Knoxville (WVLT) They claim to cure everything from constipation to headaches, but do colon cleansers really work, and more importantly, are they safe?
A full page advertisement in Monday's Knoxville News Sentinel promises to help rid your body of unhealthy toxins, but before you buy, Medical Reporter Jessa Goddard investigates the claims.
The advertisement claims we are exposed to thousands of toxins and chemicals on a daily basis, which can lead to long-term health problems and serious disease.
And this "colon health complex" can help you rid your body of these accumulated toxins, parasites and other waste materials.
The makers of Colon Health Complete claim more than 50 million Americans suffer from constipation, gas and other colon problems that are the cause.
The solution, they say, is to restore normal bowel function and regularity.
Gastroenterologist Sarkis Chobanian says, "normal bowel habit is anywhere from going to the bathroom three times a day to three times a week, so there's a big variation there."
Chobanian says this colon cleansing is based on the theory that waste collects in the colon over time and stagnates there, causing toxins to form and spread throughout the body, a process called auto-intoxication.
But, he says, there's no such thing.
"There's simply never been a scientific study that toxins can be absorbed through the colon, and therefore, we must be doing colon cleansing."
Colon cleansers come in the form of capsules, laxatives and enemas.
Colon health complete is a tablet taken once a day, for 30 days.
But at a cost of 29 dollars a bottle, Dr. Chobanian says colon cleansers aren't just unnecessary, they may even cause harm.
Your intestines don't just dispose waste, they're also the place where nutrients are absorbed to the bloodstream and transported throughout the body.
Washing out your intestines could interrupt this absorption, leaving you with a vitamin or mineral deficiency.
"You can worry about damage to the colon. You can have, especially in younger people, electrolyte abnormalities. If you get too much of a laxative in you, you can drop your potassium levels, your sodium levels."
If a colon cleanser proves harmful, the FDA will take action to remove it from the shelves, but these products aren't strictly regulated or tested.
Doctors say the human body is actually quite good at cleansing itself.
A healthy diet, including enough fiber and water is nature's way of cleansing your colon.
Our calls to the maker of Colon Health Complete for comment for not immediately returned.