Monday, August 10, 2009

Do Colon Cleanses Work? Are Colon Cleanses Safe?

I recently started Colonix. I read that a colonix can really help aid in losing weight. Is this true? Colonix is supposedly the #1 in cleansing products. however, some articles say cleansing is good and others say it's bad. I'm not using the system to lose weight, i'm using it to help after I've already lost weight. I eat healthy and exercise regularly. Are colon cleansing systems safe? Do they work? Thanks, Margie S.

Dear Margie,

I'm glad to hear you have successfully lost weight and that you have a healthy diet and exercise program! I don't know of any evidence from the scientific community to back
up colon cleansing for any purposes: if there was, I believe insurance would pay for it and our regular MD would recommend we do this occasionally. (Why wouldn't they, especially if they could make money from it?)

From the research I have seen, colon cleanses are neither necessary nor good for anything. Some of them contain harsh laxatives (in the form of herbs or electrolytes) that may make you feel lighter after emptying your intestine of its contents--mostly water and waste. The scale may even reflect a decrease if you lose a lot of water weight. But you can't lose fat from a colon cleansing--the fat is already absorbed from your diet before it reaches your colon.

The brand you have mentioned is an oral "cleanse". Fiber, a component in one of their stages, is important--and you can get it in your diet by eating whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables. You can even take fiber supplements, such as metamucil, if you don't eat enough (25 grams per day) or Fiber One cereals and bars.

Your body cleans out your intestine daily--it's called having bowel movements. I have seen clean colons (pictures of them anyway) when doctors do colonoscopies. It doesn't take a special program or cleansing herbs--it takes one day of a clear liquid diet and one powerful laxative (prescribed by the doctor just for this purpose). And the purpose was for the doctor to get a clear look at the lining of the intestine for any signs of cancer.

I do believe some of these programs harbor potential dangers, including dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, abdominal discomfort, and diarrhea. Herbs are not regulated by the FDA (since they are not classified as either a food or a drug) and you never really know what you are getting in these products as far as purity and amounts.

My advice is to stick to your healthy diet, aim for 25-35 grams of fiber daily, and continue regular exercise along with plenty of water for adequate hydration. Your colon will be fine with this simple therapy!

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