Using activated charcoal to promote better health is a popular and successful approach to natural healing, but there are some potential side effects of which you should be aware.
What is Activated Charcoal?
Activated charcoal is a form of carbon that has been processed to decrease pore size and increase surface area, along with providing a negative charge on the substance. It can be made from various substances, but it is usually one or a combination of coconut shells, olive pits, bone char, peat or sawdust, among others. Basically, this substance is intended to trap toxins and waste products, without being absorbed or broken down by the body. At that point, the charcoal can pass through the body and be excreted as waste.
While eating regular charcoal briquettes would be dangerous and ineffective, this is a different type of charcoal that is safe to consume. It is best to use natural sources of this charcoal, such as coconut shells. The surface of this charcoal has a slightly negative charge, which is able to attract the positively-charged toxins and waste products in the body.
Activated charcoal typically comes in the form of:
- Liquid suspensions
The powdered form of activated carbon can be mixed into any number of products, including toothpaste.
Benefits of Activated Charcoal
The most important benefits of activated charcoal include its ability to whiten teeth, boost oral health, cure hangovers, enhance skin health, reduce inflammation, and improve cardiovascular function, among many others.
Using activated carbon to whiten teeth is quite popular, as it can absorb many microparticles and toxins in the mouth that can cause cavities, bad breath, and other common oral diseases.
During the digestive process, there can be some byproducts of metabolism that can cause flatulence and bloating. By using activated carbon after a large meal, you can decrease the amount of bloating and cramping you may feel.
When you imbibe alcohol too heavily, the buildup of toxins in your body gets quite high, which can lead to the symptoms of a hangover. Drinking a suspension of activated charcoal, however, can help to speed the release of those toxins and make your hangovers slightly more bearable.
Numerous studies have found that using activated charcoal on a regular basis helps to lower overall cholesterol levels, and may elevate levels of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). This can reduce your risk of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, strokes and coronary heart disease.
In traditional use, activated carbon was often used to alleviate poisoning in the moments after a toxin was ingested. If taken quickly enough, it is believed that this charcoal can absorb the poison before it can be digested or enter the bloodstream, thus avoiding a potentially fatal dose.
Toxins and chemicals that linger in the body will inevitably cause inflammation and strain on the immune system. In this way, activated carbon acts as an antioxidant and protects the body from this chronic stress, which can prevent wrinkles, blemishes and age spots.
Activated charcoal is an ideal complement to a digestive cleanse diet, as you will stop adding more toxins to your system, while also helping to remove those already present.
Studies have found that using activated charcoal topically on the hair and scalp, in the form of a mask, can pull toxins and waste products from your hair that makes the hair appear flat or oily, while also helping to prevent hair loss and dandruff.
Activated charcoal has many uses and applications. Some of the most popular ones include:
- Mold cleansing
- Air purifier
- Eliminate fish odor syndrome
Activated Charcoal Dosage
If you want to begin using activated charcoal, it is important that you only consume it at safe dosages under medical supervision. Depending on the purpose of using this substance, your dosage of this may differ.
- Tablet/capsule: For general purposes, adults shouldn’t consume more than 250 mg in capsule or tablet form.
- Liquid: When consuming this substance in a liquid suspension, the dosage may range between 25 and 50 grams.
When used for poison removal, the dosage will be considerably higher.
While this substance can be hugely beneficial for overall health, there are some potential side effects to consider, such as:
Note: Experiencing black stools and a black tongue may also occur, but these are harmless, albeit surprising. If you have any sort of blockage or obstruction in your bowels, you should avoid using this substance.