Teatox For Weight Loss

Last updated May 21st 2015

Teatox products are increasing in popularity and claim to benefit general health as well as promote weight loss. Unfortunately scientific evidence to support these claims is wholly lacking.

A number of teatox products have emerged in the weight loss market in recent years; endorsed by celebrities and advertised using social media, these products have become increasingly popular in the UK and internationally.

Teatox products sold by different companies may vary, but they typically claim to help people to lose weight and improve general health by ‘detoxing’, or ‘flushing’ the body of harmful toxins.

Unfortunately, there is no clinical evidence to support the use of teatox products for weight loss, and the laxative and diuretic effects of the products mean that the method can cause adverse side effects in the long-term.

What is Teatoxing?

Teatox products are sold by a variety of different weight loss supplement companies in several different forms. They are based on the same general idea; these products are a combination of natural, herbal ingredients that are consumed in the form of tea. The tea bags are infused in water to form a drink, which supposedly has a number of health benefits. Some teatox products focus just on weight loss, but most also claim to help to improve health more generally.

Typically, a teatox product will contain a type of herbal tea (such as oolong or green tea) and a range of ingredients that are obtained from plant sources and hold claims to aiding weight loss. Most companies make two types of teatox – one that should be taken in the morning and one for the evening. The ingredients in these products will differ in some ways; the morning product will often contain ingredients believed to give the consumer energy and increase weight loss processes such as fat burning, whilst the evening product often contains a selection of ingredients that are known to have a laxative effect.

What are the Potential Benefits of Teatoxing?

The companies behind teatox products usually advertise them principally as weight loss supplements. That is, they should be taken alongside a healthy diet and regular exercise to help to boost weight loss. They may also claim to promote a ‘healthy lifestyle’, with some companies offering a diet and exercise plan to undertake alongside the teatox. The name itself refers to the ‘detox process’ – something that is mentioned on virtually all of the product websites; unfortunately the mechanism behind the process is very rarely discussed.

The ‘detox’ action of the product may be described as the process of removing unwanted toxins from the body. Precisely what these toxins are is very rarely mentioned, and nor is the fact that the process involves making the consumer use the toilet much more regularly! Some of the teatox products, usually those that are supposed to be taken in the evening, contain an array of laxative and diuretic ingredients.

The product will therefore cause diarrhoea and increase the amount that the consumer urinates; these processes supposedly ‘cleanse the system’, though there is little scientific evidence supporting the supposed benefits of these mechanisms. The loss of water may mean that people see a reduction in their bodyweight; however, this will only be a very short-term decrease, and will be due to the loss of water rather than fatty tissue.

Popular Ingredients in Teatox

Not all teatox products will contain exactly the same ingredients, however the ingredients lists are usually similar, and some common overlaps can be noted. Generally speaking, the teatox product made to be taken in the morning contains ingredients that are thought to help with weight loss – be that through fat burning, fat bindingappetite suppressingmetabolism boosting, or carbohydrate blocking. The daytime teatox may also contain ingredients that help to boost energy levels, such as caffeine.

The ingredients in the evening teatox on the other hand are likely to contain more laxative and diuretic ingredients, with the aim of ‘cleansing the system’ overnight and reducing bloating. Some of the popular ingredients in teatox products have been identified and will be discussed below.

Ginger Root

Several of the popular teatox products contain ginger root either in the morning or evening products. This ingredient is obtained from the stem of the ginger plant (Zingiber officinale), a plant that was native to southern China, but is now grown in a number of countries around the globe. Most teatox companies highlight the potential benefits of ginger for the gastro-intestinal tract, whilst some also claim that it improves the immune system, offers antioxidant properties, and even acts as an aphrodisiac.

Ginger is thought to have a variety of health benefits and has been used in traditional medicine to treat a wide range of conditions in the past. Most commonly, it is used as an herbal treatment for stomach issues, such as nausea, sickness, gas and diarrhoea. Ginger is also thought to have the ability to reduce pain associated with a selection of conditions; for example, arthritis, menstrual pain, and soreness. Some have used it to treat infections of the respiratory tract and interestingly, it is also thought to have a laxative effect.

Ginger root has been shown in some scientific trials to help to sooth gastro-intestinal problems and also to treat certain types of pain. The majority of claims regarding the health benefits of the ingredient are however unfounded. The ingredient is regularly present in weight loss supplements, but it’s potential to have an effect on body weight is not backed by scientific evidence.

Psyllium Seeds

The husk of psyllium is a common addition to teatox products. This ingredient is known primarily for its laxative effects and has been used for the treatment of constipation for many years. It is fibrous in nature, and works by increasing the bulk and water content of the stool, aiding its movement through the gastro-intestinal system. Psyllium seeds are not touted for having weight loss properties, although there are suggestions that they may help to reduce cholesterol levels. Scientific studies have indicated that the ingredient may have the potential to benefit consumers by lowering total LDL cholesterol levels in the blood.

