If you're concerned about your heath in any way, there's a pretty good chance that you've caught wind of the activated charcoal craze that seems to be making its way into just about every product on the market. From face scrubs to smoothies, activated charcoal is the new go-to for people trying to get healthy. But exactly what are the benefits of consuming activated charcoal? It sounds healthy (and a bit out there), but what's the hype really all about?
It turns out that activated charcoal has been used since 1831 as a powerful and effective decontaminant, according to eMedicine Health. To this day, hospitals will often administer doses of activated charcoal to counteract poisons or other life threatening sicknesses.
But don't worry, Real Simple noted that despite the charcoal's powerful effect, it's still safe to consume in small, recommended doses. Activated charcoal typically comes in a powder form, and is made from natural sources like burnt coconut shells. It is "activated" due to its negative charge, which the article also noted leads most experts to believe in it's detoxing effects and other health benefits.
You can eat it with your ice cream, exfoliate your skin with it, and even brush your teeth with it. So what benefits can activated charcoal have for your body? It's a pretty amazing powder after all.
1. It Relieves Bloating And Gas
According to the Dr. Axe website, activated charcoal works to bind gas-causing byproducts in food that can often lead to painful bloating or gas. The article recommended that taking up to 500 milligrams an hour before consuming a gas-inducing meal can lessen the food's effect on your body.
2. It Has A Detoxifying Effect
One of the best qualities of activated charcoal is it's ability to absorb chemicals in your body. In fact, some dietitians have crafted entire detoxes around the powder, including it in lemonades, juices, and smoothies, according to Buzzfeed. The aforementioned article from the Dr. Axe website explained that, due to the incredibly porous nature of activated charcoal, it can be used as a digestive cleanse to rid the body of pesticides, allergens, and more.
3. It Might Help With Hangovers
Although activated charcoal doesn't bind directly to alcohol, as noted by Shape, it can bind to the other artificial sweeteners and chemicals in alcoholic beverages that may cause your hangover to be worse.
4. It Can Reduce High Cholesterol
According to Michigan Medicine at the University of Michigan, activated charcoal has the ability to "attach (adsorb) cholesterol and bile acids present in the intestine" and prevent them from absorbing in the body.