Are Colonics and Colon Cleansing Safe?
That would depend on who you ask. Like Mr Bunny. He had a wonderful colonic that inspired him to make lifestyle changes and lose weight, improve his blood pressure and most of all, feel good in his clothes! But, if you trust the mainstream media and the mainstream medical establishment, you will hear that colonics are “harmful and unnecessary”. Funny thing, there has been relatively zero harm caused from colonics. My medical liability for colonics is only $400 and it used to be for the first 10 years I had a clinic, only $200. Do you know what an GYN pays? Would you believe tens of thousands a year. I read where one paid $90,000 per year in medical liability. If colonics are harmful then why are our medical liability rates so low? Which makes you wonder where did all the bad press come from. That is what is so fishy. On one day, every online news network ran the same story with basically the same headline, “Colonics are harmful and unnecessary”. They presented their stories as a “new study” but actually it wasn't a study at all but opinions. Their “study” was actually a review of past studies by one team of researchers and was their opinion with no medical evidence given.
ABC News reports:
"Despite colon cleansing's long history and current popularity, the literature does not support its purported benefits," wrote the report's authors, led by Dr. Ranit Mishori, clinical faculty at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. Mishori and her colleagues reviewed published case studies and found that most of them noted numerous adverse effects from colon cleansing. They ranged from mild cramping and nausea to serious effects such as kidney failure. Mishori said that she and other doctors at Georgetown University Hospital have seen an increasing number of patients who have suffered the ill effects of colon cleansing as well as patients who have asked about it, which is why she decided to undertake this research.
In addition to the side effects of colon cleansing, the authors warned that the Food and Drug Administration has not approved the devices used for colon hydrotherapy, the procedure that uses water to flush out the large intestine.”
If you just blindly trust the mainstream media and medical establishment you would think the systems that colon hydrotherapists use are not approved by the FDA. No they are not because they are REGISTERED with the FDA as class II medical devices. The media left that important fact out of their articles. Another important fact the media tended to leave out of their reports was that Mishori did state that colonics was the best way to correct constipation. If that alone was all colonics did then it should have made headline news that colonics was the best way to help 63 million people per year that are constipated and save some 8 million physician office visits! To put this in perspective, roughly 13 million people per year are diagnosed with cancer. So the headlines should have read, Hurray! Colonics Correct Constipation! I think the main reason the medical establishment is so against colonics is that they don’t believe having a bowel movement let alone 3 bowel movements a day is necessary. Many doctors think it is healthy to only go once a week. Further, most allopathic physicians do not believe the body is toxic or in need of internal cleansing. They believe the body cleanses itself. Well, maybe they should stop brushing their teeth and see what that gets them. If we lived in the Garden of Eden we would not need to cleanse our body and do colonics. But we live in an incredibly toxic environment with estimated over 80,000 toxins and chemicals in our air, food, water, and dont forget all the toxic medications, pain killers and antibiotics. Did the articles care to mention how many people die every year from taking the doctors medications? Roughly 130,000 people die yearly from taking their prescriptions, properly! Not only are colonics the gentlest way to correct constipation as was mentioned briefly in Mishori’s original opinion that did not make it to most of the “news” reports, but also was stated as being the “best way to prepare for a colonoscopy”.
This was also the finding of Dr Joseph Fiorita, MD who presented his true case study (not an opinion) to the Gastroenterology Association. Dr. Joseph Fiorita, MD (chief of the section of Gastroenterology at Danbury Hospital) says "Patients now have a choice"!
"The new method is called colon hydrotherapy, a procedure that infuses warm, filtered, chemical free water into the colon to cleanse it prior to colonoscopy. He goes on to state, "Colon Hydrotherapy is much more convenient, people don't have to worry about having to miss work, not eat for 24 hours and stay up all night because of diarrhea (which is what happens when you take the alternative salt preparation). COLON CANCER survivor Ethel Pancotti is one of the people who colon hydrotherapy has greatly helped. She is among those who could not tolerate the laxative process and would suffer loss of electrolytes, eventually passing out and ending up in the Emergency Department. "WITH COLON HYDROTHERAPY THERE IS NO PAIN OR DISCOMFORT. I was so relaxed that I fell asleep listening to music during the cleansing procedure".
