Activated charcoal has become very popular as a supplement. It is now added from all kinds of things to ice cream to even toothpaste. Activated charcoal is black, odorless, flavorless, and usually found in powder form. It can either come in this powdered form, or it can be encapsulated like a supplement.
Activated charcoal is when regular charcoal is treated with oxygen at high temperatures. This is different from a charcoal briquette you would use in your backyard barbeque.
In a medical scenario activated charcoal is most likely to be used to treat an overdose or as an emergency anti-poison. Activated charcoal however is not beneficial in poisonings caused from cyanide, lithium, alcohol, or iron tablets. It is best to not self administer activated charcoal in a medical emergency situation.
Health Benefits Of Activated Charcoal
There are other benefits of activated charcoal. It has toxin-absorbing properties so it can help eliminate toxins and chemicals that have built up in your whole body.
One benefit is that it can help with your kidney health. Activated charcoal has been shown to help filter out undigested toxins and drugs that your body cannot get rid of on its own. It has also shown to reduce gastrointestinal damage and inflammation in people who have chronic kidney disease. People who have chronic kidney disease and take activated charcoal daily, showed lower levels of urea and creatinine in their blood.
Trimethylaminuria (TMAU) is a condition also known as the fish odor syndrome. It causes the trimethylamine compound, which smells like rotting fish, to accumulate in your body. Taking activated charcoal can help reduce the odor that is caused by this condition. Activated charcoal binds with the trimethylamine compound and helps to excretion.
Gas & Bloating
Activated charcoal has also been shown to help people who suffer from excess gas and bloating after eating. Taking 1 gram of activated charcoal thirty minutes before your meal with a lot of water can help decrease excessive gas and bloating.
It may also be a diarrhea aid. Because of its toxin-absorbing properties, activated charcoal may help prevent bacteria and drugs that lead to diarrhea from being absorbed into the body. Make sure you drink a lot of water when using activated charcoal for these symptoms that it helps with pushing the toxins out, and doesn’t cause constipation.
In one study, taking 24 grams of activated charcoal every day for four weeks was shown to help lower the total LDL, or bad cholesterol, levels by 25% while also raising your HDL, good cholesterol, by 8%. This can help lower your bad cholesterol while raising your good cholesterol, if you have high LDL levels.
Since activated charcoal can remove toxins from your body, it can also help purify water. It is found in a lot of water purification systems. It removes contaminants, suspended solids, and microorganisms without affecting the pH of the water or the taste.
Activated charcoal is also being added to beauty products. It is found in a lot of tooth whitening products. With its toxin-absorbing properties it is said to absorb bad bacteria, and plaque, making your teeth whiter. You can find products like mouth washes, toothbrushes, or toothpastes with activated charcoal added.
Skin care has also added activated charcoal into the list of ingredients. The activated charcoal can pull the dust, dirt, chemicals, toxins, and bacteria in your skin to the surface which can make it easier to remove them. Activated charcoal may also be a great deodorant.
It can absorb smells, and harmful gasses. It is ideal for underarm, shoe, or refrigerator deodorizers. Activated charcoal can also help absorb excess moisture, and control the humidity at a micro level.
Activated charcoal can help eliminate toxins and chemicals throughout your whole body, which may make them the best all in one anti-aging product for some people.
It can also help improve your mental clarity.
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Safety & Usage
Usually when taken under medical supervision activated charcoal is very safe. In most cases adverse side effects are not seen.
In some cases when activated charcoal is taken over a long period of time there are some adverse side effects that can occur. Such as black stools, black tongue, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and in severe cases gastrointestinal blockages.
It is important to make sure when starting to take activated charcoal that you don’t combine it with certain other medications.
If you combine activated charcoal with drugs used for constipation, you raise the risk of electrolyte imbalances.
Activated charcoal may prevent the proper absorption of medications like acetaminophen, digoxin, theophylline, or tricyclic antidepressants. It can also cause some nutrient malabsorption as well.
It is important to discuss with your doctor before you start taking any new supplement. Adverse reactions can occur if you don’t take it appropriately. Do not self medicate with activated charcoal in a medical emergency situation.
With its toxin-absorbing properties, activated charcoal can help eliminate toxins and chemicals in your whole body, which can help with mental clarity, healthy digestion, kidney problems, and lowering cholesterol.
Activated charcoal has many health benefits from helping your kidney function to purifying water! #HealthSurgeon