4 Good Reasons to Avoid Activated Charcoal

good reasons to avoid activated charcoal

Nowadays, charcoal products are everywhere – from capsules to croissants –anything with activated charcoal is hot selling. Even many coffee outlets have started selling charcoal shots. Vendors make all sorts of claim like it can brighten the skin, increase energy levels and reduce bloating, but the most basic claim that has significantly contributed to its popularity is that it detoxifies the body.

Generally, when someone, intentionally or accidentally, consumes poison or has a medication overdose, he/she is given activated charcoal, which binds to the poison in the gastrointestinal tract and prevents it from being absorbed in the bloodstream.[1] This eventually reduces the toxic load and help prevent fatal consequences.

An old study, conducted during 1980s, revealed that charcoal consumption effectively reduces bloating and wind as it can bind with the gases.[2] If you consume charcoal after you a meal, it significantly reduces the amount of gas produced thereafter.

Another study showed that there are no such benefits when charcoal is consumed in the form of supplements besides the participants’ normal diets.[3]


There are various better treatments for bloating and wind that are also very effective, such as reducing the consumption of fermentable carbohydrates and sufficient intake of certain probiotics if you are suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Detox market is really huge, but at the same time, quite misleading. Extreme popularity of activated charcoal among people, particularly celebrities is one such instance. Moreover, activated charcoal is now extensively used in antiaging products, especially mask creams. Thus, considering the safety and efficacy of numerous anti-aging solutions, it is highly recommended to go for only expert recommended antiaging products. Keep reading to know why you should avoid activated charcoal.

4 Reasons To Avoid Activated Charcoal

While using activated charcoal may appear harmless, here is why you must avoid it altogether.

reasons to avoid activated charcoal

1. Prevents Absorption of Minerals and Vitamins In The Body:

Activated charcoal binds with essential vitamins, minerals, including antioxidants from the food you consume.[4] It is often sold with fruits and vegetable juices to efficiently detoxify your body. But the bitter truth is that it can prevent the absorption of all the nutrients from fruits and vegetables. Thus, it is better to just stick with plain juices.

2. Reduces Effectiveness of Certain Medications:

Activated charcoal may also bind with certain medications, including anti-inflammatory drugs and anti-depressants, rendering them less effective. This in turn might have serious health repercussions for some people. Unfortunately, the bottle packaging of activated charcoal doesn’t come with any such warning.

3. Binds To Whatever Is Present In The Stomach:

Activated charcoal binds to whatever is there in your intestines and stomach when ingested. It actually works by coming in physical contact to whatever is present in your intestines.

If you really think that it is going to detox your body of the kebabs and alcohol you had last night, you are downright wrong because these would have already been absorbed into the bloodstream by then.

4. Causes Nausea and Constipation:

Activated charcoal can considerably impact your bowel movement and slow it down. What awaits is constipation, nausea and yes, you can expect black stools too!

Hope, the next time you come across a store that is selling activated charcoal at reduced prices, you know you are better off without it. Well, that weekly charcoal mask on your face won’t hurt.