Activated Charcoal

What are the benefits?

By: Holly Barrett


We live in a toxic world where we are exposed to harmful substances and chemicals daily. The air we breathe, the cleaning and personal care products we use, the food we eat and the water we drink – all have toxic ingredients or contaminants that burden our body systems and take a toll on our overall health. Fortunately, there are many things we can do to protect ourselves and reduce the toxic load burdening our bodies. One thing we can do is utilize the benefits of activated charcoal. 


What is Activated Charcoal?

Activated charcoal is a charcoal substance made from organic materials (bone char, coconut shells, woods, olive pits, etc.) and oxidized for activation using steam or air at high temperatures. The activation process is what gives the charcoal its medicinal properties, increasing the surface area of the charcoal by making it more porous than regular charcoal. Activated charcoal has been used by ancient healers and modern medical professionals to treat acute poisoning as well as in regular detoxification protocols. Activated charcoal has been shown to reduce the absorption of toxins in the body by up to 60%!

How Does it Help?

Daily, continual, unavoidable exposure to toxins produces cellular damage, contributes to disease manifestation, and has roles in allergic reactions, intolerances, compromised immune function, and premature aging. Free radicals, a type of body toxin, are believed to play a significant role in aging. Researchers in France observed and concluded that C60, a type of activated charcoal, binds with toxins in the intestinal tract before being absorbed, or reabsorbed, into the system allowing test animals to experience increased life spans up to a staggering 90%!

Detoxification is a continuous biological process that happens automatically – our bodies are designed to naturally detox; we do it every single day without even thinking about it. A built-in garbage disposal, detoxification is the cleaning system that enables us to discard foreign, unwanted, non-nutritive or chemical substances. 

Activated charcoal supports and enhances daily detoxification in the following ways:

  • It purifies the 6-8 liters of digestive fluids that are secreted daily, which, in turn, helps remove foreign substances from the blood.
  • It bonds with and neutralizes toxins and their metabolites. These are then excreted into the small intestine, preventing their reabsorption into the body. 
  • It bonds with and neutralizes any drugs that diffuse back into the stomach and the intestines. 

Many studies have revealed that activated charcoal is the best detoxifier for the entire body because it crosses the blood-brain barrier to all internal organs to absorb toxic substances such as heavy metals, poisons, chemicals, and gasses. These substances bind to the carbon without being absorbed by the body. 

With recent news attention turning toward gut health and, specifically the emerging science supporting the gut microbiome as the “second brain”, it is just a matter of time before activated charcoal has its moment in the spotlight for its ability to promote a healthy digestive tract. 

How to Use It

You can find activated charcoal for purchase in most mainstream stores, just be sure to select an organic product made from natural materials like coconut shells. You can find activated charcoal in pills, powder, and liquid form. The liquid form is most used in medical settings for the treatment of poisoning. For daily detoxification support, take 1-2 capsules (500-1000mg) with 16-30 ounces of water upon waking, on an empty stomach. To cleanse the digestive system, take 10 grams 90 minutes before each meal for 2-10 days. 

Starting your day with activated charcoal will help your body remove toxins which can also benefit you by reducing joint pain, providing an energy boost and improving mental function. 

Note: it is important to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water (at least half your body weight in ounces per day) while taking activated charcoal. Proper hydration flushes the body and supports elimination functions. If you are cleansing with activated charcoal, you want to be sure your body is disposing of the toxins absorbed for removal – it is critical to be eliminating daily. 

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