When you hear the word charcoal, you may be thinking of the briquettes used in a charcoal grill or the charred remains after a campfire. This is not the same substance that we’re talking about today. Activated charcoal has been used for thousands of years to treat illness, poisoning, and for general wellness. It’s used today in emergency rooms all over the world as a safe and effective treatment for poisoning and drug overdoses. In addition to these extreme uses, it can be used to reduce bloating, remove toxins from the body, and even lower high cholesterol!
How does activated charcoal work?
Activated charcoal is veryporous. In fact, it has millions of tiny pores! These pores all have a negative charge. Toxins, on the other hand, are positively charged. This means they want to bond with the negatively charged activated charcoal. Once bonded, they are trapped and the activated charcoal can escort these toxins safely out of your body. This process is called adsorption.
Some of the many benefits of activated charcoal
Reduces gas and bloating:
Activated charcoal can bind to the gas-causing byproducts in foods that can cause bloating and discomfort. It is best to avoid consuming foods that cause uncomfortable symptoms for you, however, if this is unavoidable, activated charcoal is a great option! If you know you are going to consume a meal that will cause you problems, take 500mg approximately one-hour before the meal with a full glass of water. Follow the meal with an additional glass of water to help move the activated charcoal through your system. This will allow it to properly bind to the food toxins and remove them from your system.
In a double-blind study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, researchers found that taking activated charcoal prior to a gas-producing meal significantly reduced bloating and abdominal cramps vs. placebo (1).
Cleanses mold from the body:
Toxic mold present in the body can cause or contribute to depression, kidney and liver failure, brain fog and brain function, heart disease, headaches, impaired immune function, and severe respiratory problems. If you are living in a particularly humid environment, have experienced flooding in your home, or have poor ventilation, you may be exposing yourself to toxic mold regularly. Symptoms of mold exposure can include wheezing, skin rashes, watery eyes, coughing, headaches that cannot be explained, or fatigue. You can have your home spore levels evaluated to know for sure, even if mold is not visible.
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Mold in your home must be properly removed before you can begin to cleanse and detoxify your body. You can use activated charcoal, baking soda, apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, and borax to clean mold off of hard surfaces, if visible. It is important, however, to wear protective gear (mask, gloves, etc.) to prevent the spores from being inhaled during cleaning. You can also hire professionals to remove the mold.
Following cleaning your home, you can use activated charcoal regularly to help remove the toxins from your body as it heals.
Emergency toxin removal
Every first aid kit should be equipped with activated charcoal! Most organic compounds, such as fertilizer, bleach, mercury, and pesticides, will bind to activated charcoal allowing for a rapid removal from the body while preventing absorption. Activated charcoal can also be used in the event of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications. In the event of poisoning or suspected poisoning,call 911 immediatelyand inform them that you have activated charcoal on hand. Allow the 911 operator to advise on administration and dosage, as this can vary depending on the medication or chemical ingested. Depending on the amount of toxins or chemicals ingested and types of toxins, multiple doses may be necessary. At the hospital, physicians are able to administer more as needed (2).
Reduces high cholesterol
Studies have shown that activated charcoal can reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol as effectively as some prescription medications (3). In one study, total cholesterol decreased by 25%, including a 41% decrease in LDL cholesterol, in just four weeks!
If you have high cholesterol and are interested in adding activated charcoal into your treatment, it is imperativethat you consult your doctor first. Your current medication may need to be adjusted or changed to accommodate the activated charcoal. Activated charcoal can, in some cases, negate the effect of medications, so proceed with caution and ensure that your doctor is included in every step of your treatment.
Important facts to know about taking activated charcoal
It is very important to understand that activated charcoal is incredibly powerful! If you take medications or other supplements, it is crucial that you check with your doctor to make sure there are no adverse interactions. Additionally, due to the binding nature of activated charcoal, it is important that you do not take it at the same time as medications or supplements. Activated charcoal must be taken alone, with a full glass of water. It is best to wait at least two hours before or after taking any other medications or supplements to take activated charcoal to avoid the charcoal binding to the medication or supplement and removing it. If you are unsure about dosage, timing, or taking activated charcoal at all, it is best to talk to your doctor or nutritionist before starting an activated charcoal regimen.
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