstly, there is stimulation of colonic motility, resulting in increased propulsion and accelerated transit of feces through the colon (which reduces fluid absorption from the fecal mass. Secondly, there is an increase in paracellular permeability across the colonic mucosa, probably due to inhibition of sodium/potassium-transporting adenosine triphosphatase or inhibition of chloride channels. (30,31)


Ulcers – Capsaicin inhibits acid secretion, stimulates alkali and mucus secretion, and particularly gastric mucosal blood flow which helps in the prevention and healing of gastric ulcers. (32)

Chia Seeds

Therapeutic effects of chia in the control of diabetes, dyslipidemia, hypertension, as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-blood clotting, laxative, antidepressant, anti-anxiety, analgesic, vision, and immune improver is scientifically established. (33)


Heavy Metal Detox –  Certain algae (Chlorella, Scenedesmus, Hydrodictyon) perform better overall than other strains. Certain algal species remove > 90% of at least one metal and their relative performance varied according to the metal being investigated. Chlorella Vulgaris could tolerate a high concentration of 100 μg/ml of lead. (34)


Heavy Metal Detox – Researchers found Cilantro (Chinese parsley) accelerates the excretion of Mercury (Hg), Lead (Pb), from the body through the urine. (32) Spirulina and Chlorella have been found to impart protection to rats exposed to lead and cadmium (33)


Anti-bacterial – The antimicrobial activities of clove have been proved against several bacteria strains such as Escherichia coli (E. coli), Staphylococcus aureus, and Bacillus cereus. (35)


Liver protection – Results of one study suggest that the extract of Dandelion root has a protective action against alcohol-induced toxicity in the liver by elevating antioxidative potentials and decreasing lipid peroxidation. (36)

Bile flow – An extract of the whole plant increased bile secretion by 40% (37) Dandelion has been shown to favorably affect choleretic, antirheumatic, and diuretic properties. (38)

Fennel seed

Bloating and gas – European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy list fennel seed for dyspeptic complaints such as mild, spasmodic gastrointestinal complaints, bloating, and flatulence, for catarrh of the upper respiratory tract. (39)

Anti-spasm – A bitter fennel infusion reduced spasms (40)


Anti-nausea – The mechanism underlying ginger’s anti-emetic activity is not clearly understood, but the aromatic, spasmolytic, carminative, and absorbent properties of ginger suggest it has direct effects on the gastrointestinal tract. (41)

Circulation – Four clinical studies reported that ginger reduced platelet aggregation, which is responsible for blood coagulation. (42)

Globe Artichoke 

Indigestion – Artichoke with multiple therapeutic properties is recommended not only in disorders of the liver but also in the prevention of atherosclerosis and hyperlipidemia or dyspeptic disorders. (43)

Liver protection – Artichokes multidirectional treatment is a documented fact indigestion, blood lipids, and antioxidant effects. Artichoke compounds have a protective effect on liver cells. (44)

Cholesterol – Artichoke leaf has shown cholesterol-lowering and lipid-lowering activity in rats and humans (45)


Stomach Ulcer – Extracts of goldenseal have been shown to be very active in inhibiting Helicobacter pylori which is the major cause of stomach and peptic ulcers. (46)

Liver stimulant – Goldenseal is a powerful bitter herb and as such can be used as a bitter liver stimulant. Recent studies show Goldenseal is a natural LDL cholesterol-lowering agent with multiple bioactive components. (47)

Anti-inflammatory – The major active constituent in Goldenseal berberine inhibits oxidative stress and inflammation in a variety of tissues including liver, adipose tissue, kidney, and pancreas. (48)


Protein digestion – In one study dietary actinidin from Kiwifruit increased gastric protein digestion and accelerated the gastric emptying for several dietary protein sources. (49)


Antibacterial – Since the discovery of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection as the major cause of gastroduodenal disorders including acute and chronic gastritis, gastro-duodenal ulcer, chronic atrophic gastritis, and gastric cancer almost three decades ago, the possibility of preventing these clinical diseases through eradicating H. pylori has been the focus of active research (50)

Milk Thistle

Ulcerative Colitis – In one study 35 out of 38 Ulcerative Colitis patients taking 140mg of silymarin were in complete remission with no flare-up after 6 months. (51)


Gastric Ulcer – The latex of the unripened fruit of papaya was effective in protecting the exogenous ulcer. The conclusion is that papain is the active principle in papaya that exerts the ulcer-protective effect. (52)


Digestive support – Human studies on the GI, respiratory tract, and analgesic effects of peppermint oil and its constituents have been reported. Several clinical trials examining the effects of peppermint oil on irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms have been conducted. (53)

