Activated Charcoal: What Is It? And Why Is It Good for You?
A few years ago when I first heard about activated charcoal, I didn’t even know where to find it.
Not even my health food suppliers were carrying it at that time, and I was left to scour the internet to learn more about what it is, why it’s so good for you, and where in the world to buy it.
The best piece of information I found was from one of my favorite health gurus, David ‘Avocado’ Wolfe, when he said: “Detoxification is more important than nutrition for longevity.”
It’s true—we live in a massively polluted environment.
We need to detoxify our bodies from all the chemicals we take in from our personal care products, the pollutants in our air + water, and the pollutants in our food that we are ingesting on a daily basis.
Wolfe shares that one of the best ways to detoxify our bodies is to use activated charcoal. He references the Fathi Moussa toxicology study where they fed mice activated charcoal mixed with olive oil (because olive oil can spread throughout the body very easily)—and what they found is that the charcoal cleaned out the bodies of the mice and increased their life span by 95%.
Other animal research suggests that we as human beings could increase our life span by 43% with the use of activated charcoal. How insane is that???
Needless to say, I started using activated coconut charcoal immediately after finding this information—and the benefits have been amazing.
So, what is activated charcoal?
For those of you who don’t know what activated charcoal is—and I am not talking about the kind of charcoal you use on your grill—activated charcoal is a potent natural supplement used to trap toxins and chemicals in the body; allowing them to be flushed out so the body doesn’t reabsorb them.
It’s made from a variety of sources, but when used for natural healing, it’s important to select activated charcoal made from coconut shells or other natural materials.
The substance is “activated” by high temperatures, which removes all the oxygen and changes its chemical structure to create much smaller particles with more surface area. The result is a highly adsorbent material with millions of tiny pores that capture, bind, and remove poisons, heavy metals, chemicals, and intestinal gases.
How does activated charcoal trap toxins and gases?
Activated charcoal contains millions of tiny pores that are ready to soak up toxins + gases and trap them into their cell structure, never to be released again.
How? The porous surface has a negative electric charge that attracts positively charged unwanted toxins.
Activated charcoal is so powerful that just two grams of the powder has about the same surface area as a football field—which means a little goes a long way when it comes to detoxification.
Activated charcoal is actually so good at trapping toxins that one of its most popular uses is for the safe and effective treatment of poisoning and drug overdoses. It’s used in emergency trauma centers across the world—and it’s used in natural healing to reduce bloating and gas, lower cholesterol, and even prevent hangovers.
How can you consume charcoal?
1. Put it in your smoothies. Since charcoal doesn’t really have a taste I put it into all my smoothies. I just add a big tablespoon and let it work its magic. It literally sponges up everything and flushes all the toxins out. I feel more energetic and alert and even my skin seems clearer than before.
2. Mix it with alkalized water. If you have a stomach bug it will neutralize that upset stomach immediately. Feeling bloated? Add some charcoal to your alkaline water. Have an annoying mosquito bite? Add a little activated charcoal and water to the bite and within seconds that mosquito bite is gone—and the same with bee stings.
Some research suggests that activated charcoal doesn’t discriminate between healthful chemical components of food and toxins in the digestive system—and it appears that activated charcoal bonds vitamins like ascorbic acid (vitamin C), niacin, pyridoxine (vitamin B6), thiamine (vitamin B1), and biotin. This means that any food + drinks you consume with activated charcoal could make the food less nutritious, not more.
If you are concerned that activated charcoal will diminish your nutrients start by taking activated charcoal in your water (with a little lemon and sea salt) in the morning, or in your breakfast smoothie or perhaps acai bowl and then take your supplements later in the day.
Want to try activated charcoal?
Try our Lemon Noir (activated charcoal, lemon, alkaline water, and maple syrup). You can order it here.
I’m also working on a Mix of the Month smoothie recipe with charcoal, but if you feel like adding charcoal to any of our current smoothies just ask the team! They will be happy to add it :)
Ps. I know charcoal can be somewhat of a controversial subject, so please note that the statements in this blog post reflect my personal opinion and relay my personal experiences with using activated coconut charcoal as a dietary supplement.