Should You Be Consuming Activated Charcoal?

by Lisa Breitenwischer

May 19, 2017

Should You Be Consuming Activated Charcoal?

Activated charcoal has become all the rage in the field of health & beauty, as it carries a number of purifying benefits.
So, what is activated charcoal? Activated charcoal is regular charcoal that’s been heated with gas, which forms millions of little pores that trap chemicals and adsorb (“to bind to” rather than “to absorb”) large amounts of liquid and toxic debris in the body. This substance is a fine, black powder that is tasteless, odorless, and nontoxic.

People tout that this substance detoxifies the body, improves digestion, decreases flatulence, improves skin, whitens teeth and much more. Sounds pretty great overall, but is it something that actually produces results & is worth trying? The only way to find out is to try it yourself and see how it affects your body. Always check with your doctor before starting something new.


A Few Benefits People Have Experienced:

  • Detoxification: Activated charcoal is very cleansing for the intestines and is great at binding to toxic gases, Candida, parasites and other physical impurities and at rendering them harmless. It’s most commonly known to be used as a remedy to poisoning or drug overdose.
  • Relieves bloating, flatulence, and indigestion: Activated charcoal is not metabolized nor absorbed by the body; it enters the digestive tract and adheres to digestive byproducts that may cause discomfort and is then flushed out of the body.
  • Improves Skin Ailments & Acne: Activated charcoal can be applied topically to relieve inflammation from insect bites, poison ivy, wounds, and other skin infections. It draws out toxins and eliminates harmful bacteria.
  • Fight bad breath & body odor: Odor is usually a result of toxins being expelled from the body; activated charcoal will adsorb these toxins and then be excreted.
  • Alleviates hangovers: it doesn’t absorb alcohol, but it removes other toxins that are a byproduct of alcohol being broken down.
  • Whiten teeth: Wet a toothbrush, place a little toothpaste on and then dip into powdered activated charcoal; brush teeth as normal then rinse well; for best results, do this 2-3x per week. Beware, it can get a little messy and stain grout.


Many scientists believe the hype of this substance is overrated because these benefits haven’t been proven by studies.

However, there are a few known cons to consider:

It May Interact with Medications or Supplements: Activated charcoal will not only bind toxins but also medications or substances in the stomach and intestines, decreasing the absorption of the medicine/supplement. Give yourself at least 2 hours before or after you have to take medications. Always check with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns, or if you are currently on any medications.

Not a “Cure-All”: Although people have experienced these benefits while taking activated charcoal, they will not all necessarily work with your body. Side effects may include black stool or constipation if not drinking enough water.*

*It’s important to consume adequate amounts of water (12-16 glasses a day) when taking activated charcoal to prevent dehydration. Activated charcoal is best for intermittent use rather than as a daily supplement. It may be good to keep on hand if you ever experience food poisoning, too.

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