Soothing Digestion – Peppermint oil acts locally in the stomach and duodenum to produce smooth-muscle relaxation. (54)

Pineapple (Bromelain)

Diabetes – All the evidence in one comprehensive review suggests that Bromelain can be used as an effective health supplement to prevent cancer, diabetes, and various cardiovascular diseases in the long run. Bromelain may also break down cholesterol plaques. (55)

Digestive enzyme – Bromelain aids digestion by enhancing the effects of the digestive enzymes trypsin and pepsin. It can also help to prevent heartburn by ease diarrhea if either is caused by a deficiency of digestive enzymes. (56)

Psyllium Husk 

Laxative – One study demonstrated that Psyllium husk has a gut-stimulatory effect, mediated partially by muscarinic and 5-HT(4) receptor activation, which may complement the laxative effect of its fiber content. (57)

Cholesterol – In one study Fifty-four of 62 patients enrolled in the study completed the study Total cholesterol was significantly decreased after 3 weeks of treatment. (58)

Slippery Elm bark

Irritable Bowel Syndrome – Slippery elm significantly improved both bowel habit and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms in patients with constipation-predominant IBS (59)

Turkish Rhubarb

Different pharmacological experiments in a number of in vitro and in vivo models have convincingly demonstrated the abilities of rhein found in Turkish Rhubarb to exhibit hepatoprotective, nephroprotective, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer, and antimicrobial activities, lending support to the rationale behind several of its potential medicinal uses. (60)


Crohn’s disease – Several experimental reports suggest Artemisia absinthium is useful in the treatment of Crohn’s disease. (9) One study showed that Artemisia absinthium oil inhibited the growth of the yeast Candida albicans. (61)

Antibacterial – Results of another study have revealed that topical application of Artemisia absinthium extract on infected wound sites produced significant antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus. (62)

Evidence for some foods used in Detox programs

Several dietary factors are known to prevent Metabolic Syndrome, the largest epidemic in the world today. Notable among these are olive oil, capsaicin, luteolin, curcumin, cinnamon, rosemary, etc.

A systemic review of the effects of dietary polyphenols on metabolic syndrome done recently showed that, at relatively high doses, many polyphenols favorably influence different features of metabolic syndrome. Soy isoflavone, citrus products, hesperidin, and quercetin improved lipid metabolism, and cocoa improved high blood pressure and blood glucose. Green tea significantly reduced BMI and waist circumference and improved lipid metabolism. (83)

This is just one application for foods and herbs in controlling the primary inflammatory precursor to heart disease and cancer, our biggest killers.

Below is just a shortlist of a few foods recommended during common herbal detox programs.


According to the results of one study, the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein and tumor necrosis factor-alpha were significantly lower, total antioxidant capacity was increased and non-high-density lipoprotein (HDL), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and total cholesterol were all decreased. Although both raw and cooked forms of Beetroot were effective in lowering blood pressure, blood vessel function, and systemic inflammation, the raw Beetroot juice had greater antihypertensive effects. (63)

Beetroot is currently purported as a health-promoting food that might be useful for reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases hypertension and stroke and the immune disorder inflammatory bowel disease. (64)

A recent study has shown that Beetroot juice protects against chemically induced Liver injury and increases the activity of phase II detox enzymes. Results indicate that Beetroot through the activation of genes may exert its Liver protective and anti-carcinogenic effects. (65)


In one human study, mixed anthocyanins from bilberry and blackcurrant (Ribes nigram) were given as an extract (320 mg/day) for 12 weeks to 60 middle-aged dyslipidemic Chinese subjects. Results showed significant improvements in low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol (average decrease of approximately 14%) and HDL-cholesterol (average increase of approximately 14%). (66)


Broccoli, along with many other common vegetables such as Cauliflower, Kale, Brussels Sprouts, etc. belonging to the Brassicaceae family, is considered to have a high health-promoting potential for their richness in vitamins, minerals, fibers, and bioactive secondary metabolites. Among these, considerable attention has been given to glucosinolates, a class of secondary metabolites synthesized almost exclusively by this plant family, and, in particular, to their hydrolysis products’ isothiocyanates for their ability to induce phase II detoxification enzyme activities and anticancer potential. (103)

Studies have shown that broccoli juice helps protect gut cells against cancer. (103)


Carrot extract exerted antisecretory, gastroprotective, and in vitro antacid potential. Also, significant inhibition of the development of ulcers induced by physical and chemical agents was shown. These activities could be attributed due to the presence of glycosides, phenolics, tannins, alkaloids, and flavonoids, all of which are anti-inflammatory. (67)


