Activated charcoal is a special form of carbon that dates back to Ancient Egyptian times. Activated charcoal benefits include treatment of stomach issues, such as gas pains or diarrhea. It is beneficial in cases of drug overdose or accidental poisoning, and to soothe discomfort that is sometimes associated with dialysis treatment. Activated charcoal works by blocking the absorption and processing of toxins by our bodies.
5 Activated Charcoal Benefits
1. Whiten Your Teeth
Activated charcoal binds to plaque and residue that stain teeth. Brushing your teeth 2 to 3 times per week with activated charcoal is a cost-effective and all-natural way to whiten teeth. Simply run a toothbrush under water and dip it into activated charcoal. Brush your teeth as you normally would, paying a little more attention to more heavily stained areas. Rinse until clean.
2. Alleviate Digestive Problems
Taking 500 milligrams of activated charcoal with a glass of water an hour before a meal can help alleviate digestive issues such as gas pain and bloating. Be sure to drink another glass of water to aid the absorption of the activated charcoal. It works by binding the gas-causing byproducts in foods that cause discomfort. A study found that activated charcoal can prevent intestinal gas following a typical gas-producing meal.
3. Remove Toxin
Activated charcoal can be helpful in the case of an accidental poisoning or drug overdose for many medications and recreational drugs. Within the hour of drug ingestion, activated charcoal should be delivered in proper dose. For cases of food poisoning, adults should take 25 milligrams and children should take 10 milligrams when symptoms emerge. Activated charcoal should always be taken with a lot of water to aid absorption and ensure it works effectively. All the pores found on the surface of activated charcoal make it very effective at taking up and binding things like drugs or poisons that were accidentally ingested and are still present in the stomach or portions of the small intestines.
4. Promote Skin Health
Activated charcoal benefits include numerous skin health benefits. It can be used to treat rashes, insect bites, acne and even to relieve body odor. To alleviate itching and discomfort from an insect bite or rash, mix one capsule of activated charcoal with half a tablespoon of coconut oil and apply to the bite or rash. Cover the charcoal with a bandage to prevent staining of clothes or furniture. Continue this method every 30 minutes until the itching and discomfort are gone. To treat acne with activated charcoal, make a mask out of one capsule of activated charcoal mixed with two teaspoons of aloe vera gel. Spread the mask over your face and let it dry. Rinse the mask off completely.
5. Prevent Premature Aging
We are exposed to a lot of toxins from our foods, make up, homes and environment that expedite and increase the natural aging process. Taking two capsules of activated charcoal per day can help slow down the aging process. The uses of activated charcoal include helping prevent cellular damage to kidneys and liver, as well as supporting healthy adrenal glands. It's imperative to cleanse toxins and chemicals routinely from the body. Activated charcoal benefits major organs by helping the body flush out the toxins and chemicals that cause the damage.
Possible Side Effects of Activated Charcoal
Most side effects associated with activated charcoal are related to long-term use associated with treatment of gas and bloating.
- When activated charcoal is taken by mouth, as in drank or swallowed in pill form, it may result in black stool, black tongue, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. In extreme cases, excess activated charcoal may cause blockages in the gastrointestinal tract.
- When activated charcoal is taken with other drugs, it may result in imbalance in electrolytes, which can lead to other complications if untreated. Some examples of other drugs that can lead to these imbalances are sorbitol or magnesium citrate, both used to treat constipation.
- In some cases, activated charcoal may reduce the absorption of other drugs and nutrients. Some examples are acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol), digoxin (heart medication), theophylline (lung medication) and tricyclic antidepressants. It is really important to avoid activated charcoal if you are taking any of the medications listed above.
- Since activated charcoal is a supplement, it is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and treated as a food rather than a drug. This means that supplements are free of the harsh testing and lengthy trial period of new medications that prove that they are safe and effective. It is recommended that you inform your doctors about any supplements you are taking so that they can monitor any potential side effects or drug interactions that may occur.
Precautions for Taking Activated Charcoal
Your doctor can assist you in reading the dosing information on the label in addition to any other questions you may have before you start taking activated charcoal. Take activated charcoal after meals, or when discomfort starts to occur. If you happen to miss a dose, take it as soon as possible or consult with your doctor.
If you have diarrhea that lasts for more than 2 days or if you develop a fever, contact your doctor. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, contact your doctor to discuss any risks in continuing with your activated charcoal supplement. It is possible that activated charcoal is excreted in breast milk, and therefore should be considered when planning for a baby.
You should not take activated charcoal if:
- You have low levels of fluid in the body or are dehydrated.
- You are bleeding severely (hemorrhaging).
- You have problems with your digestion like blockages or poor movement of food and substances through your stomach and intestines.
- You have holes or tears in your digestive tract.
- You have had surgery recently.