Activated Charcoal – Everything You Need to Know

Activated Charcoal – Everything You Need to Know

Okay so the world has officially lost its mind. Now people are chowing down on charcoal to get healthy, and its not just any charcoal, its special activated charcoal. So why are people turning to activated charcoal in their droves? Get the low down here.

So what is activated charcoal?

Well duh its charcoal… but not just any charcoal…activated charcoal is specially treated with oxygen at a really high temperature to open up millions of teeny tiny holes so when chemicals pass next to its surface, they attach to the charcoal and get trapped.  So if your up for devouring some, activated charcoal can be used to catch toxins inside the body. Because activated charcoal cannot be absorbed any toxins that cling to the charcoal will exit your body when mother nature calls. How’s that for a bit of biology 101?

Where can I buy it?

Step away from the fire place you don’t actually have to eat charcoal to enjoy its benefits. Just head to the local health food store, where activated charcoal is available in tablet, capsule or powder form for your dining pleasure! I shelled out $20 for a 100g container of the powdered stuff.

How does it taste?

You drink the powdered stuff mixed with water and it literally looks like a glass of black. Luckily it doesn’t taste as bad as it looks. Despite the colour, activated charcoal is odorless and tasteless, so its more like drinking a glass of gritty water than eating a charcoal briquette…totally doable!

What are the benefits of activated charcoal?

Activated charcoal has been used since ancient times to treat a variety of illnesses. Believe it or not, it is still the go to hospital treatment for certain types of poisoning and drug overdoses. Its ability to trap toxins is also said to relieve intestinal complaints such as gas, bloating and diarrhoea, and can be rubbed into the skin to reduce pain and itching from bites and stings. More recently health nuts have started swapping their green juices for charcoal drinks to cleanse and detoxify their bodies. In fact I was downing a lemon and charcoal drink as part of the juice cleanse I wrote about last week – you can read more about that here.

But last, and definitely not least, activated charcoal is touted as a way as preventing hangovers …hold up…prevent hangovers?…come to Mama!

Activated charcoal is the newest way to detox. All the health nuts are raving about it. But does it work? |
So does it really work as a hangover cure?

Because I love alcohol  you guys so much, I thought I would drink me some champagne and test this one out. For the past month I have been drinking activated charcoal before and after a night on the booze.  And lucky for me there were plenty of opportunities in January with New Years Eve, my BFF’s birthday celebrations and a long weekend.  I did have to remember to wipe the activated charcoal moustache off my face before leaving the house (true story), but apart from that hardest thing – EVER!

So did it work? Ummm, no. Lets just say I took some headaches for the team, because hangover cure it is not. Like a girl scout I tried…I really did ..but no matter how much I downed, I still I woke up the morning after like Gizmo from Gremlins screaming Bright Light!Bright Light! On doing some further research I found that studies have shown, unlike other poisons, activated charcoal does not bind to alcohol very well. In fact, one study found that after having a couple drinks, blood alcohol levels in study subjects were the same whether they took activated charcoal or not.

So activated charcoal can cure drug overdoses but not hangovers…mother nature you are a biatch sometimes!

Is it a keeper?

Well not as a hangover cure, but I will keep it on hand in case of accidental poisoning, stomach upsets, or to address the unwanted after effects of an Indian takeaway…just saying.

Now a word of warning, activated charcoal can interfere with the absorption of medications. So if you want to give it a shot, remember to take the activated charcoal at least 2 hours before or after any medications or supplements.

Have you used activated charcoal to treat any health issues? I would love to hear whether it has worked for you! Oh and if you have any other hangover cures for me to try out- send them my way!

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