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Natural Colon Cleansing: Is It Necessary?

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What is the theory behind natural colon cleansing? continued...

Some people claim these toxins cause a wide range of symptoms, such as:

On the surface, the idea of toxins being reabsorbed by the body makes some sense. After all, rectal suppositories are used to rapidly administer drugs. Could toxins, too, be quickly entering the bloodstream from the colon?

If colon cleansing has any effect, however, it likely has less to do with toxins than with its impact on the nervous system. What's the evidence? Reflexes in the bowel affect the entire nervous system. In fact, a wide range of symptoms caused by constipation can be relieved by enemas. If this is true of enemas, then perhaps colon cleansing has a similar effect.

What is the goal of natural colon cleansing?

The health claims made by producers of colon cleansing products and colon irrigation practitioners are broad and wide-reaching. Their main goal is to clear the colon of large quantities of stagnant, supposedly toxic waste encrusted on colon walls. Doing so, they claim, will enhance the vitality of the body.

Other stated goals include:

Colon cleansing has been studied in relation to a few health concerns. These include:

  • Fecal incontinence or bowel leakage
  • Ostomy (surgical connection between an intestine and the outside of the body) care
  • Spasm during colonoscopy
  • Drug withdrawal
  • Before and during bowel surgeries

In most of these cases, no quality research has been done to tell whether or not a colon cleansing is helpful.

Is natural colon cleansing needed?

Are bowel movements enough to clear the colon? Or is it true that colon cleansing can be beneficial? This is still unclear. We do know that the body alone can do the following:

  • Natural bacteria in the colon can detoxify food wastes.
  • The liver also neutralizes toxins.
  • Mucus membranes in the colon can keep unwanted substances from reentering the blood and tissues.
  • The colon sheds old cells about every 3 days, preventing a buildup of harmful material.
  • The normal number of bowel movements varies from person to person.
  • Increasing the number of bowel movements doesn't improve weight loss. That's because the body absorbs most calories before they reach the large intestine.

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