Activated Charcoal Uses, Side Effects and Precautions

Activated charcoal has been used to cure poisoning for millennia. It may be combined into a drink or used as a powder in cuisine. Activated charcoal is gaining popularity owing to its capacity to absorb pollutants. However, it comes with risks.

Activated charcoal is a form of carbon that may detoxify the body of toxins. It’s also used to treat overdoses in hospitals.

 

Activated-Charcoal-Uses-Side-Effects-and-Precautions

Have you heard of activated charcoal? Activated charcoal from natural sources is not only safe but also beneficial for detoxifying.

Trapping toxins and poisons in the body, activated charcoal allows them to be flushed out and not reabsorbed. It’s made of various materials, including coconut shells. Also, activated charcoal is not the same as charcoal used in a barbecue!

How is activated charcoal different from regular charcoal? For starters, charcoal contains numerous toxins and chemicals, making it unsuitable for human ingestion. On the other hand, activated charcoal is made from natural resources and is used to treat severe illnesses, including poisoning and overdose. It’s also a natural way to get rid of pollutants that build up over time and harm your health.

What Is Activated Charcoal and How Does It Work?

The controlled breakdown of carbon-based materials, such as coconut shells or peat, produces activated charcoal (vegetable matter). These natural sources are “activated,” using gases at high temperatures to increase their surface, resulting in activated charcoal. As a consequence, the finished product is very porous, allowing medicines and poisons to be absorbed.

What is the purpose of activated charcoal? One of the most common applications for activated charcoal is to treat poisoning and drug overdoses safely and efficiently. It is used in emergency trauma hospitals all over the globe.

It’s also used to relieve bloating and gas, decrease cholesterol, safely manage bile flow issues (intrahepatic cholestasis) during pregnancy, and even prevent hangovers. In some instances, research indicates that activated charcoal is more effective than stomach pumping (also known as gastric lavage).

What is the mechanism of action of activated charcoal? Toxins and chemicals are trapped in its millions of microscopic pores, which is how it functions. However, it is seldom used to treat corrosive toxins such as petroleum, alcohol, lye, or acids.

Toxins are not absorbed by it. Instead, it operates via the adsorption chemical process. Absorption in the body is the process of components such as nutrients, chemicals, and poisons being absorbed and digested into the bloodstream. The chemical process in which components bond to a surface is known as adsorption.

The porous surface of activated charcoal contains a negative electric charge, which attracts positively charged poisons and gases. The heating process, which enables the charcoal to “activate,” creates these nooks and crannies that aid in toxin removal within the body.

Health Benefits

It’s critical to drink 12–16 glasses of water each day using activated charcoal. To avoid dehydration, it’s crucial to drink enough water when using activated charcoal—furthermore, this aids in the rapid elimination of toxins and preventing constipation, which some people suffer.

Activated charcoal is used for deodorizing and disinfecting and being a safe and efficient therapy for eliminating toxins and poisons from the system. It is also an essential step in the treatment of Lyme disease.

The following are the top ten advantages of activated charcoal:

1. It whitens the teeth.

Have you developed a stain on your teeth due to coffee, tea, wine, or berries? Many people ask whether activated charcoal can whiten their teeth, and they’re in luck. Activated charcoal whitens teeth while also improving oral hygiene. This is accomplished by altering the pH balance in the mouth, which aids in the prevention of cavities, foul breath, and gum disease.

It also whitens your teeth by absorbing plaque and specks that discolor them. Activated charcoal is a cost-effective and all-natural way to brighten your smile.

“Charcoal toothpaste may be discovered to help erase exterior (extrinsic) stains on teeth without harmful abrasive effects,” according to a study conducted by a professor of dentistry at King’s College London. She says that charcoal toothpaste may be most helpful when used to prevent the return of surface discoloration on healthy teeth after professional cleaning and polishing.

When using charcoal toothpaste, however, be sure you read the contents carefully for any undesirable additions. It’s also essential to understand that activated charcoal can only remove stains from your teeth if they’re surface spots that it can bind to.

2. Helps to relieve gas and bloating

Gas and bloating may be relieved by using activated charcoal tablets or powders. It works by binding the gas-producing byproducts in meals that make you feel bloated. According to research published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, activated charcoal reduces intestinal gas after a typical gas-producing meal.

Furthermore, according to a study published in UCLA Health, when charcoal is coupled with simethicone, a medication used to break up gas bubbles, it is even more effective in reducing gas and bloating.

Activated charcoal for diarrhea is also helpful for some individuals, mainly when the diarrhea is caused by toxic overload.

