Some vendors of these products claim that activated charcoal can boost your energy, brighten your skin and reduce wind and bloating. The main claim, though, is that these products can detoxify your body.
However, this detoxifying action is another case of the non-scientific nutritionists seeing the medical use for something and misinterpreting its application.
Four reasons to avoid it
Although consuming activated charcoal may seem like a harmless health trend, there are several reasons you should avoid these products.
- Activated charcoal will bind with all kinds of things including some of the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in your food. Charcoal is sometimes added to fruit or vegetable juice and sold as a “shot”. Unfortunately, the vitamins in the fruit and veg probably won’t be absorbed because of the charcoal. You’d be better off just having the juice.
- Activated charcoal can bind with some medications, including some antidepressants and anti-inflammatory medications, causing them to be less effective. This could have serious health consequences for some people, but it’s not explained on bottles or packaging where activated charcoal is being sold.
- Activated charcoal will only bind with whatever particles are in your stomach or intestines at the time that you take it. It works by coming into physical contact with your intestinal contents. If you’re trying to use it to detox from the alcohol and kebab you had the night before, it won’t do anything at all because they have been absorbed into your bloodstream already.
- Activated charcoal slows down your bowel and is known to cause nausea and constipation (and black stools).
Gas and bloating
These studies are very old, and while activated charcoal may help to reduce wind under certain circumstances, for some people, because of the effects it also has on binding nutrients and drugs, it is not recommended for managing wind and bloating.
Everyone is looking for a quick fix to wellness, and while we are all struggling with maintaining our energy levels, eating well and exercising while living busy lives, it is easy to be sucked in by clever marketing and celebrity endorsements.
The detox market is huge and highly misleading. While the common perception is that our daily lives and dietary habits (including alcohol intake) cause a build up of “toxins” in our system, there are no products or diets that will impact on this, regardless of their marketing budget or how many “influencers” tell you otherwise. We are often sold the idea that our diets are somehow “toxic” when the reality is that, aside from ingesting poison, even fast food doesn’t contain anything toxic.
News credit : Cnn