Everyone is familiar with charcoal briquettes—those smoky black cubes that glisten with lighter fluid on a perfect summer’s day. But did you know there’s another type of charcoal that you can actually eat? (And why would I want to eat charcoal, you may ask? Good question.)

In its activated form, charcoal can naturally whiten your teeth, help clear up your acne, and even calm your upset stomach…just to name a few benefits. (As an added bonus, activated charcoal helps support our revolutionary ThinAdventure™ Fiber with the removal of toxins that can hinder your weight loss goals. Nice.)

Activated charcoal is an odorless, tasteless, and nontoxic powder created when raw materials, like wood or coconut shells, are burned at an extremely high temperature. The high temperature removes the oxygen from the burnt material and leaves behind a porous, powdery substance that can absorb toxins and impurities from your body.

So now that we’ve piqued your interest, here are 5 top uses for activated charcoal.

1. Whitens Teeth

Have your teeth become stained from drinking too much coffee or tea? Using activated charcoal is a cost-effective and natural solution for a brighter, whiter smile. It helps whiten teeth while promoting good oral health by changing the pH balance in the mouth—which also helps to prevent cavities, bad breath, and gum disease. To whiten your teeth naturally, wet a toothbrush and dip it into powdered activated charcoal. Brush your teeth as you normally would, paying special attention to areas with the most staining. Thoroughly swish water through your mouth and spit, and then repeat the process until your spit is clear. For sparkling teeth and a healthy smile, brush your teeth with activated charcoal two to three times per week.

2. Alleviates Gas and Bloating

Suffering from uncomfortable gas and bloating? A study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that activated charcoal prevents intestinal gas by binding to the gas causing byproducts in foods that cause discomfort.⁴ To alleviate gas and bloating, take 500 milligrams of activated charcoal with two full glasses of water one hour prior to a gas producing meal. Then enjoy your meal knowing your stomach will be free from painful bloat and embarrassing gas!

3. Promotes Clear, Glowing Skin

Activated charcoal is effective at treating even the most stubborn acne flair-ups. It works by naturally removing dirt, oil, and environmental toxins that can clog your pores. To treat acne and regain your flawless skin, mix one capsule of activated charcoal with two teaspoons of Aloe Vera gel, and then smooth the mixture over your face. Let the mixture dry before rinsing it off completely. You can also use this activated charcoal mixture for spot treatments.

4. Anti-Aging/ Weight Loss Through Toxin Removal

For many people, premature aging and weight gain are a constant struggle. This is because, on a daily basis, we’re exposed to a multitude of toxins that promote the aging and weight gain processes. Much like our ThinAdventure™ Fiber, activated charcoal helps the body flush out toxins and chemicals that can build up over time, causing cellular damage and water retention. It can also help support healthy immune function, which is an integral part of maintaining a healthy, youthful mind and body. To help prevent premature aging and weight gain, take two capsules of activated charcoal per day (more capsules may be needed after exposure to nonorganic foods, heavy metals, or other toxins.)

5. Reduces High Cholesterol

Studies around the world show that activated charcoal reduces bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol as much as some prescription medications. In one study, total cholesterol decreased by 25 percent, LDL cholesterol decreased by 41 percent, while HDL increased by 8 percent—in just four weeks.⁵ Study participants took three doses of activated charcoal daily for the period of the study. Just remember not to take activated charcoal within 90 minutes to two hours of taking any prescription medication or supplements, as it can prevent proper absorption.

Activated charcoal is generally deemed safe for most individuals. However, it’s always a good idea to consult with your physician prior to taking any supplements.

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