Activated charcoal: all that or not?!

Powdered activated charcoal


If you have not come across any jet black food picture on your social media feed, taken in perfect lighting (of course), you must live in utopia. However, just in case, this is how they look like…


ac 2ac 3ac 4


Activated charcoal, that comes mostly in powder or capsule form is tasteless and odourless. It can also be found incorporated into products such as cosmetics and toothpaste.

It is acquired by slowly burning a variety of substances such as wood, coconut shells, bamboo or oak. This is then blasted with oxygen to create pockets of space within the molecules. This gives it the ability to adsorb/bind to toxins such as chemicals, drugs or pesticides in gaseous or liquid form from your stomach and intestines. There have been claims of it being used as a hangover cure, but studies have dispelled that as activated charcoal does not bind well to ethanol. It may, however, help to clear any of the other chemicals involved in your hangover.

The whole trend about it may have originated from the fact that it is used to treat poisoning in hospital settings. The problem is activated charcoal does not adsorb selectively. It will still bind to minerals and vitamins from foods you just ingested and inactivate some medicines that you may be using, including birth control. So having that ‘high vitamin’ smoothie with a dash of activated charcoal is probably not in your best interest.

While it is a welcome addition to your diet and general use, it is not the miracle product that the food and cosmetic industries are claiming it to be.



Disclaimer: Consult a physician before incorporating activated charcoal into your diet.


Image credits in order:

willow tree soap company

various sources



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s