Celery leaf extract reduced blood pressure, cholesterol, triglyceride, LDL, and VLDL in an animal model of fructose-induced hypertension. In conclusion, celery leaf extract with its blood pressure and lipid-lowering effects can be considered as an antihypertensive agent in the chronic treatment of elevated blood pressure. (84)

Results of one study demonstrated that apigenin and apigenin-rich diets exert effective anti-inflammatory activity in vivo by restoring immune balance. (85)


Polyphenols, flavonoids and ascorbic acid contents of cucumber peel appear to be associated with observed anti-diabetic and anti-oxidative potentials. In one 15 day study alterations in serum glucose, insulin, total cholesterol, triglyceride, high-density lipoprotein, low-density lipoprotein, very low-density lipoprotein, liver fat oxidation were studied. The peel extract nearly reversed most of the negative changes. (86)


National Diabetes Education Program of NIH, Mayo Clinic, and American Diabetes Association recommend eggplant-based diet as a choice for the management of type 2 diabetes. The rationale for this suggestion is the high fiber and low soluble carbohydrate content of eggplant.

It is also suggested that inhibition of specific enzymes provides a strong biochemical basis for the management of type 2 diabetes by controlling glucose absorption and reducing associated hypertension, respectively. (87)


Garlic and its preparations have been widely recognized as agents for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. The wealth of scientific literature supports the proposal that Garlic consumption has significant effects on lowering blood pressure, prevention of atherosclerosis, reduction of serum cholesterol and triglyceride, inhibition of platelet aggregation, and increasing fibrinolytic activity. Both experimental and clinical studies on different Garlic preparations demonstrate these favorable cardiovascular effects. (88)


Regular meals supplementation with kale juice can favorably influence serum lipid profiles and antioxidant systems and hence contribute to reducing the risks of coronary artery disease in male subjects with hyperlipidemia (high blood fats) (89)

Findings suggest that the supplementation of kale juice affected blood pressure, lipid profiles, and blood glucose in subclinical hypertensive patients. (90)


One study suggests that considering the useful effects of Persian leek in reducing liver fats, TNF-α expression, and plasma ALT, it might be considered as a herb with the potential of reducing liver triglycerides accumulation induced by high-fat diets. (91)

Findings make leek a valuable source of biologically active immune-modulating polysaccharides, which could also be considered for further medicinal applications. (92)


Lemons contain antioxidants in the skin particularly the flavanon glycosides hesperidin and naringenin. Accruing evidence from both in vitro and in vivo studies have unraveled numerous biological targets along with complex underlying mechanisms suggesting possible therapeutic applications of naringenin in various neurological, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, rheumatological, metabolic, and malignant disorders. Functionally, this ameliorative effect of naringenin is primarily attributed to its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects. (93)


One of the methods for curing obesity is the inclusion of some substances with the anti-lipase (reducing fat-digesting enzymes) activity in the diet and thus reducing the uptake of fat components from food. Some existing dietary supplements that contain plant components can inhibit the lipase action. Mushrooms provide these substances. (104)

One study of 37 adults concludes that white button mushrooms contain a variety of compounds with potential anti-inflammatory and antioxidant health benefits that can occur with frequent consumption over time in adults predisposed to Type 2 Diabetes. (105)

One study in rats showed a decrease in Total Cholesterol, LDL, cholesterol, and Triglyceride concentrations and was accompanied by a significant increase in plasma high-density lipoprotein (HDL) concentrations. It was concluded that A common mushroom had both hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic activity in rats, lowering both blood sugar and cholesterol. (106)


One study observed a reduction in the production of inflammatory cytokines, a relaxation of tracheal rings. It was concluded that onions have potential as antiasthmatic drugs, as they possess both immuno-modulatory and bronchodilatory properties. (94)

Onion oil has been reported to effectively decrease the lipid levels in experimental animals. Study results indicate that onion decreased blood glucose, serum lipid levels, and reduced Kidney oxidative stress and this effect might exert the anti-diabetic effect of onion. The blood fat lowering effect of onion can be one of the mechanisms of anti-diabetic effects and contribute to the prevention of diabetic kidney damage. (95)


Ecdysone (a phytoecdysteroid) is produced by several plants, including spinach, and was very early on shown to increase muscle mass. Later it became apparent that spinach extracts containing ecdysone decreased body fat load, thereby reducing the secretion of proinflammatory cytokines by visceral adipocytes and oxidative stress. This had beneficial effects on body weight and serum lipids not only in obese postmenopausal but also in premenopausal women and in men. (101)

Sweet Potato

In one study of 140 participants which ranged from six weeks to five months duration, there was a statistically significant improvement with 4 g/day Sweet Potato preparations compared to placebo. (102)


