Top 10 Reasons Why Detox Heals

 In Juice Fasting

Updated April 7, 2024

Detoxification is a key strategy for healing from complex illness.  Learn the 10 top reasons why detox is effective at restoring health, vitality, and optimal body function.

It’s not uncommon that I hear people who are suffering from complex chronic illness describe years of expensive and difficult treatment.  They report having tried every method they could find, both conventional and alternative, to heal their symptoms.

It begs the question, what’s missing from the current way we go about treating Lyme disease, Epstein-Barr virus and other chronic infections?  Aside from treating the infections themselves, what else does the body need to promote recovery and keep healing moving forward?

While “detox” is a popular strategy in holistic medicine and wellness circles, it’s often approached through vitamins and herbal supplements alone.  The many lifestyle practices that produce the real results of deep tissue cleansing are less popular, perhaps because it requires some knowledge and guidance to get started.

The ancient, profound, and ultimately simple healing technique of fasting, as well as many modifications and lifestyle routines that mimic and create similar results, support the healing from complex illness and re-vitalization of the body like nothing else can.

Without further ado, here are the top 10 reasons that detox heals what ails you!

#1. Our biology is designed to heal through encouraging detoxification.

From fatigue, to blood pressure dysregulation to diabetes, depression, cancer, heart disease – and of course chronic infections such as Lyme disease which mimics all these and more – cleansing is a foundational healing tool.  Detoxification and fasting is a natural mammalian instinct to heal disease through rest and purification.  When you are sick and dysregulated, your biology is hard-wired to initiate healing when allowed to clear and clean itself out.  Earth-connected cultures throughout human history have developed rituals and practices to heal illness and maintain health through detoxification.

#2. Cleansing reverses toxicity-induced symptoms.

Lyme disease, candida-yeast, parasites and other chronic infections are infamous for causing toxin-related symptoms.  A toxic body manifests discomforts such as migraines, skin rashes, fatigue, pain, stiffness and flu-like symptoms.  As toxins are safely and gradually cleared from the body, many symptoms considered “irreversible” may reduce or are relieved altogether.

leap-ul#3. Longevity and youthful regeneration.

Studies show that fasting and fasting-mimicking routines, like exercise, create changes at the cellular level that help extend your lifespan. This is in part because fasting increases human growth hormone (HGH) production.  HGH is necessary for maintaining the look and feel, the inner vitality and functionality we associate with youth and the capacity to live a long and healthy life.

#4. Weight Loss.

Cleansing routines can shift your body from using glucose as its primary fuel to using fat for fuel.  This metabolic shift leads to weight loss, detoxification, and numerous other health benefits.  And, because toxins are often stored in fat cells, encouraging the release of toxins from the system leads to a reduction in the number of fat cells.

#5. Detoxification leads to increased energy.  

With 60% of the body’s energy dedicated to digestion following an average meal, certain dietary practices can make digestion easier.  This means less energy is spent on digestion, and more usable energy is received from the digestive process to support healing.  Detox routines also encourage mitochondrial (cellular) energy production and free up stagnant energy that the body can then use to promote healing from chronic infection and disease.

#6.  Detox and fasting-mimicking practices are unique in their ability to initiate the restoration of vitality and healing of deeper layers of damaged tissue.

A team of researchers from the University of Southern California recently discovered that fasting initiates the regeneration of stem cells. These are the cells the body uses to renew organs and tissues in order to repair and replace damaged tissues throughout the body.

#7.  Cleansing improves cognitive function, brain structure, and promotes deeper sleep and nervous system relaxation.

These benefits are clear from both scientific studies done comparing fasting and non-fasting rats, as well as my own personal experience and clinical experience guiding many people through short and long-term detox programs.

#8.  Detoxification normalizes insulin and leptin sensitivity.

This means food sensitivities and allergies can be minimized, and health issues like diabetes, blood sugar problems, mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) and adrenal taxation can be restored through the rejuvenation of the adrenals, pancreas, and gut through the use of regular cleansing practices.

#9. Fasting initiates autophagy.

Autophagy is a vital process in which your body consumes dead disease matter, damaged tissue, and faulty cells – like a massive clean-up and recycling effort to beautify and preserve the health of your inner and outer landscape.  Many types of fasts and cleansing supports this process.

#10. Reduce and control inflammation.

Effective detoxification can massively diminish inflammation, as well as pain and symptoms related to inflammation anywhere in the body.

plantingtree-ulAfter 25 years of practicing natural medicine, detox remains an irreplaceable healing strategy that has widespread beneficial effects.

Adding a detox cleanse program to your healing and recovery process may seem challenging at first, but with the proper knowledge and guidance it’s very do-able, even for busy parents or professionals, or very sick people.

There are many methods of detox, cleansing and fasting that supply nutrients and energy for healing and staying active while encouraging rest and elimination from within.  We encourage you to start with small changes, get comfortable there, then add the next change, and continue to advance at a pace that works for you.

I hope this inspires you to learn more about how to integrate detox into your healing lifestyle, and support your recovery from complex illness naturally!

Ready to learn how to effectively, safely detox – and literally clear the way for healing?  Check out Detox For Lyme, our 8-week online course.  Enroll now and receive the added bonus of live coaching and expert guidance!  This course teaches you everything you need to know to cleanse and detoxify what burdens you, whether you are just learning how or ready to move to an advanced level of cleansing.


