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6 Activated Charcoal Uses & Benefits

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The world seems to be absolutely infatuated with activated charcoal. You can find it everywhere these days, from ice cream and hamburger buns to lemonade, crackers, and even hot dogs! Because it’s being incorporated into so many foods, it’s being portrayed as safe to consume, but as with any supplement, it’s important to be aware of how your preexisting medical conditions may affect how it reacts in your body. Intestinal bleeding or blockages, holes in the intestines, chronic dehydration, slow digestion, or a recent abdominal surgery are all contraindicated for charcoal.

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In July I covered an activated charcoal trend involving face masks, which actually do the opposite of what they claim. From the article:

I spoke to Toni-Anne Leonardo, an aesthetician who studied at Humber College for Cosmetic Management and Esthetics/Spa Management, who said, “Well, every pore has a hair follicle in it. When you use a peel-off mask you are removing that hair, which can cause damage to the pore. This can lead to a dilated pore and cause damage to cells and create hyper pigmentation.

The most beneficial ingredient in black masks is typically activated charcoal. Activated charcoal has made its claim to fame recently with the development of these masks and also its use as a natural teeth whitening alternative. The benefits of this carbon are endless and when you couple its qualities with skin care, it usually has a positive effect. Activated charcoal acts like a magnet to attract and absorb dirt and oil, and so when these are present in your pores and activated charcoal comes in contact with it, they will stick to it and wash away when you rinse.

Here are some ways you can incorporate activated charcoal mindfully into your diet and lifestyle:

Teeth Whitener

Activated charcoal is not absorbed by the body, but helps to prevent absorption, allowing it to easily remove toxins without harming the body.

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Be aware that while it can remove stains from teeth, it does stain clothes, tiles, counters, etc. It can also cause constipation and block mineral absorption, and should not be mixed with dairy, so take note if you do happen to ingest it.

How to use

Wet your toothbrush and dip it into the charcoal. Put the charcoal covered toothbrush in the mouth (quickly to protect your sink) and brush in small, gentle circles for two minutes. Spit carefully and rinse really well. You can also mix the charcoal with water and swish with it for two minutes.

You can also combine this with oil pulling.

Gas and Bloating

A study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that “activated charcoal significantly (p less than 0.05) reduced breath hydrogen levels in both the population groups. Symptoms of bloating and abdominal cramps attributable to gaseousness were also significantly reduced in both groups by activated charcoal.”

Activated charcoal binds the gas-causing byproducts in food that often cause discomfort like gas and bloating. It is fantastic for people who have had a bout of food poising or have accidentally ingested something toxic, but should not be taken with other vitamins or supplements, as it will absorb those as well.

How to use

Take 500 milligrams one hour prior to a typical gas-producing meal, with a full glass of water. Follow with an additional glass of water immediately thereafter to help get the charcoal into your system, where it can bind with gas-producing elements.

Treats Hangover Symptoms and Even Alcohol Poisoning

To be clear, activated charcoal is a special form of carbon that doesn’t necessarily absorb as much as it adsorbs, which means it binds to other substances on its surface (adsorption).

When hospitals have to treat a patient for alcohol poisoning and perform gastrointestinal decontamination, it is typically accomplished with activated charcoal, either mixed and taken by mouth or feeding tube in the emergency room. The thing is, alcohol enters the blood 90 seconds after consumption, so it’s usually not as effective when a person is already drunk. One study with dogs demonstrated that charcoal given at the same time as alcohol can reduce the blood alcohol concentration significantly, but didn’t have the same effect with humans.

It treats hangovers effectively because it mitigates the harm caused by other ingredients, like sugar, or the sulfites in wine.

Digestive Cleanse

Some would say that the key to our health lies in our gut. The microbiome contains billions of essential bacteria that literally share the human body and help it function. There are more than 1 trillion microbes living in the body, with the largest colonies in the gastrointestinal tract. These microbes are associated with regulation of digestion, protection from disease-causing organisms, and the development of a strong immune response.

