What Is Activated Charcoal Good For?


What Is Activated Charcoal?

Activated charcoal is a fine black powder made from bone char, coconut shells, peat, petroleum coke, coal, olive pits or sawdust.

The charcoal is “activated” by processing it at very high temperatures. The high temperatures change its internal structure, reducing the size of its pores and increasing its surface area.

This results in a charcoal that is more porous than regular charcoal.

Activated charcoal shouldn’t be confused with charcoal briquettes that are used to light your barbecue.

While both can be made from the same base materials, charcoal briquettes have not been “activated” at high temperatures. Moreover, they contain additional substances that are toxic to humans.

How Does Activated Charcoal Work?

Activated charcoal works by trapping toxins and chemicals in the gut, preventing their absorption.

The charcoal’s porous texture has a negative electrical charge, which causes it to attract positively charged molecules, such as toxins and gases. This helps it trap toxins and chemicals in the gut.

Because activated charcoal is not absorbed by your body, it can carry the toxins bound to its surface out of your body in feces.

Activated Charcoal as an Emergency Poison Treatment

Thanks to its toxin-binding properties, activated charcoal has a variety of medical uses.

For instance, activated charcoal is often used in cases of poisoning.

That’s because it can bind a wide variety of drugs, reducing their effects. In humans, activated charcoal has been used as a poison antidote since the early 1800s.

It may be used to treat prescription drugs overdoses, as well as overdoses of over-the-counter medications like aspirin, acetaminophen and sedatives.

For instance, studies show that when a single dose of 50–100 grams of activated charcoal is taken within five minutes of drug ingestion, it may reduce drug absorption in adults by up to 74%.

This effect decreases to around 50% when the charcoal is taken 30 minutes after drug ingestion and 20% if it’s taken three hours after the drug overdose.

The initial dose of 50–100 grams is sometimes followed by two to six doses of 30–50 grams every two to six hours. However, this multiple dosage protocol is used less often and may only be effective in a limited number of poisoning cases.

It’s important to note that activated charcoal is not effective in all cases of poisoning. For instance, it appears to have little effect on alcohol, heavy metal, iron, lithium, potassium, acid or alkali poisonings.

What’s more, experts warn that activated charcoal shouldn’t be routinely administered in all cases of poisoning. Rather, its use should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

May Promote Kidney Function

Activated charcoal may help promote kidney function by reducing the number of waste products that the kidneys have to filter.

This could be particularly beneficial in patients suffering from chronic kidney disease, a condition in which the kidneys can no longer properly filter waste products.

Healthy kidneys are normally very well equipped to filter your blood without any additional help. However, patients suffering from chronic kidney disease generally have a harder time removing urea and other toxins from the body.

Activated charcoal may have the ability to bind to urea and other toxins, helping your body eliminate them.

Urea and other waste products can pass from the bloodstream into the gut through a process known as diffusion. In the gut, they become bound to activated charcoal and excreted in the feces.

In humans, activated charcoal has been shown to help improve kidney function in those suffering from chronic kidney disease.

In one study, activated charcoal supplements may have helped lower blood levels of urea and other waste products in patients with end-stage kidney disease.

That said, the current evidence is weak, and more high-quality studies are needed before strong conclusions can be made.

Reduces Symptoms of Fish Odor Syndrome

Activated charcoal may help reduce unpleasant odors in individuals suffering from trimethylaminuria (TMAU), also known as fish odor syndrome.

TMAU is a genetic condition in which trimethylamine (TMA), a compound with an odor similar to that of rotting fish, accumulates in the body.

Healthy individuals are usually able to convert fishy-smelling TMA into a non-smelly compound before excreting it in urine. However, people with TMAU lack the enzyme needed to perform this conversion.

This causes TMA to accumulate in the body and make its way into urine, sweat and breath, giving rise to a foul, fishy odor.

Studies show that activated charcoal’s porous surface may help bind small odorous compounds like TMA, increasing their excretion.

One small study in TMAU patients analyzed the effects of supplementing with 1.5 grams of charcoal for 10 days. It reduced TMA concentrations in the patients’ urine to levels found in healthy individuals.

These results seem promising, but more studies are needed.

