Why You Should Talk to Your Doctor Before Trying Activated Charcoal
Sounds like the ultimate cure-all, right? Yet activated charcoal's beauty benefits are primarily anecdotal, and so far, only a few small studies have shown that it can reduce the severity of bloating and gas. Joshua Peck, MD, a gastroenterology fellow at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, has heard from some of his patients that it works. "They swear it's reduced their gas, eliminated diarrhea or eased indigestion," he says. "But there's one thing people overlook: While activated charcoal can get rid of toxins, it can also absorb medications you're taking that are meant to enter your bloodstream." For some, it may cause more problems than it solves, from vomiting to constipation. The bottom line: While activated charcoal may prove useful for stomach woes, talk to your doctor before trying it at home.