Colon cleanses are used to help patients remedy their digestive and constipation problems. The colon, also known as the large intestine, is inevitably an important part of the digestive tract. It reabsorbs fluids, and helps excrete waste from the body.
Some experts claim that colon cleansing may help relieve troublesome digestive issues. However, anti-constipation remedies, such as laxatives, have also proven to help with regular bowel movements. Further, colon cleanses and anti-constipation methods may help reduce cancer, IBS symptoms, constipation, and improve bowel movement frequency, stool softening, and more.
Best Colon Cleanses
1. VitaBalance Colon Detox Plus
VitaBalance provides a blend of the most well-known ingredients that contribute to a healthy colon such as psyllium, Lactobacillus acidophilus, rhubarb, and aloe vera, while also giving a dose of some extra products such as Cascara sagrada, buckthorn, and alfalfa leaf.
Colon Detox Plus is not only non-GMO, but it is also gluten-free and vegan making it one of the purest and gentle formulations that can be found currently. For these reasons, it’s our #1 pick
2. Kleen IQ Colon Detox & Cleanse
Kleen IQ uses laxatives such as senna leaf and medium-chain triglyceride oils with aloe vera gel to create a soothing sensation for the lining of the colon. Given the sometimes volatile nature of laxatives, having a softer approach is an absolute bonus for those who may have some anxiety about the process.
Additionally, Kleen IQ’s products are manufactured in an FDA-certified factory.
3. Dr. Tobias Colon Cleanse
Dr. Tobias combines natural laxatives such as senna leaf and oil-based salves such as aloe vera gel and medium-chain triglycerides with fiber to ensure that you receive the laxative benefits of the product while making sure it’s done in the most holistic way possible.
Though it may not have the same gluten-free and non-GMO aspects found in VitaBalance’s formulation, this is still a safe and reliable option for those who need a colon cleanse without the more harsh elements.
4. NutriRise Colon Cleanser
While many colon cleansers on the market may provide fast results with a volatile approach, NutriRise combines the softer colon cleanser ingredients with more laxative inducing content for the best results. With more senna leaf and cascara sagrada than most of the other cleansers out there, this product will purify your system without an elaborate mix of dangerous chemicals.
It also includes a decent amount of psyllium husk powder to help rebalance digestive bacteria. All in all, this is a product that provides the best of both the natural and medicinal worlds.
5. Health Plus Super Colon Cleanse
Health Plus Super Colon Cleanse not only provides the traditional laxative inducing ingredients but also a few additional ones that make this formulation unique and different. Health Plus’ blend includes a dose of psyllium husk powder and senna leaf powder, known for their cleansing-inducing qualities, while also providing papaya leaf and fennel seed to help boost gut healing.
Additionally, this formulation is designed to also balance out the bacteria in the gut with the use of probiotics such as acidophilus.
6. Sculpt n’ Cleanse
Health Direct’s Sculpt n’ Cleanse provides a colon cleanse product that allows for detoxification with a friendly formulation for multiple lifestyles. Those who are looking for a vegan, kosher, or non-GMO option will be more than pleased with this option.
Combined with its mix of natural herbs such as psyllium seeds, sagara pods, and aloe vera, Health Direct exceeds most expectations at an affordable price point for a one or two time cleanse.
7. Renew Life Adult Cleanser
Marketed as gluten, dairy, and soy-free, Renew Life Cleanse More provides a lot of benefits for multiple people and lifestyles. Including a vegetarian blend, this adult cleanser combines both herbal and mineral elements to create a complete solution for users.
With a focus on magnesium and aloe leaf, this is a great natural solution for occasional constipation.
8. Natural Balance Colon Cleanse
Though many products may be more successful or effective, Natural Balance still provides not only an affordable option but a highly accessible one.
Found in a large number of grocery stores, Natural Balance Colon Cleanse includes senna, buckthorn, and aloe vera while also providing a few herbal extracts. Those who need a colon cleanse option as a one-time help should be fairly happy with this choice.
9. Bioschwartz Colon Detox & Cleanser
BioSchwartz hangs its reputation on the success of an herbal heavy approach. The only drawback here is the company’s use of a proprietary blend which makes it a bit difficult to estimate how much of each ingredient is contained within the cleanser.
Though this is the case, BioScwartz does enlist the help of two probiotics making it much more potent in terms of gut bacteria recalculation.
10. K Cleanse & Detox
Rather than focus on the use of psyllium husk or senna leaf, this formulation focuses on acai fruit, juniper berry, and dandelion extract.
Though some may argue that few studies support the use of these ingredients, there is some scientific evidence to suggest these could be effective alternatives.
