Some believe that a salt water flush can relieve constipation, reduce bloating, or cleanse the colon, which can lead to weight loss. However, reviews are mixed, and this home remedy may pose health risks.

According to some sources, a salt water flush may help with weight loss, release of fluid retention, or an improvement in digestion. On the other hand, the body is able to cleanse itself without help from flushes or washes.

Before starting any detoxification method, it is important to speak with a doctor to see if a salt water flush is appropriate. Salt water flushes can be dangerous for people with existing medical conditions.

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Side effects of a salt water flush may include nausea and vomiting.
Image credit: Poyraz 72, 2015

Salt water flushes are used to treat constipation, bloating, and to detoxify the colon during a juice fast or similar cleansing program.

Proponents claim that during detox programs, such as juicing, toxins are pulled into the colon and require removal, which can be done with a salt water flush.

Supporters of colon cleansing link chronic medical problems with colon toxins and, therefore, they recommend colon cleanses to increase immune function and energy levels.

The salt water flush itself supposedly aids the colon in purging old fecal material and toxins from the body, and it is thought to be safe overall.

Nevertheless, there are some in the medical community who warn against the practice.

There are some side effects that can be serious despite the fact that many proponents of salt water flushes report that there are minimal risks.

Common side effects include symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and weakness.

The potential for dehydration and electrolyte imbalance may lead to symptoms that can be serious, including:

  • muscle spasms
  • weakness
  • twitching
  • numbness
  • confusion
  • feeling lethargic
  • convulsions
  • seizures
  • heart problems, including changes in blood pressure and heartbeat

Salt water flushes are not a good option for everyone, and speaking to a doctor before starting a salt water flush is essential. Again, it is worth remembering that the body can cleanse and flush itself without additional help.

It may be recommended that those with high blood pressure, digestive issues, kidney or heart disease, or other serious medical conditions should avoid saline flushes and colon cleanses.

Salt water cleanses are not to be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women or children.

There is limited if any scientific evidence to support the use of saline flushes.

However, there are many personal experiences that are noted on the internet, discussing practices with this cleanser. But further research is needed in this area to determine the efficacy and safety of colon cleansing.

A common salt water flush recipe involves mixing non-iodized salt with water by:

  • adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of non-ionized salt, preferably sea salt or pink Himalayan sea salt, to 1 liter of water, and stirring until dissolved
  • drinking the mixture over a period of 5 or so minutes

A salt water flush is often done on an empty stomach, for instance, first thing in the morning, to produce several bowel movements throughout the day.

If a person tries this remedy, they should make sure that there is a bathroom nearby for most of the day.

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A high-fiber diet is an alternative to a salt water cleanse.

Care should be taken when considering colon cleansing with laxatives, pills, teas, and other herbal supplements. These are typically not regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and do not have substantial research to support their use.

Some may, in fact, interfere with certain medications or have possible serious side effects in some people.

Alternatives to a salt water cleanse to maintain colon, kidney, and liver health may include:

  • eating a high-fiber diet that includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes
  • taking fiber supplements to decrease constipation
  • avoiding dehydration by drink plenty of water throughout the day
  • limiting alcohol consumption
  • stopping smoking
  • exercising regularly
  • keeping a healthy body weight for your body type

Salt water flushes are gaining popularity to relieve symptoms of constipation, bloating, or what some describe as ‘toxic’ physical symptoms. However, it is crucial to remember that more research is needed in this area to determine the safety, efficacy, and effect on the body.

It appears that, in most cases, salt water flushes are relatively safe, but this is not true for everyone. Those with high blood pressure, digestive issues, kidney or heart disease, should avoid saline flushes and colon cleanses.

Before trying any colon cleanse, people should have a discussion with their doctor to check on the safety in each case.