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Activated charcoal, also known as activated carbon, is carbon material (like wood or coconut shells) that has been processed to contain many tiny pores creating a very large surface area, making it great at something called adsorption (not absorption).carbon powder
Adsorption is when molecules of a substance bind to the surface of another—in this case, activated charcoal. (Absorption, on the other hand, is when the molecules of a substance are dissolved or diffused into another substance completely.) This adsorption function is what gives activated charcoal its “healing” or detoxification powers, but also the reason why it shouldn’t be consumed at random.
Activated charcoal has been used since the 1800s to, quite simply, remove ingested toxic substances from the body (which, by the way, is the very definition of detoxification). To this day, activated charcoal, in the form of powder mixed with a liquid (typically water, soda or syrup) is still used in emergency departments to counteract the effects of accidental poisoning or drug overdose, as long as the substance has not yet entered the bloodstream via the gut. So, the sooner activated charcoal is taken after swallowing the drug or poison, the better it works—generally within 30 to 60 minutes. The toxic molecules will bind to the activated charcoal as it works its way through your digestive tract, and then they will leave your body together in your stool.
According to GoodRx medical editor, Dr. Sophie, activated charcoal is a pretty low-risk, first step treatment, and is good for treating any drugs that may still be sitting in the person’s stomach. “Often, it’s not 100% clear what the person has taken, and we have to err on the side of caution. Many overdoses are ‘mixed’ and ‘staggered’, meaning that the person has taken more than one substance and that these have been spread out over time,” she says. “In these cases, it is difficult to know what we are treating, and our patients are not always able to reliably tell us what they have taken, so using activated charcoal can help cover all bases.” In hospitals, activated charcoal is commonly used to treat overdoses involving acetaminophen, antidepressants, and sedatives.
At the root of the activated charcoal health fad is the misuse, or misunderstanding, of the word “toxin”. In a detox-crazy world, toxins are used to refer to impurities or anything undesirable in your body: stains on your teeth, dirt or dust on your skin, naturally present sugars in your juice, a hangover after a night out.
Personal care products (like teeth whiteners, face masks, soaps, shampoos, and deodorants) containing activated charcoal bank on the idea that impurities can be drawn out during use. Since these products are meant for external use only, they are relatively harmless. But there is little to no research to prove that the trace amounts of activated charcoal, combined with other ingredients, in these products are effective and much more than just marketing.
coal based activated carbon manufacturers