Dr. Joseph Fiorita's medical case study on colon hydrotherapy as a preparation for colonoscopy was accepted and delivered as an oral presentation at the American college of Gastroenterology Meeting October 2006. (ONLY 1% to 2% of all studies submitted, from thousands of abstracts are selected for oral presentation. This is a testament to HOW IMPORTANT the ACG feels this research is).
His Medical Study showed colon hydrotherapy was good or better than alternative preparations and patients preferred colon hydrotherapy. Is colonics safe for everyone? No but neither is taking tylenol or aspirin. There are contraindications for colonics just like there are contraindications for getting your teeth cleaned. It all comes down to some common sense and where you get your information from. So, are colonics safe? After giving over 20,000 colonics to men and women from age 8 to 92, I would say so!
Probiotics, Colonics and the Gut Biome by Rebecca Harder
Have you heard that colonics wipe out your good bacteria, also called intestinal flora or “probiotics”?
I wish that were true. Then the colonic would be wiping out all the bad bacteria as well and we could easily reintroduce the good guys. It just does not work that way. For example, Richard Sprague experimented with his gut biome using a uBiome test to monitor his gut with doing cleansing expecting to wipe out the gut flora, but what was interesting was how the gut recovered very quickly. He wrote the following:
“Your gut microbiome changes constantly in response to everything from diet to exercise, so when looking at multiple uBiome test results side-by-side it can be complicated to figure out what caused a particular change. What if you could radically alter your microbiome with a cleanse and just track that, along with precisely what you eat afterwards? What could you learn?
I recently tried exactly that, using a colon cleanse – the kind you do before a colonoscopy screening. By flushing most of the bacteria from my system and carefully watching them grow back with side-by-side uBiome tests, I learned a few things that might interest you as well:
My gut microbiome recovers pretty quickly. Unlike antibiotics, which are known to cause long-term (and possibly permanent) changes, losing bacteria this way seems only to affect the total numbers, but they sprout right back just like a haircut. In two weeks I was as good as new. This is an overall view of how my gut biome changed:
Amounts and ratios changed, but not the specific organisms. Of course I lost a bunch of bacteria – that was the point – but surprisingly I didn’t seem to gain anything really new, even after an aggressive attempt at re-seeding. I didn’t gain or lose a single phyla. Other than amounts and ratios, I had to dig down to the Class level of the biological hierarchy to find anything that was permanently lost, and even at the very fine-grained Genus level, only two taxa that had been regularly present beforehand were now extinct. (Holdemania and Methanomassiliicoccus). 1
It seems that probiotics are "all the rage" right now, but most of the "scientific" community, (I call them the "high priests of science-ism") state that probiotics do nothing such as in this article by Gut Science: "“There’s no evidence in humans, however, to support taking probiotics just to generally improve your gut health.” 6
It all comes down to who are you going to believe? (In all such tests, I question what was the lifestyle of the person they were testing? and what were the probiotics? Not all probiotics are equal).
So what do colonics have to do with probiotics?
The Colon Hydrotherapy Association is very clear about what a colonic does. They state just a few things and I-ACT is emphatic that it’s members not make any claims or give benefits to what colonics do. So I have to be very careful in what I say on record. The organization makes no claims that the colonic will change your gut biome, neither for wiping out the bacteria or improving the bacteria. They simply state that “Colon hydrotherapy irrigates and cleanses the colon. It is an extended and more complete form of an enema utilizing gently infused warm, filtered water into the rectum which hydrates the colon, softens and loosens waste and results in evacuation through normal peristalsis” 2. When people call in and ask for the benefits of colonics I tell them “none, absolutely none other than it hydrates, lubricates, reshapes and strengthens the colon peristalisis.” Now these are not what people are looking for. They want to fix their constipation, gas and bloating, parasitic and candida overgrowth and general IBS and SIBO. Although hydration, lubrication and peristalsis are a part of making that happen, people want a more direct answer and direct solution. So basically, I say "I can tell you no benefits” other than the hydrate, lubricate, strengthens and reshapes the colon.…. but you might want to check out these excellent articles from Medical Doctors on the subject. You might want to get my book “Gastra Girl, Saving America One Colon at a Time” which has these articles in it.
