Written by Yoppie
24 May 2022
How does activated charcoal work?
How does activated charcoal help?
Activated charcoal is a fine black powder that does not taste or smell of anything. It has been used for thousands of years for many ailments. It is available in supplemental form, topical use in creams and toothpastes and is also used in medicine to treat some drug overdoses and accidental toxin consumption.
Activated charcoal is charcoal that has gone through processing to make it porous and to change its internal structure. This process involves very high temperatures and oxygen and increases the surface area of the charcoal which allows it to absorb toxins as it passes through the gut. Activated charcoal does not get absorbed across the gut, instead binds to toxins and carries them out of the body with bowel movements.
The processing of activated charcoal gives it a negative charge. This negative charge attracts molecules in your gut with a positive charge, including toxins and gases. Activated charcoal is extremely good at binding to gases, making it excellent for those with excessive or strong-smelling flatulence, and those who bloat.
Detoxifier – Activated charcoal in its nature removes toxins from the gut. This means there are fewer toxins entering the bloodstream which need to be processed by the liver. This frees up the liver to focus on eliminating other toxins which have been created as metabolic by-products and allows for the proper detoxification of used hormones. Once hormones have been used by the body they need to be processed by the liver. If the liver is not doing its job effectively, these hormones can continue to circulate the body causing menstrual havoc such as excessive gas and bloating.
Carries toxins out of the gut – Once the old hormones have been processed through the liver, they are then dumped in the gut for elimination via bowel movements. Once in the gut, activated charcoal binds to the toxic waste left by the liver and ensures it is eliminated rather than being re-absorbed, preventing further problems. Toxins which are unbound to activated charcoal can encourage the formation of gas in the gut.
Absorbs gases within the gut – Activated charcoal also binds directly to gases within the gut. These gases may increase around the time of menstruation due to a change in hormones. Activated charcoal removes these from the body with bowel movements. There have been studies investigating the effect of activated charcoal on intestinal gas. The research concludes that activated charcoal significantly lowered the level of gas in the intestines and significantly improved the symptoms of bloating and abdominal cramps.
Activated charcoal and medications
Due to its nature, activated charcoal may reduce the absorption of prescription medications, including the oral contraceptive pill, potentially making it ineffective. Activated charcoal is unlikely to decrease the effectiveness of the contraceptive implant, injection, coil or ring, however it is always best to discuss taking activated charcoal with your GP or pharmacist if you are using these forms of contraception. Activated charcoal does not decrease the effectiveness of barrier methods of contraceptives.
Yoppie’s ‘Hormone Hero’ PMS supplement that combats uncomfortable feelings of being bloated and tired to get your vitality back includes 50mg of activated charcoal.
If you are taking any medication, taking activated charcoal should be discussed with your GP first.
Got a question about activated charcoal or other ingredients? We’d love to help you find the answers you need. Reach out any time in our Full Stop FB group, or get in touch with us directly on Instagram at @itsyoppie. Don't forget that our personalised menstrual care subscription can get organic period care, PMS supplements and much more delivered easily and regularly through your letterbox.
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