Now, it’s important to note that when I say “activated charcoal,” I don’t mean the charcoal you use to fire up the ole barbecue pit.
While similar, activated charcoal is simply common charcoal heated to create a bunch of tiny internal crevasses that imbue it with powerful medicinal purposes. When applied, the tiny pores bind to toxins on our skin or in our digestive tract resulting in innumerable benefits for our bodies.
“You will never spend a better $6 in your life!”
My love affair with activated charcoal began when a massage therapist recommended a charcoal soap bar and swore by it would be life changing – this stuff must be good. I splurged the $6, and boy, did it work wonders! Washing my face just once with this fabulous soap cleared my skin right up and gave it a glow like never before!
I was surprised. Nowhere in my nutrition curriculum had anyone ever mentioned the potential benefits of activated charcoal! My mind was blown. If activated charcoal could have such a wonderful effect on my body’s largest organ, my skin, surely there must be benefits to ingesting the stuff. Sure enough, as I started researching the science literature, I learned about a ton of potential benefits of consuming activated charcoal!
A few days after I discovered the marvelous soap, another dietitian recommended that I try activated charcoal to clear the toxic load I had acquired from mold exposure I had experienced at a previous job. Sure enough, it worked wonders.
How It Works
To figure out why activated charcoal is so amazing, it helps to understand how it functions. The tiny crevasses I mentioned above act as little hooks that grab and trap toxins and gas produced in our system so that they can be excreted from our bodies. This process is called adsorption and greatly reduces toxic load in our digestive tract.
As an example, activated charcoal is used in hospitals for patients who have consumed too much alcohol. While activated charcoal does not absorb alcohol, it does adsorb toxins that were consumed with alcohol (i.e., tannins in wine). This reduces the toxic load and assists significantly with overdose recovery.
The top 4 benefits of activated charcoal:
1. Magical hangover cure!
Okay, you know all those supplements promising to cure the dreaded hangover? Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had much success with those. Take it from me: activated charcoal is the answer! Remember, activated charcoal doesn’t absorb alcohol, so always be kind to your liver and don’t overdo it! Activated charcoal does assist in taking up other toxins and artificial sweeteners that you may be taking in with your booze, including sugar found in mixers, so it is very effective.
Theory Health Tip: Take 500mg of activated charcoal with a large glass of water 30 minutes before and after imbibing. Try to consume a large glass of water with every alcoholic drink consumed.
2. Bloat be gone!
I love my fruits, veggies, and beans, so my fiber consumption can make my microbiota a little over-reactive at times, if you know what I mean (read: I feel a bit puffed up). Activated charcoal can adsorb gas-producing elements in its tiny pores, significantly reducing bloat after meals.
Theory Health Tip: Take 500mg of activated charcoal 30 minutes to one hour before a gas-producing meal with a large glass of water. Have a large glass of water after your meal as well to keep your tummy from rumbling and grumbling!
3. Healthy gut!
Activated charcoal binds to toxins that can wreak havoc on our digestive system. Today, the foods we consume are full of all kinds of toxins, including pesticides and chemicals. We are constantly bombarded with toxins in our environment. For those of us in big cities, we are breathing in toxin-filled smog all day! Activated charcoal is able to bind to these toxins that enter our digestive tract reducing toxic load, allergic reactions, and inflammation while increasing mental clarity.
4. Glowing skin!
Activated charcoal can work wonders on your skin! By binding to environmental toxins and dirt, it has been shown to reduce acne, body odor, and even help with insect bites. The beauty of my magic activated charcoal soap is that it clears my skin without drying me out, unlike most zit-zapping cleansers and masks. Best of all? It’s affordable. There are a ton of products on the market these days, so you can really have your pick!
What are you waiting for?
Remember, whenever you take activated charcoal, it is super important to drink lots of water to push the toxins through your system and prevent constipation. Also, be sure to find naturally derived forms of activated charcoal – charcoal derived from coconut shells is your best bet.