What is Activated Charcoal and What Are the Health Benefits?
Activated charcoal, also known as activated carbon has been used medically starting in the 1900s to treat overdoses and poisonings following oral ingestion. The World Health Organization (WHO) lists activated charcoal in its List of Essential Medicines under “Antidotes and Other Substances Used in Poisonings.”
It is also used to treat gastrointestinal issues such as bloating, diarrhea, and indigestion. Research shows that activated charcoal may promote kidney health by helping the body remove toxins and waste from the bloodstream. This can be especially beneficial for people with chronic kidney disease. What’s more, is there is promising evidence suggesting that activated charcoal may reduce cholesterol levels by binding to cholesterol in the gut and removing it from the body before it is absorbed.
To summarize, when taken internally activated charcoal is shown to
- Ease bloating and indigestion
- Treat diarrhea
- Promote detoxification
- Improve kidney function
- Reduce cholesterol levels
How Does it Work?
Activated charcoal is charcoal that has been treated with a specific type of gas while burned at a very high temperature. This causes a chemical reaction that rearranges the carbon atoms to form countless tiny pores, creating an expansive surface area that allows certain molecules to become trapped. This process is called adsorption. Not to be confused with absorption, where chemicals get trapped inside of something, with adsorption, molecules bind to the surface of an object. When taking activated charcoal internally, poisons or toxins bind to its surface area, preventing them from being absorbed into the body.
Water Purification— Besides taking it internally, another common use of activated charcoal is in carbon-based water filters. These filters safely and effectively clean tap water through adsorption— removing chemicals like chlorine, fluoride, and even certain heavy metals like lead.
Teeth Whitening— Many toothpaste companies are adding activated charcoal to their products as a teeth-whitening agent.
Hangover Prevention— The detoxification properties of activated charcoal are also being used to treat and prevent hangovers.
Skin Care— Activated charcoal is a common ingredient in Japanese skin care products due to its adsorption properties. It is said that the adsorption of impurities like dirt from the pores promotes a bright and healthy complexion.
Deodorant— Many deodorants now contain activated charcoal due to its odor-neutralizing properties.
Quality is Key!
Not all activated charcoal is created equally. Activated charcoal can be made from many sources including coal and wood. However, coconut shells are shown to be the safest and most effective choice for making high-quality, food-grade activated charcoal. Quality is especially important if you plan to take activated charcoal internally as a supplement or treatment. Many companies make claims about the benefits of using their products, but it is important to stick with products that only contain superior, food-grade coconut charcoal.
Purely Beneficial’s Activated Coconut Charcoal 1200 is derived from the highest quality coconut sources and is 100% organic and non-GMO. Made from only high-quality ingredients, Activated Coconut Charcoal 1200 contains NO fillers, artificial ingredients, or harmful preservatives. Easy to swallow pills provide a taste-free, mess-free supplement.