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A salt water flush is a popular “internet based” home remedy promoted as a way to flush out your bowels and cleanse your colon.
The idea is simple: you drink water mixed with a large amount of salt. The body can’t absorb such a large amount of salt in such a short time. As a result, you may experience a series of bowel movements, as the body is trying to get rid of the excess salt.
Is a salt water flush good for you? In this review, we’ll look into the research, benefits, risks, different saltwater recipes, and healthy alternatives.
Salt Water Flush: The Research
Drinking water with a ton of salt? what was I thinking?
Just like many natural home remedies, the salt water flush is also based on some traditional practice.
One of our ancestors got up one day and decided it may be a good idea to drink salty water. After generations of trial and error, some method was developed. Is there enough evidence to back up the saltwater flush, however? Not exactly.
The actual technique is an ancient yoga practice called: Shankha Prakshalana, which literally means “cleansing of the counch”.
This method is performed on an empty stomach. You start by drinking two glasses of warm salty water, and then follow with various yoga poses.
A small pilot study actually tested this method on 54 healthy adults. The researchers concluded that yoga plus salty water was effective in cleansing the bowel in preparation for colonoscopy.
There’s a big but. Was it the yoga, the salt water mixture, or the combination of the two that was responsible for these results?
This was never tested. In fact, it is very likely that it was actually the yoga that played a key role here. Multiple studies have suggested that certain yoga poses can promote gut health, even for cases of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Salt Water Flush Dangers
Natural doesn’t always mean safe
There are couple of things you should know before you do the salt water flush.
The biggest problem with the saltwater flush has to do with the high amount of sodium. Many health experts, conventional and also natural and integrative practitioners have specifically expressed this concern.
In fact, Dr. Andrew weil, MD, one of the world’s leading integrative medicine experts, mentioned: “I am concerned about the sodium load…A single teaspoon of salt gives you 2,400 mg of sodium, more than enough for a day’s intake (I recommend limiting your daily intake to 1,500 mg of sodium).”
So a little salt is essential and make our food taste good, why would we want to “waste” our daily salt allowance on such a risky procedure?
Salt water flush doesn’t always work
Many people actually face this issue, where they drink the salt water, and…well nothing good happens. They have no bowel movements. Just this unpleasant feeling of bloating inside the stomach as a result of all the salt.
So now you are stuck at home, praying for some bowel movements as you watch your stomach keep swelling. All you can really at this point, is to lay down and wait for this bloating to go away. We heard from some people that decided to drink more salty water. It didn’t help much.
This issue can be quite risky. f the salt water concoction is not expelled from your body in a timely matter, your body can absorb the salt. so you may have sodium overload. We will cover it more below in the what happens is it doesn’t work section.
Salt water flush side effects
Common issues include nausea, bloating, diarrhea, abdominal cramping and vomiting. Due to the high amount of salt, you may experience electrolyte imbalance and dehydration, which can cause muscle weakness, or muscle cramping.
If you have high blood pressure or other medical condition, do not try this method.
Salt Water Flush Benefits
So now that you know what can get wrong, is there a reason for you to still consider doing the salt water flush?
To clarify, we do not think the saltwater flush is a good idea. Most of the evidence points out that the risks outweigh the benefits. Especially where there are much healthier alternatives.
For healthy alternatives, see:
With that said, as in any review, we do present both the pros and the cons. So below are the benefits and common salt water flush recipes.
Salt Water Flush For Constipation
If you are one of these people that do experience bowel movements shortly after drinking the salt water, you may find it helpful to relieve occasional constipation.
Need to be careful here, though. The salt water flush doesn’t cure or address the underlying cause of constipation. And there are several causes of constipation. You may not be eating enough fiber, are low in magnesium, eating a diet with foods that cause constipation, or don’t drink enough.
In fact, there are a number of medical conditions that may cause constipation. In other words, constipation may be just a symptom, or a larger problem.