Dandelion Root

Dandelion extract is often found in teatox products either as dandelion root or dandelion leaf. The dandelion is a plant with a yellow flower that is considered to be a weed in many countries. The websites of teatox products claim that the extract of dandelion has a selection of health benefits, mainly pertaining to its antioxidant capacity. Amongst other treatments, the substance has been used as a diuretic (which is presumably the main reason why it is added to teatox products), to help to regulate blood glucose levels, to stimulate the appetite, and to treat conditions of the liver and gall bladder.

The root in particular has been used as a diuretic and laxative, and this effect has been the subject of a few scientific studies. In one trial for example, extracts and purified fractions of dandelion roots were given to mice, and any effect on their urine volume and sodium excretion was measured. The authors noted no difference in these factors with the consumption of dandelion root. They then tested dandelion leaves and roots from different areas of Ireland at different times of the year since it is the high amount of potassium in dandelion that is thought to cause diuresis, and they saw no significant differences in mineral contents.

Another scientific study was published in 2009, this time as a pilot study using human participants. Seventeen volunteers were involved in the trial, all of whom were given dandelion leaf extract in an attempt to determine whether or not it has any impact on the frequency and volume of urination. Urinary measurements were taken for two days before the trial began, after which time the subjects were monitored for one day having taken dandelion extract and one day after the treatment. The authors found that there was a significant increase in the frequency of urination within five hours following the first dose, and an increase in the five hours following the second dose; no significant difference was noted following the third dose.

Liquorice Root

Liquorice (or licorice) root has been used in traditional medicine to treat a range of different conditions for centuries, and is often found in teatox products that are designed to be taken at night time. Liquorice is a plant that is grown in several different areas of the world, for example, Asia, Greece and Turkey. It contains the substance ‘glycyrrhizin’ that is thought to have health benefits. As well as being consumed as food, liquorice extract can be added to traditional medicines for the treatment of sore throat, viruses, bronchitis, and stomach ulcers, amongst other conditions.

It is presumably added to teatox products for its potential ability to help to treat complaints associated with the digestive system (such as ulcers and inflammation). There is some preliminary evidence from scientific studies to suggest that it may have the ability to help in the prevention of ulcers of the gastro-intestinal system, though its effects on the digestive tract more generally have not been particularly well studied in scientific trials. Besides the slight potential to help to protect the gastro-intestinal tract, it is not clear what benefits liquorice root may bring to teatox products.

Peppermint

In teatox products, this ingredient is usually the extract of leaves of the peppermint plant (Mentha x piperita). Teatox companies may add peppermint to the evening teatox, claiming that it has benefits for the digestive tract, and that it prevents bloating. Besides its common use as a flavouring agent in foods, peppermint is a popular ingredient in traditional medicines. It is believed to have soothing effects on the stomach, helping to prevent and/or relieve nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome, and other issues with the gastro-intestinal tract. It has also been used in the past for the treatment of respiratory infections, cough, the common cold, and liver and gallbladder problems.

The ingredient does not appear to hold any claims to aiding weight loss, but there have been some scientific studies relating to its other health benefits. A handy review paper was published in 2006 that discusses the potential health benefits associated with peppermint tea. The authors note that the substance has been shown to have a relaxation effect on the digestive tract in studies using animal subjects, and that these effects have been seen in a few human studies. They do however mention that studies using human subjects are lacking, and so evidence to this effect is not definitive.

Nettle Leaves

Nettle leaves are another very common ingredient to teatox products and are often present in the daytime blend. Official teatox product websites state that the nettle leaves provide an antioxidant, diuretic and laxative effect, with some also stating that they can help to boost the metabolism. It is odd that nettle leaves tend to be found in the daytime product as the diuretic and laxative ingredients are more generally restricted to the evening teatox blends.

Native to many parts of the world, this ingredient is extracted from the common (or stinging) nettle plant (Urtica dioica). Nettle leaves have a long history in traditional medicine, and are thought to help in the treatment of a variety of conditions. Examples include internal bleeding, osteoarthritis, circulation problems, anaemia, diabetes, and respiratory problems. Most commonly, they are used to treat urinary problems and may help to control bladder problems; this is presumably the main reason behind their addition to teatox products.

Unfortunately there do not appear to be any available scientific studies that investigated the impact of nettle leaves on the bladder or urination, nor on the other potential health benefits mentioned above. Similarly, there is no evidence to suggest that the extract of nettles can help to boost the metabolism or have any effect on weight loss.

Senna Leaves

Senna leaves are a common addition to evening teatox products. Teatox websites claim that the ingredient has a laxative effect that helps to cleanse the digestive tract, and also that Senna leaves have weight loss benefits, though the details of these effects are not discussed in any detail. The term ‘Senna’ refers to a large genus of plant that contains a number of different species native to the tropics. The extract in teatox products is usually obtained from the leaves of these plants.

