Activated charcoal is both odourless and neutral-tasting and has been found to have amazing benefits for digestive health, detoxification, oral health and poisoning and toxin removal to name a few things. Activated charcoal is charcoal (generally from coconuts or bamboo) which is "activated" by being subjected to extreme temperatures, filtered through chemicals including argon and nitrogen and exposed to both oxygen and steam. This process created the highly porous activated charcoal. It is this such porousness of activated charcoal that makes it effective at attaching to (absorbing) toxins and moving them out of the body.
Types of Activated Charcoal
Because activated charcoal's porous surface has a negative electrical charge, it attracts positively charged molecules such as toxins and gases for safe removal from the GI tract.
In hospital emergency rooms throughout the developed world, a high single-use dosage of activated charcoal is the most frequently used method of gastrointestinal decontamination after certain kinds of poisoning (including alcohol poisoning), toxic exposure and drug overdose.
Alleviating Gas and Bloating
Activated charcoal's ability to reduce gas and bloating in the digestive system is scientifically proven. It does this by binding to the metabolic products produced via conversion of food material by bacteria. While the production of gas is normal, certain foods are known to cause excessive gas production and result in discomfort. In addition it can also be used to treat diarrhea.
Activated charcoal can attach to (adsorb) and flush out cholesterol in the intestine, preventing its absorption in the bloodstream. Activated charcoal reduces bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol as much as some prescription medications.
Promotes Kidney Function
Activated charcoal is also frequently used to help with the removal of waste by the kidney, helping with the excretion of water-soluble waste material. This then allows activated charcoal to help the kidneys avoid damage due to waste material not accumulating in their filtration mechanisms.
When applied topically to the skin, activated charcoal can reduce inflammation and prevent infection for acne, insect bites, rashes from poison ivy or poison oak, and snake bites.
Due to activated charcoals ability to adsorb harmful chemicals and toxins it is used in one of the steps of the water filtration process. The use of charcoal for water filtration is typically known as carbon filtration and is one of the safest ways purify water.
Activated charcoal can absorb many micro-particles and toxins in the mouth that can stain teeth, cause cavities, bad breath, and other common oral diseases.
Activated charcoal assists with overall digestive health. Activated charcoal is a natural gut cleanser and can help lighten the body's toxic load- reducing allergic reactions and oxidative damage, as well as strengthening the immune system.
Activated charcoal helps to neutralize excess moisture and sweat, stopping bacteria from thriving and preventing the production of the bacteria's by-products that give sweat its characteristic smell.
Emergency Toxin Removal
One of the most common activated charcoal uses is to remove toxins and chemicals in the event of ingestion. Most organic compounds, pesticides, mercury, fertilizer and bleach bind to activated charcoal’s surface, allowing for quicker elimination, while preventing absorption in the body. Activated charcoal can also be used as an antidote in the event of an overdose of many pharmaceutical drugs and over-the-counter medications. It’s effective for aspirin, opium, cocaine, morphine and acetaminophen overdose. Activated charcoal binds and inactivates much of the substance taken and its metabolites, and helps safeguard the liver and kidneys from possible damage. In the event of a medical emergency please be sure to contact 000 (triple zero), 911(nine one one) or the emergency number for your country, alternatively contact your nearest hospital.
Reducing the Effects of Radiation
Activated charcoal can also reduce the effects of radiation. Through adsorption, activated charcoal attaches itself to radionuclides in the same way that it attaches to other toxins.
Due to activated chaorcoals ability to remove toxins from the body, the body experiences less of the oxidative damage that drives the aging process. It also helps to prevent cellular damage to the kidneys and liver and supports the adrenal glands.
Using activated charcoal topically on the hair and scalp, as a mask, can pull toxins and waste products from your hair, while also helping to prevent hair loss and dandruff.
Activated charcoal not only adsorbs toxins and unwanted chemicals in the body but it can get rid of good things, such as nutrients from food, supplements, and prescription medicines, making them less effective.
It is best to take activated charcoal on an empty stomach between meals so that it does not affect the absorption of nutrients (unless you are taking it due to an upset stomach from food etc).
In the event of an emergency please call your local emergency services, medical doctor or hospital.
Activated charcoal should be taken 90 minutes to two hours prior to supplements and prescription medications.
Only use activated charcoal products that are for consumption by humans and not just any everyday charcoal product
Activated charcoal can make your stool turn black, but this is a temporary and harmless side effect.
Drink plenty of water to prevent constipation when taking activated charcoal.
Activated charcoal is generally considered safe for use during pregnancy.
Recommended activated charcoal products:
Always consult your health care provider before starting any new supplements or herbs