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  2. Grant DM. Detoxification pathways in the liver. J Inherit Metab Dis. 1991;14(4):421-30. doi: 10.1007/BF01797915. PMID: 1749210.
  3. Liska DJ. The detoxification enzyme systems. Altern Med Rev. 1998 Jun;3(3):187-98. PMID: 9630736.
  4. Patterson RE, Sears DD. Metabolic Effects of Intermittent Fasting. Annu Rev Nutr. 2017 Aug 21;37:371-393. doi: 10.1146/annurev-nutr-071816-064634. Epub 2017 Jul 17. PMID: 28715993
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Showing 15 comments
  • Corinne

    I was just about to start a 3 day fast and then became sick and started antibiotic treatment for Lyme. Is it safe to fast while taking doxycycline? Or would it be better to wait?

    • Hillary Thing

      Hi Corinne, FYI for the future, I wouldn’t fast while on Doxy so as not to overburden your body with a cleansing reaction while dealing with die-off. However, a light cleansing diet would be ideal!

  • karin

    Hello, I just started a 5 day water fast and hope it will help me to deal with my lyme disease too. I have already undergone two antibiotic treatments but are still testing positive on the western blot. However, I was wondering where does your information come from when you say that fasting can improve or cure Lyme disease? I would like to get more information on that. Thanks a lot for your work on this website!

    • Hillary Thing

      Hi Karin, How did your water fast go? I am sure it was helpful for your Lyme, although it is a complicated disease and there is no magic bullet. I don’t know of any specific studies done with treating Lyme disease with fasting. I do have a lot of evidence from treating hundreds of patients in my clinic with cleansing at various levels, sometimes including fasting. It is a systemic and systematic healer, and there is no way it can’t support the body in recovering from Lyme disease.

  • Antonia

    Thank you for this article. I had been fasting pretty regularly and seeing great health gains. But I got Lyme and am in treatment, 300mg/day with Doxy split into two doses, 12 hours apart, taken with food. So obviously, I can’t fast when I must eat food every 12 hours, and in fact, I have to eat later at night than I want to in order to get to the “12 hours” part. I’m a thyroid patient and take thyroid medication, so I wait in the morning for an hour after taking the thyroid meds before I eat breakfast tobalkow them to absorb. This whole thing is so frustrating! So what I’m trying to research is, if I fast for 72 or more hours to rebuild the immune system (thus not eating and not taking the Doxy), will I be accelerating my healing from Lyme? Or will I be setting it back due to stopping the Doxy for three days? I don’t want those little buggers, the Lyme spirochetes* so have free rein to reproduce while I stop taking ylthe Doxy, which is working for me and I don’t want to do something to slow down my healing process.

    I can’t find research anywhere on this. Perhaps it just hasn’t been done, and I need to be my own guinea pig.

    • Hillary Thing

      Hi Antonia, Don’t fast while taking the Doxy, just take that as prescribed. After you complete the course of antibiotics, then do some fasting. The best of both worlds will work in your favor. I hope you are feeling much better.

  • Suzanne Furman

    Hi Hilary, would the master cleanse or a green juice cleanse be considered a fast? Can you recommend where to find some good guidelines on a fast? Thank you!

    • Hillary Thing

      Hi Suzanne, yes the master cleanse or a green juice cleanse are considered fasts (juice fast if you’re juicing). If you want a real education in the facets of cleansing and fasting, then my best recommendation is our online program, Detox For Lyme (look under “patients” in the nav bar). Otherwise, check out our 2-part blog on fasting: Part 1 =

  • Jest

    Hello, I do omad, should I take my Buhner protocol capsules during the fast? Or could I take all of them in one time somewhere around my meal? What would be the best to treat Lyme and to have best benefits of fasting and herbs? I don’t know how to combine Buhner herbs with fasting…

    • Hillary Thing

      Hi Jest,

      It can work well either way – some people choose to take a break from their herbs while fasting. Others continue if they feel very dependent on them for symptom control.

  • Jest

    Hello, I do omad, should I take my Buhner protocol capsules during the fast? Or could I take all of them in one time somewhere around my meal? What would be the best to treat Lyme and to have best benefits of fasting and herbs? I don’t know how to combine Buhner herbs with fasting…

    • Hillary Thing

      Hi Jest, it is fine to take the herbs while fasting, with or without food. Pay attention to what your body is wanting or not wanting – do you sense it will be helpful to your healing to continue with the herbs each day or to take a break? There is not right or wrong way for every body. In general, I encourage taking the herbs if you can. Best wishes to you!

  • Franci

    Dear Hillary,
    I contracted Lyme’s in August 2019, but had no problems until the last couple of months. It started in late March, when I suddenly felt as if there were strong bandages around my knees, making me unable to squat. But I was still able to dance, run and workout, which I gladly did…until a day in early July, when I was jogging aorund the town and fell. I kind of ran for some meters again, but I dragged myself home and had to use crutches for a couple of days. I was able to walk within a week or so, but my symptoms are getting worse. My knees are swollen, and the angle I can bend (or fold) them seems to be diminishing every week. I used to have a tennis elbow in 2015, but at that time I overworked my elbow for a month with garden chores. These days it only takes a day of garden work to feel (almost) the same pain in my elbow.
    I am a regular faster, usually do 24 hours (or less), 3-4 times a week. I have done three 72 hour fasts, and every time the symptoms eased. With refeed they got back. I eat a clean ketogenic diet with lots of fresh fruits, which I know is not keto, but organic and our own, right from the tree. It can’t be bad 🙂
    I have decided to go for the Breuss protocol, a modified version, where not only beetroots, celeriac and carrots are allowed, but to some extent, other organic, ketogenic vegetables. And maybe, just maybe when I get really hungry, some flax or hemp seeds.
    When winter hits, I am going to try going carnivore. Actually, I love organs, offals and fat a lot.
    BMI is between 20-21.
    Any tips or suggestions are appreciated. Thanks,

  • AK

    I recommend 20/4 fasting. Eat small meals/snacks in that window. Avoid dairy proteins.

    • Hillary Thing

      Thanks for the recommendation AK!

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