Consumer Reports: Do activated charcoal products work?

Wednesday, August 30, 2017 05:25PM
Consumer Reports: Do activated charcoal products work? Brian Taff reports during Action News at 4:30 p.m. on August 30, 2017.

There's a brand new trend in food, health and beauty - activated charcoal.

It's used in emergency rooms as an antidote for some drug overdoses and poisons, but it's now found in soaps, face masks, supplements and more.

Activated charcoal is similar to the stuff you use when you barbecue, but it's been superheated into an extremely porous substance. And it's been used in medicine for decades.

"Activated Charcoal is sometimes used as an antidote for overdoses of some medicines. The porous charcoal traps certain toxins, preventing the body from absorbing them," saidJulia Calderone from Consumer Reports.

Some activated Charcoal supplements claim to remove toxins in a similar way, but they're not necessary because the body detoxes itself.

"The body already has organs such as the kidneys and liver to filter out impurities," said Calderone.

And though activated charcoal in small doses has no known significant risks, as Consumer Reports has previously reported supplements are regulated much more loosely than FDA-approved drugs, and they don't necessarily contain what's advertised on the label.

Recently other consumer charcoal products have come on the market, including face washes, soaps and masks. But there's little published scientific evidence to suggest that activated charcoal helps these products work better than products without.

Consumer Reports advice: Keep charcoal in the grill, not the medicine cabinet.

Finally, Consumer Reports says there's no reason to do a fad detox. Instead, make sure your diet includes plenty of water and eat high-fiber foods.

To view the full story from Consumer Reports, CLICK HERE.

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