TikTokers are doing a "salt flush," but experts warn against its potential side effects.
Salt flushes are being used to relieve constipation or bloating or achieve short-term weight loss.
Experts warn that the cleanse is unnecessary and could be dangerous, especially for people with health conditions.
Some TikTokers are promoting salt water flushes to "clean and flush" the "sludge" out of their guts or to achieve short-term weight loss — though experts remain mixed on its efficacy and warn that the practice could be harmful to a person's health, particularly for those with existing medical conditions.
The #saltflush hashtag currently has over 287,000 views on the app, and instructional videos like the popular September 12 video (viewed 3.6 million times) from TikToker Olivia Hedlund (@liv.ingwell), who identifies herself as a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner in her bio, recommend it to initiate a bowel movement intended to remove "sludge" from the small intestine and combat gut issues like constipation and bloating.
TikTokers have shared videos of themselves trying the salt water flush at home — reporting to viewers how it tastes, whether it led to bowel movements, and, sometimes, how much weight they say they lost.
Some dietitians have responded on the app in alarm. Registered dietitian and Youtuber Abbey Sharp — whose TikTok content centers around "wellness culture BS busting" — told viewers a salt water flush is "literally napalm for your bowels" in a September 24 TikTok, calling it "very dangerous for the masses."
"The 'sludge' that Olivia is referring to is actually straight up stool and water," Sharp said, later adding that, "if you're struggling with constipation or poor elimination, it absolutely will clear you out; this is literally being used as an alternative to colonoscopy prep."
No health care professional should be giving a Salt water flush tutorial - even if they preface it with a token “do your research” disclaimer. Salt water detoxes can be dangerous and should NOT be relied upon for constipation, especially without professional individual support. #saltwaterflush
♬ original sound - abbeyskitchen
In general, physicians remain divided on its efficacy and warn the public that it may pose health risks — especially for those with existing medical conditions.
A medically-reviewed article from Medical News Today notes that while a salt water flush may help with weight loss, a release of fluid retention, or improving digestion, the body is capable of cleansing itself without detoxifying "flushes," and there's "limited if any scientific evidence" to support them. While the home remedy is "thought to be safe overall," it's not necessary and could prove harmful. Those with high blood pressure, digestive issues, kidney or heart disease, or other serious medical conditions should skip saline flushes and colon cleanses, the article warns.
While proponents of the salt water flush report minimal risks, some can be serious. Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, and weakness, and there's an added potential for electrolyte imbalance and dehydration.
Before trying any new health trend at home, experts advise people to speak with their doctors for expert advice tailored to their health.
Read the original article on Insider