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Activated Charcoal – Why should you have it?

Activated Charcoal – Why should you have it?

Simply put, activated charcoal is carbon. “Activating” charcoal is a process which increases its surface area using high heat and an activating agent which results in the charcoal achieving a highly developed internal pore structure. Something like a sponge.

The comparison to a sponge is appropriate since activated charcoal is used as treatment in some, but not all, cases of acute poisoning. Single doses of activated charcoal are considered effective for absorption of some substances, if taken within an hour of digestion.

Why you might consider keeping activated charcoal in the house is for the sake of emergency first aid. Children and pets may accidentally ingest acetaminophen or aspirin which can be absorbed by activated charcoal and reduce the risk of injury or death. It is of utmost importance in any incident of poisoning to contact emergency health care, even if activated charcoal is available and has been administered.

Another use for activated charcoal is for your digestion. Anecdotal evidence has shown that taking activated charcoal when you eat can reduce gas and bloating.

Some preliminary research has also shown that activated charcoal can have a beneficial effect on high cholesterol. In some cases it has even been shown to be as effective as the prescription medication Cholestyramine.

To that end, it’s not a bad tool to have in your toolbox (medicine cabinet).

Speak to the Live Well team at Pharmasave Summerland about how you can benefit from activated charcoal.


Dan Cassidy, Nutritional Product Advisor