Once used only in emergency rooms to treat poisonings and overdoses, activated charcoal is the latest trend in the wellness industry.
This black powder is known for its ability to absorb and carry toxins out of the body, but can it also be a miracle cure for hangovers?
Read on to find out.
What Is Activated Charcoal?
Activated charcoal, sometimes also referred to as activated carbon, is a fine black powder composed of carbon-based materials like sawdust, bamboo, coconut shells, olive pits, and peat. The charcoal is activated when it’s processed at very high temperatures. This process changes the charcoal’s internal structure, making it extremely porous. It’s precisely this sponge-like property that allows activated charcoal to soak up a variety of chemicals and trap toxic substances in the body.
Until recently, activated charcoal was mostly used in emergency rooms to treat accidental poisonings and drug overdoses as an alternative to stomach pumping. The activated charcoal powder is usually mixed with water and given to the patient orally or through a feeding tube. It traps toxic substances in the gut, preventing their absorption into the body.
In recent years, activated charcoal has become a popular detoxifying supplement that can supposedly treat a variety of conditions ranging from diarrhea and gas to kidney problems, skin infections, and hangovers.
Activated charcoal is available in powder, tablet, or capsule forms. Like many other supplements, it can be bought without a prescription. It’s very safe to take with rare adverse reactions. What’s more, the charcoal is not absorbed by the body, but expels the toxins bound to its surface in the stool.
Below, we explore some of the main benefits of activated charcoal.
Benefits of Activated Charcoal
Proponents claim that activated charcoal is a powerful detoxifier that can remove harmful substances from the body. For example, it may be able to assist kidney function by filtering out undigested toxins and drugs. It can also reduce gastrointestinal damage and inflammation in people with chronic kidney disease.
In addition, research suggests that activated charcoal may promote healthy digestion. It is sometimes used to help symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), such as diarrhea, gas, and bloating.
Many skincare brands claim that activated charcoal is effective for whitening teeth, treating acne and skin infections, absorbing body odors, relieving itching caused by insect bites, and even preventing premature aging. However, scientific evidence for these claims is still limited.
Since charcoal can absorb poisons in the stomach, you may be wondering whether it could also help fight a hangover. Here’s everything you need to know.
Why Activated Charcoal Would Cure a Hangover
Due to its detoxifying properties, activated charcoal has been given a lot of attention as a potential hangover cure. In theory, since alcohol is a toxin, taking activated charcoal while drinking or right after would prevent it from being absorbed into the bloodstream. This way, it could help avoid some common hangover symptoms like headache, nausea, fatigue, and upset stomach.
Let’s see what research says.
Does Activated Charcoal Work for a Hangover?
So far, there are no conclusive scientific proofs that activated charcoal helps reduce hangovers. In fact, researchers have found that activated charcoal makes no significant difference to the blood alcohol concentrations, whether it is taken before, during, or after alcohol consumption.
One of the reasons that active charcoal doesn’t impact alcohol concentration in the blood is that it can't bind to alcohol. In spite of its porosity, activated charcoal doesn’t bind to all drugs, toxins, or chemicals, including substances containing metal, petroleum products, cyanide, opioids—and alcohol. Besides, alcohol enters the bloodstream too fast for the activated charcoal to absorb its byproducts.
Still, many people report that activated charcoal helps them alleviate hangover symptoms, although this may be attributed to the placebo effect.
However, there is some evidence that active charcoal may bind to congeners in alcohol. Congeners are natural byproducts formed during the aging process in some alcoholic drinks that usually make hangovers much worse. This could also explain why some people see benefits from using activated charcoal to fight hangovers. Activated charcoal might also help with some symptoms associated with hangovers like bloating and intestinal gas which are a result of dehydration.
Potential risks of taking activated charcoal for hangover
The combination of activated charcoal and alcohol will make you more likely to vomit, thus increasing the risk of pulmonary aspiration, where vomit may end up in your lungs. This can cause injury to the lungs, impair the transfer of oxygen, and in rare cases lead to aspiration pneumonia.
In addition, activated charcoal may be disruptive to your diet and medication regimens. It can bind to the vitamins and antioxidants, preventing your body from absorbing nutrients and making medications less effective. If you’re on medications, you should talk to your doctor before taking activated charcoal for a hangover.
There are other remedies that can safely and effectively help combat common hangover symptoms—IV therapy is one of them. Keep on reading to find out how it can help you fight a hangover.
Reset IV Products That Help With Hangover
IV therapy is a fast and effective way to combat common hangover symptoms. The IV solution completely bypasses the digestive system and is delivered directly into your bloodstream for immediate and full absorption. This means that you’ll start feeling better almost immediately after your treatment.
Reset IV offers a range of hangover packages that contain special combinations of hydrating fluids, vitamins, antioxidants, and anti-nausea and anti-heartburn medication to help you recover from a night of drinking. We also provide custom blends and add-ons that can be included in any of our hangover cures to address your specific needs.
Reset IV hangover packages
The Reset IV Hydration package is based on the normal saline solution. This mixture of water and sodium chloride helps restore a healthy balance of fluid and electrolytes in your body while at the same time boosting your energy levels.
The Still Spinning package consists of a base of electrolytes and your choice of anti-heartburn medication, nausea medication, and pain relief medication.
Our Pre Game package consists of normal saline that recharges the fluids necessary for optimal body function and a B-vitamin complex that will replenish the essential nutrients you lost while drinking.
The Baller package includes optional anti-nausea, pain relief, and anti-heartburn medication, in addition to Modified Myers Cocktail. This multivitamin cocktail combines vitamin C, B-vitamin complex, magnesium, and calcium that will speed your hangover recovery.
The Reset IV DEFCON 1 package offers a choice of anti-nausea, anti-heartburn, and pain relief medications, combined with a liter of fluid and electrolytes.
Schedule an appointment with Reset IV
Reset IV is an on-demand concierge service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You don’t need to leave the comfort of your home to enjoy the benefits of our hangover treatments. We’ll typically be at your door within an hour of booking, depending on availability.
Call or text Reset IV at 1-833-737-3848 to schedule an appointment now. You can also reach out online to learn more and book a treatment.
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