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a woman's belly with hands depicting a colon cleanse

Is a Colon Cleanse the Same as a Detox? Important Facts to Know

  blog post author icon   blog post published date icon   12/19/20

Detoxification Support  Sleep  Supplements  

These days, more people are looking for ways to stay healthy. Most of us have heard about detoxes and cleanses. We see them advertised on the internet and TV, and likely each of us has a friend that swears by their success.  So, what are they and how do they differ?

Typically, the purpose of detoxes and colon cleanses is to rid the body of toxins, help you lose weight, and boost your immune system. Although the terms detox and cleanse are often used interchangeably, they are very different.

Before starting either of these programs, it is vital to know the difference between the two of them. This information can help us decide whether we want to cleanse or detox and choose a plan that best fits our needs.

What Are Toxins?

Before we discuss the difference between cleanses and detoxes, it is essential to understand what toxins are. The term usually includes harmful substances such as pollutants, synthetic chemicals, processed foods, and heavy metals. These are all believed to affect our health negatively.  

Why Must We Get Rid of Toxins?

Since we are endangered by toxins every day, it is frightening to imagine the buildup of toxins in our bodies. Often, we experience adverse symptoms because our bodies are not able to properly cleanse themselves.

When we experience the following symptoms, we may need to do a detox or cleanse program. 

  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Constipation

Of course, our bodies have a natural way of eliminating toxins with the help of our livers, kidneys, skin, lungs, and digestive systems. However, if these organs are not healthy, they will not effectively eliminate toxic substances.

That is why detoxes and cleanses are often needed. They can optimize our bodies' natural detoxification systems.

What Is a Cleanse?

A colon cleanse is a process that helps to flush out, or clean, the large intestine. Many people believe that toxins in the gastrointestinal tract can cause numerous health problems. These even include high blood pressure and arthritis.

Cleanses can remove these toxins directly from the intestines. They may improve our health, boost our energy, and enhance our immune systems.

Although they are becoming increasingly popular, they are by no means a new invention. Natural colon cleansing dates as far back as ancient Greece. However, it wasn't popular in the United States until the early 1900s.

How to Cleanse Your Colon

Recently, there has been a surge in colon cleansing products on the market. These include:

  • Enemas
  • Laxatives
  • Magnesium
  • Herbal Teas
  • Enzymes

These supplements can be taken by mouth or through the rectum. Either way, they perform the same functions and can be bought on the internet or purchased at health food stores, supermarkets, or pharmacies.

We should take reasonable precautions before cleansing our colons since it can lead to dehydration, a tear in the rectum, infection, or a change in electrolyte balance. You may want to consult with a healthcare practitioner before doing a colon cleanse at home. Also, it is important to make sure the colon-cleansing product or plan is reputable.

If we prefer, we can visit a doctor to have a colon irrigation. Colonic hygienists (also called colon hydrotherapists) perform these procedures. Colon irrigations are much like enemas but with more water.

The specialist will have us lie on a table while pumping several gallons of water through a tube inserted into the rectum. Then, they will massage our abdomens. This will cause us to release a watery bowel movement.

During the process, we flush our bodies of fluids and waste, which include toxins. The specialist will likely repeat the process for up to an hour, emptying as much toxic excrement as possible. 

After a cleanse, we will want to eat foods that help heal our digestive tracts. Some of us have trouble digesting dairy, gluten, soy, meat, or other foods. If we know that we have food sensitivities, we'll want to cut these foods out of our diet.

If we aren't sure which foods to cut out, we must pay attention to the foods that make us feel constipated or bloated. When doing a cleanse, make sure to avoid these. 

What Is a Detox?

If we are not looking to improve digestive health specifically, we may wish to do a detox at home instead. When we hear the word detox, we typically think about ridding the body of toxins through a special diet.

Unlike a cleanse, a detox focuses on improving liver and kidney health, which are able to rid the body of toxins naturally. The goal of a detox is to give these organs a boost and improve their natural detoxifying functions.

Many people choose to detox after eating processed foods for an extended period. Others do so because they are experiencing unpleasant symptoms like fatigue and bloat.

If we want to detox, we don't need any special juices or magic pills. Instead, we need to feed our bodies with healthy foods and supplements to help them function better.