If other colon cleansing products haven’t worked, this is a solid choice for something different.
How We Rank
As there are various types of colon cleansing products, it was important to us that we chose the most effective and safest products available. This choice led us to exclude products that were focused on a more enema-based solution, like that from Kimann, and chose instead to focus on products comprised of both herbal and fiber-based.
Next we looked at the ingredients. Products that only contained fiber, like Metamucil, were also excluded due to the proven success of products that included fiber, while also including herbal and mineral ingredients. Products that included high-quality herbal ingredients such as senna were given preference in most cases, as it has been proven to more reliable and safe while producing bowel movements. This is why you’ll see Health Direct Scult n’ Cleanse on this list.
We also looked for products that added probiotics. When a laxative is used, a lot of bacteria is eliminated and it’s important to replenish the bacteria. Companies that added probiotics, like Dr. Tobias and Health Plus, showed they would go the extra mile to ensure a quality product and were rewarded accordingly on our list.
Lastly, we reviewed the colon cleanse ingredient dosages in each supplement. Products using a proprietary blend were not given preference despite their possible success. Though they were penalized, they were not fully excluded from our list as there is the possibility of success using these products, as you’ll see with BioShwartz. Companies and products that went above and beyond, including scientifically accurate doses, like VitaBalance were highly rewarded. Products that used too many artificial flavors, colors, binders, or fillers were noticeably left off of the list, even if they were popular choices.
After all this, we determined the top 10 best colon cleanse supplements on the market.
1. Colon cleanses may improve symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). A 2016 study observed the use of the Ashong colonic irrigation apparatus (ACIA) and its efficiency for IBS patients. Researchers measured the efficiency based on bowel movement frequency, stool consistency, abdominal pain, patient satisfaction, and discomfort/distress.
Abdominal pain, satisfaction, and discomfort/distress measurements all had significant improvements. Researchers concluded by saying that the ACIA could potentially provide a way to alleviate IBS symptoms. Yet, they suggested that long-term studies could provide more extensive knowledge on the topic (1).
2. Probiotic colon cleanses may decrease the risk of colorectal cancer. Statistics show that colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer. And researchers have found significant reason to believe that colon cleanses may act as a preventative measure against this type of cancer. Specifically, probiotic formulations – such as fermented foods – help balance out the microbiome and reduce oxidative stress in the digestive tract. In fact, probiotics may even reduce tumor progression and contribute to the overall immune response (2).
3. Budesonide and probiotics enemas may reduce colitis, which can make them an effective colon cleanse. One study performed on rats investigated the response of the colon and inflammation when budesonide and probiotic enemas were conducted. Researchers found that inflammation did decrease. However, the rats did lose weight. And human trials evidently need to be done (3).
4. A saltwater flush combined with yoga poses may prove an effective colon cleanse. A 2010 study used lukewarm saline solution combined with 5 yoga poses to cleanse the bowel. 54 healthy adults participated in the study. The participants performed the yoga poses, and at regular intervals, they would consume 480 milliliters of the lukewarm saline solution, which consisted of 9 grams of sodium chloride per liter of lukewarm water. Researchers concluded that it was an effective colon cleanse to prepare the participants for a colonoscopy (4).
5. Vitamin C may contribute to an optimal colon cleanse, also preparing participants for a colonoscopy. This method was used in a 2015 study, and may explain why many choose to use vegetables and fruits for colon cleanses (5).
However, many experts and doctors recommend that for optimal colon health, including vegetables and fruits in your diet is essential for adequate fiber intake.
6. Resistant starches in colon cleanses may also reduce the risk of colon cancer. These resistant starches are found in many foods, including potatoes, bananas, and rice. Research suggests that including these in your diet may improve colon and digestive health. In fact, it may help prevent and control common diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and obesity. It does this through its impact on the gut microbiome (6).
7. Psyllium husk is a colon cleanse that provides relief from chronic constipation. In an older 1998 study, researchers compared psyllium to docusate sodium for anti constipation. Psyllium was found to be superior to docusate sodium in stool water content, stool water weight, total stool output, and bowel movement frequency. It significantly improved the symptoms in participants suffering from chronic constipation (7).
Another study combined psyllium with aloe vera. It was found to be effective, and it produced softer stools and more frequent bowel movements. Yet, researchers noted that abdominal pain had not decreased in participants (8).
A 2010 study also looked into psyllium use for gastrointestinal issues. This study indicated the psyllium had gut-stimulating effects, and caused laxative effects. In turn, researchers claimed it may help in gastrointestinal problems (9).
