Have you ever seen activated charcoal powder or capsules? Wonder why it’s in the pharmacy section? Find out more about activated charcoal benefits ahead!
Charcoal is made by heating high carbon sources at a very high temperature. The carbon sources include wood, peat, coconut shell, petroleum, coal, etc.
Activated charcoal is made by heating the same carbon sources in the presence of a gas. The presence of gas creates a lot of spaces and internal pores in the carbon which frees up space and binding sites.
The creation of these spaces or pores makes activated charcoal extremely absorbent. This is why it can be used to absorb toxins or chemicals from the body.
Benefits of activated charcoal
To have an idea of the absorbing power of activated charcoal, one teaspoon of activated charcoal has the same surface area as that of a football field.
Activated charcoal has been used for centuries for absorbing poisons or overdosing on certain chemicals from the body.
Most of the benefits of activated charcoal come from the decades-old research, therefore it should be used with the care.
Some of the health benefits of the activated charcoal are given below:
One of the oldest uses of activated charcoal is as an anti-poison treatment. It can also be used for treating overdose of certain medications like drugs and sedatives.
Studies have shown that taking activated charcoal within the first 5 minutes of the overdose decreases the drug absorption ability of an adult by up to 74%.
It was believed that activated charcoal is only effective if it’s taken during the first hour, because after that it cannot absorb toxins.
New studies have indicated that the activated charcoal is affected even after 4 hours of the overdose, especially for slow absorbing drugs.
Although the poison absorbing ability of activated charcoal is very promising, it cannot absorb all types of toxins. For example, it is ineffective for heavy metal, lithium, potassium, alcohol, and alkali poisoning.
Supports kidney function:
Activated charcoal is beneficial for people with chronic kidney disease. It works because it helps the kidneys in removing toxins or waste materials from the body. This helps with reducing the workload on the kidneys.
You may wonder how activated charcoal can assist the kidneys in filtering the blood when it is present in the stomach.
Urea and other toxic materials enter the stomach through a process called diffusion. Activated charcoal then binds with them and carries them through the digestive system.
As activated charcoal is not absorbed by the body, it passes through the large intestine and is eliminated in the feces along with the bounded toxins.
Activated charcoal is used for removing urea and other toxins from the blood, and therefore reduces the blood urea level in people with chronic kidney disease.
Reduces cholesterol level:
Just like toxins and poisons, activated charcoal can also bind other substances like cholesterol. In an older study, it was found that consuming 24 grams of activated charcoal daily reduced the amount of LDL up to 25%, while increasing HDL levels up to 8%.
Another study suggested similar results. It was found that larger doses are more effective in removing more cholesterol from the body.
What is activated charcoal used for?
Following are some uses of activated charcoal:
Studies have shown that consuming activated charcoal before going in for an ultrasound reduces the amount of gas in the abdomen.
This is thought to make the ultrasound imaging clearer and more visible, but more research is needed to confirm this.
The cosmetic industry claims that activated charcoal can also be used as a teeth whitening agent because it can absorb stains.
Activated charcoal removes stains from the teeth by binding with the tiny particles that cause stains. Activated charcoal is effective for whitening your natural teeth but does not work for veneers or crowns. But high-quality studies are needed to support this claim.
Activated charcoal is used by doctors to absorb some toxins like sedatives, calcium channel blockers carbamazepine, malaria medications, etc.
If the person is awake then doctors can give them activated charcoal in the form of a drink, but it can also be given through feeding tubes if necessary.
Some studies claim that activated charcoal is an effective anti-aging agent because it clears your system from the inside, unlike other anti-aging creams that work from the outside.
If your body is healthy from the inside then it is also shown on the outside. It is also used on the skin to shrink pores, clean pores, treat acne, treat bug bites, and balance oil production.
It can be applied as a mask on the skin for achieving younger-looking skin.
Activated charcoal can also be used to prevent hangovers because it blocks alcohol from getting into your bloodstream.
Professionals use activated charcoal in case of alcohol poisoning or if a person is unconscious but not usually for regular hangovers.
We always think of mold as a fungus that lives outside of our bodies but it is not always true. If we live in an environment where we are constantly exposed to mold then it can enter our bodies and cause depression, respiratory distress, and infections.
Consuming activated charcoal in this case can help detoxify mold from our bodies.
Activated charcoal can not only absorb substances from our bodies but it can also absorb toxins from the water or other liquids as well.
In places where clean drinking water is not available, many use activated charcoal water filters to remove fluoride, solvents, and other toxins. Using an activated charcoal filter in your taps will also give you clean and great tasting water.
Activated charcoal is used for treating certain digestive problems like gas or bloating. If you suffer from excessive gas, then taking activated charcoal after meals will bind elements that cause gas or bloating.
Remember to drink plenty of water after taking activated charcoal so that it can be easily removed from the body. If you do not drink plenty of water, then it will result in constipation.
Other related articles:
- How To Balance Cortisol Levels Naturally
- How To Reverse Adrenal Fatigue
- Boost Metabolism Naturally
- Best Foods For Heart Health
- Best Foods For Stress Relief
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