What You Need To Know About Activated Charcoal Detoxes

Does charcoal come to mind when you think of detoxes? We don't mean the bricks you light up for a barbeque. Activated charcoal powder is potent and powerful. It's like the Batman of detox powders; renowned, even in the medical industry, as a cleansing agent. Given its chemical compound, charcoal keeps toxins from being absorbed in the body. But is it actually safe for a full cleanse?

Activated charcoal is often used to prevent poisoning. Since it cannot be absorbed by the body, it binds to harmful chemicals and purges them out as waste. If you've recently been backed up, are breaking out, or feel like you need to cleanse, activated charcoal is the one-and-done type.

Although you can use activated charcoal topically, the internal benefits are considerable. This powdery black substance can overpower heavy metals (via GoodRx). For those with kidney troubles, food-grade charcoal helps remove excess phosphorus from the bloodstream. Studies published by the National Library of Medicine have shown, this powder, when mixed with water, may help lower cholesterol levels. According to Healthline, activated charcoal even reduces IBS symptoms.

The dark powder comes with a dark side

The evidence for using activated charcoal to detox is stacked up pretty well. But there are also a few risks to consider. Medical News Today writes that using large quantities often "can cause a blockage in a person's digestive tract." The strength of this powder does strip the body of medications like birth control, anti-depressants, and some blood pressure meds (via GoodRx). If you're thinking about using activated charcoal for a detox, do consult a physician if you're on any medications.

The Mayo Clinic recommends dosages between 25-100 grams mixed with water for adults and teens. It is also important to note: activated charcoal should not be ingested frequently. GoodRx advises "To make sure any activated charcoal you've consumed will not interfere with your health, you should take it at least 1 hour before and 2 hours after meals, medications, or supplements."

Our bodies were created to detox naturally (this is the main function of the liver and kidneys). When we stay hydrated and eat high-fiber foods, we support healthy digestion as well. Activated charcoal is potent enough to cleanse the body of metals and unwanted chemicals, including certain drugs or medications. Because of its properties, this powder should only be used when necessary — and in small doses.