Colon cleansers are foods and laxatives that loosen your stool and make you go to the bathroom. The latest research shows that regular use of laxatives or colon cleansers can harm you by blocking the absorption of healthful nutrients from your colon into your bloodstream.
Bacteria in your colon convert undigested starches into short chain fatty acids that heal ulcers, prevent colon cancer and other cancers, reduce the pain of arthritis, prevent the arterial damage of arteriosclerosis, lower cholesterol, and even lower high blood pressure.
100 years ago, Ilya Metchnikoff noticed that people who lived in the mountains of Hungary appeared to live to a very old age. They didn't live longer, but they had such a hard life that they looked much older than they were. Metchnikoff knew that they ate yogurt every day and that yogurt is loaded with lactobacilli, bacteria that can grow in your intestinal tract.
He felt that these good bacteria displaced bad bacteria that normally live in your intestines and secrete toxins that shorten your life. His theory of autointoxication is that food that is not absorbed in the upper intestinal tract passes to your colon, where bad bacteria ferment it to form poisons that are absorbed into your bloodstream to shorten your life and even cause cancer.
At the same time in Battle Creek, Michigan, John Harvey Kellogg, of cereal fame, was preaching the same thing. He claimed that undigested food passes to the colon where bacteria break it down to form toxic products that pass into your bloodstream to shorten your life. He prescribed colonics to wash out the undigested foods so the toxic products do not get into your bloodstream.
Of course, this is nonsense. There are two absorption systems in your body. First the food that you eat passes into your stomach and upper intestines, where secretions from your liver, stomach, intestines and pancreas break down carbohydrates, fats and proteins into their building blocks, which are absorbed into your bloodstream to keep your body healthy. The food that is not broken down into basic sugars, amino acids, fatty acids and glycerol cannot be absorbed so it passes to your colon. So far, researchers have identified more than 500 different types of bacteria that grow naturally in your colon. Almost all are harmless and some break down these unabsorbed carbohydrates to short chain fatty acids that are necessary for your health. It is these chemicals absorbed from your colon that prevent and reduce inflamation that aggravates arthritis, and certain cancers, and other fatty acids lower cholesterol and help prevent heart attacks.
Using colon cleansers or laxatives reduces the absorption of these beneficial short chain fatty acids, and you lose basic nutrients. People who recommend colonics and laxatives claim that they remove stool that gets stuck and rots in your colon. This also is ridiculous. Undigested waste products stick together by a physical process called surface tension. Stool behind never passes stool ahead, without first picking up the stool and binding to it as it passes to the outside. Colonics and laxatives not only have not been shown to help you, they can harm you be depriving you of certain nutrients that are necessary for health.
See my report on constipation