May Reduce Cholesterol Levels

Activated charcoal may also help reduce cholesterol levels.

That’s because it can bind cholesterol and cholesterol-containing bile acids in the gut, preventing the body from absorbing them.

In one study, taking 24 grams of activated charcoal per day for four weeks lowered total cholesterol by 25% and “bad” LDL cholesterol by 25%. “Good” HDL cholesterol levels also increased by 8%.

In another study, taking 4–32 grams of activated charcoal daily helped reduce total and “bad” LDL cholesterol by 29–41% in those with high cholesterol levels.

In this study, the larger dosages of activated charcoal seemed the most effective.

Similar results were reported in most, but not all, studies.

However, it’s interesting to note that all studies related to this topic were conducted in the 1980s. More recent studies would help confirm the link.

Other Uses

Activated charcoal is also a popular home remedy with multiple uses, though it’s important to note that not all of these are supported by science.

Its most well-known home uses include:

  • Gas reduction: Some studies report that activated charcoal may help reduce gas production following a gas-producing meal. It may also help improve the odor of gas. However, not all studies observed this benefit.
  • Water filtration: Activated charcoal is a popular way to reduce heavy metal and fluoride content in water. However, it doesn’t appear to be very effective at removing viruses, bacteria or hard water minerals.
  • Tooth whitening: Using activated charcoal to brush your teeth is anecdotally said to whiten them. It’s said to do so by absorbing plaque and other teeth-staining compounds. However, no studies could be found to support this claim.
  • Hangover preventionActivated charcoal is sometimes used as a hangover cure. While consuming it with alcohol may reduce blood alcohol levels, its effects on hangovers haven’t been studied.
  • Skin treatment: Applying this charcoal to the skin is touted as an effective treatment for acne and insect or snake bites. However, only anecdotal reports could be found on this topic.

Is Activated Charcoal Safe?

Activated charcoal is considered safe in most cases, and adverse reactions are said to be infrequent and rarely severe.

That said, it may cause some unpleasant side effects, the most common of which are nausea and vomiting.

In addition, constipation and black stools are two other commonly reported side effects .

When activated charcoal is used as an emergency antidote for poison, there’s a risk that it can travel into the lungs, rather than the stomach. This is especially true if the person receiving it vomits or is drowsy or semi-conscious.

Because of this risk, activated charcoal should only be given to individuals who are fully conscious.

Moreover, activated charcoal may worsen symptoms in individuals with variegate porphyria, a rare genetic disease affecting the skin, gut and nervous system.

Also, in very rare cases, activated charcoal has been linked to bowel blockages or holes.

It’s worth mentioning that activated charcoal may also reduce the absorption of certain medications. Therefore, individuals taking medications should consult their healthcare professional prior to taking it.

Dosage Instructions

Those interested in trying activated charcoal can find a wide selection of it on Amazon. Make sure to follow dosage instructions similar to those used in the studies mentioned above.

In the case of drug poisoning, it’s important to seek medical help immediately.

A dosage of 50–100 grams can be administered by a medical professional, ideally within an hour of the overdose. Children normally receive a lower dose of 10–25 grams.

Dosages for other conditions range from 1.5 grams to treat fishy odor disease to 4–32 grams per day to lower cholesterol and promote kidney function in end-stage kidney disease.

Activated charcoal supplements can be found in pill or powder forms. When taken as a powder, activated charcoal may be mixed with water or a non-acidic juice.

Also, increasing your water intake may help prevent symptoms of constipation.

The Bottom Line

Activated charcoal is a supplement with a variety of uses.

Interestingly, it may have the potential to lower cholesterol, treat poisoning, reduce gas and promote kidney function.

However, the studies supporting these benefits tend to be weak, and many of the other benefits linked to activated charcoal are not supported by science.

Keep this in mind when deciding whether to give activated charcoal a try.

Back Pain Coach

THIS ARTICLE IS FOR​: Men and women of all ages and walks of life who want ​major relief from back pain ​in ONLY 16 MINUTES

This Unusual 16-Minute,
8-Movement Method

…Relieves Years of Upper AND Lower Back Pain, Forcing Your Body to Gently Yet Naturally “Rebalance” Itself
In Just ONE SESSION!

