Should we be drinking Activated Charcoal?
It seems like there is a new health trend popping up every day. The question is, should we be trying them all? When you think about drinking activated charcoal, you may recall college days when someone at a party drank one too many and ended up in the ER. This is the purpose of activated charcoal, treating poisonings and overdoses. So, if you haven’t overdosed or been poisoned, what are the benefits of drinking it?
Health enthusiasts have recently dabbled in testing to see if drinking activated charcoal could remove other toxins and chemicals from the body while enhancing overall wellness.
But, does it work?
Just because celebs are doing it doesn’t mean you should go ditching your wheatgrass shots just yet. There has been no evidence to show that activated charcoal removes impurities from processed foods. However, there has been evidence to show that activated charcoal fights against gas. This varies depending on the person, and should not be the end-all, be-all for your gas problems. This would need to be addressed by a medical professional.
Can it have negative effects?
Even if your local juice bar is promoting their devotion to the trend by rolling out charcoal drinks, be cautious with your sipping. Risks can include constipation, vomiting, or diarrhea. None of which are good for your body. Also, due to its absorbing effects, activated charcoal may prevent the body from being able to absorb nutrients or necessary medications. Regular consumption could lead to nutritional imbalances that are difficult to re-regulate.
What are the potential benefits?
Some people swear by this drink. Athletes and models have explained their active consumption of activated charcoal and lemon juice as a detox solution. Some claim to drink it every day feeling refreshed and clear-minded. Others stick to drinking it, or consuming it in a capsule, before athletic events. The bottom line is, it depends on the person, body type, level of activity, and lifestyle. Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, author of Belly Fat Diet for Dummies, explains, “The perceived benefits could be mostly due to a placebo effect”. Charcoal is not that well studied, other than tests conducted on the absorption of toxins in sponges (non-living objects). Until more tests are done, the benefits of consuming activated charcoal are slim to none. Unless, of course, if you are poisoned or gasy… then reap the benefits! However, keep in mind that drinking it daily could be worse for you than better.