How to Tell if Your Detox Is Working (Symptoms of Toxins Leaving the Body)

How to Tell if Your Detox Is Working

Not feeling so hot during your detox? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. While detoxes can enhance your well-being, things can get worse before they get better. Keep reading for a complete breakdown of the symptoms of toxins leaving the body and how to manage them.

What Is Detoxification?

Detoxification is when you cleanse your body of toxins, such as heavy metals, carbon dioxide, and other harmful compounds. Many people do not realize they have these toxins in their bodies, but high levels of heavy metals and other toxins can lead to unpleasant symptoms, like fatigue or a lack of focus.

Detoxification is removing these toxins by collecting them in the body and flushing them through the waste system. Detoxification can be natural or artificial, or a combination. Most commonly, people take detox supplements or follow a juice cleanse plan to aid their bodies in removing toxins.

Heavy Metal Toxicity

Most people have more heavy metals in their bodies than they realize. Heavy metal poisoning can affect many aspects of your body, from digestion to headaches, focus, sleep quality, and more. Toxic heavy metals that can enter the human body include:

A natural detox with supplements is one of the best ways to rid your body of these toxins. If you have experienced or continue to experience any of the symptoms listed below, you may have heavy metal toxicity:

  • Digestive problems
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Odd bodily sensations (tingling, pins, needles, etc.)
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Low sleep quality

Other toxins in the body include pesticides, plastics, industrial chemicals, and bacterial endotoxins. Heavy metal toxicity is the most common and substantially impacts your body, but pesticides and plastics increasingly threaten human health every day.

If you never feel 100%, toxins in the body may be to blame, which is why many are trying detox treatments to feel better and be more energetic. However, detoxes come with some unpleasant, but usually temporary, side effects.

Symptoms of Toxins Leaving the Body

The symptoms of a detox and the side effects of toxins in the body are often similar, so it can be hard to tell if the detox is working. You will naturally be concerned that something is wrong if you're experiencing unpleasant symptoms.

So, are these the normal side effects of a detox or something worse? Read the detox symptoms below and consider if they fit how you feel. If you experience these symptoms shortly after starting your detox, this is normal and has no cause for alarm. Just keep doing the detox, and your body will balance itself out.

Irregular Digestion

This first symptom is also the most common. People who experience poor digestion and irregular bowel movements often have high toxin levels in their bodies, which causes the digestive tract to struggle. You may experience mild constipation, diarrhea, or bloating, which is all normal at the beginning of a detox.
While this symptom will be most common in people with digestive problems, it can also impact people who had regular digestion before starting the detox. The detox supplements will flush out your digestive tract, which can take time and make you uncomfortable for a few days.


Bowel irregularity is uncomfortable but usually part of a healthy detox. However, we have some tips to help your bowel to be regular sooner. If you haven’t started your detox yet, we recommend following our advice now so you can potentially avoid this detox symptom altogether.

  • Drink lots of water
  • Drink detox tea
  • Eat bitter vegetables and herbs, like ginger, endive, and arugula
  • Take a magnesium supplement
  • Increase consumption of healthy fats and oils
  • Exercise daily to improve regularity
  • Take detox support supplements

Strong Food Cravings

Many people detox their bodies to aid in weight loss, which makes food cravings a significant problem. If you’re detoxing for weight loss, the last thing you want is random and unhealthy food cravings stifling your weight loss journey.

The reason for these food cravings is that your body is flushing out many toxins and needs to replace them with something. The food cravings will also worsen if you’ve been avoiding certain foods for weight loss reasons. Food cravings are normal if you’re resisting carbs, sugary treats, and greasy food during your detox.

The cravings will be especially potent if you’re doing a detox diet along with supplements like a juice cleanse or salad diet. Expect your major food cravings to be sugar, gluten, and dairy, as these foods trigger a serotonin response in the brain. But we have some tips to help you satiate these cravings without compromising your healthy detox!


Put down the Twinkie and cancel your burger order because we can help you curb those unhealthy cravings so you can complete your detox successfully. We know the chocolate cake is mouthwatering, but the feeling after detoxing is well worth the sacrifice. Try these solutions when a food craving hits:

  • Eat more alkaline foods
  • Consume more protein
  • Eat more fruit
  • Eat potatoes and sweet potatoes when cravings hit
  • Take detox support supplements

Headaches and Migraines

Other symptoms of toxins leaving the body include headaches and migraines. Most people only experience mild headaches, easily cured with a simple pain reliever or an extra glass of water. However, this may worsen during detox if you struggle with headaches and migraines.

