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New year, new you right? Wanting to improve your health is a great goal for the new year, but you should think twice before starting an intense detox, no matter what your goal is.

Many detoxes, teatoxes, vitamins, and supplements are marketed as being made from natural ingredients like herbs, so people think they’re healthy. Unfortunately, dietary supplements (this term includes vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, and enzymes) are NOT regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and therefore are not evaluated for effectiveness or safety. This makes it difficult to tell what is authentic and real when you’re searching for herbal/dietary supplements.

In addition, many of them may not have the ingredients they say they do. Even supplements made by reputable brands, such as Walgreens, have been shown to contain little of the active ingredients they claim.

Even if your supplements are what they are marketed as, it’s important to use them safely. Some people may think that because they’re natural, they’re safe, and can’t be used in excess, but that’s not true. You can die as a result of taking too many supplements. Just like medication, these supplements should be used in moderation and one should take special care to research the risks, side effects, and possible interactions before consuming them. For example, St. John’s Wort is a popular herb used to help with depression, PMS, and menopause symptoms. It also may interact with hormonal birth control pills and render them ineffective.

I personally believe that it’s important to try to get your nutrients by eating nutritious foods. I love MegaFood vitamins, because they are made from whole foods and the company is incredibly transparent.

If you’re wondering where to start diet-wise (and I don’t mean diet in the sense of restricting yourself, I mean diet in the sense of what you eat on a daily basis), two of my favorite reference books on the subject are the Encyclopedia of Healing Foods and You Are What You Eat. If you feel your diet isn’t cutting it, you can always discuss the subject with your doctor or a nutritionist. So much of how you feel on a day to day basis can be determined by what you consume.

Above all, it’s important to remember the basic issue with all these quick fixes mentioned above. If you are to crash diet or consume something like a teatox to "detox" your body or lose weight quickly, once you stop, you will start feeling however your felt before the detox and/or the weight will come back just as quickly. Changing your diet and exercise habits is difficult. Losing weight and keeping it off is an uphill battle, but slower changes over time - finding an exercise regimen and nutritious foods you love - will lead to lasting “results” whether your goal is to be more healthy, have more energy, lose weight, or all of the above.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the article are my own and do not reflect the official policy or position of CDC. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.