Table of Contents
- What Is Activated Charcoal?
- Works Like a Charm for Indigestion Issues
- Poison Stopper
- TMAU Symptoms Gone
- Pregnancy Savior
- Regulating Cholesterol Level
- Wound Healing Faster
- Improves Kidney Function
- Activated Charcoal for Teeth Whitening
- Activated Charcoal Mask for Clear Skin
- In the End, Is Activated Charcoal Safe?
- Do You Believe In All These Activated Charcoal Benefits?
Activated charcoal (AC) has many benefits, and it has been on-trend for over 2 years, since the moment Kim Kardashian-West mentioned she drinks charcoal lemonade. As you may have read on Glamour.com, Kim K swears by this beverage because it can energize you and detox your whole body.
Does drinking a black lemonade sounds suspicious? It should. Why don’t you Google the term and check what comes up?
Now, if you Google the term “activated charcoal” you’ll get many search results (over 46 million!) with the first few results showing the words like “risk” or “side effects” in the title. This is no accident. Although there is no doubt that AC can do wonders for your health (it also has a lot of beauty and health uses), it is not the kind of substance you can mix in every dish or drink.
So to help you understand all the activated charcoal benefits and risks, we are going to separate the text into health and beauty uses of this black gold.
Let’s get right to it!
What Is Activated Charcoal?
All activated charcoal benefits and risks come from the ingredients in this dark matter. So, before we can name all the benefits, you need to know what you are getting yourself into. More precisely, what you are thinking about putting in your body.
Activated charcoal is similar to the regular charcoal, but with more active ingredients. As WebMD states, charcoal is made from coal, coconut shell, peat or petroleum. An activated version is artificially created – manufacturers heat the charcoal on high temperature using gas which makes the charcoal create tiny “pores.” This only means that activated charcoal cannot be found in food since it is a manufactured product.
Let’s stop for a minute. Why are the pores so beneficial?
Well, these pores are the ones that trap all the chemicals, preventing their absorption in the body. AC is most commonly used as a universal antidote which catches toxins and chemicals in the gut. That is why AC is most commonly put in the form of a tablet or a capsule.
Because AC is so useful for detoxication, a lot of cosmetic companies use it as an ingredient in their products. The beauty industry is full of moisturizers and masks enriched with AC.
To help you understand all activated charcoal benefits, let us start first with the health uses. Here are situations in which AC can undoubtedly help:
Works Like a Charm for Indigestion Issues
Having some intestinal problems? Trust activated charcoal, and it will detox your body completely.
Activated charcoal works fantastic for:
● Intestinal gas. When you are experiencing gas and feel bloated, it might be the time to take an activated charcoal pill. There are no proven studies that activated charcoal can do all of this by itself. Keep in mind that only the combination of activated charcoal and simethicone is proven to reduce pain and bloating, so be sure to ask your pharmacist about the ingredients in the AC pill. After taking an AC tablet, your symptoms should decrease in an hour or two, and you should start feeling a lot better.
● Diarrhea. Activated charcoal can diminish the symptoms of severe diarrhea
Believe it or not, one of the activated charcoal benefits is that it can trap chemicals that act as a poison. Activated charcoal is even effective for acute poisoning. As Healthline states, this black substance has been used as a poison antidote since the early 1800s. Not only that, AC is strong enough to remove heavy metals from water. Imagine what it can do to your body!
So, what should you do if you experience drug poisoning? Well, as WebMD mentions, be sure to take an AC tablet one hour after the poisoning, to get the most out of this medication.
TMAU Symptoms Gone
TMAU or trimethylaminuria is a condition in which substance trimethylamine (TMA), which has an odor, accumulates in the body. The smell is quite unpleasant and similar to a rotting fish. People affected by this syndrome can experience unpleasant odor on their breath, in their urine and sweat.
Fortunately, activated charcoal is there to save the day.
According to a 2006 article, 1.5 grams of charcoal for 10 days managed to reduce the concentration of TMA in patients’ urine almost completely. We are aware that one study doesn’t prove the effectiveness of treating TMAU, but activated charcoal is definitely worth a shot.
Who knew one of the activated charcoal benefits was to lower the concentration of TMA?
Activated Charcoal may not be a complete pregnancy savior, but it can help to normalize the flow of bile.
As you might know, bile is an alkaline fluid that improves digestion. It is not uncommon in pregnancy to experience issues with the production of bile. Activated Charcoal minimizes pregnancy symptoms by encouraging bile production.
However, before you run off to the pharmacy to buy an AC pill, keep in mind that studies still need to show if this black matter is entirely safe to use during pregnancy.
Regulating Cholesterol Level
Yes, having a high LDL cholesterol level is a modern-day condition. Nowadays, over 33% of adults in the USA have a high cholesterol level.
Fortunately, one of the activated charcoal benefits is that it can effectively lower your cholesterol levels.
According to a 1989 study, up to 32 grams of activated charcoal taken daily helped reduce the “bad” LDL cholesterol level by up to 41%. The interesting thing in this study was the fact that the larger AC dosages were the most effective.
