I seem to hear about them all too often. Someone performing a “cleanse” on themselves. These are surprisingly popular, but not with any medically educated professionals that I know.
I have gotten many laughs with people talking about cleanses, especially the “Ortho Phos Liver Gallbladder Flush” which says you might have to “hunt” through your feces to see the “stones” that are supposedly flushed from your system. If you are willing to hunt through your poop, you need a straight-jacket and not a “cleanse”.
I have mixed feelings about various natural products, largely because there is little research backing their effectiveness and/or safety. In the nineties I used to sell a natural product call Kava Kava which was supposed to aid insomnia and anxiety. It was 100% natural, so it must be safe right? Wrong. Kava Kava was linked with liver disease, and in 2002 the FDA posted warnings about its use. Natural products can easily be harmful or have adverse affects alone, or when used with other compounds.
Many cleanses, such as the one mentioned earlier, are convincing when you pass what is sometimes hundreds of stones in your bowel movement. It is easy to assume if you are doing a gallbladder cleanse, that these stones must be from your gallbladder. Luckily, with today’s technology, there are many ways to take a peek inside the various organs of the human body, and according to the doctors of which I have spoken, they have yet to see the large quantity of “stones” that some of these cleanses produce.
It is more likely that the stones produced are a by-product of the series of ingredients you must ingest to complete the cleanse. The above mentioned cleanse starts with Turkey Rhubarb for days, then Maiden Barber and White Mallow are taken for 2 weeks, and finally Ortho Phos is taken to loosen the stones so you can pass and hunt for them in your poop. It brings a whole new meaning to the question…“So, what did you do over the weekend?”
Not all cleanses end with your body passing stones. Some colon cleanses are a combination of natural laxatives (fiber) that just help you clean out your plumbing, so to speak. Magnesium Citrate is available over-the-counter at Walgreen’s and is used to clean out your colon prior to a colonoscopy. A balanced diet with adequate fiber does wonders!
The real question is do you really need to cleanse your system? All too often I hear the claim that “it gets rid of the toxins in your system”. I ask, where is the proof? There are millions of people not performing cleanses and they are doing just fine.
Whether you are at the health food store, the massage therapist’s, or the chiropractor’s office, beware that there are too many quacks offering advice that is outside the boundaries of their education, and this totally unethical. Listen only to those that are experts in their field of study, as only a qualified medical physician should be offering advice about “cleansing” vital organs.