Results show that daily tomato juice supplementation reduces waist circumference, as well as serum cholesterol and inflammatory adipokine levels in young healthy women. (96)

Results from another study suggest that tomato juice reduces oxidative stress in overweight (and possibly obese) females and, therefore, may prevent damage from obesity-related diseases and promote health. (97)

The beneficial effect of raw tomatoes in the population tested may be partly due to the fact that they constitute perhaps the most specific feature of the Mediterranean diet. After allowance for age, sex, education, smoking and drinking level, and total caloric intake, there was a consistent pattern of protection for gastrointestinal cancers. (98)


Numerous studies have indicated that curcumin is a highly potent antimicrobial agent and has been shown to be active against various chronic diseases including various types of cancers, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular, pulmonary, neurological, and autoimmune diseases. To date, over 100 different clinical trials have been completed with curcumin, which clearly shows its safety, tolerability, and its effectiveness against various chronic diseases in humans. (99)

Modern science has revealed that curcumin mediates its effects by modulation of several important molecular targets, including transcription factors, enzymes, cell cycle proteins, cytokines, receptors, and cell surface adhesion molecules. Because it can modulate the expression of these targets, curcumin is now being used to treat cancer, arthritis, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, psoriasis, and other pathologies. (100)



There is an overwhelming rationale for using herbs in combination with a pure clean whole-food diet to benefit long-term health.

By reducing negative gut bacteria and parasites, regulating the immune response, promoting better digestion and elimination, protecting the liver, improving bile flow, removing heavy metals, reducing blood sugar, cholesterol and encouraging weight loss we can potentially reduce and prevent the onset of the most common health problems of our time.

This must be largely due to the combined effects of a reduction of toxin exposure, systemic inflammation, and metabolic acidosis which would underlie many modern chronic disease states, including metabolic syndrome, the world’s largest epidemic.

Although proper controlled studies need to be conducted to validate any specific protocol anecdotal evidence could substantiate various detox programs available in the marketplace.

It would be prudent to seek out a program that has been designed and personally managed by a registered medical herbalist, doctor, or other health professional.

Then search for reviews, feedback, and social comments made by users of the product. Evidence for the ingredients should be provided along with a guarantee of results.

If all of these criteria are met then it certainly may be beneficial to your health to complete an inner body cleansing program.

That’s my conclusion, you can make your own.

Brett Elliott

Medical Herbalist

Get all the evidence

Why and how detox diets actually work to heal your body and what herbs and foods we can use to cure our most common health conditions

➢ Yes “Detox Diets” actually do work and Brett explains how with his unique explanation of how toxic life is and why cleansing is so important.

➢ Includes detox diet recipes, along with other healing methods to heal your body plus information on how you can reduce chronic inflammation, known as metabolic disease, that underlies so many of today’s major health problems.

➢ Over twenty years of clinical practice Brett has reached more than 100,000 people in 45 countries with his herbal body cleansing programs, which have cured many of the most common health conditions of our time.

➢ Beautifully illustrated along with hundreds of scientific references.

Brett introduces the term ‘chronic metabolic toxicity’ and clearly explains how this imbalance can lead to our most prevalent health complaints. You will gain an understanding of how our body can become overloaded, acidic, inflamed, and unable to maintain homeostasis.

Next Brett discusses herbal detoxification and how this can address the underlying subclinical condition of chronic toxic overload. You will learn how specific natural herbs and foods can help solve the world’s most common health conditions, simply by treating the underlying cause. Brett’s favorite detox diet recipes are included.

Finally, Brett will share his healing secrets and principles for achieving what he calls ‘ultimate health’. This is not just a health program but is the beginning of a transformational personal journey towards realizing your full potential in life.

After all, health is one thing you just can’t buy, and yet it’s your biggest asset.

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Cleansed and Cured

The Complete Inner Body Cleanse

You’ve found quite possibly the most comprehensive “Do it Yourself” Practitioner quality Herbal Detox Program in the world!

With toxic overload and metabolic disease skyrocketing worldwide, the Ultimate Herbal Detox is needed more than ever. Maybe it’s time to give your body everything it needs for a fresh start?

24 herbs are combined into 480 capsules within 4 unique products. Brett Elliott’s Ultimate Herbal DETOX program is New Zealand’s most popular detox program.

This program deals with Liver cleansing, parasites, heavy metals, and digestive health. Watch the video to learn more.

See how to use this program



At Ultimate Herbal Health we understand that choosing to do a herbal detox program can be a daunting and new experience for many. That is why we provide full online support.

We provide a 100% satisfaction guarantee or your money back, so you can be assured we will be with you every step of the way.

