The era of fast food restaurants, convenience store dinners, and overly processed-beverages has brought about to find healthier options can lead people to all sorts of herbal remedies and alternative forms of therapy.
While there are plenty of benefits to some of these, even just as a placebo, it’s important to be mindful of any potential side effects. In recent years, the concept of a colon cleanse has surged in a variety of different ways, from teas to diets.
This article will discuss six good reasons to be scared of colon cleanse teas.
What Are The Purported Benefits of Colon Cleanse Teas?
Those who are proponents of colon cleanse who claim that there are a variety of different health benefits from regular use of colon cleanse teas. Claims often include that these teas will help with weight loss, promotes better memory and concentration, helps with constipation and irregularity, and that a healthy colon can help detox the rest of the body. (1)
Regardless of the potential benefits, there are some definite concerns associated with colon cleanse teas, as outlined below:
Colon Cleanse Teas May Cause Dehydration- Sometimes Severe
Colon cleanse teas typically ‘cleanse’ the intestines through the use of an herbal laxative, such as senna or rhubarb. While these ingredients can be beneficial for temporary relief of occasional and mild constipation, regular usage can cause dehydration from excessive diarrhea and nausea preventing normal rehydration. (2)
Mild to moderate dehydration is characterized by extreme thirst, decreased energy, dizziness, and headache. Extreme dehydration can cause fever, extreme dizziness that prevents standing and walking, little to no urine production (which in turn, means that other toxic substances are not removed from the body through the urinary tract), low blood pressure and increased heart rate, and in the most extreme cases, shock and coma. (3)
If you plan to drink a colon cleanse tea, make sure that you are consuming at least 64 ounces of plain water every day.
Colon Cleanse Teas May Affect Your Natural Gut Flora
The colon is full of healthy bacteria that have a number of different important functions. Good bacteria in the gut helps support the immune system throughout the entire body, kills off bad bacteria and an overgrowth of yeast, and removes toxins consumed through foods and beverages. (4)
The lack of good bacteria can also negatively alter brain chemistry, causing depression and anxiety. While this hasn’t been studied fully, the purging nature of colon cleanse teas may disrupt the balance of good and bad bacteria in the intestines, and prevent the good bacteria from doing its job.
If you choose to consume colon cleanse teas, adding a probiotic supplement or eating foods with live cultures, such as yogurt or Kombucha, will help maintain gut flora balance.
Colon Cleanse Teas Do Not Help You Lose Fat, Just Water Weight
Supporters of colon cleanse teas often use weight loss as a main reason for regular usage, claiming that the average person has pounds of toxic waste simply sitting in their intestines that need to be removed for health and weight loss purposes.
Unfortunately, colon cleanse teas rarely produce lasting weight loss results. Many times calories are severely limited during a colon cleanse tea course, which can lead the body to starvation mode in a couple of days, stunting the metabolism.
Even if the body were carrying around excess waste in the intestines, a colon cleanse would only temporarily remove it, as food would once again be reintroduced once the colon cleanse is over.
If you are struggling with your weight, consult with your healthcare provider or nutritionist about a healthy way of eating as well as an exercise plan to encourage lasting and healthy weight loss. (5)
Colon Cleanse Teas May Cause Permanent Damage To Your Colon
Colon cleanse teas may cause temporary discomfort for those who are occasionally utilizing them, but if consumed on a regular basis beyond the suggested duration of the cleanse, the damage may become permanent.
Forcing bowel movements, particularly when the diet is lacking in fiber, can weaken the muscles responsible for moving waste out of the body, which can result in accidental bowel movements. (6)
Colon Cleanse Teas May Result in Nutritional Deficiencies
Colon cleanse teas often come with instructions on what foods to avoid during your cleanse to promote full benefits. Ideally, a healthy diet, regardless of whether or not you are using a colon cleansing tea, should include plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, and should avoid alcohol, junk food, overly processed foods, and foods that are high in sodium.
A simple diet such as this can help you lose weight and has a variety of other health benefits. However, colon cleanse teas often suggest incredibly restrictive diets, removing the majority of calories and vitamins and nutrients needed for the body to function. Additionally, abuse of laxatives can lead to electrolyte imbalance, which can lead to cramping and muscle spasms. (7)
Colon Cleanse Teas May Contain Dangerous Ingredients
It has already been discussed that senna is a laxative that can be incredibly dangerous for a number of different reasons. It can also be very stressful on the liver, and in extreme cases can even lead to liver disease and failure.
Cascara sagrada is a laxative ingredient that is sometimes used as a replacement for senna. This herb is no better for the liver than senna, as it contains anthracene glycoside, a compound that can lead to hepatitis and liver failure.
Psyllium is another ingredient that is commonly added to colon cleanse teas, but can cause a host of different problems. As a laxative, it can contribute to many of the above concerns, but also can cause food allergies, leading to anaphylactic shock, and can make asthma and other airway allergies worse. (8)
How Does A Colon Cleanse Work?
The colon, or the large intestine, is connected to the small intestine and anus. It is responsible for removing salt, water, and certain nutrients before stool is formed. The walls of the colon are lined with muscles that squeeze its contents as they pass. The number of bacteria is greatest in the colon, with over 1,000,000,000,000 cells per gram of intestinal content representing anywhere between 300 and 1000 species.
There are two main methods to colon cleansing. The first is through having a medical practitioner perform a colon irrigation, and the second is by doing a colon cleanse with the use of specific products and/or devices. A colon cleanse goes by different names such as colon hydrotherapy, colon therapy, colonic irrigation, colon detox, and more.
A colon cleanse may be required prior to a medical procedure such as a colonoscopy, while other methods of cleansing with the use of herbal supplements, laxatives, or an enema, may help to relieve digestive symptoms, bloating, and constipation.
In the fast paced and unhealthy eating culture in the United States today, it can be difficult to find ways to be healthy. If you choose to consume any type of tea, whether it is detox teas, colon cleansing teas, or another type, it is important to eat healthy, get plenty of exercise, and drink enough water to keep you healthy and your body working at its best.