8. Dried prunes is a colon cleanse that may prove to be a superior source for anti constipation remedies than psyllium. A 2011 study put dried prunes and psyllium up against each other. The study showed that prunes had a more significant effect in measures, including spontaneous bowel movements per week and stool consistency scores. Researchers inferred that prunes were then a safe and well-tolerated anti constipation remedy (10).
9. Fiber is a colon cleanse that may improve stool frequency for individuals with constipation. A 2012 review looked over 1322 articles relating to fiber intake and anti constipation. Articles showed varying degrees of positive results. Yet, fiber did not improve stool consistency or pain associated with any conditions (11).
Another review concluded that fiber was ‘moderately’ effective, but that it had some side effects (12).
For a good form of fiber, many experts recommend chia seeds (13). However, fiber can be found in a variety of other foods, including fruits, vegetables, and potatoes.
10. Docusate sodium is a traditional colon cleanse that acts as a stool softener for anti constipation benefits. A study published in 2013 explored the use of oral docusate in managing constipation in hospice patients. The study was conducted over the course of 10 days. The study suggested that docusate does not necessarily work for everyone, and cautioned using it on an individual case basis only (14).
11. Methylcellulose is a colon cleanse that may provide anti constipation effects. However, it should generally be used as a laxative and not a preventative method.
One study observed the use of methylcellulose on 50 chronically constipated individuals. It was given at a dosage of 4 grams per day. During this phase of the study, researchers observed a increase in fecal frequency and water in stool. The next phase involved 59 chronically constipated individuals.
In this phase, individuals were given 1 gram, 2 grams, or 4 grams of methylcellulose, or 3.4 grams of psyllium. They noticed improvements in all participants, and concluded that methylcellulose is effective at a dosage of 1 gram per day to decrease constipation symptoms (15).
Another study looked at methylcellulose in 538 patients with constipation. In the majority of these patients (61%), bowel movement frequency, bowel movement consistency, and ease of passage returned to normal. Researchers suggested that methylcellulose was useful in acute and chronic constipation cases (16).
12. Senna, lactulose, sorbitol, and oral bisacodyl are all effective colon cleanse options to treat constipation. One study compared senna and lactulose in the elderly. Researchers concluded that both these treatments were well-tolerated by the patients – but senna combined with fiber had increased effectiveness when compared to lactulose (17).
Senna tablets further helped individuals post-partum with constipation issues. It was noted that there was a 93% success rate with the senna tablets (18).
Further, a 2011 study explored the effect of oral bisacodyl when it came to anti constipation effects. This method is often used as a stimulant laxative. The study was conducted over the course of 4 weeks. Patients were given 10 milligrams of bisacodyl per day. It was shown to improve constipation, bowel function, and even, quality of life (19).
A 2007 study had similar findings. Over another 4-week period, it was found that bisacodyl was effective and well-tolerated by participants (20).
In addition, sorbitol has been shown to decrease constipation in the elderly. One study found it to be a cost-effective treatment method when compared to lactulose (21).
13. Milk of magnesia is a colon cleanse that may aid children with constipation relief. In one study, 63% of the children responded well to milk of magnesia treatments. However, with discontinued treatment, the children’s digestive and bowel movements returned back to their constipated state (22).
14. Polyethylene glycol (PEG) may aid in gut or colon cleansing, as well as constipation. Researchers examined 115 patients with chronic constipation. Yet, only 99 of these patients completed the entire trial. They found that low doses of PEG aided the majority of the remaining patients in solving their gut health and constipation issues (23).
15. Kefir, a fermented milk product, adds bulk and moisture to the stool to help with a colon cleanse. It may boost digestive health and is used by some to help aid regular digestion. A 2014 study explored the use of a kefir supplement when it comes to anti constipation and promoting good digestion. Participants experienced a decrease reliance on laxatives and improvements in stool consistencies and frequency (24).
Castor oil has been used for decades as a natural laxative. A 2011 study showed that it decreased symptoms of constipation. Measures to determine this included decreased straining during a bowel movement, softening stool, and improving on feelings of completion of evacuation (25).
16. Apples are an all-natural colon cleanse that promote good digestion and good gut bacteria. Apples contain pectin and pectin may have laxative effects. A 2014 study even noted that pectin increased colon transit time and decreased constipation symptoms (26).
17. Olive oil is another natural colon cleanse that may encourage good digestive health. A 2009 study even found a polyethylene glycol-electrolyte lavage solution to be more effective when olive oil was added into the equation (27).
Certain herbal teas, containing ginger or cayenne, may help alleviate digestive problems and provide anti constipation effects. Some individuals also do colon cleanses using these herbal teas. However, more studies are needed to define and refine their exact effects and uses.
