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Fitness & Health

04th Jan 2017

Doctors warn about the dangers of the New Year detox

"There is no such thing as a quick fix".

Tony Cuddihy

One woman suffered seizures after taking certain herbal remedies.

Doctors have warned about the dangers of taking certain herbal remedies as a way to detox after Christmas.

In the United Kingdom, the case of a 47-year-old woman was reported by the British Medical Journal.

She had taken a number of herbal remedies and drunk lots of tea and water – the ‘remedies’ she had taken included milk thistle, molkosan, l-theanine, glutamine, vitamin B compound, vervain, sage tea, green tea and valerian root.

She had been previously healthy, but was admitted to hospital with compulsive teeth grinding and confusion, and she later collapsed and had a seizure.

Doctors discovered she had an abnormally low level of sodium in her blood – according to The Irish Times – and her seizures, as well as another man studied, were both put down to their consumption of valerian root as well as other herbal concoctions.

“Valerian root has now been suspected in two cases associated with severe, life-threatening hyponatraemia (low sodium levels) and healthcare professionals should be vigilant to this,” doctors wrote in the BMJ.

Doctors from the Milton Keynes Hospital NHS Foundation Trust expanded further.

“The complementary medicine market is very popular in the UK and the concept of the New Year ‘detox’ with all-natural products is appealing to those less concerned with evidence-based medicine and more with complementary medicine,” they wrote.

“Excessive water intake as a way of ‘purifying and cleansing’ the body is also a popular regime with the belief that harmful waste products can thus be washed from the body.

“Despite marketing suggesting otherwise, all-natural products are not without side effects.”

The Times also spoke to Professor Donal O’Shea, who claims that he treats people all the time who have suffered the ill effects of detoxing too quickly.

“We have come across people who take extreme approaches, which can lead to significant changes in how the body functions,” he said.

“It can lead to irregular heartbeats, collapse, high potassium in the blood, and death.

“There is no such thing as a quick fix. You need to take things slowly or you run the risk of harm. I have seen maybe five patients over the last few years who have had extreme illness over a short term attempt to quickly lose a significant amount of weight.”


Detox Warning

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