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Kidney Cleanse: Do You Need It?

Your kidneys filter 30 cups (240 ounces) of blood every hour, removing waste and water you eliminate in urine. All day and all night, your kidneys naturally cleanse your blood.

A kidney cleanse is a popular wellness trend that purportedly supports this normal kidney function. Though food and fluid are important for kidney health, eating a certain combination of foods, drinking special juices or teas, taking supplements, or not eating at all can’t improve the kidneys' natural detoxification process.

Read on to learn more about the popular kidney cleanse so you can determine for yourself whether you need it or not.

Kidney cleanse: what is it?

A kidney cleanse refers to various detoxification therapies, diets, and regimens that are proposed to help rid the body of harmful substances. The goal of kidney cleanses varies, but they’re often promoted as a quick fix for enhancing health or supporting weight loss.

The human body is exposed to toxins on a regular basis from the food you eat, the liquids you drink, and the air you breathe. The body also produces toxins through normal metabolic processes — for instance, lactic acid is a byproduct of energy production, while urea is a byproduct of protein metabolism. If not removed by the body, the toxins could build up and make you feel sick.

According to proponents, a kidney cleanse diet helps rid the body of these toxins so you feel better. However, healthy kidneys do a good job ridding the body of toxins on their own as part of their normal daily function.

tips to maintain healthy kidneys

Many techniques exist for 'cleansing' the kidneys. Some of the popular methods include:

  • Fasting
  • Drinking only fresh juice from certain fruits and vegetables
  • Drinking detox teas
  • Using detox herbal supplements
  • Taking laxatives or using enemas
  • Sweating in a sauna

Despite promotion by wellness centers and holistic practitioners, you don’t need to follow a restrictive diet or take expensive kidney cleanse supplements to improve toxins removal by the kidneys.

The best way to support kidney function and detoxification is to drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet that supplies all the essential nutrients necessary for health and wellness.

Are there any benefits of kidney cleansing?

Though some studies have looked at the potential benefits of detox diets, these studies have limitations, like small sample sizes, lack of control groups, or biases, making it hard to draw firm conclusions.

Claimed benefits

Some of the claimed benefits of a kidney cleanse include:

  • Improved kidney function
  • Boost in energy
  • Better immune response
  • Enhanced removal of toxins and heavy metals
  • Improved digestion
  • Reduced joint pain
  • Better sleep
  • Weight loss
  • Stronger body
  • Enhanced appearance

Scientific evidence

The scientific evidence to support the claims of kidney cleanse benefits is limited. According to a 2022 review article published in Frontiers in Nutrition, these diets fail to provide any mechanism by which they remove toxins and what type of toxins they remove.

There’s some evidence that a detox diet can help with weight loss. A 2015 study published in Nutrition Research found that the lemon detox diet — a very low-calorie, 7-day diet that consists of only maple syrup and lemon juice — led to weight loss and a decrease in body fat in a group of women with overweight. The study also found improvements in inflammatory markers linked to cardiovascular disease during the detox.

Though promising, the results from the study are more likely due to calorie restriction than improvements in detoxification from taking only maple syrup and lemon juice. A 2015 critical review of detox diets published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics notes that there’s preliminary evidence that coriander and nori may have detoxification properties, but this is based on animal studies, and observed effects may not be transferable to humans. Clinical trials are needed to prove or disprove the potential detoxifying abilities of specific foods or food combinations.

The Hubbard Method is a detoxification regimen consisting of moderate aerobic exercise, two to four hours of intermittent sweating in a sauna, and supplementation with niacin, electrolytes, polyunsaturated fats, and a multivitamin. A 2019 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that the Hubbard Method slightly improved kidney function in a group of Gulf War Veterans suffering from Gulf War illness.

Again, while the results are promising, the improvements in kidney function are minimal, and the study was small, with only 26 volunteers. More research is needed to see if the Hubbard Method can support natural kidney detoxification.

If you want to improve the cleansing powers of your kidneys, eating a balanced diet and getting more water may do more good than sweating in a sauna for a few hours.

Risks and considerations

On top of the questionable efficacy, a kidney cleanse may come with risks. In 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advised consumers not to buy specific detox products because they contained ingredients not listed on the label, including prescription medications.

Fresh juices promoted as a kidney cleanse are sometimes made from unpasteurized juice. Most juice in the United States is pasteurized or heated to kill harmful bacteria. Proponents of juice kidney cleanses claim that pasteurization kills the beneficial nutrients, inhibiting the potential benefits. However, drinking unpasteurized juice increases the risk of foodborne illness and isn’t recommended, especially for people with compromised immune systems or people who are pregnant or nursing. Children and older adults should also avoid drinking unpasteurized juice.

Additionally, a juice kidney cleanse may cause kidney damage. Drinking juice with high amounts of oxalate can lead to kidney problems like oxalate nephropathy, the accumulation of calcium deposits in the kidneys. Oxalates are compounds naturally present in fruits and vegetables like raspberries, beets, and spinach. Juicing creates a drink with a high concentration of oxalates.

Some of the cleansing products may contain ingredients that have diuretic or laxative effects, increasing the risk of dehydration and electrolyte imbalances from fluid loss.

Consult with your doctor before trying a kidney cleanse to discuss the pros and cons. This is especially important for people with chronic health issues like diabetes or kidney disease.

How to keep your kidneys healthy

Eating a balanced diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean sources of proteins is how you keep your kidneys healthy. You also might want to minimize sodium intake. High intakes of sodium are a risk factor for high blood pressure, a chronic health condition that leads to kidney damage and kidney disease.

Drinking plenty of fluids also helps flush out the toxins. Plain water is your best choice for kidney health. Limiting added sugar intake is also good for the kidneys and may reduce the risk of kidney stones.

Making time for regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting enough sleep is also good for the kidneys.

A kidney cleanse is a popular home remedy that is promoted to help flush out toxins. However, the claims behind the benefits of kidney cleanses aren’t based on scientific evidence. Though certain kidney cleanses may be safe for healthy people when done for a short period of time, they can come with risks like dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.

Discover some of the best kidney and bladder support supplements on the market in our dedicated article. All of the products underwent a rigorous evaluation process by the Healthnews Research Team.

Snap Supplements Kidney Health
  • Manufactured under GMP
  • Comprehensive ingredient list
  • Manufactured in an FDA-registered facility
  • 4.4-star rating on Amazon
PurePremium Kidney Support Supplement
  • Manufactured under GMP
  • Non-GMO
  • Manufactured in an FDA-registered facility
  • 4.5-star rating on Amazon
Sunergetic Premium Kidney Cleanse Supplement
  • Sourced from a GMP-certified facility
  • Manufactured in an FDA-registered facility
  • 4.4-star rating on Amazon


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