18. Aloe vera is a natural and potent colon cleanse option to treat chronic constipation. While Aloe vera is well-known for treating burns, it is also a natural laxative. In a study of 28 healthy adults, the laxative effects of Aloe vera were stronger than those of a popular stimulant laxative (phenolphthalein) (28).
Another study on 38 patients with chronic constipation reported that Aloe vera worked as a laxative when combined with two other natural supplements (celandin and psyllium) (29).
19. Flax seeds help act as bulk colon cleanse. Flaxseeds are small, brown seeds that are increasingly popular in America for their high-fiber, low-carb, superfood qualities. They are also an effective natural laxative. In a study of 26 young adults, subjects were given flax fiber supplements (9g/day), which acted as a bulk laxative and helped relieve constipation issues (30).
20. Coffee causes muscle contractions in the intestines, acting as stimulant colon cleanse. One review reported that coffee affects the colon like a 1,000 calorie meal due to its effect on a hormone called gastrin. Gastrin stimulates cells that secrete acid, thus stimulating digestion and causing intestinal movement (31).
Although caffeine plays a role in causing intestinal muscle contractions, it isn’t the main laxative substance in coffee. One study of 12 healthy subjects found that while caffeinated coffee was 60% stronger in laxative action than hot water, decaffeinated coffee was 37% stronger, which accounts for most of the difference.
1. Psyllium may not have any anti constipation effect for some individuals (32).
2. A higher fiber intake is associated with increased flatulence (33).
3. Dehydration is a serious and very plausible side effect associated with colon cleanses and anti constipation remedies. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids and discuss your options with your doctor before starting any cleanse.
4. A colon cleanse or laxative may further cause electrolyte imbalances. If these imbalances become severe, it may lead to kidney problems. Again, discussions with your doctor or dietitian are encouraged.
5. Clearing out the colon or bowel may result in an infection in some cases. It may get rid of the good bacteria – protecting your gut and body from harm. As a result, your body may become more susceptible to illness and bad bacteria.
6. Colon cleanses may cause an imbalance of electrolytes. While colon cleanses have been proven to be generally safe, there are some risks associated with continued or constant usage. Colon cleanses focus on the use of water and liquids within the human body to ease symptoms of constipation that may occur from time to time. Though this has been proven to be fairly effective, there is a danger of dehydration and electrolyte imbalances if used too often.
Hyponatremia is a condition in which the blood within the body becomes diluted and salt content is lowered to a substantial degree. This condition can occur as a result of constant cleansing and could result in detrimental conditions such as muscle spasms and swelling of the brain.
As these conditions can be life-threatening in some cases, it is important to consult a physician prior to beginning treatment using colon cleansers.
7. Colon cleansing could cause bowel perforation. Though bowel perforations are rare when using a colon cleanser, there is still the chance for this to occur for those who use colon cleansers on a regular basis. Bowel perforation occurs when a hole or tear appears in the bowel. This could result in the leakage of bowel contents into the abdomen through this tear which could result in a life-threatening infection.
For those who use colon cleansers on a regular basis, bowel perforation could occur if constant straining or distress occurs in the bowel. Colon cleansers that have a high laxative inducing effect may see this become more prevalent than those who may choose to use more gentle forms of colon cleansers.
Current USA RDA for vitamin C is 75 mg/day for women and 90 mg/day for men. Amounts up to 125 mg/day are recommended for pregnant or lactating women, and an additional 35 mg per day to account for increased oxidative stress and vitamin C turnover in smokers. The ‘tolerable upper intake level’ is stated to be 2 g/day for adults but many people are fine taking larger doses.
Psyllium has a few different doses depending on the goal. For constipation: 2.5 to 30 g/day in divided doses (In children age 6 to 11 years old: 1.25 to 15 g/day in divided doses). For reduction of coronary heart disease: At least 10.2 g/day (translates to at least 7g soluble fiber/day). For adjunctive therapy of type 2 diabetes: 6.8 to 13.6 g/day split between 2 doses. For irritable bowel syndrome: 10 g/day over 1 or 2 doses.
Clinical studies in constipated adult patients have shown that a 17 – or 34-g daily dose of polyethylene glycol (PEG) 3350 (MiraLax) is safe.
Docusate sodium (DSS) is generally prescribed between 50-300mg per day either once or divided into doses.
A dose of 1-2 tablespoon per day of aloe vera provides optimal laxative benefits. Higher doses could cause abdominal cramps and diarrhea.
