Monday, April 29, 2013

Koach Marlo on: Time For A Colonic? Get the Facts Before You Go For the Cleanse.

Once a month, weekly, regular appointments.  It seems that for some getting a colonic has become a part of their regular routine.  For some it takes place at a spa, a colonic center or doctors office, for others it is in the form or a capsule, laxative, enema or a high colonic.   What started out as a procedure to help colon health, has turned into big business, especially in terms of artificial colon cleansers.  Safe or unsafe; how often; whats the truth on colonics once and for all.

So exactly what is a colonic?  A colonic is an infusion of water into the rectum to cleanse and flush out the colon. The water causes the muscles of the colon to contract, and then pushes feces out through a hose to a closed waste system. It is believed that the waste that is being pushed out contains toxins that have remained in the colon over time, which can spread throughout the body. By ridding your body of this you can maintain a healthier body, decreasing risk of cancer and other diseases.  It is also believed that the stool may be preventing the elimination of waste, so this irrigation will alleviate this issue, promoting colon health.  Another belief is that removing the build-up of plaque will allow for better absorption of nutrients into the blood and allow for speedier digestion. The end result would be better digestion,  healthier skin, weight loss among other benefits. Many doctors of alternative medicine believe it is essential to good health. It is no wonder that will all of these benefits and rave reviews that more and more people are turning to colonics as ways to get healthier.  But whats the truth?

The controversy arises from the fact that a multitude of health professionals believe there is no need for a colonic.  The American Council on Science and Health say there is no need for colonics as the body can rid itself of toxins on its own, via regular bowel movements that remove toxins from the gastrointestinal tract and via kidneys and lungs removing toxins from the bloodstream.  Chief of gastrointestinal endoscopy at Bellevue Hospital Center also states that there is no need, as toxins don’t stay in the colon for years, as many advocates of frequent cleanses propose. A majority of medical professionals believe that colon procedures, such as colonoscopies, are only done out of medical necessity.  They also state that there are dangers of colonics for those who suffer from any IBS, IBD, Crohns, Colitis or other intestinal diseases.  Modern medicine sits very far from Western medicine when it comes to the topic of colonics.

In fact, the greatest area of controversy is that the colon is not just a place for waste, but for absorption.  Much absorption occurs within the colon and then nutrients are brought to the bloodstream to be transported throughout the body.  By having frequent colonics, this may disrupt the absorption of valuable nutrients.  Dehydration and tears and internal damage can also be side effects of frequent procedures.  Laxative abuse also has been known to have a boomerang effect, not allowing the colon to work as well once they are discontinued.  To date colon cleansers are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration so unless they are proven harmful they can remain on the shelves so many products can easily be abused and overused.

Taking the controversy out of colonics, the one thing that has been proven to be a healthy colon cleanser is a healthy high fiber diet. Fiber has been considered to act like a toothbrush that helps to remove the food particles from your intestines to keep it healthy.  Fiber is not digested by the body so it will come through and push out the waste as it gets flushed through the body.  Keeping a diet of about 25 grams of fiber is the recommended amount.  Fiber can be found in whole grain foods, leafy vegetables, beans and berries. Water is also key in helping to continuously flush food and fiber out of the colon.  Keeping hydrated, by drinking between 5-8 glasses a water a day, is very essential to colon health.  Physical activity is also important to keep your blood flowing throughout your body, which then allows your colon to work more easily.

So depending on who you ask you might get a different answer on whether colonics are worth it, and if they are safe.  The bottom line is that you need to consider your present medical state and any medical contraindications, you need to know how much experience the person performing the colonic has (as there are no certifications currently needed), you need to let your medical doctor know to be aware of your lab results prior to or after having one and you need to pay close attention to how you feel.  Perhaps take a closer look at your diet as well before embarking on a colonic journey. It seems that since controversy remains, with no proven health benefits in the long run, you might consider not making this a regular habit.  It does seem that going to often may exacerbate dangers, leave you devoid of nutrients and not allow your colon to do the job it has been doing in humans for centuries.  Colinics? Tread carefully seems to be the best advise until proven otherwise.

Marlo Mittler, MS RD is a Registered Dietitian, Nutrition Consultant, journalist and public speaker specializing in nutrition, wellness and healthy lifestyles. Marlo has been in practice for over 15 years, specializing in Pediatrics, Adolescents and Family Nutrition. Marlo, has appeared nationally on FOX, ABC, NBC and CBS News.

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