I love activated charcoal. Growing up this black powder was always in my mom’s “medicine” cabinet. Whenever I was traveling oversees or coming down with a stomach bug this dark magical pill would save the day. There is sound reason why the word charcoal can be linked to detox. This porous black powder could save you from alcohol poisoning or a drug overdose. But do you really want it in your green juice?
What is Activated Charcoal?
Activated charcoal is often derived from wood, peat, or coconut shells. Charcoal becomes activated by heating it with gas which expands the pores of the charcoal creating a larger surface area. On a microscopic level activated charcoal will trap various compounds and particles. The negative ionic charge of activated charcoal works like a magnet in the digestive tract. It will bind to drugs, nutrients, and other particles thus preventing them from being absorbed by the body.
How is it Used in the Medical Community?
To treat alcohol poisoning and drug overdoses. It works by attaching to toxins in the stomach and absorbing them before they can enter the bloodstream. Taking one charcoal tablet or drinking a lemonade with activated charcoal is not anywhere near this dose.
Why Your $8 Juice is No Longer Worth It
Since we know the mighty powers of this black powder lets put two and two together. Charcoal is without a doubt going to suck up what is in your gut. The problem is the lack of specificity. There isn’t enough evidence that tells us what charcoal is or isn’t binding too. If you just had a green juice with a dose of activated charcoal it’s likely the nutrients from that very juice will not be absorbed into your bloodstream.
When Charcoal Can Do More Harm Than Good:
I understand that drinking a matte black lemonade after SoulCycle could make you feel like a badass. That amount of charcoal is not going to have the same effect as a medical dose. In this case your instagram post will get you lots of likes with little to no harmful bodily side effects.
The risk presents itself when activated charcoal is consumed on a regular basis. Activated charcoal does not pick and choose between sucking up healthy vitamins and minerals versus harmful chemicals. Therefor, it’s completely possible that a daily glass of charcoal juice could be inhibiting your body from properly digesting and up-taking nutrients that you consume in your diet. These nutrients help your body and organs to function properly so they can do their job (aka detox, that thing you were worried about it the first place).
[bctt tweet=”Charcoal Juice: the ultimate health fad paradox?” username=”@Alexandra_Eats”]