How to Detox

Before we begin a detox, it is crucial to speak with a doctor, especially if we have health conditions. We can also seek the advice and guidance of a licensed dietician. Once we have the approval of our physician, we can start planning our detox.

When we detox, it is essential to cut out certain foods such as refined sugar, alcohol, and processed meals. After we do this, we can add foods that strengthen liver and kidney function. Some of these ingredients include the following.

  • Lemon
  • Garlic
  • Kale 
  • Ginger
  • Pineapple
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Grapefruit
  • Nuts
  • Green tea
  • Coffee
  • Fatty fish

These foods give your liver and kidneys the nutrients they need to function optimally. Because these foods are healthy, you will likely notice a big change in your energy levels, especially if you normally eat a lot of junk food.

Deciding Between a Body Detox and a Colon Cleanse

When we have never tried a detox or cleanse, it can be hard to decide which to do. To make a decision, we can think about our goals and what we want to accomplish.

Colon cleanses are best for those of us who want to improve our digestive health. This may be because we have food allergies or other intestinal problems.

If we want to improve our kidney and liver function, we should detox. This can boost our immune system, increase our energy levels, and make us feel overall healthier.

No matter which we decide to do, we should keep these tips in mind. They can be applied during a cleanse, detox, or to implement a healthier lifestyle.

Get Plenty of Sleep

When we sleep, our brains can recharge themselves and eliminate toxic waste accumulated in our bodies during the day. If we are sleep deprived, our brains are not able to perform this function. This puts us at risk for various ailments and diseases including:

  • Stress
  • Obesity
  • Anxiety
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Alzheimer's disease

Whether we are doing a detox or cleanse, we should make sure to get at least nine hours of sleep each night.

Cut Out Alcohol

When we drink alcohol, our liver metabolizes more than 90% of it. The liver enzymes turn alcohol into acetaldehyde (which can cause cancer). Usually, the liver recognizes acetaldehyde as a toxin, so it turns it into a harmless substance called acetate and eliminates it from the body.

For optimal liver function during a detox or cleanse, we should avoid drinking alcohol. After we finish our detox program, a limited amount of alcohol is acceptable.

Drink More Water

For proper body detox and colon cleanse treatment, we need to drink enough water. Water transports waste products from our body and removes them through urination, sweat, and breathing.

When detoxing, it is essential to drink three or more liters of water daily. However, our activity levels, the weather, and diet can cause us to need more water.

Take Supplements

To flush out toxins, we should take minerals such as magnesium and zinc. These stimulate cell activity, causing them to release toxins into the bloodstream. Besides, they help destroy free radicals and heavy metals in the body.

Also, we can increase levels of glutathione by taking vitamin C. This neutralizes the toxins in the liver. Likewise, vitamin E fights free radicals in cells. 

A great way to ensure that we get the right amount of vitamins and minerals to keep our bodies functioning is by taking a multivitamin. This ensures that we don't take too much of one supplement, which can cause a deficiency of another.

Supplement Your Cleanse or Detox

Whether we do detox programs or colon cleanses, we must make sure that we take the right supplements to support these programs. These can help us feel better while detoxing or cleansing and improve our results. Even after we finish cleansing our bodies from harmful toxins, we can continue to take supplements to increase our bodies' natural functions.

Are you looking for high-quality supplements at reasonable prices? If so, check out our wide selection of products at!

headshot of Jay Todtenbier 2018

Jay Todtenbier is an original founder of in 2010 and has operated the business ever since. He is also a tennis instructor and gospel musician. Formerly he spent 25 years in business development, technology and marketing with startups and major corporations having gone through the tech boom in Silicon Valley in the 90s. He became passionate about, and began studying and practicing Wellness as a Lifestyle after experiencing chronic, personal health challenges including depression, auto-immune disorders, and being overweight that impacted his ability to live a healthy, vibrant life. Since then, he has been an advocate for healthier living encouraging others to live better through making small, gradual changes to lifestyle behaviors relating to whole-foods nutrition, stress management, reasonable exercise, proper sleep, and the use of targeted, high-quality supplements.

Learn more about Jay Todtenbier.

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