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Benefits and Dangers of Colon Cleansers

Colon cleansers are used to remove toxic substances that are accumulated on the walls of the colon. This write-up discusses the benefits and dangers of using them.
HolisticZine Staff
The colon or the large intestine is a part of the digestive system that is responsible for the final stages of digestion. It has three major functions―absorbing water and electrolytes from indigestible food matter, storing food remains that are not digested by the small intestine, and facilitating elimination of wastes from the body. The colon absorbs certain vitamins and nutrients, and helps in maintaining the fluid balance of the body. A healthy colon eliminates harmful substances and detoxifies the body.
The normal functioning of the colon is affected due to many reasons, such as unhealthy diet, drugs, chemicals, and parasites. In such conditions, it starts producing more mucus. Over a period of time, the layer of mucus thickens, narrowing the lumen, and affecting the normal absorption of vital nutrients. There are chances that the toxic substances are circulated back instead of getting expelled, and cause autointoxication.
An unhealthy colon can lead to constipation, indigestion, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal pain, diarrhea, skin problems, bad breath, acid reflux, and other chronic diseases. One way to get rid of such problems is going in for a colon cleanse. Colon cleansers are foods or laxatives used for removing toxic substances to ensure good health. They loosen the stools and increase the frequency of bowel movement, thus, help in the removal of toxic substances.
Colon cleansing helps maintain the normal functioning of the colon. After completing the recommended course of colon cleansers, the person becomes free of the toxic substances that have been built up in the lining of the colon. The colon starts functioning normally, improving the efficiency of the digestive system. There is proper absorption of water and useful nutrients, hence, body fluids are regulated.
Another benefit is getting rid of digestive tract problems, such as abdominal pain, constipation, and indigestion. Colon cleansers remove the accumulated wastes that block the passageway in the colon; thus, enabling a person to have regular bowel movements.
It is observed that many people who have used colon cleansers experience weight loss. As they help in flushing out the accumulated wastes, a person experiences significant decrease in the weight (about 5 to 10 pounds) after its use.
Colon cleansers also protect from infection of the colon by various microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, yeast, and other parasites. In fact, they help in restoring the useful bacteria in the body. Other benefits include purification of blood, prevention of gallstone formation, reduction in appetite, mucus production and skin problems, improvement in metabolism, and alleviation of gastrointestinal problems. Thus, they help in improving the immune system and overall health of a person.
In spite of the many benefits, there are certain unavoidable side-effects too. One of the potential dangers of using colon cleansers is that they can wash away the useful vitamins and nutrients. Another consequence is absorption of water in excess amounts, thus, resulting in the chemical imbalance of the body. This chemical imbalance can cause stomach pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Many of the cleansers that are available in the market contain strong herbs such as Senna, Triphala and Cascara Sagrada. They are natural laxatives and are safe in lower concentrations. However, in higher doses, they cause certain health problems like abdominal pain, liver failure, blood disease, colon lesion, and sometimes, rectal bleeding.
Studies have suggested that colon cleansers contain ingredients like allergy causing foods, powerful herbs, and herbs of low quality having high possibility of containing pesticides, and toxic heavy metals, all of which are potential health hazards. It has also been found that some products may contain ingredients like fish, drugs, clay, sugar, salt, and alcohol.
Disclaimer: This HolisticZine article is for informative purposes only. Please visit your physician or nutritionist for personal advice, especially if you are suffering from any condition.