Chemical detoxification is recommended by a small group of practitioners to remove undesirable chemicals from patients believed to have IEI. The putative basis for this modality is that the clinical sensitivity is caused by toxic effects of low-levels of synthetic chemicals in the body.56
Treatment consists of several steps. Aerobic physical exercise is performed for 20 to 30 minutes, followed immediately by forced sweating in a sauna at 140° to 180° F for 2.5 to 5 hours and then physical exercise, a cooling shower, and additional exercise. Niacin is then given in increasing doses to produce a flush. Water and salts of sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and other minerals are given to correct for water and salt depletion from sweating. Polyunsaturated oils, such as a mixture of soybean, walnut, peanut, and safflower oils, which are said to be “essential,” are consumed orally. A planned schedule of balanced meals and adequate sleep is recommended, along with avoidance of medications and alcohol. This routine is repeated daily, usually for 30 days.
All reports to date by proponents of this detoxification procedure are anecdotal. Results are measured by the patient’s self-report of symptomatic improvement. Some of the therapeutic components (diet, elimination of unnecessary medications, aerobic exercise, and adequate sleep) may be the primary reasons for subjective improvement. No controlled studies of this form of detoxification have yet to be reported for the treatment of allergy, IEI, drug addiction, or any other illness. The ability of the procedure to remove chemicals from fat has not been confirmed.