3. Helps prevent hangovers by treating alcohol poisoning.

While activated charcoal does not bind to alcohol, it does aid in the removal of other chemicals that lead to poisoning. Alcohol is seldom used in its unadulterated form; mixers including artificial sweeteners and additives are popular. Toxins are removed by activated charcoal, which is used to cure poisoning.

Furthermore, certain studies indicate that activated charcoal may substantially lower blood alcohol levels when activated charcoal is taken with alcohol. According to Princeton University’s First Aider’s Guide to Alcohol, activated charcoal is used in certain alcohol-related conditions. If the person is unconscious or shows symptoms of acute alcohol poisoning, this is a red flag.

4. Mold Removal

Mold may live in people’s bodies, even if they aren’t aware of it. Depression, kidney and liver failure, reduced brain function, heart illness, eye irritation, headaches, vomiting, immune system dysfunction, and severe respiratory distress symptoms of toxic mold exposure.

Homes that have flooded, or even those with minor leaks in the sub-floor or in the walls, may produce a mold-friendly environment. In addition, bathrooms, basements, and laundry rooms are especially susceptible to mold development due to poor ventilation.

Activated charcoal may aid in the reduction of mold development in your house. According to studies, activated carbons, also known as charcoal, have a high binding capacity and may significantly reduce mold uptake. Charcoal has also been shown to be effective in removing 90% of mold from a test solution.

Keep a watch out for mold-related symptoms, including wheezing, rashes, watery eyes, coughing, or headaches, particularly if they aren’t connected to other health problems. Even if no visible mold is found, your house should be tested for mold spore levels if you observe these symptoms. It may grow behind walls, beneath flooring, and in ventilation ducts, and you may not know the levels are high unless testing is done.

5. Filtration of water

Activated charcoal filter systems are utilized all over the globe because they efficiently capture pollutants in water such as solvents, pesticides, industrial waste, and other chemicals. On the other hand, these filtering systems are incapable of trapping viruses, bacteria, or hard-water minerals.

Activated carbon filters (activated charcoal) remove some fluoride, according to research published in the Journal of the Canadian Dental Association. Therefore, it is critical to avoid fluoride and detoxify it to maintain good dental health, a robust immune system, and a healthy kidney and liver.

Water is necessary for nutritional health, yet most tap water is hazardous and contains chemicals, poisons, and fluoride. Therefore, it’s a good idea to restrict your intake and use an activated charcoal water filter whenever feasible.

6. Toxin Removal in an Emergency

In ingestion, one of the most frequent applications for activated charcoal is to eliminate poisons and pollutants. The surface of activated charcoal binds to most organic chemicals, pesticides, mercury, fertilizer, and bleach, allowing for faster removal while limiting absorption in the body.

Many prescription medicines and over-the-counter treatments may overdose accidentally or intentionally, and activated charcoal can be used as an antidote. It works for overdoses of aspirin, opium, cocaine, morphine, and acetaminophen. According to a study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, a growing body of observational data shows that single-dose activated charcoal may reduce drug absorption significantly in severely poisoned individuals.

The correct dose must be given as soon as possible after consumption – ideally within an hour. Additionally, activated charcoal may be used to treat food poisoning symptoms such as nausea and diarrhea.

In the case of a medical emergency involving the consumption of medication, poison, or chemicals, call 911 immediately. Tell the operator if you have activated charcoal on hand; the operator may suggest using it before the first responder arrives. Multiple doses may be needed depending on the quantity of a medication, the toxins or chemicals consumed, and the kinds of toxins. Physicians at the hospital can provide more as required.

7. Body and Skin Health

Activated charcoal may be used for more than just internal purposes. For example, it works well to cure body odor and acne and ease the pain of bug bites, poison ivy or poison oak rashes, and snake bites when used externally.

When used topically as an activated charcoal mask or combined with other substances like aloe vera, it may bind to poison, toxins, or grime that contribute to skin problems or bite responses, much as it does within the body.

Activated charcoal has also been found to help decrease bad smells associated with blistering diseases and severe skin loss, in addition to these skin advantages. When mixed with baking soda, it may be used to decrease odor.

8. Cleanse Your Digestive System

By eliminating pollutants that cause allergic responses, oxidative damage, and poor immune system function, activated charcoal aids in the promotion of a healthy digestive tract. In addition, you can decrease joint discomfort, boost energy, and improve brain performance by eliminating toxins from your system.

Toxic burdens are created in our systems by environmental variables such as pesticides on food, chemicals in the water we drink, and mold exposure. To promote general health and wellbeing, it’s critical to cleanse the GI tract regularly.

Furthermore, it’s possible that activated charcoal may not kill both beneficial and harmful bacteria in your stomach. Keep in mind that charcoal is adsorbent, not absorbent. According to one research published in The Journal of Veterinary Medical Science, activated charcoal may be able to distinguish between what it should and shouldn’t absorb.

