There are more than one million visits to the ER each year due to drug or drug toxicity. Activated charcoal is one of the most common emergency treatments used to treat severe toxicity.
But in recent years, activated charcoal has become more common in the healthcare industry. It is growing in popularity, and it is now included in many of the products available for sale including juice cleaning; hangover treatments, toothbrushes and facial cleansers. (In 2019, Starbucks even introduced frappuccino using a fashionable ingredient.)
As an ER physician, I am very concerned about its use recommended by the manufacturer as a treatment for hangovers. Does it really work? Is it safe?
How does activated charcoal work?
Activated charcoal, also known as activated carbon, has been used in medicine to detoxify patients for nearly 200 years. It is produced by placing carbon sources such as bamboo, coconut husk or wood at very high temperatures. This is the key to working the coal as a very efficient absorption agent.
When exploded at high temperatures, coal has many holes and develops a sponge-like ability to bind objects.
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Because of this superior binding ability; activated charcoal is our way of getting to the ER in suspected or toxic cases. Activated charcoal has come a long way as traditional remedies such as cleansing caused; by ipecac or pumping the stomach no longer work; in short, breastfeeding is a major risk factor for cravings in the lungs.
How we use ER-activated coal
Activated charcoal should be used within 1-2 hours of drinking; (or more if the overused drug is a controlled- or extended version). Many patients are alert and alert and can tolerate activated charcoal; a dark, odourless powder mixed with a liquid that drinks like a smoothie. But if necessary, we will protect their respiratory system; insert a nasogastric tube into their stomach through which we can use activated charcoal. Read Scars are a common problem.
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It is important to note here that ethical considerations make it difficult to conduct rigorous research; to determine which toxins can be effectively reduced by activated charcoal. Thus, the available data we have comes from animal models, lab studies or observational studies.
In consultation with the local poison control centre, we are considering activated charcoal to treat the following toxic foods. (Remember, toxicologists’ recommendations may vary by region and this list is not exhaustive.)
- Acetaminophen (in combination with its antidote)
- Amanita phalloides, a poisonous mushroom known as “death cap”
- Anti-convulsants such as Carbamazepine and Phenobarbital
- Benzodiazepines like Valium and Xanax
- Cardiac glycosides such as Digoxin (if the antidote is not available)
- Colchicine (common gout medication)
- Cyclic antidepressants such as Amitryptiline
- Theophylline, asthma treatment
- Guess what activated coal does not work. Heavy metals (iron, lead and mercury) and toxic substances such as ethylene glycol; methanol and recreational ethanol; are what most people think of when they hear “alcohol.”
Will activated charcoal cure your hangover?
The available research is there to determine whether; activated charcoal can effectively bind toxic alcohol. But the important point is that although possible, alcohol is coming from the stomach; into the bloodstream very quickly so that activated charcoal can be consumed. In fact, a small study found that subjects who took activated charcoal 30 minutes; after drinking had the same level of blood alcohol as those who did not take it. So you can imagine that if it did not reduce the absorption of alcohol; within 30 minutes after drinking; it certainly would not prevent a hangover if you took it a few hours before bedtime.
Need another reason not to mix alcohol with activated charcoal? Both alcohols – in the case of heavy drinking and in the middle of a hangover; So, it can keep you clean. Combine both of these and you may be at greater risk for pneumonia; where vomiting and charcoal may end up in your lungs – causing damage to the lung tissue; and leading to a decrease in oxygen levels and possibly pneumonia. Coal can also cause constipation.
What you ought to comprehend about activated charcoal
Important Note: This is the most effective treatment for certain drugs or toxins in the ER. As it does not bind alcohol or prevent its absorption into the bloodstream; it should not be used as a means of preventing or treating a hangover. Introducing charcoal to alcohol or the next day may increase nausea and vomiting; with a high risk of dangerous cravings and lung damage. Be sceptical of any health products that have the benefits of charcoal.
Instead, choose a healthy and safe treatment for hangovers. A hangover is hard to prevent once the alcohol is in. Instead, aim to reduce the chances of drinking in moderation; by adding water at the time of drinking and the next morning and exercising. Another tip: If you have nausea, avoid fatty, high-fat foods; that take longer to digest and that may irritate your stomach. Choose fast-digested carbs like toast and bagels instead. All medicine told is ABMS certified. Also, check out more blogs in the fashion and health section.