Charcoal – Good or Bad for You?

Before I came to school, I only thought charcoal had two purposes – drawing and teeth whitening. My roommate, who is originally from Ukraine, woke up one day with a hangover that ended up lasting until 3 p.m. She asked me if charcoal pills were a thing in America and explained that they can soak up all the bad stuff in your system and make you feel as good as new in an hour or so. I was really interested in this, but wondered what makes charcoal do the trick.

According to WebMD, charcoal can be used to help drug overdoses and poisonings, and helps clear out the body. Activated charcoal can also be used to prevent high cholesterol, hangovers, and gas. Charcoal is considered “activated” when combined with high temperatures to spread the surface area. When charcoal is consumed, the process of adsorption allows elements to bind to a surface – making the charcoal useful.

Referring to an article by Dr. Axe, activated charcoal use has more benefits than drawbacks overall. It can whiten teeth and actually change the pH balance in your mouth – which works to prevent gum disease and bad breath. The article also states the point that people don’t typically think of mold growing in their bodies, but mold can thrive anywhere. Activated charcoal can help cleanse the body of mold – overall prohibiting the side effects of mold before they get bad. The side effects of toxic bodily mold are depression, heart disease, nausea, and more.

What does this look like?


Above is a picture from an article called Combat Bloating with Activated Charcoal. You can purchase activated charcoal pills online or at a store like Natures Way. It was even noted that the pills can help clear up acne and prevent body odor – it does it all! A digestive cleanse is also one of the many convenient things activated charcoal can do. It can boost your immune system, remove the toxins that can cause allergic reactions, and boost mental function and energy.

So this pill that isn’t very popular seems like it should be the new craze – but are there any disadvantages of consuming activated charcoal?

Constipation and vomiting are a couple of side effects that come from activated charcoal according to Some more severe side effects are allergic reactions, metabolic effects, respiratory problems, and ocular and hematologic issues. Is it worth it?

All in all, activated charcoal seems like it can be your best friend some of the time, but your worst nightmare other days. I would like to try it to whiten my teeth before I digest it – I think it can do more good than harm!

2 thoughts on “Charcoal – Good or Bad for You?

  1. Arianna L Del Valle

    Hey Elsa! I found this post extremely interesting, mainly because activated charcoal is a common item in my family’s pantry. Activated charcoal has many beneficial uses. The only bad thing is it can get messy if you’re using it for skincare or teeth whitening! Here’s a recipe for a DIY charcoal face mask I think you’ll enjoy (you don’t have to consume it, don’t worry haha): I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts!

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