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Our one-on-one support through both live chat and email, plus a library of recipes, videos, and articles means you have our full support and will never be alone on your detox journey.


To empower millions of people to change their lives with the world’s best herbal health programs.

Over 100,000 programs sold in 45 countries in the last 20 years. Backed by scientific research – click here to visit Brett Elliott’s personal research database 

Will it help?

Once you have completed the Detox program you have a great foundation for your body to deal with other health issues naturally. It’s just like servicing a car to make it sound and respond better. We can’t make any health claims but a cleanse is well known to help your body heal itself by allowing healthy functions to return.

There is lots of support material available on this website plus we are here to help you every step of the way. Feel free to live chat with us, or join our Facebook community to see what others are saying.

Disclaimer – Results will vary in time frame and intensity from person to person. We make no claim to treat, prevent or cure any disease. None of the statements on this page have been evaluated by the FDA. Consult your physician before using the Ultimate Herbal Health Programs.  

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(47) The medicinal plant goldenseal is a natural LDL-lowering agent with multiple bioactive components and new action mechanisms. PubMed http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16885565

(48) Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of berberine in the treatment of diabetes mellitus. PubMed http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24669227

(49) Dietary actinidin from kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa cv. Hayward) increases gastric digestion and the gastric emptying rate of several dietary proteins in growing rats. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24431326

(50) Dietary, non-microbial intervention to prevent Helicobacter pylori-associated gastric diseases. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4481371/

(51) A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial of silymarin in ulcerative colitis. PUBMED http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22528757

(52) Protective effects of Carica papaya Linn on the exogenous gastric ulcer in rats. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7053020

(53) A review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of peppermint tea (Mentha piperita L.). PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16767798

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(56) Exogenous proteases for meat tenderization. PubMed http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24499119

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(85) Dietary apigenin reduces LPS-induced expression of miR-155 restoring immune balance during inflammation. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25641956

(86) Protective role of three vegetable peels in alloxan-induced diabetes mellitus in male mice. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20614191

(87) In vitro studies of eggplant (Solanum melongena) phenolics as inhibitors of key enzymes relevant for type 2 diabetes and hypertension. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17706416

(88) Garlic: a review of potential therapeutic effects. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103721/

(89) Kale juice improves coronary artery disease risk factors in hypercholesterolemic men. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18548846

(90) The effect of glutathione S-transferase M1 and T1 polymorphisms on blood pressure, blood glucose, and lipid profiles following the supplementation of kale (Brassica oleracea acephala) juice in South Korean subclinical hypertensive patients. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4317480/

(91) Effects of Persian leek (Allium ampeloprasum) on hepatic lipids and the expression of proinflammatory gene in hamsters fed a high-fat/ high-cholesterol diet. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4967837/

(92) Effects of Pectic Polysaccharides Isolated from Leek on the Production of Reactive Oxygen and Nitrogen Species by Phagocytes. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3751262/

(93) Pharmacological Properties and Therapeutic Potential of Naringenin: A Citrus Flavonoid of Pharmaceutical Promise. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27238365

(94) Potential therapeutic effect of Allium cepa L. and quercetin in a murine model of Blomia tropicalis induced asthma. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4344790/

(95) Alterations in the blood glucose, serum lipids and renal oxidative stress in diabetic rats by supplementation of onion (Allium cepa. Linn). PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2808725/

(96) Tomato juice supplementation in young women reduces inflammatory adipokine levels independently of body fat reduction. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25837214

(97) Tomato juice consumption improves blood antioxidative biomarkers in overweight and obese females. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25466953

(98) Tomatoes and risk of digestive-tract cancers. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7927916

(99) Curcumin, the golden nutraceutical: multitargeting for multiple chronic diseases. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27638428

(100) Curcumin: getting back to the roots. PUBMED. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=curcuma+longa+human+alzheimers+turmeric+india

(101) Plant derived alternatives for hormone replacement therapy (HRT). PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25436745

(102) Sweet potato for type 2 diabetes mellitus. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22336861

(103) Nutraceutical Improvement Increases the Protective Activity of Broccoli Sprout Juice in a Human Intestinal Cell Model of Gut Inflammation. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5039501/

(104) Immobilization of Lipase Inhibitor on the Biopolymers from Agaricus bisporus Cell Walls. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5848205/

(105) A Retrospective Study in Adults with Metabolic Syndrome: Diabetic Risk Factor Response to Daily Consumption of Agaricus bisporus (White Button Mushrooms). PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27193019

(106) White button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) lowers blood glucose and cholesterol levels in diabetic and hypercholesterolemic rats. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20116660

(107) Epidemiology of Gout. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4119792/