Ask A Health Coach: Is Activated Charcoal Worth the Hype?

April 20, 2016
by Michelle Pellizzon for Thrive Market

I’ve seen activated charcoal in pill form, but I noticed my local juice bar started making a charcoal green juice. Is drinking this black gunk actually good for you? —Elissa F.

Activated charcoal isn’t the new kid on the block—it’s been used in hospitals for decades to treat drug and alcohol overdoses and help detox patients. You might recognize activated charcoal, or activated carbon, as the key element in small water filtration systems. Both of these use are perfect examples of how this supplement works.

Basically, nasty chemicals bind to the surface of the charcoal, and as your body flushes it out, they  get eliminated, too. The same thing happens in water filters.

I’m a big fan of activated charcoal. I’ve recommended it a few times—it works for everything from hangovers and food comas!—and it’s one of those multipurpose supplements that gets a lot of action once you try it. You can even use charcoal tablets to whiten your teeth. 

For my clients, I recommend keeping some activated charcoal on hand for those days when you just can’t seem to stick to the good stuff—you know, when that sugary, gluten-y doughnut is just calling your name, or when a glass of wine with the girls turns into a bottle … apiece. Every once in awhile it’s OK to be a little more flexible with your diet, and when you slip up, good ol’ charcoal can help you get back on track. Of course, I’m not giving you a free pass—try to stay in the light and eat the things that make you feel good most of the time.

While you can take charcoal in capsule form, by why not give yourself a double-whammy of health and try it in an alkalizing and detoxifying lemonade? There are literally four ingredients, people. You can do this. Try the recipe and let me know how it works for you in the comments below!

Activated Charcoal Lemonade


Juice of 1 lemon
16 ounces spring water
Pinch of Himalayan salt
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 activated charcoal capsules, opened


Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until incorporated. Enjoy cold.

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Activated Charcoal Capsules

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Himalayan Fine Pink Salt

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This article is related to: Paleo, Vegetarian, Drink Recipes, Recipe Videos, Healthy Ingredients, Charcoal Detox, Healthy Drinks, Vegan Drinks

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