Activated Charcoal: Benefits, Uses, Side Effects and Dosage

Activated charcoal is a black, odorless, flavorless powder that has been used since ancient times to treat various ailments.

Nowadays, it’s most commonly utilized in medical settings to treat drug overdoses or as an emergency anti-poison remedy.

Activated charcoal is thought to offer several other benefits, including less gas and flatulence, lower cholesterol levels, and improved kidney function. Some people claim that it helps whiten your teeth, filters water, and even cures hangovers.

Still, you may wonder how many of these claims are backed by science.

This article reviews what activated charcoal is, as well as its evidence-based benefits, side effects, and dosage.

What is activated charcoal?

Activated charcoal is charcoal that has been treated with oxygen at very high temperatures to make it more porous. This treatment changes its internal structure, reducing the size of its pores and increasing its surface area.

The resulting fine black powder is either sold as is or encapsulated as supplements. Activated charcoal is also added to various food and nonfood products, from ice cream to toothpaste.

Interested in activated charcoal products?

Take a look at our list of the best activated charcoal toothpastes.

It shouldn’t be confused with the charcoal briquettes in your grill or barbecue.

While both may be made from the same base materials, charcoal briquettes haven’t been activated at high temperatures. Moreover, they contain additional substances that are toxic to humans.


Activated charcoal is a type of charcoal that’s processed to make it more porous. It’s sold in both supplement and powder form, as well as added to various food and household products.

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Source: webmd