“Activated charcoal exhibited the lesser binding ability to the typical bacterial flora examined than to E. coli O157:H7 strains,” according to the researchers. As a result, toxin-producing E. coli strains seem more likely to be adsorbed by activated charcoal. In contrast, typical bacterial flora in the gut, such as Enterococcus faecium, Bifidobacterium thermophilum, and Lactobacillus acidophilus, appear to be more likely to be left alone.

9. Anti-Aging

Activated charcoal may aid in preventing cellular damage to the kidneys and liver and the maintenance of healthy adrenal glands. Toxins and chemicals must be removed from the body regularly. Major organs benefit from activated charcoal because it aids in the removal of poisons and substances that cause internal harm. According to studies, it can remove both organic and inorganic chemicals from the body and bind to metallic compounds firmly.

Aging is a normal part of life, but because of the toxic load we are exposed to via food, our homes and workplaces, and our surroundings, we must eliminate them to avoid premature aging.

10. Helps to Lower Cholesterol

According to studies conducted across the globe, activated charcoal lowers bad cholesterol while increasing good cholesterol in the same way that certain prescription medicines do. For example, in only four weeks, total cholesterol dropped by 25%, LDL decreased by 41%, and HDL rose by 8% in one research. For the duration of the study, individuals were given three dosages of eight grams each.

Uses for Activated Charcoal

Follow these guidelines if you’re not sure how to utilize activated charcoal for a particular illness or situation:

1. Dental Hygiene

Wet a toothbrush and dip it into activated charcoal powder for teeth whitening using activated charcoal. After that, wash your teeth, as usual, paying particular attention to the regions with the most excellent discoloration. Take a sip of water, swirl it about in your mouth, then spit it out. Then, until your spit is clear, rinse your mouth well. Finally, brush your teeth with activated charcoal powder 2–3 times a week for optimum effects. Stop using activated charcoal if your teeth become sensitive to it.

2. Eliminate Gassiness

For gas relief, take 500 mg of activated charcoal with a full glass of water one hour before a typical gas-producing meal. Immediately after, drink another glass of water to assist transport the charcoal into your system, where it may bond with gas-producing components.

3. Mold Removal

Mold must be adequately mitigated if it is evident in your house. To avoid breathing harmful mold during cleaning, gloves, and a protective mask are required. To remove mold from hard surfaces and prevent future growth, combine activated charcoal, baking soda, apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, and borax.

4. Filtration of water

Water filters with activated charcoal are available for whole-house systems as well as countertop versions. To assist calm the digestive system, combat tiredness, keep organs functioning, and give lubrication for joints and tissues, drink 8–10 glasses of pure water each day.

5. Toxic Overdose or Toxic Overload

When diarrhea and nausea appear, or when food poisoning is suspected, adults should take 25 grams, and children should be given 10 grams. As needed, increase the dose. It’s important to remember that while using activated charcoal, you must drink plenty of water. Call 911 right away if you think you’ve been poisoned.

Dosing must be done correctly. The University of Michigan Health System recommends 50 to 100 grams (not milligrams!) for adults and 10 to 25 grams for children in instances of poisoning. In addition, under the supervision of your veterinarian, activated charcoal for dogs is occasionally administered to absorb the poison.

6. Insect Bites

Mix one capsule of activated charcoal with 12 tbsp of coconut oil and dab on the afflicted region after a mosquito bite or bee sting. Reapply every 30 minutes until you no longer have itching or discomfort. Wrap the area with a bandage since activated charcoal stains almost everything it comes into contact with.

7. Bites by snakes and spiders

To treat bites from snakes and spiders, such as the brown recluse or black widow, a wider area than a tiny bandage is required since the bacteria and viruses that cause tissue damage must be addressed immediately.

Make a cloth wrap large enough to cover twice around the afflicted region. Wrap the fabric in a combination of coconut oil and activated charcoal. Bandages should be used to secure the area. Reapply every two to three hours, washing well in between.

8. Acne

Combine one activated charcoal capsule with two tablespoons of aloe vera gel and apply it to your face to cure acne. Allow it to dry before thoroughly rinsing it. The activated charcoal binds to pollutants and grime in the environment that cause acne. Therefore, it may also be used as a spot treatment.

9. Cleanse Your Digestive System

Take 10 grams of activated charcoal 90 minutes before each meal for two days to help your digestive system cleanse. To create an activated charcoal drink, you may use activated charcoal pills or powder.

Eat only organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meat, and wild seafood throughout the detox. If you become constipated throughout the cleanse, it’s a clear indication you’re not drinking enough water! So every half hour, drink a glass of warm water with a slice of lemon and a pinch of honey until constipation is gone.