So in such articles what do physicians say that a probiotic does? The word "probiotic" is a compound of two Greek words: "pro," to signify promotion of and "biotic," which means life. Their very definition is something that affirms life and health. Dr Kevin Passero, ND gives us the most important thing that good bacteria / gut flora / probiotics do for us when he states that “Most people don’t know that 60-70% of their immune system is located in the gut as a vast network of lymph tissue referred to as GALT (gut associated lymphatic tissue). The probiotics in our gut are constantly interfacing with the GALT and essentially priming the immune system for contact with other bacteria.” 3 (GALT is very important but rarely talked about today’s popular and famous physicians.) What you will find is more along the lines of what the wonderful Dr Julian Whitaker, MD says on his website. “Probiotics reduce antibiotic-associated diarrhea, they’re helpful for constipation associated with IBS and for ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s, and other inflammatory bowel diseases. Probiotics have a positive effect on insulin sensitivity where some researchers have found that people with type 2 diabetes have different gut bacteria than those without diabetes. When your gut bacteria are out of balance (dysbiosis), it can affect your mood. For example, anxiety gives us butterflies and stress ties our stomach in knots. Thanks to the gut-brain connection, Lactobacillus and perhaps other strains appear to tone down the stress response and improve anxiety and depression. Your brain, skin, and immune system are all physiologically intertwined, mediated by gut bacteria”. 4
Would you believe probiotics affect your WHOLE BODY as researcher Ann Louis Gittleman, pHD directly states? In her book “Gut Flush Plan”, she states the probiotics in your gut protects your whole body, including your bones. “Research now shows that osteoporosis can be connected to a lack of probiotic bacteria in your colon. Scientists at Baylor University found that probiotics boost calcium absorption. Other research shows that the acidic environment created in the colon by probiotics and fermented foods plays a big role in calcium assimilation. Without an acidic colon, calcium absorption slips and your chances for both osteoporosis and colon cancer, linked to poor calcium metabolism, may subsequently rise. When you bolster your probiotic population, you are also boning up on calcium”. 5.
So it is no wonder why people want to protect and “bolster” their probiotic levels. Therefore, the single most asked question of concern with doing colonics is “will it wipe out my gut flora?” How do people come up with these concerns about colonics being harmful and wiping out the good bacteria… aka..Probiotics? Spend a few minutes searching the internet and you will find countless articles stating that it will be harmful because it might disturb your gut flora as I wrote in the prior blog. (CLICK HERE). The reason they say that is based on personal opinion (pharmaceutical bias/conflicts of interest) and not true scientific research. And if you were to really research it by talking with colon hydrotherapists “off the record”, you would hear countless stories of their personal observations with their clients on how colonics improved the client’s gut biome so that their gut flora would flourish, and normalize gut functioning and overall health. But on record, I could never say such a thing. You certainly wont hear me say that over the phone when clients call asking, “Are there any benefits to doing colonics?”
Richard Sprague went on to test whether probiotics were effective at changing the gut biome and he found them not to be. He found virtually no changes in his gut biome when testing with uBiome Testing. I would strongly agree with him and I do not doubt his testing because most probiotics don’t do anything for you. Most probiotics are not going to work in most people because they can’t overcome the the mutiny of bad bacteria, parasites and yeast/fungus they war against in the average gut biome of today, and they cant colonize/thrive in the excessive waste and mucus environment. I refer to both these issues to address with the “intestinal terraine” but the popular term for this is now the “gut biome”. *
Probiotics do not attach to poop and excess mucus which is the problem with most people. (Even if they “go everyday” they are likely constipated and don’t know it.) Probiotics colonize in a healthy colon, upon healthy colon tissue. Which is why fiber and colonics can really help clean things up so that probiotics can thrive. Cleansing the colon of excess waste and mucus via colon hydrotherapy and at the same time getting adequate hydration, eating truly nutritious whole food with lots of fiber, proper exercise, good sleep, stress and pain management, along with an ample does of happiness, all contribute to creating a gut biome that will flourish with good bacteria. Yes, there is a time for natural antimicrobial actions, but the focus must always be in improving the terrain or gut biome. Otherwise, bad bugs will just come back. Getting “great guts” is not accomplished just by taking a probiotic pill. Wouldn’t that be nice! Introducing good bacteria via fermented foods or a fermented plant based organic probiotic such as the one I endorse for 15 years, works in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle. To say it another way, even the very best most expensive probiotics won’t work if you have an unhealthy lifestyle that includes alcohol, tobacco, high stress, poor sleep, medications like pain killers, psychotropic meds, sleep aids, antibiotics, steroids, and lots of processed foods, sugar and dairy. Oh dairy is terrible for your gut and in another blog I will share why. So is meat. Both of which deserve a full blog.
