Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Colon Cleansing? Yea, Right.

I had a few patients ask about an article I read published on the Men's Health blog today: "Ashton Kutcher's Plan to Survive the Apocalypse." I had to laugh. It's quite entertaining to read about his plans to thwart the apocalypse with colon cleansing. 
I'm not quite sure how cleansing your colon will protect you from the apocalypse, at least the the apocalypse I envision and have read about in the Bible's Book of Revelations.  Either way, there's only one problem with colon cleansing including the Master Cleanse diet. Colon cleansing is a sham.  Yes, a sham. 
The body was designed to clean itself and to heal itself, especially the colon and liver. There is a constant turnover of colon cells and liver cells each week and each month.  There is no need to plug yourself full of "detoxifiers" or use a combination of  "fresh lemon juice, rich maple syrup, and cayenne pepper into pure water" (Master Cleanse recipe) acting as a laxative to cleans your colon.  A simple fast for 18-24 hours does the same trick.  The only reason to clean yourself out in this way would be to prepare for a colonoscopy where the gastroenterologist needs to see a colon that is "spic and span" clean.  Now, if you are just worried that at the time of the apocalypse you'll need clean underwear and you think you would just feel fresher with a clean colon, then be my guest, more power to ya!
So what do you need for the end of the world?
Well, for starters, studies show that many of us are not really ready for an emergency including the worlds demise. But here are a few things to think about having ready just in case the need arises:
Water. You'll need at least a 3 day supply for each person in an emergency and enough to last up to 2 weeks if you're at home. 
Food.  Fresh lemon juice and maple syrup will only last you a week before the diarrhea is so bad you would wish you died from the apocalypse.  So I would suggest at least a 3 day supply for evacuation and at least a 3 month supply for your home. 
First Aid Kit. Hey, I'm a doctor, and you're reading my medical blog, so the first things I think about are food and band-aids. 
Medications for 7 days. Having a 7 day supply of medications on hand is essential, especially for those with significant heart or lung diseases. 
Personal Hygiene Items. Placing all of these items in an emergency 3 day pack or bag that can be easily grabbed on your way out the door is a very good idea.
Emergency Blankets. You never know where a good blanket could come in handy in an emergency.
Batteries.  These are self explanatory.
Extra Cash.  In an emergency, the last place you want to be is at the bank (cause everyone else will be there too).   So it is a good idea to have a little stash of cash available for emergencies. 
Flashlight. Self explanatory.
Radio (battery powered or handcrank)
Hopefully, you are already prepared.  If not, you should consider the above list along with any other items you think may be handy.  Regardless of what Ashton Kurcher or Demi Moore says,  the colon cleanse really won't do you much good at the worlds end. 

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