On that note, constipation is a big problem that affect over 63 million people in North America. If you experience constipation or digestive issues on an ongoing basis, you should consult with a medical professional.
Using Salt Water Flush For Weight Loss
We are sorry to have to tell you this, but as it turns out, salt water flush (or in fact any type of colon cleansing) isn’t a good way to lose weight.
A salt water flush does not help you lose body fat. Sure, after you have had frequent bouts of diarrhea for a few hours, you may have lost a lot of water weight. The number on the scale might go down but it’s only temporary. The salt water flush does nothing to target body fat and it is likely that your weight loss will soon return to what it was previously.
In fact, many studies found that when people lose weight rapidly, it comes back with a vengeance.
The latest science on weight loss is actually very clear. Losing weight is not a sprint, it’s a “side effect” of a healthy lifestyle that includes healthy eating, getting enough sleep and ideally, some exercise or movement.
Types of Salt Water Flushes & Recipes
You may notice a few variations, but there are also some common guidelines:
- Always on an empty stomach
- Ideally in the morning
- Slightly warm water
Sea Salt Flush Recipe
- Dissolve 1-2 teaspoons of sea salt or pink Himalayan sea salt in 4 cups of water.
- Drink quickly (5 minutes or less).
- You may feel the urge to visit the restroom within 30 to 60 minutes.
Master Cleanse Salt Water Flush
The Master Cleanse, also known as the lemonade diet, was developed in the 40’s as a natural liquid diet to detox the body and promote a quick weight loss.
Also here, the evidence is pretty limited. In fact, many health experts have expressed many concerns with this type of fad cleanse.
While the master cleanse have many variations, is is based on the lemon-maple-cayenne pepper drink. A common recipe for the Master Cleanse lemonade usually includes:
- 2 Tbsp of organic freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp of organic grade B maple syrup
- 1/10 tsp of ground cayenne pepper
- 10 oz. of filtered water.
With the master cleanse, this drink is all you put inside your body, hence, the rapid weight loss.
So where does the salt walt flush gets into the picture? As in many types of liquid cleanses, due to the lack of solid foods, you may experience less or no bowel movements at all.
To help with that issue as a part of the master cleanse, you are also advised to take a herbal laxative nightly or a salt water flush in the morning.
Common Misconceptions, Mistakes
What Happens If The Salt Water Flush Doesn’t Work?
As many people learn the hard way, the salt water flush doesn’t always induce frequent productive bowel movements.
If the salt water concoction is not expelled from your body in a timely matter, your body can absorb the salt. So now you may have a sodium overload. Not pleasant, and can be dangerous.
Excessive amounts of sodium in your body can lead to heart, kidney, and liver issues. Not exactly what you are hoping to achieve.
Doing A Salt Water Flush on a Full Stomach
Trust us, you don’t want to be doing this flush after a full meal. Not only it can disrupt the body’s ability to digest your foods, it can make you feel very sick.
The logic or reason that led some people to believe this is a good idea, has to do with overeating. You ate too much, now you want this bloating to go away as quickly as possible. Not a good idea. The best you can however, is to relax and give your body some time to digest the foods.
Doing Salt Water Flush Too Often
By doing the salt water flushes too often, you are at a greater risk for dehydration or electrolyte imbalance.
Also, just like other types of methods that induce bowel movements such as enemas or laxatives, you may also develop some dependency (mentally, physical, or both). So you may find yourself having to perform these all the time to get your bowels going, or to feel that you are “not full”.
Salt Water Flush Experiences & Results
Thanks to the internet, we can gather some data and reviews before we buy a certain product, or try a natural home remedy such as the saltwater flush,
Has everyone had a great salt flush experience? No, far from it.
In some cases, frequent trips to the bathroom followed by gas, bloating and cramping were enough for some to people to question their decision. A classic “what was I thinking” moment.
Some people that had constipation did feel better shortly after they did the flush. We don’t know however, how did they feel a week or a month after.
Have you done a salt water flush recently? Make sure to tell us your experience in the comments below.