Colon cleansing pills claim to help the body eliminate toxins which have built up in your digestive system. The idea behind a colon cleanse process is to help the body rid itself of accumulated waste such as mucous and undigested matter that can become built up in the colon. Eliminating this waste is supposed to prevent toxins from being absorbed by your body and give you a sense of increased energy. Ridding your body of “toxins” to achieve feelings of increased energy and vitality sounds wonderful, but do colon cleansing pills really work?
The Truth About Colon Cleansing Pills: What Are Toxins?
Before we discuss the effects of a colon cleansing pill detox therapy, we have to first define what is meant by “toxins”. Are they the products of everyday metabolism that your body gets rid of all the time? Or are they molecular fragments still being broken down by the liver? Perhaps, like many people believe, they are bacteria, heavy metals, trans fats, alcohol, pesticides, smoke, exhaust fumes, and chemical pollutants? Unfortunately, purveyors of detox diets and associated detoxification therapies (e.g., foot pads, electrical footbaths, colon cleansing pills, etc.) leave their definition of toxins pretty vague. This is by no means an accident. By leaving their definition of “toxins” vague, marketers of detoxification diets and other products allow for a broader range of people to believe that the specified detox method will work for them. Whereas conventional medical treatments tell you exactly what they are for and how they work, alternative detoxification methods do neither. It is pretty much left up to the individual to come up with their own idea of what “toxins” are. With that said, on to the review.
The Truth About Colon Cleansing Pills: Do Colon Cleansing Pills Really Work?
One of the many detoxification products on the market is herbal colon cleansing pills, which claim to cause your intestines to produce “mucoid plaque” (long rubbery bowel movements full of toxins - see photo at right). If you saw such a thing as pictured exiting your body, not only would you be shocked, but it would also seem to confirm the idea of “toxins” building up in your intestines. As it turns out, there is more to “mucoid plaque” than toxin buildup. The condition of “mucoid plaque” doesn’t really exist, the term was invented by the marketers of these colon cleansing pill products; there is no such medical condition. These herbal colon cleansing pills often consist mainly of bentonite (a type of expanding absorbent clay) and herbal laxatives and stool softeners. When combined with psyllium (a dietary fiber not absorbed by the small intestine; and also used commercially for the production of mucilage polymer), bentonite forms a rubbery cast of your intestines when taken internally; along with whatever else was in there that you happen to be excreting. The result is a long rubbery bowel movement of “toxins”. It should be pointed out that the only recorded instances of these “mucoid plaque” excretions come from the takers of these herbal bowel cleansing pills. No pathologist has ever found one while conducting an autopsy and no gastroenterologist has ever encountered one performing an endoscopy. “Mucoid plaques” simply do not exist until you take a product like colon cleansing pills to form them. It is the colon cleansing pills themselves that actually create the very condition they are claiming to cure. The results are so convincing that anyone who has ever taken a “bowel cleansing” pill would never consider disputing the product’s claim.
As previously mentioned, these colon cleansing pills also contain compounds that have laxative effects. In contrast to typical laxatives, these products claim to produce milder affects; simply causing you to have more frequent bowel movements without “interrupting your daily life.” If their idea of helping the body rid itself of accumulated waste to “prevent toxins from being absorbed by your body” is to take mild laxatives so you have more frequent bowel movements, then they have no basic understanding of how the human digestive system even works.
Using laxatives to purge your body of accumulated waste matter in the intestines in an attempt to help keep “toxins” from becoming absorbed by the body simply will not work. This is because laxatives only hasten the elimination of undigested food remains in the large intestine and colon. The large intestine is the last part of the digestive system. Its function is simply to take in any vitamins that are created by bacteria inhabiting the colon, absorb any left over water from the remaining indigestible food matter, and then to pass the useless waste material from the body. The large intestine and colon are not responsible for nutrient or “toxin” absorption. They just collect the undigested remains and hold it until it is defecated. It is the small intestine where the vast majority of food digestion and nutrient absorption takes place and also the place where any “toxins” would be absorbed into the blood. Since laxatives only affect the large intestine, not the small intestine, these colon cleansing pills simply have no effect on helping to eliminate “toxins” from your system by increasing the frequency of your bowel movements.
While creating rubber casts of your bowels may be a little disgusting, and increasing the frequency of your bowel movements relatively harmless, taking colon cleansing pills can be very expensive. A one month supply of such pills costs anywhere from $30 to $80. That’s quite a bit of money to spend on a product that simply allows you to create something more frequently that you flush down the toilet. While these colon cleansing pills claim to provide herbal and organic cleansing, they are nothing more than clay pellet laxatives that have been packaged in an eye-catching bottle which have no detoxifying properties whatsoever. In fact, the truth about colon cleansing pills is that there is no colon cleansing treatment approved by the FDA for “general well-being” or “detoxification”.
The Truth About Colon Cleansing Pills: A Better Alternative
If you are really interested in detoxifying your body, pay a little more attention to your body and less attention to marketers who are trying to get your money. Did you know that your body already has nature’s most efficient detoxification system? Would you like to know what it is? It’s the liver. The liver changes the chemical composition of foreign compounds so they can be filtered out of the blood by the kidneys, which then excrete them out through the urine. Your body simply doesn't need special detoxification pills to help it accomplish this.
Why don’t herbalists and alternative medicine practitioners mention this option to their customers? After all, it is all-natural and proven effective. They won’t because herbalists and alternative medicine practitioners are too busy trying to sell you some form of unproven detoxification therapy that claims to cure whatever it is that’s wrong with you. It’s kind of ironic to realize that the only people willing to help you manage this all-natural option are medical doctors.
So, do colon cleansing pills really work? This article has given the reasons why colon cleansing pills do not live up to their claims of removing “toxins” from your body or helping to boost your body’s already existing detoxification system. But, if you are still uncertain as to whether detoxification products like colon cleansing pills really work, then feel free to judge for yourself. If you choose to do colon cleansing, Mayo Clinc gastroenterologist Michael Picco, M.D. suggests taking some precautions. With those precautions in mind, here are some colon cleansing detoxification therapies you can try for yourself at home:
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