Bonus​: Releases a Flood of Biochemicals in Your Body Designed to Finally Heal Your Back for Good!

Here’s Proof:

thermal-before-after-scan-web

If you suffer from chronic back pain and TRIED EVERYTHING to get rid of it over the years?

Right now, I want you to do just one thing.

And that goes DOUBLE if you’ve ever found yourself incapacitated for days, confined to your Lay-Z-Boy, Barcalounger or bed.

Hi I’m Ian Hart, and… you’re about to hear a life changing story…

…about how a 49 year old nearly-crippled bus driver… told by his doctors he needed to change careers or end up in the wheelchair…

…went on to completely transform his body, becoming totally pain-free something doctors said was impossible…

You’re Not Alone…

Did you know… more than one-third of Americans in their mid-50s and older have chronic pain in their neck or back?

And a similar percentage report chronic knee or leg pain.

In fact, more than one in five adults in their late 40s through late 80s has some other type of recurring pain.

Chronic pain conditions increase rapidly from about ages 25 to 60.1

All without any prescription drugs…. invasive, expensive surgery or steroid injections… or other over the counter “remedies.”

I’ll also show you how you can use the exact same 100% pain relief method he did to experience not only pain free movement, but…

…stronger muscles, better posture, and more flexibility in the next 16 minutes.

(I’ll even share with you the cause of your pain and the remedy right inside this article.)

Going from…

  • Excruciating pain, bedridden, confined to a Laz-Z-Boy for days on end…
  • Not being able to work…
  • Taking pain killers that leave you feeling sub-human…

To…

  • Pain-free
  • 100% off medication…
  • Able to work a normal shift without discomfort of any kind
  • Restoring back strength and flexibility
  • Flooding the back with healing nutrients

JUST BY ADDING
UNUSUAL 2-MINUTE MOVEMENTS
INTO HIS DAILY LIFE!

Here’s what’s really weird…

You’ll be shocked when you read his story and discover the easy solution  that freed him from a life of pain and agony.

Even after trying everything short of risky surgery to find a remedy.

So if you’re struggling with back pain, if you’ve tried workout programs and diets and seen little in the way of real results then this article could change your life.

That’s because…

These 2-Minute “Miracle” Movements Are So New, and So Different, You’ve Never Seen Anything Like Them Before!

And… in the next few minutes as you read this short article, you’ll discover:

  • Why you’re in pain, even though you did nothing wrong. (It has nothing to do with your bones.)
  • Why yoga, pilates and even other basic stretching exercises may be doing you more harm than good.
  • The easy way to “trick” your body to unlock a spasming back. The relief you’ll feel is immediate and wonderful…
  • And… how doing these simple movements regularly can GUARANTEE you never suffer back pain again…

But More Importantly Than All Of That…

Reading This Article To The Very End Reveals EXACTLY How You Can Use These 8 Short
2-Minute Movements To Help You
Get Out of Pain In Just ONE Session…

Your entire back is flooded with pain-relieving nutrients and oxygen… reducing inflammation… increasing overall flexibility… naturally correcting your posture… and relieving nagging aches and pains!

As you’ll see below, these uniquely sequenced movements have been privately tested and proven to work on men and women of all ages, body types, skill levels and in any physical state of health…

…quietly used all around the world “underground”… because these routines are based on the physiological mechanics of the body!

And… if you’re skeptical about getting out of pain, then I encourage you to keep reading.

Because…

You’ll discover everything I say is backed up by scientific study and research. Without a shadow of a doubt, the method allows your body to naturally unlock and release the pain for good.

The best part is…

These 2-Minute “Miracle” Movements Will Work For You With Zero Equipment… No Expensive Patches, Braces or Uncomfortable Girdles… and Most Importantly No Over the Counter or Pharmaceutical Drugs!

Before we go any further however, it’s important I give you fair warning:

The information in this article flies in the face of what you may have been told in the past about back pain.

