Activated charcoal has recently gained a lot of attention as a thing having big potential in helping out of various situations. Numerous sources throughout the Internet claim it has properties close to magical in alleviating certain digestive tract conditions, battling aging process, keeping one’s skin and body health in good condition, controlling cholesterol level etc. While these circumstances are already significant enough to pay attention to this substance in cases of need, there is another claim that has been debated upon widely nowadays. That is an activated charcoal’s ability to help in drug detox.
To determine whether such claim can be the truth, it is necessary to take a closer look at this stuff and find out how exactly it works and what its effects have already proven to be valid.
Activated charcoal, due to an immense number of small pores, ‘catches’ alien substances like chemicals and toxins with adsorption. This process should not be mixed with absorption. Adsorption is a kind of a chemical reaction where certain elements ‘attach’ themselves to a surface of something. Therefore, activated charcoal binds various toxins to itself and takes those with it when it leaves a body. However, it is extremely important to underline that not all charcoal is an activated one! Under no circumstances can one use any kind of charcoal other than the one from a drug store! Activated charcoal is a remedy made with a special procedure that gives it the healing properties described above. Regular charcoal, on the contrary, is loaded with toxins and will poison one’s organism within a very short time.
Activated charcoal has been proven effective in dealing with such things as:
Due to adsorption activated charcoal binds to itself stains from tea, coffee, smoking. It is recommended to use 2-3 times per week, carefully observing your buccal cavity state. If one’s teeth become too sensitive, one should stop using activated charcoal. It is also necessary to know that it may in turn stain one’s caps, crowns and porcelain veneers in case one has those. Clothes and floors should be protected from charcoal stains as well.
Digestive tract cleansing&bloathing prevention
Pretty much everyone knows that awful feeling of heavy stomach after a holiday dinner. Activated charcoal has been a very popular way to alleviate this condition for many years by now. Just 500 mg of it an hour prior to any gas-producing meal will help one to avoid feeling bad because of it. Of course, it has to be taken with plenty of water to better help it into our system
Activated charcoal is used in water filtration systems all over the world thanks to its ability to trap various impurities. Unfortunately, it doesn’t trap viruses as good as toxins, though. However, filtered water is much better for people’s health than a dirty one, and it again helps our digestive tract to work as efficiently as possible.
But what about drug detox?
Well, the primary reason for rumors that activated charcoal can indeed help here may come from the fact that it has long been used as a treatment in case of poisoning and overdose of drugs. Due to adsorption it does bind some toxins to itself. However, this effect is not so significant as it should be when it comes to need of a quick drug detox (its long use can be attributed to the fact there has not been any other effective remedy for a long time). Also, even in cases of drug use for recreational purposes toxins exposure is often too high for an activated charcoal to deal with it, especially within a short time. At the same time, big dosage of it can disturb our system’s balance and that might be detected by, e.g., urine test (if a urine sample doesn’t have the properties that natural human urine should have).
Another reason why people keep falling for this is probably that activated charcoal is an extremely cheap and easily achievable substance to get and use. Also, it is hard to significantly overdose in case of taking it, and it is not that dangerous as many other medicines. Moreover, it has been used as one of the active elements in plenty of natural remedies, and there are resources that promote a vast range of remedies made entirely of charcoal. But the truth is, while activated charcoal can be a good help in a natural detox program, it is merely a helper to our own built-in cleansing system which includes colon, liver and kidneys. In situations where full-body medical detoxification is necessary, or even if there is a need to simply speed up a regular detox from drugs, activated charcoal is not a remedy that should be used.
Moreover, popularity that activated charcoal has gained has resulted into its becoming a mainstream remedy. People advise it in a vast number of cases, starting from a regular food fad and ending with drug detox. While it is true that people may be given activated charcoal in hospitals, it is not effective enough for quick and total body detox from drugs. As studies have shown, not all toxins are even adsorbed to activated charcoal. It can be quite handy when it comes to prescription drugs, but doesn’t work with alcohol, iron, lithium etc. Also, while it does help in removing such kinds of drugs as morphine, opium or cocaine, it is supposed to be used in cases of emergency toxins removal from one’s system when poisoning has taken place. But its effect here in lowering concentration of those in a body to avoid serious or fatal consequences for a person, not to fully clean one’s organism to make it ready for a drug test. At the same time, as any other remedy, it does not have to be consumed in enormous amounts.
Therefore, one should better look for some other ways to detox one’s body rather than activated charcoal. Though it is a good thing to go with in many of cases, one is better not to rely on it completely. However, it is still useful to bear in mind that in helps when poisoning with big amounts of drugs has happened and everyone would still benefit from having it in a first aid kit.