Colon cleansing has been used throughout history to detoxify the body and improve digestive health. The practice eliminates built-up waste and toxins in the colon by re-hydrating and loosening the stool so that it is more easily flushed out.
The main theory behind colon cleansing is based on the notion of autointoxication. This theory states that waste, including undigested food, can cause a buildup of toxins in the colon, and that if your colon is not functioning properly, it can impact other organs and systems. The overall goal is to help the digestive and immune systems function optimally. While a colon cleanse is not necessary for everyone, you may benefit from it if you suffer from constipation or digestive problems.
Types of Colon Cleanses
There are a number of different ways you can cleanse your colon.
When it comes to the colon, fiber is important. A high-fiber diet supports healthy digestion by preventing waste build-up in the colon. Fiber also stimulates peristalsis – the contractions of the bowel which help eliminate waste matter. Fiber is also crucial for retaining moisture in the colon and softening the stool, improving transit.
There are two types of fiber—soluble and insoluble. Both kinds of fiber can act as prebiotic to support good bacteria inside the gut. Insoluble fiber bulks up the stool and improves elimination while soluble fiber is dissolved in water and helps make stool more viscous. Soluble fiber delays gastric emptying and can provide a sense of fullness which can aid in weight loss. It also helps reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Make the most of soluble and insoluble fiber with oats and flaxseed. Other sources of soluble fiber include legumes, apples, and rice. Natural sources of insoluble fiber include whole wheat, cabbage, and beets. According to this chart provided by the Institute of Medicine, a healthy daily helping of fiber is between 19 to 38 grams.
Colon Cleansing Herbs
Supplementation is another way to cleanse your colon. Some supplements can be taken orally, such as psyllium husk. Psyllium, an insoluble fiber, is a gentle bulk-forming laxative which is derived from the Plantago ovata herb. Not only does it support healthy intestines by easing constipation, but it may also benefit cholesterol levels. Psyllium should always be taken with plenty of water. Other herbal laxatives include Senna tea or tablets, which stimulate the elimination of waste. Senna is often used to clear the bowel before a colonoscopy. Comprehensive colon cleansers, which contain a formula of all-natural ingredients such as flaxseeds, aloe vera leaf, senna, psyllium and probiotics, are also available. They work by gently stimulating colonic action and removing toxins from the digestive system.
Another option is an enema, which can be purchased from the pharmacy. The most popular types are the saline enema and mineral oil enema. Saline enemas work by pulling water from the body to the lower colon and rectum to eliminate waste, while mineral oil enemas attach to waste in the bowel and help the stool pass easily.
Practitioner colon irrigation
During a colonic irrigation, your practitioner will insert a tube into your rectum to flush out the colon with a large amount of water (up to 60 liters).The whole process takes around 40 minutes. Some people use colonic irrigation to detox as part of their weight loss program.
Probiotics and Colon Cleansing
Because a colon cleanser cannot distinguish good intestinal bacteria from bad, it will eliminate both. When you have detoxed, it’s important to replenish the healthy colonies of bacteria in your intestinal tract with probiotics. Probiotic strains which are particularly beneficial include Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus plantarum, Bifidobacteria bifidum, and Saccharomyces boulardii.
Benefits of a Detox
Whichever method of detox you decide to use, you may notice several benefits, including:
- Improved elimination of toxins from the body
- Improved digestive functions
- Better concentration
- Optimized metabolic process
- Improved immunes functions
- Reduction in allergies
- Revitalized skin and hair
- Increased energy levels
Colon Cleansing Risks and Contraindications
Risks associated with colon cleansing include:
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Increased risk of infection
To minimize the risk of electrolyte imbalance and dehydration be sure to drink fluids with electrolytes during colon cleansing.
It's always a good idea to talk with your primary health provider before starting a new practice such as colon cleansing, particularly if you have any health conditions or you are taking medication. If you are considering colonic irrigation, make sure that your practitioner uses disposable equipment. Check the ingredients of any colon cleansing supplements you use to make sure there are no contraindications with your medication, and stay well hydrated while you are detoxing. Follow the directions carefully as overdosing can cause you to have more bowel movements than normal.
If you are looking for a supplement for quick weight loss and detox, consider DrFormulas™ Nexabiotic® Colon Cleanse & Detox, which contains all-natural herbal fiber and probiotics to support healthy bowel movements.
A colon cleanse can help you feel lighter and more energized. DrFormulas is proud to offer supplements and products that have your health in mind from head to toe. Learn more about our products and read our blog to discuss other health areas—from kids’ health to bones & joints to hair & beauty, we got you covered.