Can Charcoal Pills Help with Hangovers?
Charcoal Pills for Hangovers
What Is Charcoal?
For this article's purpose, whenever we mention charcoal, we will be referring to activated charcoal, which is different from the charcoal briquettes that you would use for a bbq. While the base materials can be the same, the way they are processed is different, and charcoal briquettes contain toxic substances.
Activated charcoal is produced by heating coconut shells, sawdust, wood, or peat to extremely high temperatures to change its internal structure. The result is a more porous charcoal with a larger surface area making it more absorbent.
Charcoal is an odorless, black powder with some toxin-absorbing properties. That is why it is widely used in medicine to treat different types of poisoning and overdoses.
How Does Charcoal Work?
Charcoal has a porous texture and a negative electrical charge. Due to this peculiarity, charcoal can attract positively charged molecules such as gases and toxins to prevent them from being absorbed by the body.
Charcoal Pills for Poison Treatment
Charcoal pills are often prescribed to treat cases of poisoning. Charcoal has been successfully used as a poison treatment since the beginning of the 19th century. Today it is commonly administered to treat aspirin overdoses.
It can also be used to treat drug overdoses. A scientific study has shown that 50-100 grams of activated charcoal, taken within several minutes after swallowing drugs, can reduce the drug's absorption by 74%. But when taken 30 minutes after swallowing the drugs, the result will be much weaker. The effect of the charcoal will decrease by 50% and continues to decrease with time.
It’s worth mentioning that charcoal pills are not always effective. Charcoal has little or no effect on potassium, iron, lithium, alcohol and heavy metal poisoning.
Charcoal Pills for Kidney Health
Charcoal pills can be used to improve kidney function. It’s well-known that charcoal can reduce the number of waste products that the kidneys usually have to filter. Charcoal pills can be especially helpful for patients who suffer from chronic kidney disease. However, more studies are needed to draw a strong conclusion.
Other Uses of Charcoal Pills
People use activated charcoal for various purposes despite the fact that its effectiveness has no scientific basis. People who have digestive problems may take charcoal pills to reduce gas and bloating. Some people use charcoal to treat acne or other skin conditions.
Charcoal has even been used to whiten teeth, claiming it can remove coffee and wine stains. However, you should keep in mind that this substance is abrasive and may damage tooth enamel, and we haven't seen any proof to back these claims so, be careful.
Can Charcoal Pills Cure Your Hangover?
Some believe charcoal pills can prevent or cure a hangover. Alcohol is a toxin. So, you might think that charcoal will work effectively counteracting its effects. But there is no evidence that charcoal can help. In fact, it shouldn’t because alcohol is absorbed by your body very quickly, and charcoal is unable to absorb alcohol. That’s why charcoal is not used by doctors in emergency rooms to treat alcohol poisonings.
An experiment was conducted in which several people were asked to drink 88 grams of alcohol each. Then each person took 20 grams of activated charcoal. The result was striking. The experiment showed that people who took charcoal had the same amount of alcohol in their body compared to those who didn’t take the supplement.
But what will happen if you take charcoal pills before and not after drinking alcohol? You will also be disappointed because the supplement will not work in this case either because charcoal can’t bind to alcohol.
What Are the Side Effects From Taking Charcoal?
Activated charcoal is considered safe in most cases, but there may also be some unpleasant side effects, which include nausea and vomiting. Constipation and black stools have been commonly reported side effects as well.
Overall, we find the studies supporting the benefits of activated charcoal as a supplement to be weak and may cause more harm than good. Its use should be reserved for medical professionals, and its important to seek medical help immediately in the case of poisoning.
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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.