by Paul Fassa
Health Impact News
Maybe you’ve noticed that activated charcoal filtration is part of those reverse osmosis filtration stands where you can fill up your own water jugs for around a quarter or slightly more per gallon. Activated charcoal is in most if not all hospital E.R.s and many emergency vehicles as a fast, effective antidote for poisons ingested accidentally or overdoses of toxic medicines. It’s also used in gas mask filters.
It is considered safe and effective by the FDA, and although hospitals and E.R. vehicles carry different pharmaceutical forms, consumers can purchase untainted powders very inexpensively. Very few know of this amazing natural antidote, and even less know of its general detoxifying capacity.
There’s a famous story concerning a daredevil stunt of consuming strychnine with activated charcoal. In 1831, Pharmacist P.F. Touery, pulled this stunt in front of an audience of scientists at The French Academy of Medicine. The activated charcoal, a poison antidote for centuries, deactivated the poison and he had no adverse effects. Pretty scary “show and tell,” if true.
What Food Grade Activated Charcoal Is and How to Use It
Food grade activated charcoal is not to be confused with charcoal briquettes for barbecuing. Those contain toxic chemicals and carcinogens and are not activated. Using the extremely fine powder form of food grade activated charcoal is what does the job. It’s easy to ingest as a fine powder slurry mixed in water. It’s tasteless, though slightly gritty.
It is derived from burning pure, untainted organic substances, such as coconuts or certain woods, without using chemicals in the process. The charcoal is then activated with oxidizing gases, such as steam or air, at high temperatures. The result is microscopic pores that can trap toxic chemicals and bind them electrically to eliminate them from the digestive system.
You can get a one pound bag for around 10 to 15 dollars US online or in some herbal stores. Capsules are more available, but less efficient for several days of detoxing.
West Palm Beach health advocate Dr. Al Sears, M.D., has his patients use it for detoxing even heavy metals, and he uses it himself. For heavy metal detoxifying, he recommends a total of 20 grams per day, spaced apart in two to four doses, over a 12 day period.
This reporter uses larger single doses less often. Using a container with a tight lid, add a heaping tablespoon of food grade activated charcoal powder into four to six ounces of purified water, screw on the top, shake till completely mixed, then down it. If you add water to the charcoal when it’s already in the container, you may have black dust flying all over.
Some use activated charcoal with a non-toxic toothpaste or coconut oil to remove plaques and stains from their teeth as well as bacteria from their mouths. A bit messy, perhaps, but proven to be highly effective for cleaning and sanitizing.
How Food Grade Activated Charcoal Works
The action of activated charcoal involves adsorption, not absorption, of toxins from the intestinal tract. Adsorption is the electrical attraction of toxins to the surfaces of the fine charcoal particles. The charcoal itself is not digested or absorbed into the body, so the toxins attached to the charcoal particles exit via the bowels. Don’t be surprised by black stools.
The process of adsorption is not like a sponge or cotton ball soaking up liquids. That’s absorption. Adsorption involves electrically binding activated charcoal’s negative ionic charge to the positive ionic charge of heavy metals and other toxins. The positively charged toxins are attracted to the charcoal powder’s negative charge and held there until elimination through the GI tract occurs.
Self Detoxing and Fat Loss Through a Variation of a Drug Rehab Protocol
Dr. George Yu thought it would be wise for non-addicts to use what was originally a drug withdrawal method as “normal detoxification” and permanent weight loss. He gave a lecture on this during a Longevity Conference. Dr. Yu explains the role of activated charcoal from the interval between the 4:30 and 7:00 minute points of the video.
Dr. Yu’s Detoxification Protocol:
Dispelling Rumors, Controversy, and Misinformation
A major controversy with ingesting activated charcoal is based on the notion that it also robs the body of nutrients. According to several sources, this is misinformation. Pharmaceutical medicines, which tend to be toxic, are removed partially or wholly, and nutrients from synthetic vitamin sources tend to be removed also. But not food nutrients.
It’s actually best to take the activated charcoal two hours away from food, because food hampers the charcoal’s detox activity. It’s wise to drink more purified or mineral water than usual when detoxing.
This study was reported in the book Activated Charcoal: Antidote, Remedy, and Health Aid by David Cooney:
Charcoal added to the diet of sheep for six months did not cause a loss of nutrients, as compared with sheep not receiving charcoal. (…) A level of 5 % of the total diet was given as charcoal. It did not affect the blood or urinary levels of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, inorganic phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, creatinine, uric acid, urea nitrogen, alkaline phosphatase, total protein or urine pH.
Another rumor has it that activated charcoal causes constipation. This is only if you’re already blocked a bit, but it doesn’t cause it. As with any type of detox, one needs to be free of blockages to eliminate easily. Drinking more water and organic apple juice or taking a swig of pure organic Castor oil will usually take care of that. Diarrhea occasionally occurs as a temporary detox side effect.
But the notion that many cling to is that drinking activated charcoal removes toxins that are in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract only. After all, it isn’t digested and passed through the circulatory system. An article explaining zeolite powder, which has an adsorption process similar to activated charcoal’s, explained how the villi within the small intestines could do the work of detoxing the whole body.
The inner intestinal surface area of the villi, small tube like appendages on the inner walls of small intestines, is estimated as sufficient to cover the area of a tennis court. The villi have blood circulating through them to absorb nutrients into the blood. The average six quarts of blood in adult humans is completely pumped through the body each minute. If you’re exercising it’s more, totaling out to around 2,000 gallons per day. (Source.)
While the villi are coated with the fine powder of activated charcoal, toxins in the blood are adsorbed by the powder and eliminated with your bowel movements, which produce blackened stools. This is why it should be taken a couple of hours away from food. You want the small intestines to be as empty as possible so the exchange of blood toxins to activated charcoal is not partially blocked.
Keeping It Around for Emergencies
Even if you’re not keen on using activated charcoal for general or heavy metal detox purposes, it would be wise to have it on hand in a sealed glass jar for those accidental sips of poisonous substances, pharmaceutical overdoses, and poisons from venomous insect and snake bites. It is quick to prepare, easy to take, and inexpensive as a powder.
Capsules may be more convenient for quick responses to those sudden acute poisonous episodes, especially among small children and pets. But compressed charcoal tablets seem more appropriate. A lot of capsules taken at once may impede the antidote process.
Food grade activated charcoal is a boon for eliminating toxins in our toxic world in addition to its antidotes for poisons and overdosed pharmaceuticals. Some medical experts, including Dr. Yu, recommend detoxifying often as part of your lifestyle, which includes minimizing toxins with purified or mineral water and fresh organic foods.