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Is colon cleansing beneficial and safe?

Peter N. Mattar, MD
Family Medicine
Colon cleansing is beneficial in that it clears the intestinal tract of toxic chemicals and helps with temporary weight loss.  With that said,  it is not safe because, during this process, good bacteria are also being eliminated.  By killing good bacteria, our bodies are less able to absorb essential nutrients.
Lisa Ganjhu, DO
Gastroenterology

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the colon-cleaning question. Check out this video with Dr. Lisa Ganjhu, a gastroenterologist, to see which cleanses are harmless and which aren't.

The idea of a colon cleanse is not one grounded in solid science. The body's natural process keeps the colon in good shape. That is not to say that proper health habits are not needed but rather to say that your colon is not like a car's radiator that needs to be "flushed" on a regular basis.

If one were to become constipated, then dietary changes sometimes along with medication can help improve function and one's comfort. The idea of the colon as a reservoir for toxins that build up is not grounded in good evidence. In fact, many of the popular colon cleanses are themselves toxic and can cause great harm. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is by far the best thing for colon health.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.