Unlike the majority of other ingredients discussed here, Senna has actually been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use as a non-prescription laxative – for the treatment of constipation. It is the active component of Senna: ‘sennosides’ that have a laxative effect which is achieved by their irritable effect on the digestive tract lining. There are also claims that Senna can aid weight loss, however the substance has not been approved for this use. There does not appear to be any scientific evidence available to support the notion that Senna has weight loss benefits.

Are there any Clinical Studies on Teatox?

Any relevant scientific studies associated with the popular ingredients in teatox products have been discussed above, but are there actually any clinical trials available to support the effect of ‘teatoxing’ as a whole? The simple answer is no. A literature review does not reveal any clinical studies whatsoever that involve the word ‘teatox’, and there does not appear to be any scientific evidence to support the use of detoxing (through the consumption of laxatives and diuretics) for long-term weight loss either.

In fact, in a number of scientific studies reviewing fad diets and methods employed by adolescents to lose weight, the use of laxatives and diuretics is compared to the use of vomiting and may be referred to as ‘disordered eating’. The long-term use of laxatives can be dangerous, as will be discussed more in the ‘side effects’ section below. This is particularly due to dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities, but people can also become dependent on laxatives.

There are no scientific studies available that have studied the use of teatox products for weight loss, and so there is no evidence to suggest that it has a beneficial effect. As for the common ingredients in teatox products, there is some evidence for the potential of a selection of the ingredients to have laxative and/or diuretic effects, but there is no direct evidence that any of the ingredients mentioned above will help to treat obesity.

What are the Side Effects of Teatox?

The main side effects that will be associated with teatox as a whole are related to the digestive tract. For example, diarrhoea, increased frequency of urination, and increased passing of stool are very likely to be experienced. As a result of these effects, an individual may also suffer from stomach pain and dehydration.

Dehydration can cause symptoms such as headaches, tiredness, dizziness, and weakness. The NHS states that if this dehydration continues for a long period of time, it can put people at risk of kidney and liver damage, problems with joints and muscles, cholesterol problems, and constipation. It is very important that you drink plenty of water if you are taking a teatox product.

The NHS also states that laxatives should only be taken occasionally, and for short periods of time. Common side effects of laxatives include bloating, excess gas, abdominal cramps, and nausea. According to WebMD, side effects associated with the diuretic effect of teatox may include electrolyte imbalances, abnormal heart rhythm, tiredness, muscle cramps, weakness, dizziness, confusion, increased sweating, fever, headaches, sore throat, and loss of appetite, amongst others.

It is recommended that you contact a doctor before consuming a teatox product if you have any pre-existing health conditions. It is also best to avoid the products if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or under the age of 18.

Teatox vs Diet Pills, Drops, and Patches

Weight loss supplements are available on the market in a great number of forms; most commonly, they are sold as pills or capsules, but can also be found as drops and patches, and now in the form of tea. Which form of supplement you opt for will be dependent upon several factors, but teatox products do stand out as being different from the majority of other weight loss products on the market.

Although they do often contain ingredients that are common to weight loss supplement pills and drops, for example herbal fat burners and metabolism boosters, all teatox products also contain laxative and diuretic ingredients. This focus on ‘cleansing’ is ubiquitous amongst teatox products, and although there are some products in the form of pills and patches that claim to work in a similar way, these are rarer to come by.

The consumption of dietary supplements in the form of tea appeals to many people, as evidenced by the large amount of people following teatox companies on social media sites. The method of intake is relatively simple (by infusing a teabag in near-boiling water for 3-5 minutes), although it may be a little harder to consume on-the-go than pills, capsules, drops and patches. The other issue that is sometimes highlighted in customer reviews is the taste – since taste preferences differ, it is not surprising that some people find the taste of teatox products highly unpleasant. Again, this is not usually an issue for products that are consumed in capsule, pill or patch form.

Finally, it should be mentioned that most teatox products have morning and evening teas – each of which contains different ingredients. In contrast, the majority of other weight loss supplements on the market only contain one mixture of ingredients that is usually taken two or three times a day before meals. There are both positives and negatives to the teatox method of intake and whether or not it would suit you will depend on your lifestyle and your personal taste. The laxative effects of teatox products may also mean that the supplements are not suitable for a number of people due to potential side effects and interactions.

For a list of HealthyCompare’s most highly rated diet supplements, see our ‘Best Diet Pills’ article.

Conclusion

Teatox products are becoming increasingly popular and the companies behind the products often have very large followings on social media. Consuming a supplement in the form of tea may be appealing to some people, and the companies behind teatox products often claim that they help to improve general health as well as boost weight loss. Despite these claims, there is no scientific evidence available to date that supports the use of teatox products for weight loss, and they are not recommended for use in the long-term due to the negative side effects that are associated with the laxative and diuretic effects of the products.

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