Activated Charcoal for Stomach Issues & Intestinal Disorder
It’s estimated that 60-70 million people suffer from intestinal disorders
It’s estimated that 75% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant.
If your ancestral roots are African, Asian, Native American, Arab, Jewish, Hispanic, Italian, or Greek there is strong evidence that suggests you don’t digest lactose very well.
So basically, if you’re not Nordic the odds of you being lactose intolerant is high.
Without diving into the hornet's nest that is gluten, I think it’s fair to say there are millions of people who have issues digesting gluten. Even if you’re only counting those who have been diagnosed with Celiac disease, that number is still in the millions.
Basically, there are a lot of people with digestive disorders…
The most common sense approach would be to figure out what is ailing us and cut that out from our diet. But as someone who knows they are lactose intolerant and still finds the (very) occasional piece of pizza in my hands I know how difficult it can be.
The number one thing that activated charcoal gets used for in my household is digestive issues. If I’ve just eaten a piece of pizza, had a glass of wine or any other food group that I know is going to cause my stomach issues I’ll immediately drink a glass of water with 1 tbsp of charcoal.
Surprisingly, there is some pretty solid evidence that it does indeed work. In 1978 a study was done which included 60 patients with a variety of intestinal disorders. The researchers found in 70% of the cases, all intestinal troubles were gone within 2-4 weeks. 15% of the trial patients needed more than 4 weeks and only 15% showed no improvement6. In another study, the researchers concluded that activated charcoal was effective for lowering levels of gas7.
Of course, these were small studies and are far from concrete evidence that activated charcoal is an effective home remedy for intestinal disorders. Most evidence is anecdotal and you need to try it for yourself to see if it works.
Before I tried activated charcoal, I was skeptical. However, after using it for a while I felt better when I took charcoal after eating poorly. Now it’s a solution I believe in.
I’m sure some skeptics will question whether it’s actually working or if it could be doing harm.
Almost all scientific evidence suggest it’s a relatively benign substance and like most home remedies, you have to try it to see if works.
Activated Charcoal for Stomach Bug, Nausea & Diarrhea
It’s well known that Activated Charcoal has been used for hundreds of thousands of years and is currently used in hospitals for poison treatment.
Activated charcoal can adsorb certain substances allowing them to pass through the body harmlessly.
There are also dozens of products on the market that are specifically for animal poisoning; unfortunately our furry friends get into substances, which have lethal consequences.
I am not advocating that you try to self diagnose. If you or a loved one (four legged friends included) poison yourself, go to the hospital immediately.
However, there is anecdotal evidence and even some scientific evidence that activated charcoal can help with nausea and diarrhea.
In one study, 11 of 39 children (the other 28 did not receive charcoal) who had diarrhea were given activated charcoal three times a day. The researchers found that the children with activated charcoal took 2.1 days to recover versus the 3 days when compared to the control group. Only a very small amount of charcoal (166mg-750mg) was used8. Page 59
Some others who have tried activated charcoal for the stomach bug or nausea:
"I am definitely sold on the effectiveness of activated charcoal and plan on keeping this inexpensive natural treatment for the stomach bug and food poisoning on hand.”
Shaye @ The Elliot Homestead
"Activated Charocl isn’t something that needs to be taken on a regular basis but it is extremely to handy to have on hand for flu bugs, food poisoning, and even for topical use on bug bites and as a teeth whitener!”
Can Activated Charcoal Really Prevent a Hangover?
Whenever I see this question answered, prevent a hangover and lower blood alcohol level seem to be used interchangeable.
So before go on I want to make one thing extremely clear. Activated charcoal cannot reduce blood alcohol level. Once alcohol is in the blood stream, charcoal can’t coax it out. It doesn’t work that way.
Just as coffee or a shower can’t reduce your blood alcohol levels, nor can activated charcoal.
The other issue is activated charcoal doesn’t do a great job of adsorbing alcohol even before it hits the blood stream
The question is, can activated charcoal prevent or reduce a hangover?
When I drink vodka and water my hangovers are minimal. When I start consuming drinks containing high levels of sugar or beer, I feel awful in the morning. Plus that pizza we talked about earlier is probably looking more and more tempting with each glass of wine.
And so if I consume low quality booze or low quality food, I’ll take activated charcoal intermittently while I’m drinking.
The only downside to the powder versus the capsules is if you’re trying to use it as a hangover cure, you pretty well have to be at home. Have a zip lock bag full of black powder is going to get you some interesting looks at your next Christmas party.
I encourage you to try it, if it doesn’t work, no harm no foul. If you find it works for you, you just made your Sunday a whole lot more enjoyable.
Activated Charcoal and Detoxes
Of all the claims that are made about activated charcoal, detoxing is the most controversial. When the word detox is used, most skeptics will tell you that our bodies don’t need to detox, we have organs, like our liver, which removes unwanted substances.
With that said, there are benefits with using activated charcoal to detox.
Activated charcoal is most effective when used within a couple of hours of eating or drinking a certain food. It can’t draw out substances that have already been absorbed.
There are many studies, which suggest that regularly taking activated charcoal can improve your digestive health. Hippocrates believed that all diseases began in the gut.
Dr. Hyman says this about our gut and how it impacts our health:
“If you want to be healthy, you have to get your gut working properly”
Once again, I’m not advocating that we consume activated charcoal instead of eating well. But when we do decide to go off the rails, it’s quite possible that activated charcoal could be a huge help.
Interested in giving activated charcoal a whirl? Sign Up for our e-mail list (in the footer!) for a 15% off coupon.