Charcoal has been a star of the skincare regimen of a lot of people for a couple of years but should you be taking them as pills? From black masks, body bars and cleansers to scrubs, the beauty scene has been serenaded with the wonders of charcoal. Beauty companies praised it for cleaning and refreshing oily and acne-prone skin, and people on social media can’t get enough of its chic potential.
While we got used to charcoal getting rid of impurities on our skin, there are new claims that activated charcoal pills and powders is the new trendy way to clean out your insides.
The sales of over the counter charcoal pills has increased as more people are taking them like a multivitamin. More so, if you have noticed a surge of black food on your Instagram feed, you have activated charcoal powder to thank.
While all charcoal is burnt organic matter, the activated one is exposed to much higher temperatures and is different from the one used to make barbecue. The process of firing up gives the charcoal a very porous surface that acts as a magnet, binding with everything it attaches to.
Since activated charcoal isn’t absorbed by your digestive tract, it passes through your intestine intact. Due to this, the powder form has been used to treat some types of oral poisoning and drug overdoses for years because of its ability to trap toxins and chemicals, which prevents them from being absorbed into the gastrointestinal tract or bloodstream.
This is perhaps why some health enthusiasts believe it should also be consumed routinely in small doses as a way to cleanse the body of other toxins we’re exposed to, like pollution and chemicals in food packaging.
Are Charcoal Pills Worth The Hype?
The truth is there is no real and hard scientific research to support the detoxification claims and that is perhaps due to the fact that it is not absorbed by the body but it instead stays in the digestive track.
According to a study published by the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, air-pollution affects the hearts and lungs, not the digestive track. Another report published by the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters,says that the chemicals that make their way from our food containers into our bodies don’t remain in our guts either.
Furthermore, the body has its own detoxifying process as our kidneys and liver are our natural filters. It is important to know that charcoal is adsorptive, meaning it can bind to the good stuff that floats through out guts, like nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
That means it can prevent your body from properly absorbing the calcium, potassium, and other vitamins found in dairy products. The higher the dose, the higher your chances of having significant vitamin deficiencies.
Should You Take Them?
There’s also no research about its long-term effectiveness, safety, or the optimal amount to take on a regular basis. If you do decide to try them out, first talk to your doctor, and make sure that you don’t take it with any kind of doctor-prescribed medication as the charcoal can absorb the medicine before your body does, which means the medicine won’t work.
Activated charcoal can also cause nausea, vomiting, constipation and may even trigger an intestinal blockage. If you feel off while taking the pills, see a doctor immediately.
In all, except your doctor advises you to ingest it, you should keep it out of your system. Use them instead as part of your beauty routine to clear up your acne and whiten your teeth.