In the past few years, activated charcoal has gained in popularity. It is added in drinks and food, and is claimed to be rich in health benefits. It has been around for thousands of years, and it was even used by Hippocrates and Pliny in their day.

The most common, established way doctors use activated charcoal is as an emergency treatment for food poisonings; when ingested, activated charcoal can prevent certain chemicals from being absorbed to the stomach. In addition, it’s used to reduce bloating and gas, lower cholesterol, treat bile flow problems safely during pregnancy, and even prevent hangovers.

Activated charcoal has long been used in acute situations for pulling toxins out of the human body. Charcoal’s composition is adsorbing, which means that it pulls other substance into itself and carries them out of the body. The porous surface of activated charcoal has a negative electric charge that causes positive charged toxins and gas to bond with it. The texture of activated charcoal is created through a heating process. It is important to know that activated charcoal is not charcoal used in the barbecue grill.

Whenever you take activated charcoal, it’s imperative to drink 12-16 glasses of water per day. Activated charcoal can cause dehydration if you don’t take adequate amounts of water daily. This also helps to flush out the toxins quickly and prevents constipation.

Here are the benefits of activated charcoal:

Alleviates gas and bloating

One activated charcoal use often overlooked is to alleviate uncomfortable gas and bloating. It works by binding the gas-causing products in foods that cause discomfort.

Boosts your energy

Although activated charcoal won’t give you the type of heart-racing boost your daily coffee delivers, it can provide energy in a more indirect way. Any time the body is rid of toxins and oxidants, it will respond by giving you more energy and better overall health.

Treats alcohol poisoning

While activated charcoal does not adsorb alcohol, it does help quickly remove other toxins from the body that contribute to poisoning. Alcohol is rarely consumed in its pure form, and usually artificial sweeteners and chemicals are added to enhance the taste. Activated charcoal removes these toxins.

Emergency toxin removal

Activated charcoal is also used in the event of accidental or purposeful overdose of many pharmaceutical drugs and over-the-counter medications. It’s effective for aspirin, opium, cocaine, morphine and acetaminophen. In addition, activated charcoal can be used in cases of food poisoning when nausea and diarrhea are present. But if you are not sure to handle the situation, it’s always best to run to the nearest hospital or call your doctor as soon as possible.

Skin and body health

Activated charcoal uses extend beyond internal applications. For external treatments, it’s effective at treating body odor and acne, and relieving discomfort from insect bites, rashes from poison ivy or poison oak, and snake bites. Nowadays there are so many cosmetic and skin care products containing activated charcoal that you can choose.

However, is there any side effect of activated charcoal?

Activated charcoal is safe for most adults when used short-term. Side effects of activated charcoal include constipation and black stools. More serious, but rare, side effects are a slowing blockage of the intestinal tract, regurgitation into the lungs, and dehydration.

Do not use any oral products with activated charcoal if you have any kind of intestinal obstruction. Also, if you have a condition that slows the passage of food through your intestine, don’t use activated charcoal, unless you are being monitored by your doctor or healthcare provider.

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