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Nutritional Supplement

Charcoal

  • Heart and Circulatory Health

    High Cholesterol

    Activated charcoal  has the ability to attach (adsorb) cholesterol and bile acids present in the intestine, preventing their absorption.
    High Cholesterol
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    Activated charcoal has the ability to adsorb (attach to) cholesterol and bile acids present in the intestine, preventing their absorption.1,2 Reducing the absorption of bile acids results in increased cholesterol breakdown by the liver. In controlled studies of people with high cholesterol, activated charcoal reduced total- and LDL-cholesterol levels, when given in amounts from 4 to 32 grams per day. Larger amounts were more effective: reductions in total and LDL cholesterol were 23% and 29%, respectively, with 16 grams daily, and 29% and 41% with 32 grams daily.3 Similar results were reported in other controlled4 and preliminary5 studies using 16 to 24 grams per day, but one small double-blind trial found no effect of either 15 or 30 grams per day in patients with high cholesterol.6
  • Digestive Support

    Indigestion, Heartburn, and Low Stomach Acidity

    Supplementing with charcoal may help relieve gas.
    Indigestion, Heartburn, and Low Stomach Acidity
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    Activated charcoal has the ability to adsorb (attach to) many substances, including gases produced in the intestine.7,8 In a small, controlled trial, people were given a meal of gas-producing foods along with capsules containing 584 mg of activated charcoal, followed by another 584 mg of activated charcoal two hours later. Using activated charcoal prevented the five-fold increase in flatulence that occurred in the placebo group. Another, small controlled study found that taking 388 mg of activated charcoal two hours after a gas-producing meal normalized flatulence by the fourth hour.9 However, a preliminary human study found no effect on flatulence or abdominal symptoms when healthy volunteers took 520 mg of activated charcoal four times per day for one week.10

What Are Star Ratings?
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Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

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References

1. Krasopoulos JC, De Bari VA, Needle MA. The adsorption of bile salts on activated carbon. Lipids 1980;15:365-70.

2. Tishler PV, Winston SH, Bell SM. Correlative studies of the hypocholesterolemic effect of a highly activated charcoal. Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol 1987;9:799-806.

3. Neuvonen PJ, Kuusisto P, Vapaatalo H, Manninen V. Activated charcoal in the treatment of hypercholesterolaemia: dose-response relationships and comparison with cholestyramine. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 1989;37:225-30.

4. Park GD, Spector R, Kitt TM. Superactivated charcoal versus cholestyramine for cholesterol lowering: a randomized cross-over trial. J Clin Pharmacol 1988;28:416-9.

5. Neuvonen PJ, Kuusisto P, Manninen V, et al. The mechanism of the hypocholesterolaemic effect of activated charcoal. Eur J Clin Invest 1989;19:251-4.

6. Hoekstra JB, Erkelens DW. No effect of activated charcoal on hyperlipidaemia. A double-blind prospective trial. Neth J Med 1988;33:209-16.

7. Ohge H, Furne JK, Springfield J, et al. Effectiveness of devices purported to reduce flatus odor. Am J Gastroenterol 2005;100:397-400.

8. Suarez FL, Springfield J, Levitt MD. Identification of gases responsible for the odour of human flatus and evaluation of a device purported to reduce this odour. Gut 1998;43:100-4.

9. Hall RG Jr, Thompson H, Strother A. Effects of orally administered activated charcoal on intestinal gas. Am J Gastroenterol 1981;75:192-6.

10. Suarez FL, Furne J, Springfield J, Levitt MD. Failure of activated charcoal to reduce the release of gases produced by the colonic flora. Am J Gastroenterol 1999;94:208-12.

11. Position statement and practice guidelines on the use of multi-dose activated charcoal in the treatment of acute poisoning. American Academy of Clinical Toxicology; European Association of Poisons Centres and Clinical Toxicologists. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol 1999;37:731-51.

12. Hift RJ, Todd G, Meissner PN, Kirsch RE. Administration of oral activated charcoal in variegate porphyria results in a paradoxical clinical and biochemical deterioration. Br J Dermatol 2003;149:1266-9.

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The information presented by TraceGains is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2020.

Copyright © 2020 TraceGains, Inc. All rights reserved.

The information presented by TraceGains is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2020.