Charcoal seems to be everywhere these days, used in everything from face masks to toothbrush powders. Now, scientists have discovered a new use for charcoal with new research showing the use of orally activated charcoal (OAC) can delay the development of hyperphosphatemia and vascular calcifications.
In those with stage 3-4 chronic kidney disease. Hyperphosphatemia is a condition where there is too much phosphorus in the blood. Vascular calcification is a build up of calcium deposits in the blood vessels.
Experts explained the activated charcoal is very adsorbent and it spreads rapidly in the intestine. It absorbs the small molecules and toxic material, such as excess phosphorus. The most common negative effects during this test were conditions like constipation and abdominal distention or pain.
Activated charcoal already has a role in combating chronic kidney disease. Patients with end-stage renal disease have been using it as an alternative to dialysis. It binds to urea and other toxins in the blood stream. This reduced the amount which has to be filtered out by a dialysis machine or kidneys with reduced function.
Chronic kidney disease is a condition where a patient loses the function of one or both kidneys or they function at reduced capacity. The kidney are blood filters for the body, removing waste and toxins from the blood stream to be disposed of in urine. If they fail or their capacity is reduced, these toxins can build up in the blood and begin damaging or destroying other organs and systems.
Activated charcoal is different from regular charcoal. Charcoal is made from peat, coal, wood, coconut shells or petroleum. Activated charcoal has been manufactured, heated in the presence of gas causing the charcoal to develop internal spaces or pores which allow it to absorb.
Here is what we already know about activated charcoal. It is used to draw out impurities already and is used to treat poisoning. In fact, it is commonly found in hospital emergency rooms for use in
such incidents. There is evidence to suggest it may be useful in other areas, such as lowering cholesterol, relieves gas and bloating, whitens teeth and clears skin. And while there is some evidence for the aforementioned, more has to be done. Because researchers do not agree that activated charcoal lowers cholesterol.
It can also be used to reduce diarrhea caused by the cancer drug Irinotecan. Some research indicates taking activated charcoal will diarrhea, including severe diarrhea, in children taking this drug. As a tooth whitener it has been shown to whiten and polish teeth because of its carbon makeup. It acts as an antibacterial and can be used to fight gingivitis and is used in many third world nations. Note that activated charcoal is abrasive and ruin the enamel, especially of regularly used.
There are some negatives to taking activated charcoal. It is known to causes nausea and vomiting, and constipation. In addition, its absorption qualities can work against a person’s interests. It can interfere with other drugs, binding and absorbing them. Blood pressure or birth control pills can be rendered powerless. It can also bind and absorb other nutrients in the bloodstream preventing them from being taken by the body.
Putting it in food can be dangerous too as there is not enough research on it. Additionally, the industry is not regulated so there is no way to know what to know what is inside it.
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