A salt water flush is a way to cleanse your colon. Salt water flushes are used to detox the body and help treat chronic constipation issues. Many people first became aware of it thanks to the Master Cleanse fasting and detox method. This article explains what a salt water flush entails and how it can be effective.
What Is a Salt Water Flush?
When some people hear the phrase “salt water flush” they may picture a neti pot. Neti pots flush sinuses with salt water, but that is not the salt water flush we’re detailing here. A salt water flush for your digestive system involves drinking a homemade mixture of non-iodized salt and warm water.
This causes a laxative effect, and within half an hour results in an urgent bowel movement. A saltwater flush can help alleviate constipation, clear out toxins or parasites, and evacuate the intestinal tract. Some people also try to utilize a salt water flush for weight loss, though there are some side effects you should be aware of before trying one.
Possible Side Effects of a Salt Water Flush
Drinking salt water can cause nausea and vomiting, especially on an empty stomach. The National Ocean Service says that human beings can drink small amounts of seawater and still survive, but that too much salt water can be deadly.
Drinking salt water dehydrates us the more we drink it, and while a salt water flush doesn’t include a toxic amount of salt water, it can increase your sodium levels, which can then contribute to high blood pressure. It may also cause an electrolyte imbalance, as well as side effects like:
- Muscle spasms
- Blood pressure issues
- Irregular heartbeat
Colon cleansing with salt water is usually effective at causing a bowel movement, but you may not want to attempt it if you have:
- Heart problems
- Kidney problems
- High blood pressure
- Gastrointestinal issues (ulcers, IBS, Crohn’s disease, etc.)
While a salt water flush may help clear your digestive system, there is no research on how salt water affects your gut’s microbiome or whether it help or harms your gut bacteria ratios. There is a very good chance that it will at least alter your gut bacteria, which is another side effect you should be aware of before attempting a salt water flush.
If you’re wondering how often can you do a salt water flush, it’s not recommended every day, as your gut bacteria needs the chance to recover. You can help the healing along by consuming a probiotic in the days following a salt water flush to replenish the good bacteria in your body.
Does a Salt Water Flush Work?
Now that you know the potential downsides, what are the upsides? Does a salt water detox actually work to flush out your system?
According to a 2010 study, utilizing salt water flushes along with certain yoga positions designed to move the bowel along was an effective method for cleaning the bowel before a colonoscopy procedure. Likewise there are plenty of anecdotal reports from people asserting that salt water flushes worked to help end their constipation and remove waste buildup from their digestive system. It isn’t always a pleasant experience, but neither is chronic constipation, which is why some people will happily attempt this method of colon cleansing.
Who Should Try a Salt Water Flush?
There aren’t medical recommendations for who is in need of a salt water flush. Even in cases of pre-colonoscopy cleansing, doctors will prescribe a laxative and give the patient instructions on what to ingest, what not to ingest, and when to make sure there is no interruption to the procedure. Just as detox diets and juice fasts aren’t for everyone, salt water flushes aren’t always appropriate. Here’s who may want to try a salt water flush:
- Those with chronic constipation
- People who experience irregular bowel movements
- Those with a stomach bug who want to help clear out their system
As far as how much weight can you lose on the salt water flush, that too is not documented in scientific studies, and most medical professionals believe that you’d lose weight more effectively by eating a balanced diet of whole foods and getting regular exercise.
How to Do a Saltwater Flush
Here is a standard salt water flush recipe.
- Mix non-iodized sea salt (like Pink Himalayan sea salt) in a quart (4 cups) of warm water.
- You may choose to add lemon juice before drinking the salt water concoction to make it more palatable.
- Drink the mixture as quickly as possible on an empty stomach.
Be ready to feel the urgent need to evacuate your bowels. This is often done first thing in the morning, as sleeping provides a natural fasting period, but you’ll want to make sure you have a few hours clear after consuming this concoction as you’ll want to stick near the toilet.
Are There Other Alternatives to a Salt Water Flush?
Other ways to flush your system include:
- Over-the-counter laxatives
- Juice fasts
- Detox teas
While these are marginally effective short-term cleanses, the best way to keep your body free of toxins is to support your detoxification organs: your liver and your kidneys. No detox diet or flush can effectively filter toxins if your liver or kidneys are compromised, and taking care of those organs involves eating a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water, avoiding toxins (no drinking or smoking), maintaining healthy body weight levels, exercising regularly, and taking all medications strictly as prescribed.
A Salty Proposition
Salt water flushes can effectively cause bowel movements, thereby helping to ease constipation and clearing out any toxins or parasites lingering in the body. If you have no conflicting medical conditions, one salt flush should cause you no harm, though it is not advisable to do salt water flushes on the regular.
Cleansing your body might be better accomplished by eating well, staying hydrated, and avoiding contact with toxins in the first place; however, in cases of chronic constipation, a salt flush might be the fastest way to relief. Review the possible side effects before attempting, or ask a health care professional if a salt water flush is appropriate for your circumstances.