Activated Charcoal For Gut disorders
Not just the stuff of BBQ’s… Administration of charcoal is routine practice in emergency medicine for management of overdose or poisoning. Charcoal is a highly porous compound and can adsorb unwanted substances, carrying them out of the digestive system thus minimizing the effects of toxic exposure.
In addition to its use in emergency medicine, charcoal has been used for centuries in Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine. Indeed, charcoal may be the world’s oldest detoxifying remedy.
Research indicates taking charcoal can relieve gas and intestinal bloating (1). In this way it binds with gases produced from bacterial fermentation in the gut to reduce gastrointestinal discomfort. In particular, it binds with hydrogen gases—a common byproduct of small intestine bowel overgrowth (SIBO). Several studies have also shown its ability to relieve diarrhea in children and chemotherapy patients (2).
According to human research, a single dose of activated charcoal is most effective when given within one hour of ingestion of an irritating meal (3). There is little indication to take charcoal everyday but it is handy to have after consuming food of unknown quality, eating out at restaurants, or drinking alcohol. Charcoal may also bind to mold toxins and other environmental toxins but human study on this topic are lacking.
Activated Charcoal from Integrative Therapeutics is safely sourced charcoal in an easy to swallow, tasteless capsule.
Activated charcoal should not to be taken at the same time as medications or other dietary supplements as it may counteract their effects.
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1 Hall RG Jr, Thompson H, Strother A. (1981) Effects of orally administered activated charcoal on intestinal gas. Am J Gastroenterol. 75(3):192-6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7015846
2 Sergio GC, Félix GM, Luis JV. (2008) Activated charcoal to prevent irinotecan-induced diarrhea in children. Pediatr Blood Cancer. 51(1):49-52.
3 Jain NK, Patel VP, Pitchumoni CS. (1986) Efficacy of activated charcoal in reducing intestinal gas: a double-blind clinical trial. Am J Gastroenterol. 81(7):532-5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3521259