The Health Benefits And Side Effects Of Ingesting Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal has fast become an essential part of our lives thanks to its ability to detoxify the human system. This owes to its use in an extensive range of products, including skincare, food and most importantly, healthcare. However, this has not stopped many from asking mind-boggling questions about how safe it is to ingest activated charcoal. Below, we have outlined its benefits, and the few side effects that may accompany its consumption.

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By Cookist

Activated charcoal is a byproduct of burning materials such as wood, coconut shells, or peat at high temperatures. The product is super fine and has a large surface area, which makes it useful in the adsorption of heavy metals, chemicals, and other toxins. Thus, its extensive use for detoxification.

The following are the benefits of activated charcoal, as proven by medical experts:

1. General Detoxification


When ingested orally, activated charcoal traps toxins in the gut, preventing them from being absorbed. It remains in the body until it is eliminated through feces alongside the toxins it got attached to.

Thus, its use in hospitals and emergency rooms for effective removal of drug overdoses and poisonings before the toxic substance enters the bloodstream.

2. Chronic Kidney Disease


A National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) has established that combining activated charcoal with a low protein diet can help treat renal disease. They found that many patients had a decrease in blood urea and creatinine levels after nearly a year of using activated charcoal.

3. Antidiarrheal


Activated charcoal is also used in the conservative management of diarrhea as it prevents the absorption of the bacteria into the body. It is also known to reduce intestinal gas, bloating, and abdominal cramps.

4. Cholesterol Management


Activated charcoal has also been found to help lower LDL cholesterol levels in people with high cholesterol. Health experts attest to its immense effectiveness in cholesterol management by explaining that activated charcoal can be equaled to prescription cholesterol medications.

Side Effects of Activated Charcoal 

Like most other drugs, activated charcoal comes with notable side effects. When you orally ingest activated charcoal, you may experience any one or more of these:

  • Vomiting
  • Aspiration
  • Dehydration
  • Stomach pain
  • Constipation
  • Black stools
  • Diarrhea

Note: These won't happen to everyone. However, ingesting a large dosage of activated charcoal may cause them. So, always inform your doctor before ingesting activated charcoal.

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