Today, I feel the need to dispel a few common cleansing . To start with, I disagree that there are pounds of excess toxin and fecal matter buildup in our colons including the gum we swallowed in third grade. If this myth were true, colonoscopies would visualize this supposed build up. Of course they do not, but instead show pink walls after just one dose of an osmotic laxative the night before. The millions of people that have had colonoscopies do not report passing multiple pounds of thick, black or rainbow colored sludge that perpetuators of this myth illustrate.

Laxative herbs, and cleansing products can cause more harm than good and I recommend avoiding using them as a cleansing tool. There is evidence that many products create the “toxic sludge” that they are supposedly clearing out of people’s colons. Fiber, water and are more sensible, less invasive tools to get the job done. You don’t need to give yourself to ! One well formed, soft, bulky, easily passed stool a day is adequate elimination for most people. Others pass a stool after each meal. A range of 1-4 BMs daily is normal.

I also disagree with cleansing for the purpose of weight loss. You may lose weight on a limited diet or fast, but you will not keep it off and could even slow down your metabolism and cause weight gain. is especially risky and can exacerbate eating disorders and cause life-threatening electrolyte imbalances. Fasting can be useful for some people for short periods of time, but should be done with caution. It is not necessary to go without food in order to cleanse the body.

Periods of cleansing by supporting the natural elimination pathways of the body are absolutely beneficial to health. Avoiding toxin exposure, eating well and exercising regularly is the only way to maintain optimal health. There will never be a short cut or replacement for this and cleansing is no exception.

Anyone with a serious health condition, pregnant and nursing moms, children or frail elderly people should not attempt to do an unsupervised home . In order to find out what type of cleansing would be most useful, safe and effective for YOU, I recommend making an appointment with your local physician. A licensed ND is trained to evaluate your toxic burden, do lab work or other tests as needed and tailor a detox plan designed especially for you. This will always be followed up by a healthy lifestyle plan so that you can get well and sustain wellness.

Margaret Philhower, ND