Making the health industry rounds is a dietary supplement known as activated charcoal (or activated carbon). It’s been gaining popularity as a powdered food additive that’s added to things like pizza doughs, yogurts, tonic beverages, and much more. While providing these foods with a rarely seen black coloring, most people find that it has no taste at all.
In the video below, Dustin Moore talks about the trending topic of activated charcoal (including the benefits and risks).
Continue reading for more information.
Those in favor of activated carbon praise it as a universal cleanser capable of detoxifying impurities and poisons from the human body, eliminating gassy bowels, and smoothing out your skin.
This supplement possesses some unique and helpful qualities, but that alone is not sufficient to pass it off as a validated health product. Here are a few facts to consider before consuming activated charcoal.
How it works
First of all, activated carbon is a processed form of carbon that is very porous. This means it’s covered in millions of tiny pores that can absorb surrounding materials. In other words, it can soak up and trap compounds it comes into contact with. For this reason, it is quite useful in commercial and industrial grade purification systems.
Air particles, heavy metals, bacteria, sewage filtrates, and even medicinal compounds can be extracted through a system that utilizes activated charcoal. While this is wonderful for machinery, it can be dangerous for human consumption.
The problem with activated charcoal
To use a play-on-words, the problem with consuming activated charcoal is that as a filter – it has no filter. It doesn’t know the difference between useful compounds and harmful compounds. Instead, everything gets trapped and cleared.
Calcium, iron, vitamin C, and thiamin are just a few examples of micronutrients that activated carbon removes. Unfortunately, this is not good for your body. In addition to nutrients, prescribed medicines may also be absorbed and not perform their proper function. Furthermore, your body already has a naturally efficient filtering system known as your liver and kidneys.
Most of the food prepared for your consumption will not poison you. For example, processed foods are prepared in sanitary environments. Safe food practices require restaurants to wash your fruits and vegetables and thoroughly cook your foods. In doing this, your risk of developing a foodborne illness decreases significantly. Therefore, a detox supplement like activated charcoal is not necessary and may be harmful.
More research needed…
No studies have shown that activated carbon reduces gaseous symptoms. Furthermore, some individuals may react to activated charcoal with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation.
Lastly, we don’t know what a safe dosage looks like. If you’re looking to reduce unpleasant GI symptoms, or eat healthier, meet with your registered dietitian to develop a plan that works for you!