Science

What Activated Charcoal Can Do To Your Body

Social Media is blowing up with black looking food and beauty products. This black looking stuff is actually known as activated charcoal or activated carbon. It is what health trend fanatics claim to be using to detox, brighten skin, and whiten their teeth. But of course, just because you can wash it, eat it, and brush your teeth with it doesn’t mean you should.

The global market for activated charcoal is predicted to reach 6.2 billion dollars by 2022. This is an impressive achievement considering it comes from the same stuff used in your grilling charcoal. Yes, you guessed it, burnt wood. The difference is that activated charcoal is burned at a higher temperature so it breaks down into a fine powder which gives it a larger surface area than a chunk of charcoal on your grill. This is exactly what you want when you are trying to remove toxins or poison from your body. How it works has to do with the microscopic structure of the charcoal. Inside each particle are millions of pores that act as a tiny trap. If you were to swallow some, then it would being to bind with other substances in your gut. Charcoal can also suck up helpful things like minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. It can prevent medications like antidepressants and contraceptive pills from reaching your system making them less effective.

What is highly important when using activated charcoal is timing. It only works if there is something for it to absorb in the first place. So ingesting charcoal for any other reason than treating a severe case of poisoning is not a good idea. It is indigestible. Some major side effects when ingesting activated charcoal are constipation & nausea. So hey, next time you decide to follow a trend on social media remember not everything you see is good for your health.

Alessandra Quevedo

Alessandra Quevedo is a 12th grader. She writes science editorials and is a marketing specialist for the Newspaper Team. Her favorite food is cheesecake.

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