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Colon Cleansers - useless?

Tatie
Posts: 28
Joined: Aug 2003

Colon Cleansing & Cancer Risk
(Interview with Bernard Levin, M.D., June 3, 2003)

They are everywhere. Ads on television, on the Internet and in newspapers tout the virtues of colon cleansing supplements as a way to prevent colorectal cancer. Some of them even have graphic pictures of the "results" produced by taking these alternative remedies. Do colon cleansing products and processes reduce one's cancer risk?

In a word, no. "It's all nonsense," says Bernard Levin, M.D., vice president for cancer prevention at M. D. Anderson. "It's all about selling products for an exorbitant amount of money that you can buy over the counter for very little - if you even need them at all."

Among the claims made by colon cleansing products are:

A typical person has anywhere from a few ounces to several pounds of undigested red meat in their colon, which causes mucous buildup on the colon walls
This mucous buildup produces toxins that may increase the colon cancer risk or lead to other diseases if not removed
Regular bowel movements are not enough to clear out the colon
A "dirty" colon can adversely affect the body's lymphatic system
Using a colon cleanser is the only way to remove mucous buildup and reduce cancer risk
There are at least two colon cleansing methods being advertised by dozens of manufacturers. Powdered or liquid supplements irritate the colon wall, forcing it to slough off hardened mucous, which is eliminated through a series of bowel movements. Colonic irrigation, also known as high colonics, works much like an enema by flushing large amounts of water through the colon to loosen and remove buildup.

"We dont even know the long-term effects of constant purging with colonic irrigation and supplements," Levin says. "If these people have a safe, effective product as they claim, they need to prove it. Do a research trial - dont go on the Internet and sell sweatshirts."

Levin, an internationally recognized colorectal cancer expert, says the colon is a complex, dynamic organ that is constantly shedding old cells - a process that rarely needs any help. He concedes that laxatives can help ease constipation, if used properly. "Chronic use of laxatives to cleanse the colon is not a good idea, since some drugs can alter the colon lining or upset the intricate balance of chemicals and bacteria."

When striving for a healthy colon, its all about what goes into your body. "Theres no doubt that diet has a lot to do with whats in the colon," Levin says. "If you're eating a lot of red meat and fat, it's not as good for you in general. The way to avoid or mitigate the effects of an unhealthy diet is not to change what's in the colon, but to change what comes in the front end."

The bottom line is that colon cleansers don't do anything to lower your risk of colon cancer. "A healthy diet (low in red meat and fat and high in fruits, vegetables, fiber and calcium), exercise, drinking in moderation and avoiding tobacco are the known elements that reduce colon cancer risk," Levin says. "Know your family history, and get screened earlier than age 50 if colon cancer runs in your family. For the rest of us, he emphasizes, "begin screening at age 50 by any of the recommended methods."
http://www.mdanderson.org/diseases/colorectal/

StacyGleaso's picture
StacyGleaso
Posts: 1246
Joined: Mar 2003

Tatie,
Thanks for the information, and taking the time to type all of it! Lately, there is SO much offered to people who are trying their best to avoid recurrences, and this really puts it into perspective.

Take Care,

Stacy

spongebob's picture
spongebob
Posts: 2600
Joined: Apr 2003

Obviously the folks that tout high colonics and colon cleansing have never enjoyed a big glass of Phosphosoda the evening prior to a colonoscopy!

Ahhh the things we get cheap that others pay thousands for...

Tatie
Posts: 28
Joined: Aug 2003

Very funny, Bob! My neighbor swears by the colonics though. Have you tried it? I haven't, but was about to (we have a clinic close by, practically across the street, and I was running out of excuses), I sure was happy to run into the article that it's useless. Few, the pressure is off, I feel a ton lighter!
You're right, Stacy, you can't go for 5 munites on the internet without running into the benefits of colon cleansing, and the millions of products they offer. I think the Yogis started it, "The Yoga doctrines state that in the normal human body, even if healthy, an enormous amount of cleansing needs to take place if the person is to realise to any great degree their innate possibilities." Also, I read a lot of Norman Walker books and he is really into the colon cleansing, he is the one that has the pictures of the worn out colon and the healthy colon in his books side by side that will scare you into any diet! Maybe it's good for the body in general but not necessarily prevent colon cancer?

StacyGleaso's picture
StacyGleaso
Posts: 1246
Joined: Mar 2003

Hey Tatie...just thought I'd tell you "great name"...my 3 year old is named Tatum and sometimes we refer to her at Tatie...

Here's to good health for you both...aw heck, let's just include everybody!

Stacy

Tatie
Posts: 28
Joined: Aug 2003

Thank you, Stacey, Tatie is a nick name given to me by a very special guy. :)

Thank you for your good wishes. Best of everything to you and your daughter!

2bhealed's picture
2bhealed
Posts: 2084
Joined: Dec 2001

Sigh, of course he is going to reply in this manner b/c he does not believe in alternatives obviously. It is just one man's opinion.

I have personally had a colon irrigation, done a parasite cleanse (you should have seen what came out..wormy buggers), I just did a coffee enema yesterday, I take Cleansemore nightly to ensure parastalsis of my colon which is NOt a laxative which are VERY harmful.

It just gets frustrating that people will dismiss a healthful protocol that people have been doing for millenium yet they will embrace something (chemo) that is relatively new that kills people every day. I just don't get it. When chemo first came out after WW2 it was considered the medicine of charlatans but 50 years later folks flock to it and pooh pooh natural medicine.

Tatie, give it more research. Second opinions from truly knowledgeable alternative practioners. And talk about doctors making a buck off you. How much does chemo/radiation cost???hello? and does it always work? Not for my sister or my grandfather or my aunt or all the folks who die every day. Sure it works for some but not for all. Same with anything.
It's like going to a Jewish Rabbi to ask him to tell you about Christianity.

peace, emily

Tatie
Posts: 28
Joined: Aug 2003

Hmmm, okay, I will read up on it some more, thanks, emily! I guess we should cross refrence everything read and not just trust one source of information. Like asking rabi about christianity, huh? Funny! :D But it did make sense to me, what he said about, if you eat good foods, what's there to clean out?

2bhealed's picture
2bhealed
Posts: 2084
Joined: Dec 2001

hi tatie,

Yes of course good nutrition is key but honestly, how many folks do you know who really have pure diets not tainted with white flours, white sugars, fried foods, coffee, fast foods, meat, and processed foods? I personally don't know many. Unless one is eating only organic fruits, veggies and completely whole grains then a colon cleansing would benefit anyone.

peace, emily

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