Instead of giving the natural pain relief you need, mainstream healthcare professionals profit keeping you hooked on…

  • Mind-numbing medications…
  • Expensive, non-essential surgery…
  • Painful corticosteroid injections
  • Supposedly therapeutic massages…
  • Expensive electrical stimulation machines…

They know that when you learn real solutions exist like these 2-minute movements? You’ll NEVER have to spend another penny on their back pain procedures again.

OK… now that I have your undivided attention and I know you’re serious about eliminating back pain from your life using these 2-minute “miracle” routines, let me share with you a quick story about one of my clients…

It All Started With A 49-Year Old Bus Driver
Who Came To Me As His Last Resort.
His Pain Was Unbearable…

(Warning: What’s described below is
NOT for the squeamish)

At 49, Jim walked like a feeble, old man. Hunched forward, hand on his back, every step an effort.

“Can you help me, Ian?” he asked.

When he first stepped foot into my fitness studio, Jim was a bus driver getting close to retirement and his well-deserved pension.

Only one problem. He was in EXCRUCIATING pain.

I dare not ask Jim to touch his toes or do some other type of exercise to gauge his condition.

I immediately had him gently position himself on the floor, put a pillow under his head and guided him through the 1st of 8 healing, pain-relieving, 2-minute movements…

Like most service industries and professions, bus drivers are put in an incredibly difficult situation. Forced to sit uncomfortably all day for years, stressed out from traffic and customers, the job more often than not, results in the slow motion demolition of their spine.

(All the while they’re in pain, they’re told to smile.)

To make matters worse, as they get closer and closer to their retirement, their company does something rather devious. They look for every reason to lay the drivers off, rather than have to pay their future pension and healthcare.

Imagine Jim’s anger when he was told he would lose everything he worked so hard for.

It’s a SHAMEFUL way to treat a loyal employee at the end of their career. But the truth is? It’s not uncommon.

So when bus drivers aren’t able to do the job, hard working people like Jim, who gave their adult lives to the company, serving their local community, are often denied their rightful pension as well as healthcare.

They get old and they thrown out. Like garbage. It’s incredibly sad. It’s not his fault. But such was the predicament Jim found himself in. He was desperate.

Jim simply HAD TO WORK till retirement. He had no choice but to prove to the company he was able to drive a bus, so he could ultimately collect his pension.

Jim’s pain had started a couple years earlier, when electrical shooting pains, called sciatica, developed in his right leg.

He continued to work, but the shooting pains persisted. Then one day after work, the pain was unbearable. He went to the emergency room.

The news was not good.

An MRI scan showed a noticeable rupture of a disk below the fifth lumbar vertebra.

You see, disks—the spine’s shock absorbers—are sheathed in a fibrous casing called the annulus, which protects their gelatinous core. When a disk ruptures, bits of it break through the casing.

The MRI scan showed that the protruding edge of Jim’s ruptured disk was pressing up against the right nerve root as it exited the spine.

Unfortunately, the MRI showed something else disturbing. Some narrowing of the disk immediately above—an early sign of “degeneration.”

Jim was given different pain medications at different times, including Vicodin, Percocet and Darvon which he could only use when he wasn’t driving. Instead, he occasionally received epidural steroid injections. But his pain persisted.

Then, about nine months after Jim injured himself, an orthopedic surgeon performed a procedure called a discectomy, where a fragment of the ruptured disk is removed.

For 75% of patients with sciatica who undergo discectomy, the procedure helps relieve pain. In Jim’s case, his sciatica went away, but the pain in his lower back INCREASED.

Yet another MRI showed that the disk the surgeon had operated on had started protruding AGAIN. This time pressing up against both the right and the left nerve roots.

The surgeon told Jim that the next step would be TO FUSE his lower vertebrae together, which supposedly had become “unstable.”

The surgeon’s new plan was to remove Jim’s degenerated disk or disks that were causing the pain and mechanically brace the spine with metal rods and bone grafts.

Cost? $150,000.

First however, the surgeon wanted Jim to undergo an incredibly painful procedure called a discography–an invasive process that determines how much of his pain was coming from the lower protruding disk and how much from the upper, narrowed one.

This information would help the surgeon decide if one or two disks should be completely removed.

Regardless, the discography was performed at the hospital. Jim was asked to lie on a long metal table with his lower back exposed.