Wound Healing Faster
If you cut yourself and the wound takes longer than normal to heal, it may be time to bring in the big guns – activated charcoal.
You can either take a pill of activated charcoal or buy a bandaid that has this substance in it. You’ll be wowed by the results.
Additional tip: If you are interested to find what natural remedies can help you heal faster, be sure to read our article on best home remedies for wounds and cuts.
Improves Kidney Function
Since it absorbs toxins in the body, especially in your gut, it is no wonder activated charcoal is used to promote kidney function. How does activated charcoal improve kidney function?
Well, as you might know, kidneys are there to filter the waste products your body produces. They filter the blood and are an essential factor in your overall health. That being said, patients who have chronic kidney disease have a hard time removing toxins from the body. Not only that, they have issues removing urea from the body, too. And that’s where activated charcoal steps in, by absorbing all the toxins the kidneys cannot process.
A 2006 study has shown that AC can significantly improve kidney function.
Now that you have read all the activated charcoal benefits that are health-related, it’s time to get to the beauty-related ones. Activated Charcoal is commonly used in the beauty industry, and there are a few reasons for that.
Here are some of those reasons:
Activated Charcoal for Teeth Whitening
You may have seen those Instagram Ads for a teeth whitening toothpaste. The black-colored paste that gives instant results, sounds familiar? Of course, it does.
How does this teeth whitening process work with activated charcoal?
Well, although there are no studies that can prove this process, it is suspected that activated charcoal has the ability to remove plaque, and is powerful enough to get rid of all the coffee or tea stains on your teeth. According to an article on Drstevelin.com, AC-enriched paste can remove teeth stains, but it doesn’t neutralize the toxins.
Additional tip: One thing that we haven’t mentioned is that you can also use the activated charcoal powder by applying it to your toothbrush and begin the process of whitening. However, we would not recommend you to do this, since rubbing the powder can be too abrasive on your gums. Instead, if you want to try this trend, use a small amount of paste placed on a brush with soft bristles. This way you will avoid hurting the gums and being too rough on the teeth. Who knew this would be one of the most prominent activated charcoal benefits?
Activated Charcoal Mask for Clear Skin
Just like you have lots of AC toothpaste that promise instant results, you also have lots of masks, pilings, and moisturizers enriched with activated charcoal. Drugstore beauty counters are full of them!
One of the most commonly found beauty product is the activated charcoal mask. If you Google this product, you will discover numerous activated charcoal benefits.
This mask can be useful for treating skin imperfections like blemishes and acne, for cleaning pores, removing excess oils in the skin, etc. Although there are no studies that can prove the mentioned beauty benefits, there are numerous examples that show how AC helps the skin.
Our advice? As we usually mention, don’t go overboard. Try using AC mask or AC-enriched products in moderation – one or two times a week. During that time, pay attention to how your skin is reacting, and if you are experiencing any irritation.
Additional tip: Although activated charcoal is especially recommended for oily skin, please be careful if you decide to use it. Yes, AC can remove the excess oils in the skin leaving it clear and smooth to the touch. However, keep in mind that stripping down your skin like that can have an impact on the skin’s pH balance which can lead to even more sebum production.
In the End, Is Activated Charcoal Safe?
As with any semi-natural medicine, the answer is yes, if you use it in moderation and are careful with it. The most common dosage is 50-100 grams for adults and 10-25 grams for children. However, keep in mind that the mentioned numbers are recommended dosage for a drug overdose.
Are There Any Activated Charcoal Risks?
When you first start taking activated charcoal pills, you might begin to notice black stool or black tongue. That is perfectly normal, and there is nothing to worry about. However, if you experience dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea or trouble breathing, stop taking it immediately.
We would not recommend you use it if you are constipated, because activated charcoal tends to slow down the passage of food through the intestines. Furthermore, please do not use activated charcoal with drugs used for treating constipation, as it can cause severe problems with your digestive tract. Additionally, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, be sure to consult your doctor before taking activated charcoal.
Consult With Your Doctor Always
Although there are a lot of activated charcoal benefits that generally make it pretty safe to use, we would advise you to consult with your doctor before deciding to take AC pills. That way you can inform the doctor about your diet and other supplements you are taking. Then he/she will explain to you how activated charcoal can affect your body and overall health.
Activated Charcoal And Other Medications
As we mentioned in one of the previous paragraphs, activated charcoal absorbs chemicals in your body. Not only does it absorb toxins, but it can also soak up medication, which lowers its effectiveness. If you are interested in finding out which drugs activated charcoal absorbs easily, be sure to check out this WebMD’s article. That is why it is recommended to wait at least two hours after you take medications to take AC pills.
Do You Believe In All These Activated Charcoal Benefits?
If you don’t, you should. Activated charcoal is indeed a powerful tool for organism detoxification.
In fact, once the holidays are over, why don’t you pay a visit to your doctor, consult with him or her and try out this supplement? It is no secret that we all need a bit of detoxing, after all the delicious meals we tend to enjoy during the winter holidays. 🙂
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