10. Toxin Removal regularly

Take two activated charcoal capsules each day after exposure to nonorganic foods, hefty metals, or other pollutants. The benefits are better cognitive performance, less brain fog, improved kidney and liver function, and a healthier gastrointestinal system.

11. Reduced Cholesterol

For four weeks, take 4–32 grams each day. Activated charcoal should not be used within 90 minutes to two hours after taking any prescription medicine or supplement, as it may interfere with adequate absorption.

Note: If you use activated charcoal topically or in powder form, be aware that it may (and will) stain grout and textiles. Before using, be sure to protect the countertops, floors, and clothes. In addition, it’s conceivable that activated charcoal may discolor your crowns, caps, or porcelain veneers.

Dosage of Activated Charcoal

The correct dose of activated charcoal is determined by the disease being treated or improved. Activated charcoal is first administered at dosages of 50–100 grams for poisoning or drug overdose, according to information provided by the University of Michigan. Following that, charcoal dosages of 12.5 grams per hour are usually given every 2–4 hours. Children’s doses are generally between 10 and 25 grams. Because each situation is unique, it’s critical to contact a local poison control center or emergency services in the event of an overdose or poisoning.

Doses of 500 to 1,000 mg per day are used to prevent or reduce intestinal flatulence. The most typical amount for lowering cholesterol is 4–32 grams of activated charcoal per day.

Potential Negative Consequences

Constipation and black stools are possible side effects of activated charcoal, intestinal slowdown or obstruction, regurgitation into the lungs, and dehydration in rare instances. So what is the result of activated charcoal on your stomach? It should assist in cleansing your digestive system when taken in the right quantities, but too much may cause digestive issues, including constipation.

You should think about how activated charcoal will respond in your body before using it, particularly if you have specific medical problems, including intestinal bleeding or blockages, holes in the intestines, chronic dehydration, poor digesting, or recent abdominal surgery.

Interactions Between Drugs

Activated charcoal may prevent minerals, vitamins, and other supplements from being absorbed. It may also interact with prescription medicines by reducing the amount of medicine absorbed by your body, lowering the drug’s efficacy.

Ninety minutes to two hours before meals, supplements, or prescription medication, use activated charcoal. There’s a chance you’ll have a bad reaction to one of these drugs:

  • Naltrexone is a drug that is used to treat addiction (used for alcohol and opioid dependence)
  • Acrivastine
  • Bupropion
  • Carbinoxamine
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone
  • Meclizine
  • Methadone
  • Morphine
  • Liposomes of Morphine Sulfate
  • Mofetil mycophenolate
  • Acid Mycophenolic
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxymorphone
  • Suvorexant
  • Tapentadol
  • Umeclidinium
  • Acetaminophen
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are a kind of antidepressant
  • Theophylline

Products and Purchase Locations

Activated charcoal may be found at most health food shops and on the internet. It’s critical to know the source of activated charcoal before using it for any purposes listed above. Not all activated charcoal tablets or pills are created equal.

Activated charcoal powder, such as activated bamboo charcoal and charcoal powder, is produced from coconut shells or recognized wood species with ultra-fine grains.

Many products that include activated charcoal powder incorporate artificial sweeteners to make them more pleasant, but you should avoid them. Artificial sweeteners are full of chemicals, and it’s pointless to take activated charcoal to rid your body of chemicals and poisons if it’s also full of chemicals. Instead, if desired, sweeten it naturally with fresh juice or a natural sweetener.

Last Thoughts

  • Activated charcoal is made by combining natural charcoal with gas or substance that extends its surface and heating it at high temperatures. This transforms the charcoal into a porous substance that absorbs chemicals, poisons, and other pollutants from its surroundings.
  • Activated charcoal may be used to treat toxic overload or poisoning, reduce gas, remove mildew, improve skin health, and lower cholesterol levels, among other things.
  • Activated charcoal comes in various forms, including pills, tablets, capsules, powder, toothpaste, and face masks.
  • It is safe to consume activated charcoal and use it topically, but only if you choose a high-quality product free of fillers and chemicals. If you’re taking medicines that may interfere with activated charcoal, stick to short-term usage and talk to your doctor.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the uses of activated charcoal?

Activated charcoal is used in a variety of different industries. It is most commonly used as a filtering agent for water, air, and gas. It is also used in the medical field to help treat various diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and even HIV/AIDS.

Is it safe to take activated charcoal daily?

Activated charcoal is safe to take daily.

What are the health benefits of activated charcoal?

Activated charcoal is a material that has been treated with heat and pressure to form a porous mass. It is used as an adsorbent, absorbing many chemicals from the gastrointestinal tract, including drugs, poisons, and other toxic compounds.

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FDA Compliance

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.

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