How long does it take to detox your body? 

Detoxification is the physiological process by which our bodies remove toxins and chemicals that build up from routine. Our bodies can get rid of toxins in different ways through internal organs and metabolic processes: the liver, the kidneys, the intestine, the lymphatic glands, sweat and respiration. How long does it take to reset your body, and what are the main processes in action when that happens?
Chenot Dish

We asked our nutritionist Vasiliki Charatsi to explain the physiology behind detox and guide us through this complex mechanism.  

The three phases of detoxification 

“The body typically requires three stages to detoxify . We talk about mobilisation, biotransformation, and elimination as processes,” explains Charatsi. “Within the mobilisation phase, the body starts moving the toxins from the tissues where they are accumulated. Typically, toxins are lipophilic, meaning they are stored in fat cells. So, the liver must first activate some enzymes to move the fat-soluble toxins into water-soluble toxins before eliminating them.” 

The second phase, biotransformation, is divided into two sub-phases: activation and conjugation. In the activation phase, the liver activates the enzymes, which then turn toxins into what we call radical intermediates. Consequently, these radical intermediates combine with vitamins (like vitamin B), antioxidants, and other enzymes in the conjugation phase into water-soluble forms. 

“In the final stage, the body finally excretes the toxins through several physiological systems: the urinary tract and sweat, for example. That is why it is very important to keep hydrated during detoxifying interventions, such as the Chenot Method. We recommend our guests drink at least 2.5L of liquids per day as a combination of water, herbal teas, infusions or water and lemon,” says Charatsi. “At the same time, the liver excretes toxins into bile, which go through our digestive tract so we can excrete the toxins through the stools.”

Chenot Team

Time frame 

When no disease is involved and the body’s physiological functions are properly working, it takes seven to ten days for the human body to cleanse properly. 

“What we also see in a specialised setting like Chenot, where there is constant medical supervision and other treatments support the detoxification, is that the body can achieve a more efficient detoxification than in a home setting,” she says. “Not only does the home setting rely much more on self-discipline, but if individuals are performing detox interventions on their own, the likelihood that they still need to balance everyday life stressors is also higher.”  

And that, as a result, would most likely result in a longer time frame for an effective detoxification to take place—weeks if not months. 

The role of nutrition and the Chenot Diet in detoxification 

It’s especially in the second phase, the biotransformation of the toxins, that nutrition plays a crucial role in eliminating them from the body. Regarding nutrients, the B-complex vitamins, antioxidants, and flavonoids are the substances that support the conversion of the fat-soluble vitamins into this radical intermediated the most.

“In the second sub-phase of biotransformation, conjugation,” continues Charatsi, “the Chenot Diet supports the body by providing food rich in sulphates, glutathione, and amino acids. The body requires adequate concentrations of these chemical compounds from food to allow the toxins to transform into water-soluble intermediates.” 

The Chenot Diet stands out in the way it supports detoxification. First, it is performed by professional chefs, who use cooking processes that do not harm the ingredients and maintain the properties of vitamins and minerals throughout the process. That is also why they prefer using seasonal and organic whole foods, which they cook at very low temperatures, with high moisture, and long cooking times.  

“This ensures that the food preserves its quality, and doesn’t build up harmful glycation end products, which increase the free radicals in the cells and can be very damaging to the health,” she explains.  

Some foods and ingredients help detoxify the body more than others, like leafy greens, beetroot, and broccoli. These are high in antioxidants and combine with free radicals more easily. Fibers, which combine with toxins in the intestine to support biliary excretion, are also very important. Berries—especially strawberries—and any other purple-coloured vegetable or fruit rich in flavonoids are also anti-inflammatory and reduce oxidative stress in the body.  

In addition to water, herbal teas and infusions, like ginger tea, can help the body eliminate toxins. At Chenot, we produce the Chenot Diététique line of herbal teas formulated to support the detoxification process. 

Despite being a process that can be achieved in a limited time frame (7-10 days in a monitored environment), Charatsi also see detoxification as a “lifestyle” or a never-ending process of finding the right balance in life. 

“I would say detox can be continually achieved by focusing on good nutrition, using local produced, organic foods, exercising the body, and balancing stress and psychological and mental health. Stress, along with inflammation, is a major cause and accelerator of disease, the source of many conditions that we know of. By supporting the body’s natural detoxification processes, you will be ready to respond to stressors and defend yourself against diseases.”