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This "Internal Shower" Drink Is Trending On TikTok — Does It Work?

June 14, 2022
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The latest gut health social media trend has emerged (and it''s a peculiar one). With over 38.6 million views on TikTok, #internalshower is the latest viral sensation. People can't stop talking about the supposed benefits of this detox drink, but the question remains: Is the internal shower worth the fuss or just a fad? 

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What is the "internal shower" drink?

Essentially, the internal shower includes water, lemon juice, and chia seeds.

To make it, you add 2 tablespoons of chia seeds and 6 ounces of water to a glass. Stir right away (this ensures the chia seeds don't form chunks that might be difficult to swallow), and let it sit for about five to 10 minutes.

The chia seeds will absorb the water (as chia seeds do), creating a gel-like substance. Next, squeeze fresh lemon juice from half of a lemon (organic, if possible) and drink it right away.

The idea is that the drink acts as an "internal shower" for your digestive system and clears out your detoxification pathways to promote healthy bowel movements and ease bloat.

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Does it actually help promote regularity?

Let's break it down. The internal shower drink includes three key ingredients, each with its own health benefits:

  • Chia seeds: "Chia seeds are a great source of soluble fiber in the diet—they absorb liquid in dishes and in the gut, promoting regularity," explains integrative registered dietitian Whitney Crouch, RDN, CLT. One serving (2 tablespoons) of chia seeds is packed with 9.75 grams of soluble fiber1, which slows down digestion and helps regulate how much cholesterol is absorbed in the bloodstream2, which has a positive impact on things like LDL ("bad") cholesterol. Fiber also helps promote feelings of fullness and healthy blood pressure levels.
  • Lemon: This citrus fruit is rich in pectins, which function as a prebiotic3 and promote a healthy gut microbiome. In a 2021 European Journal of Nutrition study4, lemons were also found to both lower and delay peak blood glucose concentrations by 30%. 
  • Water: We all know water is vital for whole-body health (the human body is 60% H2O, after all). When it comes to detoxification and metabolism, water is crucial for flushing out unwanted toxins through sweat, urine, and poop. When it comes to healthy bowel movements, the benefits of this ingredient are a no-brainer.
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It's clear that each of these detox drink ingredients helps support healthy metabolism and detoxification, but the internal shower isn't a quick fix. "Enjoy [the internal shower drink] because it's good, not because you're looking for some miracle outcome," recommends registered dietitian Maya Feller, M.S., R.D., CDN, in a recent Good Morning America segment.

Crouch explains that a holistic approach to well-being is always the way to go for gut and whole-body health. "Adding chia seeds, hemp seeds, and increased fruits and vegetables can have the same effect and improve nutrient density of the diet," she shares.

Like all gut-healthy food and beverage trends, the internal shower drink should be used to complement a balanced diet of nutritious foods, a targeted supplementation routine, regular exercise, good sleep, and other lifestyle habits that support natural detoxification pathways.* 

Some things to keep in mind before trying the internal shower.

"Since lemon juice is acidic, sipping on lemon juice regularly can cause tooth enamel breakdown," notes Crouch. She recommends always using a straw when drinking lemon juice (or any other acidic drink) and pairing your internal shower with pure water to ensure you're rinsing out your mouth and protecting your teeth.

Having too many chia seeds can actually result in suboptimal digestion, warns Feller, so those with gastrointestinal health concerns should tread lightly. Crouch concurs, stating that too much fiber too quickly can cause unwanted bloat in some people. Alternatively, adequate fiber throughout the day (i.e., 25 to 35 grams per day) aids in regularity and reduces bloating, she adds.

Health benefits aside, drinking seedy, gelatinous lemon water certainly isn't for everyone. For ideas on how to incorporate chia seeds into your daily meals, whip up a chia seed pudding (like this matcha recipe) or add the superfood to your go-to dinner recipes.

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Other ways to support healthy detoxification.

If the texture of the internal shower freaks you out or it's simply not your cup of tea, there are other ways to promote your body's natural detox pathways and encourage regularity—including targeted high-quality detoxification supplements (like mbg's daily detox+), exercise, visits to the sauna, yoga, and even breathwork.*

At the end of the day, any efforts to support your body's elimination organs are welcomed—trendy or not!

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications, consult with your doctor before starting a supplement routine. It is always optimal to consult with a health care provider when considering what supplements are right for you.