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Benefits of Activated Charcoal

Benefits of Activated Charcoal

While many of us may know about activated charcoal as an effective remedy for an upset stomach, it actually has several additional important uses.

What is activated charcoal?

Activated charcoal is a powerful natural treatment used to trap toxins and chemicals in the body, allowing them to be flushed out so that the body doesn't reabsorb them. It can be made from various substances, such as coconut shells or wood. It can be obtained as capsules or powder and is odorless and flavorless. Note that this is not the charcoal used in your barbeque!

How does activated charcoal work?

Manufacturing activated charcoal makes it extremely absorbent, allowing it to bind to molecules, ions, or atoms and remove them from dissolved substances.  This process is called adsorption.

It does not get absorbed by your gut;  it reaches your gut unchanged. The charcoal has a negative charge, which causes it to attract positively charged molecules, such as toxins and gasses. These toxins and gasses are then eliminated through stool instead of absorbed by your body.

What is activated charcoal used for? 

Digestive problems, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and gas:  There are several possible causes of an upset stomach, including overeating leading to indigestion; stomach flu; and food poisoning, which can be viral, bacterial or parasitic.

Digestive cleanses:  Activated charcoal can help promote a healthy digestive tract by removing toxins that cause allergic reactions, oxidative damage and poor immune system function. Removing toxins can reduce joint pain and increase energy and mental function.

Treatment of poisoning and drug overdoses: One of the most common uses of activated charcoal is the safe and effective treatment of poisoning and drug overdoses in a clinical setting.

Kidney health:  Activated charcoal may assist kidney function by filtering out undigested toxins and drugs.

Reduces high cholesterol:  Studies show that activated charcoal reduces bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases good cholesterol (HDL) 

A word of caution:  Don't take activated charcoal within 90 minutes to two hours of taking any prescription medication or supplements because it can prevent proper absorption.  If you suspect poisoning or overdose, prompt, professional treatment is essential.


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  2.  Axe J. Top 10 activated charcoal uses, plus potential side effects. July 5, 2019.  Accessed February 8, 2023.
  3. What is activated charcoal? Benefits and uses.  December 2, 2021.  Accessed February 8, 2023.
  4. What are the benefits of activated charcoal? Accessed February 8, 2023.