To Jim, what was about to happen next was nothing short of… MEDIEVAL TORTURE.

A radiologist trained in the technique, explained that he would be applying increasing amounts of pressure to his injured disks. Jim’s job was to try to discern whether the pain he felt during the procedure was “familiar,” or “different” from his current pain.

First, the radiologist administered an anesthetic just under the skin, so he could insert a needle called a “trocar” into Jim’s lower back.

Following his progress on a device called a fluoroscope monitor, he slowly advanced the trocar until it reached the edge of the disk, just above the ruptured one.

Then, the doctor inserted a fine-gauge needle into the trocar and pushed it slowly into the disk.Initially, Jim let out what could only be called a primal scream. “There are lots of nerve fibres in the annulus,” the doctor said. “I’m really sorry.”

It gets worse.

The radiologist took out an instrument resembling a huge syringe and fastened it to the fine-gauge needle, and began pressing on the plunger into Jim’s degenerating spine.

“Now, tell me if you feel any pain,” the radiologist said. “And whether the pain you’re feeling is the familiar pain you are suffering from.”

Can you imagine the anguish this surgeon planned on putting Jim through?

If Jim didn’t feel his familiar pain, this disk would serve as a control. A series of red neon digits raced across the monitor—20, 25, 28, then 30—representing the pounds per square inch of pressure that he was applying within the disk.

Jim gritted, screaming through his teeth, with each new increment. At 100, the doctor withdrew the trocar, while the technician recorded his reaction.

The doctor THE REPEATED the procedure an inch or so down Jim’s spine on the adjacent disk that was protruding into his spinal cord.

This time, when the pressure hit 30 pounds per square inch on the monitor…

Jim cried in pain… “Oh, God! Oh, God! Stop!”

”Is that your familiar pain?” the doctor asked.

Jim said the pain was like his lower spine was being crushed in vice. He also felt taser-like electric shocks into his butt and his thighs. At 49, Jim sobbing at this point, said his was familiar pain.

”Ok, you can relax, we’re done” the doctor said as he exhaled. He told Jim that he had done very well.

But to Jim? He really WAS done. After that ordeal, there was NO WAY he was going through with fusion surgery.

Especially when he learned the stated odds of success were merely 50/50… and that it could also leave him permanently disabled.

Leaving the hospital, the futility of it all set in.

And now today, Jim was in my fitness studio. Looking for hope. In order to get out of pain, keep his bus driving job and collect his pension, Jim needed nothing short of a miracle.

Relieving Jim’s back pain, especially after years of abuse, injury, and medication was a tall order…

Could I help him?

I have to admit, Jim was in pretty bad shape.

He came to me because I’d been recommended. Jim heard about the incredible results I’d produced with a couple of his bus driving buddies, adding years to their driving days.

So if he believed in me and my unusual method, I was willing to try.

Because not only had my method helped his colleagues… but years ago, I had experienced similar back trauma playing basketball. And I would have given ANYTHING to get out of pain.

From that day on, pain haunted me every single day. Doctors suggested I give up exercise–something I’d grown to love.

Over the years, in an effort to find relief, I tried just about every available therapy and treatment there was. Including…

  • Massage therapy…
  • Pain medication…
  • Acupuncture…
  • Ultrasound…
  • Electric stimulation (TENS)…
  • The “sheets of exercises” from physical therapists…
  • Yoga…
  • Chiropractors…
  • Pilates…
  • A stress relief therapy called alphabiotics…
  • And even Kinesis Myofascial Integration (offered at a whopping $125 per session)

I drew the line at surgery.

Then one day, after almost 10 years dealing with pain on a daily basis, I met a brilliant man that would forever change my life.

His name was Bojan. He was from Serbia.

One day, Bojan saw me hobbling and asked me what was wrong. I told him my story.

After asking a few general questions, he said in his best broken English…

“I have beautiful program to fix back pain and prevent it from happening again. You will like.”

That’s when he pulled me aside and guided me through 8 simple movements that amazingly, relieved my back pain. In less than 16 minutes, my pain was gone–doing for me what years of treatments and thousands of dollars could not do.

And I’ve run thirty miles a week ever since and have never experienced back pain again.

For more information click HERE