A Rant on Cleanses

It’s a pet peeve of mine that there are so many poor quality products at most health food stores.  Poor quality products mean that health conscious people who are trying to take a more proactive approach to maintaining their health get separated from their money for little or no benefit and people who may be just venturing into natural medicine may conclude that it doesn’t work on the basis of a negative experience with these sham products.  High on my list of fairly worthless products are “cleanse” kits. Most of them contain some combination of laxative herbs, fiber supplements, liver herbs like dandelion and milk thistle and maybe probiotics.  That all sounds good right?  However, I never recommend laxative herbs, they can be irritating to the digestive tract and over long term use have been shown to cause cellular changes that may not be healthy.  Fiber supplements should not be necessary for anyone who is eating adequate fruit and vegetables in their diet.  Dandelion and milk thistle are great herbs, however the dosages in most of these products are too low to accomplish anything and tincture is generally the best format for herbs.  Good quality probiotics are not shelf stable, they must be kept refrigerated, if the probiotic you are using is not kept in the fridge, switch to one that is.

These products also tend to have “proprietary” blends of many herbs.  What this means is that they don’t disclose how much of any particular herb is in it, which makes determining the effectiveness of the dose you would receive impossible.  One particular one contains a mixture of 15 different herbs that total up to 750 mg per day, assuming that all 15 herbs were present in equal amounts it means the daily dose of each herb would be 50 mg, which is nothing.  By comparison, the MediHerb product that would be comparable contains 7 000 mg of milk thistle and 400 mg of dandelion, per tablet.

At best these products will make you poop more for a month, you can accomplish the same thing by taking Ex Lax, not that I would recommend that either. That is not helping to rid the digestive tract of unwanted organisms and restoring healthy bowel flora which is what I mean when I refer to a cleanse of the digestive tract.

Spring, fall and January are the usual gastrointestinal cleanse times, which we usually follow with a liver detox.  It’s always best to schedule an appointment so we can discuss what would actually work to restore bowel health and detoxify the liver.  Information changes all the time!

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