Activated charcoal is a remedy in the form of capsules or pills that act by adsorbing toxins and chemicals in the body, so having several health benefits, contributing to decreased intestinal gas and abdominal pain, teeth whitening, poisoning treatment and hangover prevention.
However, this medication can also prevent the intestines from absorbing vitamins, minerals and medication so it should be used sparingly and at different times than other medications.
1. Eliminate gases
Activated charcoal has the ability to adsorb intestinal gases, reducing bloating, pain and intestinal discomfort.
2. Treats intoxication
As activated charcoal has great adsorption power, it can be used in emergency situations in case of chemical poisoning or in food poisoning, for example.
3. Removes impurities from water
Some impurities in water can be removed with activated charcoal such as pesticides, traces of industrial waste and some chemicals, and are therefore widely used in water filtration systems.
4. Whitens teeth
Activated charcoal can help whiten teeth stained by coffee, tea or tobacco smoke for example.
Charcoal can be used 2-3 times a week by placing it on the brush and brushing your teeth. In addition, toothpastes are already available from pharmacies that have activated charcoal in their composition.
5. Can help prevent hangover
Activated charcoal prevents the absorption of other chemicals that make up alcohol, such as artificial sweeteners, sulphites and other toxins, and helping to reduce hangover symptoms.
In addition, activated charcoal can also be used in cases of enteritis, colitis and enterocolitis, aerophagia and meteorism. However, it is not able to absorb alcohol, petroleum derivatives, potassium, iron, lithium and other metals.
How to take
Activated charcoal consists of ingesting 1 to 2 capsules, 3 to 4 times a day, the maximum daily dose being 6 pills a day for adults and 3 pills for children.
To prevent a hangover, the recommended dose is 1 g of activated charcoal before alcohol consumption and 1 g after consumption.
The pills should not be mixed with saline, but may be taken with water or fruit juice.
Main side effects
The main side effects of activated charcoal include darkening of stools, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation when consumed in excess. Prolonged use may reduce intestinal absorption of medications used at the same time, so if you need to take medication, then you should leave at least a 3 hour gap before taking activated charcoal.
When should you not take it
Activated charcoal is not indicated for children under the age of 2, in patients who are hypersensitive to the components of the formula, in case of intestinal obstruction, gastrointestinal problems or in patients who have ingested caustic corrosive substances or hydrocarbons. It is also not indicated for people who have recently had bowel surgery or when their intestinal transit isn't functioning correctly.
Ingestion of activated charcoal during pregnancy or during breast-feeding should only be done under medical advice.