WELLNESS--If you’re shopping at your local health food store or pharmacy, you’ll definitely notice many new and unique products that contain activated charcoal. From lemonade and toothpaste to supplements, water filters, and face masks, this ingredient is the hot trend of the year.
Charcoal products used both externally for the skin and teeth or internally such as powders or capsules are usually made of activated carbon which is produced from carbonaceous source materials such as bamboo, coconut husk, willow, peat, and other wood.
When used to detox the body and skin, activated charcoal works by trapping toxins and chemicals in its millions of tiny pores, gently removing them from our system. Charcoal is often used in hospitals and emergency rooms to thoroughly help detoxify and cleanse people who have overdosed on drugs or poison. In fact, it draws out up to 2000 times it's weight in toxins.
Another cosmetic feature of charcoal is its ability to whiten the teeth when used during brushing. Although messy, this technique works wonderfully well to remove stains from coffee, tea, red wine, and more. Because charcoal is 100% alkaline, it may also help to offset some of the acidity that leads to cavities, bad breath, and gum disease.
Charcoal is known to help alleviate gas, bloating and digestive disorders, and may lower harmful cholesterol, increase the function of the liver, kidneys, and adrenal glands, and it could even prevent hangovers. Topical products assist with blackheads, clogged pores, acne, body odor, and other skin irritation and rashes.
Look for organic skincare and toothpaste containing charcoal along with supplements or powders that can be added to your daily smoothie or juice.
When taken internally, it’s best to start slowly and build up from there. Consume charcoal two hours before or after eating a meal or taking your supplements and medications as it may interfere with nutrient absorption.
Minor side effects may occur such as constipation or black stool but overall, it is well tolerated. Always, check with your doctor before starting a new supplement or health regimen.
(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness, and Lifestyle Coach Living in Los Angeles. http://www.JayBradleyLifestyle.com. He is the Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better! )