Activated charcoal is a component that we get to see very often nowadays in various products that we use like toothpaste, face packs, sheet masks.
But why do we use activated charcoal for such purpose? What are the benefits of activated charcoal? Activated charcoal is known to possess a range of uses, both in the case of our health and in our day to day activities. Most importantly, what is activated charcoal exactly?
With this article, you will find out all about the benefits of activated charcoal, other uses of activated charcoal, possible side effects, and how to take activated charcoal for the goodness of your health.
What is activated charcoal?
Activated charcoal is simply a smooth black-coloured powder.
We all know what charcoal is – it is something that we commonly use in the barbeque grills. Charcoal is formed when you heat animal and plant materials such as wood, bones at high temperatures in the absence of air.
This charcoal when further goes through either physical activation with the help of high temperature or chemical activation, forms activated charcoal.
How activated charcoal works?
When the regular charcoal is activated with the high temperature, what happens is, it increases the surface area of the activated charcoal, increasing its ability of adsorption.
In adsorption, the particular substance acting as the adsorbent can trap the possible contaminants, be it gas, liquid, or solid particles around it on its surface.
Health benefits of activated charcoal
There are a number of known health benefits of activated charcoal that we humans have been utilizing for a long time now.
- Activated charcoal is good for your tummy
Having a gassy stomach, with an annoying bloating is the last thing you want that you have somewhere important to go. Is no other remedy available at the current moment? If you have activated charcoal, then you can take activated charcoal.
Studies have shown that one of the benefits of activated charcoal is its ability to reduce gas. Apart from this, another possible benefit of activated charcoal is that it may help treat and reduce diarrhoea.
Now how does it work? Well, activated charcoal can trap toxins such as bacteria and even any drugs that are causing diarrhoea.
- Activated charcoal for the goodness of your kidneys
Studies have revealed that activated charcoal may help with the proper functioning of your kidneys. One of the primary benefits of activated charcoal is its ability to trap toxins around it.
The basic function of kidneys is to filter and eliminate all the toxins and waste materials present in your blood. Some people with kidney issues are given oral activated charcoal adsorbents which contribute to the reduction of urea and creatinine levels in the blood.
It is seen that this can also reduce the chances of atherosclerosis in patients with severe chronic kidney disease.
- Activated charcoal for the goodness of your heart
One of the most common heart issues that most individuals face in today’s time is a high cholesterol level, leading to atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis occurs when the excess cholesterol in the blood clogs the arteries, hardening it which increases the possibility of heart attacks.
Although, there are many ways to treat and reduce this heart issue, one of them is using activated charcoal. Yes, activated charcoal may help reduce the excess cholesterol by trapping them on its surface.
Other uses of activated charcoal
Activated charcoal, due to its detoxifying effects helps to cleanse the skin pores to a great extent. Moreover, using activated charcoal may also help to reduce the oiliness of the skin. Oil glands are necessary for the skin, but excessive oil secretion is one of the reasons for acne.
- Filtering water
The groundwater contains dissolved minerals and sometimes other contaminants such as chlorine, fluoride, and heavy metals like arsenic. iron, zinc, etc. However, if these dissolved minerals and contaminants are excessive than the permissible limit set by the Bureau of Indian Standard or by any international standards, then it is harmful to your health.
Studies have shown that activated charcoal can be used to reduce the levels of heavy metals and few other contaminants in water as well. In simple words, activated charcoal can be used as a part of a water filtration system.
- Whitening of the teeth
We all have seen nowadays toothpaste is available with activated charcoal to provide teeth whitening to some level.
Activated charcoal is said to provide cleansing of your scalp and hair. It also may help remove the excess sebum or oil secreted on your scalp.
How to take activated charcoal?
Activated charcoal is something that still requires further scientific research to completely understand its effects and use for human health.
So, even though there are benefits of activated charcoal, we must be careful about its intake. To be on the safe side, always opt for the activated charcoal capsules. Never consume more than two capsules of activated charcoal, mixed with water or any healthy drink.
Along with this, always drink plenty of water to avoid constipation, one of the activated charcoal side effects. Other side effects include black stools, black tongue, vomiting, diarrhoea.
Even for the purpose of teeth whitening one to two capsules is more than enough. If you wish to use it for skincare and haircare, then you may use only one teaspoon of this black powder.
You can use activated charcoal to make a face mask or a hair mask at home instead of buying the readymade product. However, you have to be careful of the quality of the activated charcoal. Always research and buy from a well-reviewed brand to avoid any possible activated charcoal side effects.
We would recommend, always consult with a physician or a doctor who knows your medical history before trying out activated charcoal.
So, these are some things that you should know about activated charcoal. There are definitely some benefits of activated charcoal that can come handy for most of you. But the thing it is still a risky product to go for especially if you want to try the benefits of activated charcoal for your health. So keep all the risks involved in mind before opting to use it.