Are the Claimed Benefits of Coffee Enema Real?

Detoxes and cleanses are appealing because they promise a quick and easy way to purify our bodies of synthetic chemicals, heavy metals, parasites, and toxins. Proponents claim that they can improve our physical health, boost weight loss, and even cure chronic diseases like cancer. But these claims aren't based on robust science. One trend, the coffee enema or colon cleanse, has recently surged in popularity on social media, but it's a trend that could be deadly. In this article, we’ll take a critical look at the risks and benefits of coffee enemas.

What is a coffee enema?

A coffee enema is a type of colonic irrigation, or bowel irrigation, where a liter of brewed (and cooled) coffee is passed into the rectum through a pipe and held inside for 12–15 minutes.

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The coffee enema isn’t a new idea, but it has been trending on social media platforms like TikTok. First developed in the 1930s, it was claimed that coffee enemas reduced the build-up of harmful substances in the body by flushing them out of the colon.

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The social media resurgence of the coffee enema was initially linked to weight loss claims, but health influencers on the platform also say it can be used as a liver detox and treats constipation and IBS.

Others even claim it can stop cancer and promote it as a secret to no more sickness, but there is no research to support the use of coffee enemas for any health condition.

Claimed benefits of a coffee enema: are they true?

Influencers and biohackers claim that coffee enemas promote the production of glutathione-S-transferase, which they say can detoxify our bodies of cancer-causing free radicals by stimulating the liver and gut to push toxic bile out of our system. No research has confirmed this hypothesis.

No study confirms that coffee enemas are beneficial to support or treat any medical condition, including cancer. Coffee enemas are not recommended as a treatment by any credible medical body, and due to their risks to the gut and overall health, they should be avoided altogether.

Why you should not try coffee enemas

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Home enema procedures have been popularized by various health influencers, but it’s important to understand the potential risks and lack of scientific support for these practices. Colon cleanses and coffee enemas, done in a clinic or at home, have been linked to potential health risks, severe complications, and even deaths due to enema side effects.

  • Internal burns. Coffee enemas can cause chemical or thermal burns to the lining of the gut. In some cases, people have suffered burns that were so severe they required surgery to repair their gut.
  • Dehydration. Passing a large volume of fluid into the rectum and colon can lead to electrolyte loss and dehydration. This can put the kidneys and heart under stress, and in some cases, people have died from the complications of a coffee enema.
  • Infection. Colon cleanses can introduce bacteria into the gut. This can be through unclean or improperly sterilized equipment, poor infection control practices, or even mold forming on the coffee. Infections can lead to imbalances in the gut microbiome, severe illness, and death.
  • Bowel perforation. If the gut is punctured, gut contents full of bacteria can leak inside the abdomen. Perforations happen when the enema kit damages the gut wall during insertion or when enema fluid causes the gut to tear. Perforations usually lead to severe infections and, if not treated, death.

Given these potential health risks and the lack of clear evidence for any benefit from coffee enemas, they’re not recommended as a treatment for any medical condition. Enema safety should always be considered before attempting such procedures. If you’ve had a coffee enema or cleanse and are worried about any of these complications, consult with your healthcare provider urgently.

Does the body need to be 'cleansed?'

The human body has several ways of dealing with unwanted and waste substances. Our kidneys, liver, gut, skin, and lungs are specialized organs with mechanisms for clearing out toxins, waste products, and pathogens like bacteria and parasites.

While modern life means we are exposed to synthetic chemicals, pesticides, and pathogens, there’s no clear science behind the claims that detox advocates make. The body doesn’t need cleansing, and research has found no clear evidence to support claims that detox diets and other practices are beneficial for weight management or toxin elimination.

Do you need to cleanse your colon?

The gut is capable of cleaning itself without the help of external interventions like coffee enemas. A balanced, healthy diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, and fiber is the simplest way to support your body’s natural cleaning processes and promote regular bowel movements and digestive health.

Fiber helps the gut to absorb water, softening poop and making it easier to pass. This prevents constipation and helps our bodies to naturally remove waste products from the colon.

Research has also found that a diet rich in fiber can support gut health by reducing the risk of colon cancer and boosting the gut microbiome — the beneficial bacteria that live in the gut.

Do you need to detox after birth control?

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Detoxing after stopping hormonal birth control is a concept that some people believe can help the body reset and eliminate any remaining hormones left over from the contraceptive. There is no scientific evidence to support the need for detoxing after stopping birth control.

When you stop birth control, the body will naturally clear the artificial hormones and return to its normal cycle. This process can take some time, and you might experience a few side effects as your body readjusts. These can include:

  • Irregular periods
  • Changes in menstrual flow
  • Acne
  • Mood swings
  • Gut issues like bloating or gas

The extent of these symptoms can depend on the type of birth control you were on and how long you were on it.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, there’s some evidence that taking folic acid, magnesium, zinc, and multivitamins may help meet changing nutritional needs during the withdrawal of birth control. However, there's no evidence detoxing or cleansing the body after stopping birth control will treat or reduce these symptoms.

How to support your body without the need for detoxing

Fans of the coffee enema say it can help cleanse the body of toxins, reduce the risk of cancer, and help with weight loss. There’s no evidence to support these claims, and an intestinal cleanse is not necessary for maintaining good health. However, there are simple measures we can take to achieve what the coffee enema claims to do.

Organs like the liver and kidney play an important role in naturally clearing the body of waste products. We can support our body’s natural detox methods by looking after these organs and avoiding things that harm their function.

Highly processed food, sugary drinks, and sweets are strongly linked to weight gain, fatty liver disease, and diabetes, which, over time, damages kidney function.

A balanced diet, physical activity, and weight management can prevent up to 40% of cancer cases, and eating foods rich in antioxidants has been shown to reduce the risk of developing cancer.

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Coffee, for example, is full of polyphenols, which are proposed to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-diabetes properties; however, it’s safer to stick to drinking coffee for these benefits.

Avoiding junk food and excessive sugar and eating a balanced, healthy diet are the simplest ways to keep our bodies healthy without the need for a coffee enema or other unproven detox methods.

Coffee enemas have gained popularity on social media, but they are not supported by scientific evidence and pose serious health risks. The body has natural detoxification systems that work efficiently without the need for enemas. Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle is the best way to support your body’s natural processes. Always consult with a healthcare provider before attempting any detox regimen.

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Comments

Dick
prefix 5 days ago
You know it's healthy when these articles surface every few years.