Activated charcoal is one of those health trends that continues to grow in popularity, from charcoal toothpastes to lattes, capsules, powders, face masks, cosmetics, and more...
In fact, we’d be pretty surprised if you haven’t crossed paths with a charcoal product yet, either while browsing online, shopping at your local grocery store, or visiting a trendy neighborhood cafe.
The truth of the matter is that activated charcoal is pretty much everywhere these days. And with this in mind, you may be wondering if it’s time to have a closer look into this popular ingredient and its many benefits.
Why are people using activated charcoal?
Although it’s become a huge trend in recent years, humans have actually been utilizing the detoxifying benefits of activated charcoal for hundreds of years in natural remedies for a number of different symptoms.
For example, charcoal has been used throughout the years as an antidote for poison since the early 1800s.
But is this popular ingredient safe and effective? And even more importantly, is it worth a spot in your wellness routine? Let’s have a closer look!
What is activated charcoal?
Activated charcoal is actually quite similar to the charcoal you use to grill your favorite barbecue foods, since it's essentially made up of pure carbon.
However, activated charcoal is processed in a unique way to increase its highly porous texture. Its tiny pores and negative electrical charge essentially trap toxins and harmful bacteria lurking in your digestive tract.
These toxins and gases attach to the charcoal, preventing them from being absorbed by your body. They then remain in your system until they are ultimately excreted by attaching to stools.
In a nutshell, activated charcoal helps trap and expel harmful intruders in your gut, in a similar fashion to the way a lint roller traps lint on your clothing.
Benefits of activated charcoal
- May help with general detoxification
Medical professionals often use activated charcoal in various cases of poisoning, such as drug overdose or alcohol poisoning.
Activated charcoal may help alleviate gastrointestinal symptoms when used correctly, by helping to reduce cramping, bloating, and uncomfortable gas.
Charcoal may also help ease symptoms of diarrhea by preventing bacteria from being absorbed into the digestive tract.
- Some studies have shown that activated charcoal may help promote healthy LDL cholesterol levels. Although more research is needed, one study reported that this ingredient helped decrease bad cholesterol by as much as 25% after only four weeks.
When activated charcoal resurfaced in popularity in recent years, some newer benefits have also been widely discussed in addition to the more traditional methods.
Some of these potential new benefits may include...
- Anti-aging benefits
- Natural hangover remedy
- Treatment for acne and clogged pores
- Water filtration
- Teeth whitening
- Natural remedy for bug bites
How to use activated charcoal
Before adding activated charcoal to your wellness routine, let’s have a look at the different ways in which this detoxifying ingredient can be utilized.
Activated charcoal is virtually tasteless and is most commonly found in tablet, powder, capsule, or liquid form. Tablets and quality supplements seem to offer the greatest value in the safest and most effective forms, but each method has its own benefits.
Powder variations can be added to water or non-acidic liquids, and enjoyed whenever symptoms arise. Many cosmetics and personal care products containing this ingredient can also be applied topically to the skin or as part of a teeth whitening solution.
Should you try activated charcoal?
Similarly to any new dietary supplement, it’s always important to do your homework and understand the right ways to experience the benefits of activated charcoal before adding it to your routine.
Although not every trendy new ingredient is properly backed by science, the benefits of activated charcoal seem to be widely accepted by the scientific and medical communities.
Many studies have shown that activated charcoal does have the ability to help soothe certain symptoms when used correctly.
But activated charcoal may not be suitable for everyone and it’s important to use it in the correct recommended doses, either in a high-quality supplement or as recommended by a doctor (especially for anyone with preexisting conditions).
If overused in large amounts, activated charcoal can lead to side effects such as constipation, dehydration, vomiting, and electrolyte imbalances. It’s always important to drink a full glass or two of water after taking activated charcoal, in order to avoid dehydration or constipation.
Doses will generally vary slightly depending on each individual’s needs. When in doubt, a doctor or nutritionist can help advise you on the proper usage for you.
Here are 5 amazing ways to
incorporate activated charcoal
into your routine
Try mixing 2-3 capsules of activated charcoal into your toothpaste, buy a charcoal toothpaste, or simply dab some activated charcoal powder directly onto your teeth. Brush your teeth normally and wait about three minutes before rinsing.
Feeling a bit dehydrated and under the weather after a boozy night? Or maybe you ate something out at a restaurant that may have been undercooked or expired? Try mixing one tablespoon of charcoal powder (or emptying 2-3 capsules) into a large glass of fresh lemon water and sip away! Follow with another cup of plain water immediately afterwards to avoid constipation.
If chronic digestive distress, leaky gut, or food poisoning symptoms are common parts of your everyday life, it may be time to add a concentrated, high-quality gut formula to your routine. Certain supplements, such as our Gut Restore, incorporate activated charcoal as part of a more comprehensive solution to healing a damaged, unbalanced gut. When taken consistently as part of a healthy routine, probiotics and other quality supplements infused with activated charcoal may help restore proper gut function.
Have your own DIY detox spa night by mixing a teaspoon of activated charcoal powder to lukewarm water, until a paste is formed. You then have the option to add a teaspoon of aloe gel or a few drops of your favorite face serum or facial oil. Apply a thin layer to your face, leave for approximately 10-15 minutes, and rinse. Follow with a natural moisturizer and maybe even a spritz of natural rose water for the ultimate spa night at home.
Did you know that activated charcoal has moisture-wicking properties that help absorb humidity, smells, and harmful gases? Try searching for a natural charcoal-infused deodorant and experience the results for yourself!
IS ACTIVATED CHARCOAL GOING TO BE ON YOUR LIST OF WELLNESS INGREDIENTS TO TRY FOR BETTER GUT HEALTH AND OVERALL DETOX?
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