Charcoal has the ability to absorb many times its weight in toxins and is commonly used by doctors to remove poisons and other harmful compounds from the body. It is effective at easing the discomfort associated with insect bites, and has been found to be an effective method for neutralizing stomach acids associated with conditions like gas, indigestion and acid reflux. Charcoal also can absorb fats in the bloodstream, reducing cholesterol levels in the body.
Doctors at the Vitamin Research Products website note that charcoal has been used for years by physicians to reduce intestinal problems such as bloating, gas and diarrhea. The charcoal counteracts the breakdown of compounds found in foods that cause these and other stomach conditions. Some physicians prescribe charcoal to patients suffering from ulcerative colitis and spastic colons to ease the discomfort associated with these conditions.
Activated charcoal pills have been found to be effective at removing the toxins associated with insect bites. The Charcoal Remedy website notes that charcoal has been shown to be effective at helping ease the discomfort associated with insect bites because it immediately attaches itself to the toxins, limiting the spread through the body. This treatment is accomplished by crushing the pill and applying it to the affected area. It has been shown to reduce the pain and swelling and reduce the chance of infection.
Charcoal has the ability to absorb large amounts of toxins before they have a chance to cause harm in the body, doctors at the Mayo Clinic say. The dosage depends on the type of toxin ingested and the time between the poisoning and the ingestion of charcoal, but Stanford University researchers note on their Wellsphere website that charcoal can start to work immediately and create a window of time to get to a hospital. They recommend including charcoal in the first aid kit of all families with children.
Charcoal supplements also have been shown to be effective at lowering cholesterol and triglycerides in the body. Researchers note that taking charcoal has been shown to lower the concentration of total fats and cholesterol in the blood, liver, heart and brain, researchers at the vitamin research website report. They note that examination of tissues after a charcoal regimen showed that the intake of charcoal reduced the hardening of heart and heart blood vessels.
Keith Strange spent more than a decade as a staff writer for newspapers in the southeastern United States, winning numerous awards for his work. He has a B.S. in wellness/sports medicine from Averett University and completed graduate work in exercise physiology. Strange is a former competitive martial artist and holds a third-degree black belt in tae kwon do.