We’ve all seen television medical drama’s where charcoal is used to soak up the contents in the stomach of an attempted poisoning, the equivalent of a bezoar from Harry Potter to soak up a poison – but is activated charcoal any good at normal every day detoxification?
What is activated charcoal? As part of the process of creating charcoal, activated charcoal is activated using a procedure where oxygen is added at high temperatures which gives the charcoal large pores on its surface area, ensuring it binds to substances that it encounters. This was confirmed by the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 2015 , where they looked at its uses for gastrointestinal decontamination, although there are side effects. Due to these side effects, some hospitals instead use antidotes to poisons and overdoes that are more targeted to the specific instigator.
In everyday circumstances the body’s own organs, the liver and kidneys do a tremendous job of ridding the body of toxins. But people are looking for a little extra help…
There is no denying the enormous support activated charcoal has with those who use it. Supporters claim it has made a tangible difference to their sense of well-being. Its immediate tangible difference is that as a product it doesn’t contain harmful chemicals such as bleach or other nasties. For those who use it as part of their regular beauty treatment have enthusiastically reported on its ability to remove dirt and other impurities from the skin.
Activated charcoal is not only natural but also inexpensive, unlike many other products with potentially harmful chemicals.