Activated Charcoal Debunked

and its effects on detoxing

This week I had an activated charcoal juice to cleanse away the weekend, I put a charcoal mask on my face to extract impurities and cleanse the skin. Millennials are drinking charcoal lattes and black green juices. Posting it up on their insta like ‘hey babes I totally just purified my soul’ (I am one of them). I swished it around my mouth for approx. 20 min and almost vommed because I swallowed a bit and felt like throwing up. Btw one of the side effects of ingesting too much activated charcoal is nausea! There are so many products out there and it would be good to know whether it’s worth the dolla. I mean it’s not like the taste of charcoal is amazing and I’d prefer to eat it up over the BBQ. Let’s see.

You can make activated charcoal by heating charcoal (bamboo, coconut husk, willow peat, wood, coir, lignite, coal and petroleum pitch) at super high temperatures. Oxidization occurs, creating a system of pores over a large surface area. This simply means that the carbon will have lots of magical holes that may theoretically be able to absorb ‘various’ substances. It’s been used clinically since the 1800s and was initially used for the treatment of poisoning and overdoses. There are several studies that give differing opinions on the effectiveness of its use.

The American Academy of Clinical Toxicology stated that activated charcoal should only be used for certain types of overdoses and only within an hour of ingestion. Analysing the treatment protocol in clinical practice would be an entirely different topic of conversation. Its efficacy is dependent on how quickly it has been given after intoxication. I couldn’t find any studies on long-term effectiveness, safety, or dosing. How does that then translate into the viral use that we’ve seen in consumer products?

‘The health fad’
Drawing out toxins. It’s not that simple. I just wanted to try out a few different applications and give you the low down – as you’ll see, sometimes it works and sometimes not.

(1) Putting it on your face

Helps to draw toxins from pollution up and out of the skin, but everyone’s skin reacts differently. Unfortunately, this didn’t work for me as my skin just burned 1 min after taking this pic. I feel like I personally need more nourishing & soothing types of facemasks. Might work for some people but I have sensitive skin so maybs not for meeee. #sorrynotsorry for the post-shower smudgey eye liner. x

On another note, there isn’t any backed-up research to show the effectiveness of activated charcoal for teeth whitening. One study claims that charcoal was more abrasive than whitening toothpaste, further studies need to be carried out to draw any conclusions here. I used georganics oil pulling mouthwash and it might take a little longer than a week to work, but I am just wondering whether natural coconut oil pulling is more effective? It’s still a mystery.

(2) Purifying your water with it
Due to the mechanism of adsorption this is an effective method for drawing out toxins and purifying water. Activated charcoal can hold molecules (gas, liquids, solutes) up to 1000 x its molecular weight. It’s a yes!

(3) Drinking it to detox

Activated charcoal isn’t that clever. It doesn’t know what substances to keep or get rid of. So, this means that it can also bind to nutrients and interact with any other medications or supplements that you may be taking. What about if you are on the pill? Or any other prescribed medications? See ya!

The botanic lab yuzu charcoal juice is pretty damn delicious but it doesn’t make sense to drink a green smoothie with activated charcoal in it. The charcoal essentially soaks up the nutrients through its pores so you’re not really left with anything. No Vitamin A from that kale babes, sorry. That charcoal almond latte might make for a cool insta pic to be fair, but I’d think twice about the different applications I’ve just described before you choose how to use.

Nb. Detoxing
The main source of detoxification is the liver. We look towards superfoods and quick fixes to get rid of the chemicals, hormones, and antibiotics that are ingested through genetically modified, hormone-filled, antibiotic-ridden food and water **cries**. There are so many health fads that temporarily speed up this process. Asides from super foods, you have fasting, purging the body with fibre mixtures and colonics to name a few. There is no quick fix unfortunately. Detoxification via the liver is an intricate and intelligent process. Adopting balance, lots of water and healthy consistent eating will help the liver to purify the bloodstream. It is only the liver that detoxes the body.

Love you lil guy! ❤