Activated charcoal can be used to improve gut health by removing toxins that cause allergic reactions, oxidative damage, and poor immune system function.

How to use

You can try a two-day cleanse by ingesting 10 grams of activated charcoal 90 minutes prior to each meal. Be sure to eat organic fruits and vegetables during this time as well as warm lemon water. If you feel lethargic from constipation, consider trying an enema after the cleanse to make sure you are flushing out those toxins.

Anti-Aging

We can’t fight time, and aging is a natural part of life, but our modern world is filled with toxins that contribute to a quicker aesthetic and physical decline. We can incorporate activated charcoal into our diet to help combat the environmental toxin exposure that we may face in our homes, our workplaces, and even our food.

How to use

Take two capsules per day after consuming nonorganic or processed foods, as this will promote healthier kidneys, liver function, and digestive tract.

Reduces High Cholesterol

There are quite a few studies showing that activated charcoal helps to reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. In one 1986 study published in The Lancet, seven patients with high cholesterol were treated for four weeks with activated charcoal at a dose of 8 g three times a day. Remarkably, their plasma total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol decreased by 25% and 41%, respectively, and their HDL-cholesterol, or “good cholesterol,” increased by 8%.

This was documented again in a Finnish study reported in the European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology in 1989. Seven patients were fed 4, 8, 16, or 32 g of activated charcoal per day. At the end, “Serum total and LDL-cholesterol were decreased (maximum 29% and 41%, respectively) and the ratio of HDL/LDL- cholesterol was increased (maximum 121%) by charcoal in a dose dependent manner.”

There are always safer alternatives out there, so it’s important to do your own research when it comes to your health. Be proactive in educating yourself of the dangers associated with anything you use to enhance your health or treat illness. We can be our own best doctor, but we need to be sure that we that we are not only listening to our bodies, but staying safe and informed.

 

 

 

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Awareness

30-Year Study Finds Weekly Use Of Disinfectants Greatly Increases Your Chances Of Lung Disease

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A 30-year study conducted by Harvard researchers and the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research determined that people who use disinfectants just once a week have a 22-32% of developing lung disease.

  • Reflect On:

    There are many other natural alternatives out there these days. Some are listed in the article, be sure to do your research!

One of the most versatile cleaning supplies in the home, bleach disinfects anything it comes into contact with and can not only clean every surface but remove stains from fabrics, too. Despite its cleaning power, we’ve also long heard of the effects such chemicals can have on our health and wellbeing. The labels on such products make some of these clear, explaining they are corrosive and can irritate  eyes, skin, and respiratory tract, often through simple inhalation. Despite these warnings signs, people continue to buy into this corporate propaganda.

As previously stated in an article of ours from 2013:

It is important to note that there is no FDA-type organization that regulates the cleaning products that are brought into your home. Instead groups such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) make warnings of the use of Chlorine Bleach publicly available. Under the assumption that consumers will continue to use Chlorine Bleach within their households, the following safety precautions are widely recommended:

  • Dilute the chlorine bleach with water. The lower concentration poses a potentially lesser risk of unwanted exposure.
  • Wear a safety mask and rubber gloves when working with bleach as a preventative measure.
  • Only use chlorine bleach in a well ventilated area to allow for sufficient air flow and to prevent the unwanted gasses from remaining stationary in the working space.
  • Never mix chlorine bleach with any other household cleaners.

It’s unlikely people exercise these precautions when dealing with this chemical, and it’s also interesting to note that even more studies have come forward since then confirming these risks.


A new study has found that people who use disinfectants just once a week have a 22-32% increased chance of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

“COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States. More than 11 million people have been diagnosed with COPD, but millions more may have the disease without even knowing it. COPD causes serious long-term disability and early death. At this time there is no cure, and the number of people dying from COPD is growing,” according to the American Lung Association.

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The 30-year study was conducted by Harvard University and the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research. This new study could potentially link COPD to specific cleaning chemicals, as two other studies in European populations showed that “working as a cleaner was associated with a higher risk of COPD,” according to Orianne Dumas, a researcher at Inserm. Dumas goes on to say, “Earlier studies have found a link between asthma and exposure to cleaning products and disinfectants at home, such as bleach and sprays, so it is important to investigate this further.”

