You may have heard the buzz. Activated charcoal for whiter teeth! Activated charcoal for clearer skin! Activated charcoal for smoother digestion!
So, what the heck is activated charcoal, and why does it possess so many magical health benefits? Does it actually work?
This charcoal is made using extremely high temperatures, which gives it a porous surface with a negative electrical charge. In other words, it bonds with positively-charged toxins, and it’s super-absorbent. Toxins and chemicals get trapped inside the millions of tiny pores in activated charcoal, allowing it to carry away these nasty things that otherwise would be absorbed into the body.
This unique property also allows the charcoal to lift dirt from the skin and teeth, clear out toxins from the digestive system, and ultimately purify you—inside and out.
How can activated charcoal benefit YOU? Let’s find out!
6 Surprising Activated Charcoal Benefits and Uses
1. Whitens teeth
One of the activated charcoal’s most popular uses is for teeth. In the past few years, teeth-whitening products containing activated charcoal have sold rather well, and for good reason. This stuff actually works.
Activated charcoal binds to the plaque and stains on your teeth left by coffee, tea, or wine. Regular brushing with this stuff can prevent cavities, tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath.
How to use activated charcoal for teeth: Get some activated charcoal powder. After brushing your teeth with toothpaste wet the toothbrush with water and dip it into the activated charcoal powder. Brush for one to two minutes, focusing on stained areas. Rinse your mouth out with water and spit. Repeat until all the black is gone. Do this two to three times a week for best results.
2. Detox for your pet
The FDA has approved the use of activated charcoal for dogs, cats, and other pets. (1)
If your pet has eaten or drank a toxic substance, activated charcoal may be used as part of a detoxification treatment. The activated charcoal binds to the toxic substance, bringing it out of the body through the digestive tract.
How to use activated charcoal for pets: If your dog, cat, or other pet has eaten or drank something poisonous, first call your veterinarian. If your dog has eaten chocolate or bromethalin (rat poison that damages the central nervous system), you may be instructed to give him activated charcoal or Endosorb. (2)
If your pet is symptomatic, bring it to the vet. It may be given activated charcoal via a stomach tube.
3. Digestion and gastrointestinal health
How to use activated charcoal for digestion: Take 500 milligrams (or one capsule) of activated charcoal one hour before a meal. Drink plenty of water to help flush out the toxins.
4. Clears skin
Activated charcoal’s benefits for skin are almost too numerous to list. It lifts dirt, cleans pores, and does away with harmful chemicals that may have settled on your skin. It can treat acne; reduce itching, redness, and inflammation from bug bites; clear up blackheads; lighten scars, and prevent premature aging. It even can be used safely as an eyeliner and mascara.
How to use activated charcoal for the skin: To clean up, clear out, and heal the skin, mix one teaspoon activated charcoal powder with two teaspoons of aloe vera gel and a little bit of water (add until you reach desired texture). Apply as a face mask, or to treat bug bites and scars. To use activated charcoal as eyeliner or mascara, simply mix the powder with a little bit of water and apply.
5. Treats alcohol poisoning
If you’ve ever had a hangover, you’ve experienced alcohol poisoning. Heavy drinking causes all sorts of nasty side effects that may only hit us the morning after.
Activated charcoal can help by removing toxins from the body that interact with the alcohol and make you feel even worse. It can help relieve symptoms such as a headache, muscle aches, stomach pain, weakness, sensitivity to light and sound, dizziness, and shakiness.
How to use activated charcoal for alcohol poisoning: If you know you’ll be partying later on, pre-game with a capsule of activated charcoal. It may reduce blood alcohol concentrations while you’re drinking. When you’re tapped out— but before you’ve passed out—take another capsule with a nice big glass of water. Go ahead and take another capsule the next morning, drinking plenty of water to rehydrate and flush out those toxins.
6. Reduces cholesterol
If high cholesterol runs in your family, you may benefit from taking activated charcoal. Studies show that activated charcoal can reduce significantly overall and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol levels. In one study, total cholesterol levels were reduced by 29 percent, LDL cholesterol levels were reduced by 41 percent, and HDL cholesterol levels were increased by as much as 121 percent using activated charcoal. (3)
How to use activated charcoal to reduce cholesterol: Before taking activated charcoal to reduce cholesterol, talk to your doctor. Avoid taking it within two hours of taking a prescription medication, as it may interfere with the medication’s absorbency.