Detox supplements will not cause headaches or migraines, but the sudden change in diet may lead to these symptoms. If you drink caffeine, sugar, wheat, or dairy every day and then stop abruptly to perform the detox, this can cause headaches. These foods and substances are mildly addictive, so your body will respond negatively to suddenly losing them. But it’s all part of the detox!


Luckily, headaches and migraines are some of the more manageable symptoms of toxins leaving the body to remedy. As mentioned, you can take a gentle pain reliever, but we recommend trying a more natural solution that won’t compromise your detox. When experiencing headaches and/or migraines, try the following:

  • Drinking detox tea or green tea
  • Take L-theanine supplements
  • Drink more water
  • Eat alkaline foods
  • Consume extra protein, fiber, and fat at each meal
  • Sleep as much as possible (go to bed early, sleep in when you can, etc.)
  • Sweat it out (sauna, exercise, hot bath, etc.)
  • Take detox support supplements


Like toxic load symptoms, detoxification can make you sleepy and lazy. There are a few reasons for this. If you’re adhering to a detox diet, your body may not get the nutrition needed to keep you energized.

We encourage you to continually explore different detox diets to find the one that works best for you and put your nutrition above all else. If you're detoxing for weight loss, you should not be starving yourself.

But even if you’re detoxing with a meal plan, you may still feel sluggish, foggy, and tired. We recommend letting your body have the rest it’s asking for, but we also have some other tips for energizing yourself during detox if you don’t have the luxury of taking it easy.


We know it’s hard to get things done when you're physically and mentally tired. As mentioned, try to rest during your detox. But below are some possible solutions if you need to fight the fatigue and go about your business:

  • Drink green tea for caffeine
  • Sleep as much as you can
  • Exercise once a day
  • Drink tons of water
  • Take detox support supplements

Mood Swings and Irritability

Irritability is one of the most common symptoms of toxins leaving the body, only second to bowel troubles. This symptom is difficult to notice, as it’s a change in behavior, not discomfort or pain in your body. If you’re reading this before your detox, maybe warn your household members that you may be a little extra sensitive and on edge during the detox.

Like the headaches and migraines, this irritability is likely due to minor withdrawals from the addictive substances you enjoyed before the detox, like coffee, dairy, and bread. Depriving your body of these mildly addictive substances can make you cranky and annoyed. But we have some recommendations for dealing with this.


While irritability and mood swings are only temporary, they’re also very unpleasant for you and the people around you.

Below are some things you can do to manage mood swings and unpleasant states. But we also recommend giving yourself some grace and forgiveness for this behavior, as your body is going through a complex process, and irritability is normal.

  • Exercise every day to increase endorphins.
  • Sweat it out
  • Meditate in the morning and evening
  • Sleep as much as you can
  • Take detox support supplements
  • Drink lots of tea and water

Is Going on a Detox Worth It?

Absolutely! The benefits of going on a detox often drastically outweigh the negatives. Just ensure you drink lots of water. Whatever you usually drink, replace it with water. If you typically drink water, double your intake. During a detox, you can never have too much water!

We promise the effects of a proper detox are worth a few days of bloating or sleepiness. When in doubt, drink water, and consider adding detox support to your detoxification plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are a few commonly asked questions about detox symptoms and bodily changes.

Can you experience flu-like symptoms during a detox?

Yes, it’s very common for detox symptoms to mimic flu symptoms. You may feel tired, nauseous, dizzy, bloated, or foggy. Slight chills, an elevated heart rate, and digestive issues can all be symptoms of a detox and are common flu symptoms.

How long do detox symptoms typically last?

Luckily, detox symptoms are usually short-lived. Most people experience flu-like symptoms for three to five days. If you feel poorly for longer than ten days, consider consulting a doctor or adjusting your detox plan.

Can a detox cause long-term damage to your body?

It’s very unlikely a detox will cause permanent damage to your body. Adverse effects will typically be temporary, whether you detox naturally, like juice cleanses, or use supplements. Detox programs are riskiest for children, the elderly, and people with autoimmune disorders.

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