While all fiber is healthy and a good way to prevent constipation, if you are already constipated a diet high in soluble fiber eases symptoms better than insoluble fiber. To avoid side-effects like bloating and gas, start at a low dosage and increase over several weeks to 20-30 g per day
What is a safe laxative to use daily? Psyllium (Metamucil), polycarbophil (FiberCon), and methylcellulose (Citrucel). It is important to drink plenty of fluids with a bulk laxative.
Are there any natural laxatives? Yes, there are 6 main natural laxatives. They are chia seeds, figs, coffee, leafy greens, probiotics and kombucha.
What is the fastest acting laxative? According to MedHelp the fastest active laxative is the drug bisacodyl when administered as a rectal suppository. The over-the-counter version is Dulcolax. You can purchase Dulcolax in tablet form. However for a super fast acting laxative that will work in minutes, not hours you should try Dulcolax as a suppository.
How do you get rid of impacted stool? Treatment for the condition starts with removal of the impacted stool. After that, steps are taken to prevent future fecal impactions. A warm mineral oil enema is often used to soften and lubricate the stool. However, enemas alone are not enough to remove a large, hardened impaction in most cases.
What happens if you don’t poop for a week? Once constipation (no bowel movement) has gone on for some time, the result can be what is known as an impacted bowel (sometimes called fecal impaction). Essentially, this means that a large lump of dry, hard stool is stuck inside your rectum.
Can you still poop with impacted feces? When a stool doesn’t pass through the intestinal system, it can become dry and hard and lodge in the colon. Once fecal impaction occurs, your colon won’t be able to remove the feces from the body using its normal contraction process.
How long can a child go without pooping? While it may be normal for many children to go two to three days without a bowel movement, going four or more days can be considered constipation, even though this may cause no pain in some children and even be normal for a few children.
Can you throw up poop? No you can’t throw up your own poop. While, fecal vomiting is a genuine condition, rarely occurring in cases of severe constipation in which the colon is completely full of feces. The vomit, however, doesn’t actually contain what we recognize as poop, which comes from the colon.
What does it mean when your poop comes out in little balls? Stool that comes out in small pieces rather than long and smooth is sometimes called pebble or pellet stool. Fiber forms a gel in the intestines when it is fermented by bacteria in the colon and combined with water. If there is a lack of fiber holding stool together, it may be shaped like small pebbles.
Can you die from not pooping? While the answer is technically no, you can certainly die from the many complications that would arise from not pooping regularly.
Are colon cleanses safe for children? Yes, colon cleansers are safe for children in some cases. Cleansing itself is not a danger to children overall and can be used on a case-by-case basis to relieve occasional constipation that may naturally occur. While this is true, however, it is important for parents to consult a trusted and trained pediatrician prior to allowing their child to consume such products. These should also not be used on a constant or consistent basis.
Can pregnant women do anything to cleanse their colon while pregnant? Yes, while it is not recommended that women use colon cleansing products during pregnancy, there are other things that can be done to detoxify the body during this time. In general, it is recommended that pregnant women consume lots of fluids to soften stools. Pregnant women should also consume a varied diet of fiber-rich foods while limiting sugary and processed foods. Pregnant women should consult their OB/GYN if there are questions or concerns regarding detoxification while pregnant
Are colon cleanses safe for those with heart health issues? While colon cleansing is generally safe, it could cause issues for those with a history of heart health concerns. As there could be a minor effect on the electrolyte balance found in the body after using a colon cleanser, those who have heart health concerns should consult a trained physician prior to using these products.
Who will benefit the most from colon cleansers? Many people can find a great deal of benefit using colon cleansers. Though colon cleansers should not be used consistently or as a replacement for the body’s natural functions, those who are experiencing occasional constipation or sluggishness in their bowel system, may want to look into the possibility of using a colon cleanser. Consulting a physician is always the best course of action, however, prior to starting this course of treatment
Could colon cleanse cause bowel perforations? Yes, in some cases colon cleansing can result in bowel perforation. This will normally occur in situations where colon cleansing is used on a repetitive basis. This makes it very important for users to only use these products after consulting a physician
There are a variety of colon cleanses and anti-constipation methods and entities. Some are backed by science, while some others need more research behind them to prove their worth.
As aforementioned, booking an appointment with your doctor or another healthcare professional is highly recommended before taking any laxatives, colon cleanses, or anti-constipation medication. It’s further important to make sure you drink plenty of water if you choose to do so. In addition, if any equipment is used during your colon cleanse, such as during an enema, make sure it is clean and sterile for use.
Many of the above remedies further may aid in prevention against colon cancer, constipation, or other gastrointestinal deficiencies. But again, these effects vary from person to person.
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