• Lydia Ojuka Riley

Activated Charcoal: Wide Medical and Health Benefits

What is Activated Charcoal?

What Exactly is “Activated Charcoal”?

We usually relate “Charcoal” to a substance that is predominantly used to fire up a barbecue. Well, activated charcoal is a revolutionary new age ‘detox’ trend.

Activated charcoal is made from carbon-containing material, such as wood, which is heated at high temperatures and then oxidized to “activate” the charcoal. Alternatively, it can also be produced from bone char, coconut shells, peat, petroleum coke, coal, olive pits or sawdust.

The manufacturing process used makes activated charcoal extremely absorbent, allowing it to bind with bodily molecules, ions, or atoms. It’s absorbing property is leveraged to attain several proposed benefits ranging from lowering cholesterol in the human body to whitening teeth and curing acute hangovers.

How does Activated Charcoal Work?

The activated charcoal works by trapping chemicals and toxins in the gut, preventing their absorption in the bodily fluids. Because activated charcoal is not absorbed by the body, it can carry the toxin bound to its surface out of your body through natural procedures, i.e, sweat, feces, etc.

Activated charcoal is used to treat drug poisonings and overdose, reduce intestinal gas, lower cholesterol levels, reduce phosphate levels in dialysis, and treat bile flow problems during pregnancy. Activated charcoal can also be used in bandages for healing wounds and also to improve the overall quality of the skin.

For the purpose of skin care, one can prepare a mask and apply it directly on the skin. But, remember activated charcoal is not recommended for daily use as it is dehydrating and may deplete other nutrients and moisture from the body.

Activated charcoal is available in the form of pills and powder; they come in 250g tablets. The pills can be consumed after consultation with an expert or pharmacist.

Among several benefits of activated charcoal, the ones most important are listed below:

Antidote – Activated charcoal is widely used in instances of a drug overdose in humans. The coal and wood which constitute the composition of charcoal binds the toxins and stops it from spreading. For most effective results, the individual must be treated the activated charcoal within 1 to 4 hours of consuming a toxin. However, the charcoal wouldn’t be as effective if the toxin is already digested and no longer in the stomach.Foster Kidney function – Activated charcoal enhances kidney function by filtering out undigested toxins and drug residue. According to statistics, more than 10% of the world’s population suffers from chronic kidney diseases. It helps the kidney in processing and filtering waste products such as urea, uric acid, and body fluids.Tooth Whitening – Brushing your teeth with activated charcoal is double effective in absorbing the plaque. It is also believed to have antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and detoxifying properties which promote whitening of teeth.Skin Care – Application of activated charcoal on the skin in the form of face pack, mask or cream draws micro particles like dirt, dust, chemicals, toxins and excess oil from your within and “pulls” them up to the skin surface making their removal easier. It further helps you to avoid acne by cleaning the pores while leaving you with clear glowing skin. Furthermore, the plethora of antibacterial property in activated charcoal helps to absorb harmful microbes from wounds treating skin infections too.

How Safe is Activated Charcoal?

Although activated charcoal is considered safe in most cases, it may have certain unpleasant side effects like nausea and vomiting. People under medications should, therefore, consult a doctor before intake of activated charcoal. Mostly since it may interfere with the absorption of their regular prescription medicines. Conclusively speaking, activated charcoal is a supplement with a variety of medical benefits, when used in appropriate quantity and under mindful supervision.

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