What is Activated Charcoal?
Activated charcoal is a fine black powder made from bone char, coconut shells, peat, petroleum coke, coal, olive pits or sawdust. It becomes “activated charcoal” when high temperatures combine with a gas or activating agent to expand its surface area.
Humans have been using activated charcoal because of its ability to detoxify the body. It is also commonly used by doctors to treat patient’s conditions such as drug overdose and poisoning, and alleviate symptoms, like diarrhea. Do not use activated charcoal as a supplement if you take medications, as it may also reduce absorption of certain nutrients.
A number of uses of activated charcoal are indicated below:
Activated charcoal works through the digestive tract by trapping toxins in the gut and preventing them from being absorbed.
- Promote Kidney Function
It may help improve kidney function by promoting the elimination of toxic waste products. This may be particularly useful in cases of kidney disease.
- Reduce Cholesterol Levels
Activated charcoal may help reduce cholesterol levels.
- Removing phosphorus from the blood
If a person has a kidney disease, their kidneys are less able to remove excess phosphorus from their blood. When taken, activated charcoal showed significantly delayed increases in phosphorus levels, which could improve health in people with kidney disease.
- Removing heavy metals from drinking water
Activated charcoal is a popular way to reduce heavy metal and fluoride content in water. But there’s no proof that it can be very effective at removing viruses, bacteria or hard water minerals.
- Tooth whitening
Using activated charcoal to brush your teeth is said to whiten them. It absorbs plaque and other teeth-staining compounds.
- Skin treatment
Applying activated charcoal to the skin is said to be an effective treatment for acne and insect or snake bites.
It can also treat diarrhea by preventing the absorption of bacteria in the body. It is effective at reducing intestinal gas, bloating, and abdominal cramps.
How and When to Take it?
To make sure any activated charcoal you’ve consumed will not interfere with your health, you should take it at least 1 hour before and 2 hours after meals, medications, or supplements. Do not mix the charcoal with ice cream or syrup. Taking other medicines together with activated charcoal may prevent the other medicine from being absorbed by your body.
To prevent activated charcoal powder from scattering, be careful when opening and adding water to the powder container. Shake the liquid form well before taking it. Be sure to drink all the liquid. Then rinse the container with a small amount of water, shake the container, and drink this mixture to get the full dose of activated charcoal.
The dose medicines will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor’s orders or the directions on the label. The number of doses you take, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the activated charcoal depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
It’s worth mentioning again, that activated charcoal may also reduce the absorption of certain medications. Therefore, please consult with your health care professional prior to taking it.