The end of each year brings out a number of crazy claims in the health and fitness industry. This year is no different. December is prime time for marketers to entice readers especially since many individuals have renewed focus on goals for 2015. To help you navigate these treacherous waters and in the spirit of giving, I am going spend the next three weeks helping you debunk or confirm claims that you find wildly floating around the internet.
Our first "myth buster" topic comes from a faithful blog reader who stumbled upon a post by Well+Good NYC which predicts the top wellness trends for 2015. One of those trends is definitely NOT advisable if you take medication and can potentially lead you to being "unwell". That trend is "Activated charcoal... as an accessible new detox tool"
Let's start with why you might want to take activated charcoal and how it works when ingested. You should only take it if there is an actual need to neutralize a potential toxin. This was activated charcoal's original use when it was first bought to public attention in the 18th century.
How does it work? ( The good)
Activated charcoal is good at trapping chemicals and prevents their absorption. The process is possible because treating or "activating" the charcoal creates pores that help trap toxic chemicals. Activated charcoal is primarily used in the medical community to treat certain poisonings and reduce intestinal gas.
Here are caveats if you feel compelled to follow the Well+Good post and/or buy the activated charcoal products by Shiva Rose (The potentially not good and unwell).
- Avoid using for more than 3-4 days. Prolonged use of activated charcoal may cause nutrition and electrolyte problems.
- Activated charcoal may also cause acute respiratory distress syndrome (lung problems that prevent oxygen intake), airway and lung inflammation, aspiration (breathing in a foreign object or substance), black stools, charcoal deposits in lymph nodes or tumors (in people with cancer), constipation, diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, a feeling of fullness in the stomach, headache, nausea, stomach blockage, and vomiting.
Before you jump into the latest health and fitness trend, do your research and be informed.
I hope this helps you stay "well and good" into the new year and beyond. Stay tuned for more myth busters!