Is activated charcoal detoxifying or dangerous?
In recent days, activated charcoal has been in the news for its detoxifying properties. However, how far are the claims really substantiated by research? The snazzy marketers have put the idea in our head that our diets are “toxic” but the fact is that even fast food does not have anything toxic. The body’s natural processes detoxify your body through your liver and your kidneys. Healthy kidneys are normally quite well-equipped to filter your blood without extra help. Therefore, this is a health trend that you can skip.
What is activated charcoal?
It’s a fine black powder that’s usually made from peat, petroleum coke, bone char, coconut shells, coal, olive pits or sawdust. This is then "activated" through processing it at very high temperatures and this process reduces the size of its pores and increases surface area. This makes it more porous than regular charcoal.
Today, you will find activated charcoal everywhere from toothpastes, juices to ice-creams and face packs. There are many vegetable and fruit juice shots with activated charcoal in it. The assumption is that those will clear the body of toxins. The fact is that you will lose out on the Vitamins in the fruit and vegetables as most likely, they won’t be absorbed. It’s better to just drink the juice.
Activated charcoal and medication
If you are on medication, activated charcoal can make them less effective. Research has shown that it may bind with certain medications and this includes some antidepressants and anti-inflammatory medications, this renders them less powerful. This may seriously impact certain people but nowhere is this mentioned on bottles or packaging of activated charcoal.
Negative effects of activated charcoal include slowing down your bowel movement and inducing nausea and constipation besides black stools. If charcoal enters the lungs, it can create major pulmonary complications.
Activated charcoal is not safe during pregnancy since it has not been evaluated in pregnant and breastfeeding Women.