Here’s what we know about taking ACTIVATED CHARCOAL for upset stomachs. But fiirst and foremost, this is our experience and ours alone. With any kind of supplement, you should do your own research and feel comfortable with all the pros and cons.
For us, we never travel without activated charcoal and have extra jars at home! Why is that, you might ask? To quote Elyse Meyers, “great question, I would love to tell you!” After years of traveling and dealing with an upset stomach, this has been our go-to for gas/bloating.
It may surprise you that eating questionable food is not always the culprit for us. We’ve found that even flying can cause some intestinal uneasiness. Often, taking a road trip to other states often means passing over a summit that’s very high in altitude. Sometimes, it could be something environmental about the hotel or airbnb we might be staying at. It’s not this way all the time, but it’s something to consider.
Most often, food is the most common reason we encounter gas/bloating – tummy troubles when we travel. For us, part of the fun of visiting a new area means enjoying local restaurants and the foodie scene. It’s a choice that we consciously make and in no way means that you should. Our health issues, at this point, are very manageable so we choose to dive into trying the local fare.
While we do our best to eat gluten and dairy free, we have less control over the types of oils that might be used in meal prep. Bad, highly processed or rancid oil are most often the culprit for tummy issues before we make it back to the hotel. Once we feel any discomfort, having activated charcoal on hand manages the situation for us.
Things to keep in mind:
- Activated charcoal can interfere with medications and/or supplements, so we usually make sure there is a 2 hour window before or after we take activated charcoal. And if you’re on any medications, you should absolutely check with your doctor first.
- It’s important to drink plenty of water when you take activated charcoal. It’s basically “detoxing” so water helps flush out the offending problem.
- We do NOT take this every day. Think of activated charcoal as microscopic little sponges that can’t tell the difference between meds, supplements or bad food, so they will absorb away. Some folks use it for food poisoning and we’ve heard some hospitals use it for drug overdoses, but have zero experience in either of those areas.
- Definitely purchase a high quality and organic brand. We’ve been using this brand for many years. Activated charcoal is not the same as a briquet you’d light a BBQ with. The activated variety is steam processed for optimal absorption and is food safe.
- Activated charcoal is a strong detoxifier, so if you’re new to taking it, start with maybe just a couple capsules and see how your body reacts.
- If you have any existing tummy issues, like an ulcer, definitely check with your doctor first.
- Keep in mind that your bowel movements will be “darker” – so don’t be alarmed!
How We Use It:
We usually take 2-3 capsules with plenty of water, when we can tell that there’s some tummy troubles coming or if we are experiencing some discomfort. Haven’t ever taken it preemptively, so not sure how that might work out? If you plan on eating something you know might be a problem, maybe give that a go.
Beyond taking the capsules and finding a good book or show to watch, it’s a waiting game for it to kick in. Depending on how “troubled” your gut is, obviously relief times will vary. To be honest, everyone is so different, timing will vary dramatically.
Activated Charcoal Lemonade?
You can also make a tasty “activated charcoal” lemonade or limeade! There is virtually zero taste, so if you like lemonade go for it! Usually you only need about ½ tsp charcoal per 4 cups of water and ½ cup of juice. We sweeten ours with 4-6 tbsp of maple syrup but some folks really like to use honey. Give it a try and see what your taste buds think!
Bottom line, do some research for your own peace of mind. This is our experience and we hope that sharing a few details about it is helpful. However, just because it works for us or other folks doesn’t mean it will for you. You know your body better than anyone, so do your due diligence and give it a go!