- 07 Nov 2019
How does it work?
Activated Charcoal is a fine black, odourless, tasteless powder made from various materials including bamboo, coconut husk. It has a porous surface made up of millions of microscopic pores which trap toxins and chemicals and a negative electric charge that draws positive charged toxins and gas to bond with it. This reaction where elements bind to a surface is known as adsorption.
What is it effective for?
With over 4000 substances that charcoal adsorbs effectively, it is easier to list what charcoal does not adsorb effectively.
Some of those are:
Adsorption of bacteria and viruses
Firstly, activated charcoal is adsorbent and not absorbent.
Studies have found that the activated charcoal showed a lower binding capacity to the normal bacterial flora tested than to E.coli O157: H7 strains. So it seems as though toxin-producing strains of E.coli were more likely to be adsorbed and the normal bacterial flora in the intestine were more likely to be left alone.
That being said, because of its adsorbent nature, it is recommended that activated charcoal is not taken together with probiotics and other supplements. Activated charcoal doesn’t trap viruses.
Uses and Benefits
The most common use for Activated Charcoal is for the treatment of poisoning as it helps the prevention of absorption of toxins by the stomach and intestines.
However common environmental factors, including impurities in the air, pesticides on food, chemicals in the water we drink and the processed food we eat and exposure to mould, create a toxic burden in our bodies, it’s important to routinely cleanse the GI tract to support overall health and wellness.
Activated charcoal is also widely used to help promote a healthy digestive tract by removing the toxins that cause allergic reactions, oxidative damage and weak immune system function. By eliminating the toxins from your system, you can reduce joint pain, increase energy and increase mental functions.
It is also used for skin care, insect bites, snake bites, wound healing, general hygiene, teeth cleaning and whitening, as a household cleaner and purification of water and other liquids.
Activated charcoal is an absolute must-have for first aid kits, both at home and at work. It has so many different uses from health and beauty to poisonings and envenomation, as well as on infected wounds and teeth. This is accomplished through either ingestion or topical applications.
How to use Activated Charcoal
Capsules should be taken with a full glass of water followed by a second full glass of water as recommended below.
Powders should be mixed in a full glass of water followed by a second full glass of water as suggested below.
Do not ingest activated powder dry. Always mix with water.
Whenever you take activated charcoal, it’s essential to drink 12-16 glasses of water per day. Activated charcoal can cause dehydration if sufficient amounts of water aren’t consumed in tandem. Besides, this helps to flush out the toxins quickly and prevents constipation experienced by some individuals. If during a cleanse, you find you are constipated, it’s a sure sign you’re not consuming enough water. Drink a glass of warm water with a slice of lemon and a touch of honey every half hour until constipation is relieved. When cleansing, eat healthy, fresh fruits and vegetables, meats and wholegrain cereals. Avoid highly processed foods.
Uses and benefits
500mg (1/2 teaspoon) or 2 capsules once a day 90 minutes before a meal followed by a second glass of water 1 hour later for 3 to 5 days. This would be done if feeling bloated or uncomfortable or on a routine basis.
Take 5 to 10 grams 90 minutes followed by a second glass of water 30 minutes before each meal followed by a third glass of water after the meal for 2 days.
Depending on severity activated charcoal can be used in cases of food poisoning when nausea and diarrhoea are present. Adults take 10 to 25 grams at the onset of symptoms or when food poisoning is suspected, and children should be given 5 to 10 grams. Increase dosage as necessary. Diarrhoea causes dehydration, so high water intake is essential. A rehydration supplement (electrolytes and glucose) will help. If severe obtain medical assistance.
One of the most common activated charcoal uses is to remove toxins and chemicals in the event of accidental ingestion or overdose. It is essential that the proper amount is administered as quickly as possible. Definitely within an hour of ingestion. Proper dosing is crucial. According to the University of Michigan Health System, 50 to 100 grams is used in cases of poisoning in adults and 10 to 25 grams for children. Multiple doses may be required, depending on the number of toxins or chemicals ingested and the types of toxins ingested. At the hospital, doctors can administer more as needed. Obtain immediate medical help.
Activated Charcoal’s deodoriser and disinfectant benefits make it useful for treating body odour and acne and relieving discomfort from insect bites and rashes from contact with plants.
Activated Charcoal side effects
For the activated charcoal uses mentioned here, it is generally deemed safe for most people. However, it’s always good to be aware of any medical conditions such as intestinal bleeding or blockages, holes in the intestines, chronic dehydration, slow digestion or recent abdominal surgery, as it may affect how activated charcoal reacts in your body.
Additionally, activated charcoal can interfere with the absorption of nutrients, supplements and prescription medications.
Take activated charcoal 90 minutes to two hours before meals, supplements, and prescription medications. Potential adverse interactions can occur with numerous drugs, so it is not recommended if you are on any medication.
Always seek help from your healthcare professional.