In 1989, the Harvard researchers found 55,185 working female nurses in the U.S. who did not have COPD, then analyzed those who were still working in 2009 over the next eight years. Participants were given a questionnaire to determine which disinfectants they used most frequently and why they used them. The disinfectants included glutaraldehyde (a strong disinfectant used for medical instruments), bleach, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, and quaternary ammonium compounds (known as “quats”). In addition to the questionnaire, they took into account factors such as age, weight and ethnicity.

During this period they found that 663 were diagnosed with the condition. “In our study population, 37% of nurses used disinfectants to clean surfaces on a weekly basis and 19% used disinfectants to clean medical instruments on a weekly basis,” says Dumas.

The study aims to highlight the lack of health guidelines when it comes to cleaning and disinfectants, especially in healthcare settings, and researchers hope their results will prompt further investigation and better safety precautions.

There are many substantial alternatives to bleach like vinegar or essential oils, and if you’d like to further rid your home of harsh chemicals, check out this article (click here).

We need more people like these researchers, who dedicate their time to ensuring our safety when it comes to items we have incorporated into our lifestyle and assume are safe, doing this kind of work. This information isn’t meant to scare anyone, especially those of us who actively use these materials, but rather to bring more awareness so that we can educate ourselves and make healthier choices. There are countless healthy and safe alternatives when it comes to what we clean with, what we wear, and what we eat. You have to play the role of researcher in your own life if you expect to make positive change, and by having an open mind, you allow yourself to accept opportunities that can further your growth, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

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Awareness

Alcohol Is Killing More People Than The Opioid Epidemic. So Why Aren’t We Talking About It?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Alcohol related deaths are the third leading cause of preventable deaths in the US.

  • Reflect On:

    Should we be glamorizing the consumption of alcohol in the media and in advertisements? Is it time to get real about the potentially life threatening risks of this drug?

In recent years, we have been hearing a lot about the opioid epidemic that is sweeping the nation. The Center for Disease Control reported that over 47,000 people died in the United States alone from an opiate overdose in 2017, that is almost 5 times the amount of deaths caused by opiates in 1999. This is important, and yes it is good this is getting the attention that it deserves. However, in the same year, an estimated 88,000 people died from alcohol related causes — Did anyone hear about that?

Alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States, the first is tobacco and the second is poor diet and minimal physical activity. Given this, why aren’t we talking about it? And why don’t we see warning labels on alcoholic beverages? Why are we promoting such a harmful substance? We certainly don’t see huge billboards with people in bikinis popping oxycontin or injecting heroin, because we are well aware that these substances are addictive and can cause harm, so again, why are we openly promoting alcohol? Especially to young people?

Is It Because It’s Legal?

Is it possible that alcohol related deaths do not garner as much of a cause for concern because it is legal, easily available and socially acceptable? Most likely. Alcohol sales reached $253.8 billion in the US in 2018 — this might also have something to do with it.

I’m not suggesting that criminalizing alcohol is a solution to this issue or anything, the same way I don’t see how it’s still against the law to use any drugs at all, regardless of how bad they are for you. I believe that we should have the say in how we treat ourselves and what we put into our bodies, not the government or a legal system. But instead of being portrayed as a harmful substance, like opiates, crystel meth, and crack are — alcohol is glamorized by the media; often being portrayed as sophisticated, fun, sexy and generally just the cool thing to do.

Alcohol Is Basically Encouraged In Our Society

There is no doubt about it, the use of alcohol is deeply ingrained in our culture. So much so, that choosing not to drink is often the more odd thing to do. People will always ask, oh, how come you’re not drinking? As opposed to other drugs, people won’t typically ask, oh why aren’t you smoking meth tonight? Or whatever it may be.

