Fact Check: Can foot pads detoxify the human body?

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Quick Take

A few social media posts claimed that foot pads cleanse and detoxify the human body. We fact-checked and found the claim to be False.

The Claim

A Facebook video claims, “Cleansing Foot Pads provides a healthy and fast effect to your body while you are sleeping. From reducing inflammation, relieving the body, to detoxifying your body from all the impurities”. The video showed that the foot pads attract all the dirt from the body through the feet and change its colour from white to black. However, the regular use of foot pads changed its colour from black to white.

Similar posts have been shared on Facebook.

Fact Check

What are foot pads?

Foot pads are stick-on pads stuck on the bottom of the feet and left overnight with an aim to draw out toxins (including heavy metals) and detoxify the body. When the pad is peeled off in the morning, the changed colour of the foot pad supposedly suggests the toxins have been removed from the body.

Can foot pads detoxify the human body?

No. There is no scientific evidence that confirms foot pads are good at detoxifying the body. We found a (2018) study that suggests foot pads may absorb heavy metals when blood circulates to the soles and releases toxins from the acupuncture points. However, we could not find more credible studies that confirm the same. In context with the change in colour, this study states, ‘the foot pad comes in a white colour sachet that is applied to the mid part of the soles of the feet. After lapsing only one night of body detox, there may be significant physical changes to the smell and color of the detox Pad (from brown, grayish black to black) as it reflects the amount and degree of the amount of absorbed toxins, from the body’ on page number two. 

In the last, this study concludes that foot pads are ‘likely to cause harm or result in any increased uptake of metals, the use of Detox Foot Pad may release minute quantities of metals into the body during overnight Detox Foot Pad sessions’.

The foot pads are usually made up of plants, minerals, herbs and vinegar. We could not find any evidence that can answer why the foot pad changes colour when used. It seems the residue is a reaction of sweat mixing with vinegar. 

We asked Dr. Jyothy Kannangath, Dermatologist, to explain if the ingredients of foot pads can detoxify the human body. To this, she said, “As far as I know, there is no evidence to prove bamboo vinegar in foot pads can attract heavy metals. Even if the foot pads work, we do not know if they can accurately control how much heavy metal to be “detoxicated” from the body. There is no information about how other ingredients work to detoxify the human body. No studies have been done to measure the amount of heavy metals removed from the body. Foot pads may contain starch which turns black upon contact with moisture (from the sweat).”

Can the human body naturally eliminate toxins?

Yes. Human body can eliminate toxic substances from the body with no need for additional external inputs like foot pads. The liver, kidneys, sweat glands and intestines are responsible for removing toxins from the body. To this Dr. Kannangath further adds, “Our skin absorbs heavy metals, however, we still do not know if the heavy metal molecules can be pulled out from the body through skin. While the foot pads seem popular, the detoxification process of the pads remains unclear. Also, the circadian rhythm is not proven to be related to the heavy metal detox, either”. 

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has previously banned manufacturers from selling detox foot pads and spreading misinformation. 

THIP MEDIA TAKE: No evidence confirms the mechanism through which foot pads cleanse and detoxify the human body. On the contrary, foot pads may induce allergic reactions on the skin. Hence, the claim remains false until proven otherwise.

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Disclaimer
Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can further read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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