Health Trend: Activated Charcoal


Activated charcoal is the latest craze in face masks and for teeth whitening, and it’s being used in juice cleanses for overall detoxification. It is generally used in emergency rooms for patients who have ingested a poison, or maybe for your pet who has eaten something that they shouldn’t. It’s used in water filters to rid the water of toxins, so it should be great for detoxing your body, too, right?

Many people don’t know that there are risks involved in taking activated charcoal and side effects. Activated charcoal can reduce the absorption of certain drugs such as acetaminophen, digoxin, theophylline, and tricyclic antidepressants. Side effects include black stools, black tongue, vomiting and diarrhea, and constipation. It shouldn’t be combined with other drugs that are used for constipation such as sorbitol and magnesium citrate, as this can lead to electrolyte imbalances.

Since most of the newest products are topical such as face masks, there shouldn’t be many side effects to worry about. Those who use it orally on a long-term basis have to be careful. The capsules are sold in most grocery stores and it’s recommended to take two before and two after a meal to prevent gas and bloating. It can even be used rectally. Just make sure to tell your doctor about any other supplements you are taking, because it isn’t regulated by the FDA. If you have any success stories using activated charcoal, tell me in the comments!


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