How Long Does Activated Charcoal Stay in Your System?

How long does activated charcoal stay in your system? Activated charcoal can help treat digestive cleanses and alleviate gas and bloating by adsorbing certain elements, like toxins and chemicals, from the body.

By doing this, activated charcoal helps flush them from our bodies more easily.

How Long Does Activated Charcoal Stay in Your System?

Emergency treatments for drug overdose and poisoning often include activated charcoal. This treatment helps stop drugs from being absorbed from the stomach into the bloodstream and into a person’s system.

How it Works

Activated charcoal works by binding to drugs or toxins on its surface and preventing their absorption into the body. In emergency situations like drug overdoses, doctors provide patients with a drink containing activated charcoal mixed with water in order to limit drug absorption. For optimal effectiveness, activated charcoal must be consumed within minutes after ingestion in sufficient quantity and as soon as possible after being exposed to poisonous materials.

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Charcoal may help with food poisoning as it binds with chemicals causing diarrhea and nausea, allowing them to be excreted from your system more efficiently. Unfortunately, however, charcoal cannot remove all toxins that caused your illness in the first place.

Studies reveal that charcoal may help people suffering from trimethylaminuria, commonly referred to as fish odor syndrome, from amassing too many metabolites in the liver. This genetic condition causes trimethylaminine (TMA) molecules to build up in urine, sweat and breath giving off an unpleasant fishy scent – activated charcoal’s porous surface can bind with TMA molecules more easily allowing their elimination from the body more efficiently.

Activated charcoal may interfere with certain medications, including birth control pills. Therefore, it is advisable to speak to your physician prior to taking it in large amounts as this can lead to constipation and dehydration in excess. When combined with alcohol beverages it can result in black stool production; when applied topically Activated charcoal has also been known to stain counters, clothing, and grout staining.


Activated charcoal works through your digestive tract to trap toxins in your gut and prevent them from being absorbed into the body. It is frequently used in emergency departments for drug overdoses or poisoning as it prevents certain medications and chemicals entering the bloodstream, including aspirin, opium, cocaine, morphine and acetaminophen. Furthermore, activated charcoal may provide some benefits in food poisoning treatments but the benefits may not always show right away if taken post-event.

Black powder activated charcoal is created by superheating regular carbon, and comes in pill, tablet and capsule form. You can find activated charcoal at most health stores but be mindful to select those without additives or fillers – taking inferior quality activated charcoal may interfere with how quickly medications absorb into your system.

When taking charcoal as treatment for poisoning or overdose, it’s vital that it’s administered quickly – within an hour after ingestion for optimal effectiveness. Also remember to drink plenty of fluids while using charcoal, and consider purchasing a medicine binder to prevent the charcoal from sticking together inside your stomach.

Activated charcoal can also be applied topically to insect bites and stings to soothe itching and swelling. For maximum efficacy, mix activated charcoal with coconut oil before dabbing on bug bites or stings as this combination helps remove poison while moisturizing them at once.

Side Effects

Activated charcoal can help those who have consumed poison or harmful chemicals, while it’s also commonly used as part of skin care products to reduce body odor and clear pores. Research suggests it could even bind with some water contaminants and fungal toxins – like aflatoxin B1 produced by Aspergillus molds – which could make for an ideal way to combat health concerns associated with toxic substances ingestion.

Emergency room doctors typically mix activated charcoal with liquid and give it to patients to drink because it’s highly effective at blocking drug and toxin absorption in the digestive tract. To further improve efficacy, doctors may add sweetness with sorbitol to add sweetness as a laxative; together this pushes out any harmful toxins quickly from their systems quickly in order to reduce symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea or constipation and prevent overdose symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea or constipation from occurring quickly enough.

Consuming activated charcoal alongside certain vitamins and medications may impede their absorption into your system, so it is wise to consult your physician or pharmacist prior to taking supplements or medicines that contain activated charcoal.

Some health and wellness stores sell activated charcoal tablets, granules and capsules that claim to boost energy, improve digestion, reduce bloating and gas, brighten skin tone and detoxify the body. Unfortunately, such claims remain unverified; using charcoal for detox may result in diarrhea so it’s essential that plenty of water be consumed when taking charcoal in order to avoid dehydration – ideal consumption should be 12-16 glasses daily as the charcoal supplementation continues.


Activated charcoal has long been utilized as an emergency treatment for drug or toxin overdose in hospitals, when administered within an hour, it can prevent drugs from being absorbed by the body, providing an effective antidote for certain poisonings such as acetaminophen, opium, cocaine and alcohol overdose. Furthermore, activated charcoal may be useful against food poisoning as well by blocking their absorption into stomach and intestines.

Though activated charcoal may be effective, it should only be consumed on advice of a medical professional or hospital setting to ensure appropriate dosage. Excessive dosage can cause constipation, black stools and blockage in the digestive tract; additionally, taking too much can bind with certain medications; therefore it should not be combined with them.

Activated charcoal is often taken in pill form for detoxing the body and reducing toxins, as well as in skincare products as a cleanser or paste to treat acne, insect bites or bee stings. There has also been speculation that activated charcoal could reduce cholesterol, prevent cancer and relieve indigestion; however, evidence does not back these claims up yet.

Common side effects from taking activated charcoal include constipation and vomiting with possible blockages occurring if taken accidentally into one’s digestive tract or lung space if inhaled accidentally while its consumption could lead to blockages occurring if taken accidentally into one’s respiratory tract or lung space if inhaled accidentally into one’s airways if taken accidentally inhaled into either organ.