What is the probiotic I love? It is food based, plant based, organic, and not found in America but all the way from across the earth - Australia. This brand uses a fermented probiotic culture that is fully tested for heavy metals and radiation which is a problem with “organics” because organic labeling does not test for them. Although the probiotic source I suggest has been private labeled here in the US under Donna Gates probiotics, and once upon a time when Jordan Rubin used it in his Primal Defense, and best brought to the American public by the dynamic and super talented Tamara Yapp in her Real Foods Real Life probiotic line (RFRL), I will be bringing it here from the company “Probiotics for Everyone”. The Australian company that makes the exclusive fermented probiotic base that others use in their formula’s is AGM Foods (Grainfields) and don’t let that name fool you. It hides the true power of the probiotics which is an exclusive fermented culture that is over 30 years old and predates the wicked Round Up Ready (glysophates) and GMO crops and is incredibly resilient surviving radiation with shipping and is super effective. People NOTICE a difference with these food based fermented probiotics. I found Probiotics for Everyone when Real Food Real Life (RFRL) decided to retire and Probiotics for Everyone is a very close second to RFRL, if the company can get it shipped properly since they have the worst customer service I have ever experienced. But because they do make, at this time, the best probiotic on earth, I have hung in there and hope to get the brand “Probiotics for Everyone” in time for launching the Gastra Girl 2018 Spring Cleanse. These fermented probiotic products are predigested naturally fermented grain based superfoods. Unfortunately, “grain” has become a dirty word thanks to propaganda by the meat and dairy industry. Folks, think about, what fueled most of civilizations for 6000 years? It was not meat as the popular doctors are promoting. It was healthy grains! The problem is our modern grain supply is poisoned with glysophates and GMO and mold. But there are healthy grains, properly grown, harvested and prepared and these are what Grainfields use to make the best fermented probiotic base (beneficial bacteria) on earth.
Are they the only probiotic that is effective? No, they are just the probiotic base in 3 different private labels I have used over the last 15 years and had great results with. If you find another that you think is just as good, oh PLEASE share with me. I welcome your thoughts and research. The thing I look for in probiotics is that they are PLANT BASED, FOOD BASED, ORGANIC, TESTED FOR MOLD, RADIATION AND HEAVY METALS, AND THE OLDER THE CULTURE, THE BETTER. There really is a health revolution going on! It is up to us to find the truth behind the hype and marketing more now than ever since the allopathic physicians have sought to take over holistic health and wellness.
2. (International Association of Colon Hydrotherapy or I-ACT.org)
5. Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD: The Gut Flush Plan p. 96
(To be covered in another blog, the gut biome/intestinal terrain includes neurotransmitters and your third nervous system but just sticking to talking about the microbial mutiny and slimy sludge in impairing your gut flora for today).
** You can get the book "Gastra Girl: Saving America One Colon at a Time" now at Colon Care, LLC Portland OR or through the upcoming health coaching site: www.GastraGirl.com April 2018.
Rebecca Harder is a National Board Certified Colon Hydrotherapist, I-ACT Certified at the Instructor Level and Happy Owner of Colon Care, LLC. She has given over 20,000 colonics and consultations since 2003. She also offers Health Coaching at www.GastraGirl.com.