A Purported Detoxification Supplement Does Not Improve Body Composition, Waist Circumference, Blood Markers, or Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Healthy Adult Females

J Diet Suppl. 2019;16(6):649-658. doi: 10.1080/19390211.2018.1472713. Epub 2018 Jun 29.


Numerous popular "detoxification" supplements claim to promote the removal of harmful compounds from the body, thereby alleviating gastrointestinal symptoms, improving body composition, and enhancing overall health. The present double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial was conducted to examine the effects of a purported detoxification supplement in healthy young adult females. Participants were randomly assigned to consume a multi-ingredient supplement or placebo daily for four weeks. The supplement contained 1,350 mg/serving of a proprietary blend of papaya leaf, cascara sagrada bark, slippery elm bark, peppermint leaf, red raspberry leaf, fenugreek seed, ginger root, and senna leaf. Body composition, waist circumferences, symptoms of gastrointestinal distress, and blood safety markers were evaluated before and after supplementation. Twenty-two participants completed the study, and data were analyzed via two-way mixed ANOVA and t tests. No beneficial or harmful effects of supplementation were found for body composition, waist circumference, gastrointestinal symptoms, or blood markers. These results indicate that consuming a commercially available dietary supplement that purportedly provides detoxification and body composition benefits is apparently safe in healthy young adult females but does not provide any beneficial effects for body composition or gastrointestinal symptoms.

Keywords: botanical; detoxification; papaya; peppermint; slippery elm.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Body Composition / drug effects*
  • Dietary Supplements / analysis*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / blood
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / therapy*
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Waist Circumference / drug effects*
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers