When I think of charcoal, I think of the pleasant memories of my dad using it to load up the grill and cook hamburgers on a warm summer day in our backyard. But not all charcoal is created equally… Activated charcoal differs significantly from the charcoal we use to cook food or heat our houses. Activated charcoal has many medical and health-related uses. While scientists are still puzzled by the processes that make activated charcoal effective, they are in agreement that its main function is to absorb, and act almost like a sponge in our body. Listed below are some of the most important functions of activated charcoal.
Activated charcoal is best known for its ability to treat someone that has overdosed or been poisoned. The ingestion of activated charcoal prevents the harmful substance—be it poison or an overdose of a drug—from being absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and doesn’t even require the affected person to be alert and awake for the effects to start working.
The activated charcoal bonds to the poison on the stomach region and is able to be flushed from the person’s gastrointestinal system. Clinical studies report that 20 out of 27 medical toxicologists recommend activated charcoal in a time of crisis involving poisoning or an overdose. Reports have also found that activated charcoal is the most commonly used treatment for gastrointestinal decontamination in emergency rooms across the United States.
Keeping in line with the same theme of absorption, studies have also shown that activated charcoal can help absorb and remove harmful toxins from the kidney, and can also help with the inconveniences of intestinal gas and diarrhea. While these studies are still ongoing, many scientists hypothesize that activated charcoal is effective at preventing further damage to those suffering from chronic kidney disease. This is primarily due to activated charcoal’s ability to remove harmful toxins from the urea and bloodstream. Additional studies have shown that activated charcoal can use its absorption “superpowers” to lower a person’s cholesterol. This is because the charcoal can absorb some of the bile acids in the stomach and prevent them from being absorbed by the human body.
The use of activated charcoal as an absorbent doesn’t stop at internal bacteria and toxins; activated charcoal is also able to absorb foul odors and mask otherwise detectable gasses as they are emitted from the body. For this reason, many deodorants and antiperspirants contain activated charcoal as a key ingredient.
The charcoal is said to eliminate the excess moisture, and absorb the toxins that create the foul smell as they leave the body. Environmental agencies have also put out reports that highlight the effectiveness of activated charcoal at removing odors from the air and even reducing measurable pollution.
The use of activated charcoal has also been reported to offer cosmetic advantages. According to research, activated charcoal is said to help whiten teeth significantly. In fact, dozens of teeth-whitening products contain activated charcoal as a key ingredient. Activated charcoal is said to be effective in this area because of its ability to eliminate viral infections, bacteria, and other toxins that may be present in the oral systems of the body. Another cosmetic advantage of using activated charcoal is the improvement in the health of a person’s skin. While activated charcoal can help with skin infection, it also gives the skin a shiny and healthier look due to its ability to remove toxins from the surface of our bodies. All things considered, activated charcoal helps you feel great, and look great too!
Main Photo Credit & Second Photo Credit: 1989studio/shutterstock.com; Third Photo Credit: L.Erin/shutterstock.com