Binge drinking is practically expected on the weekends, and for many people it is a way to unwind, let loose and have fun after a long workweek. Many people justify their consumption this way insisting that it’s fine, because, I don’t drink every day. The thing about alcohol abuse is that it doesn’t have to be every day to be considered a problem or for the person to be considered an alcoholic.

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There are many ways we tend to justify our use, because the thought of giving it up entirely or admitting that we even have a problem can be extremely overwhelming — especially if our entire livelihoods are centered on it.

How Much Is Too Much?

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) created a web site called “Rethinking Drinking” to highlight the amount of misconceptions about what is considered “low-risk” and “high-risk” alcohol consumption. It turns out, more than three drinks in a day or more than seven drinks per week for women and four drinks per day or 14 drinks per week for men are considered “high-risk,” and these patterns can be detrimental both in the short and long-term.

Some people might have an attitude of, I don’t drink at all during the week, so I have all of my allotted alcoholic beverages on the weekend — however, for men consuming 5 or more drinks and for women consuming 4 or more drinks in about a 2 hour period is considered binge drinking.

Is It Time To ‘Rethink That Drink’?

Should we have more campaigns aimed to raise awareness about the potential harm caused by alcohol? Because it is legal it seems to have this view of also being safe, because our government officials and lawmakers always have our best interest at heart, right? 😉 But if we aren’t educating young people effectively on the potential risks associated with alcohol consumption, then perhaps there should be more of an effort to make the risks known on the packaging and even eliminating ads. In my opinion, it simply does not make sense to be legally allowed to advertise something that is so harmful — especially in such a glamorized way.

I don’t know what it’s like now for teens and if it is still considered “cool” to drink and if there is a ton of peer pressure around the whole thing. My hope is that this view will shift, young people will be made more aware of the risks and more people will find the courage to step away from what is no longer serving them or what’s not in their best interest.

Many health advocates and people that are very cautious with regards to what they are putting into their body are still completely overlooking alcohol as a harmful substance. Now, there is no judgment to anyone who chooses to drink, but I think it’s time to take a good hard look at these things and at least have the awareness behind it. Surely, it can be fun from time to time to relax, to loosen up, to be silly, but when we are relying on it to escape our unhappiness from our current situation, well then maybe it’s time to face these situations head on, rather than escape them and change whatever is encouraging us to reach for that glass of wine, whiskey or beer in the first place.

How Can We Support Others?

The fact of the matter remains, many people who drink can do so sparingly, not in excess and not very often. They have a handle on it and it doesn’t interfere with their lives in a negative way. However, for the ones who have struggled — with drinking too much, too frequently, with black outs, it can be difficult to even know if it’s a problem because of how acceptable it is in our society.

If someone says, no thanks I’m not drinking, don’t ask why, and instead try, right on! And no peer pressure. I’ve had problems with drinking, have quit and relapsed twice, currently I’m sober. Before I stopped drinking this time around I would open up to some people about it, questioning my use and whether or not it was harmful, many people would tell me, ahh don’t be so hard on yourself! We are allowed to enjoy life, or shut down from time to time if we need to. If someone is expressing to you that they are concerned they might have a drinking problem, don’t make them second guess themselves, if they are opening up about it please try to support them. We don’t always know what others are going through — apparently even if they flat out tell us. This may also challenge our own relationship with alcohol, but if you can keep that separate.

Do You Have A Problem?

If you are concerned that you might have a drinking problem, you probably do. Keeping in mind that having a problem with alcohol doesn’t necessarily make you an alcoholic. You may have a problem with alcohol if you can identify with any of the following scenarios:

  1. Spending a lot of time obtaining, using, and recovering from the effects of alcohol.
  2. Cravings, or a strong desire to use alcohol.
  3. Being unable to cut down on alcohol use despite a desire to do so.
  4. Continuing to abuse alcohol despite negative interpersonal or social problems that are likely due to alcohol use.
  5. Using alcohol in physically dangerous situations (such as driving or operating machinery).
  6. Drinking more or for a longer time than originally intended.
  7. Continuing to abuse alcohol despite the presence of a psychological or physical problem that is probably due to alcohol use.
  8. Being unable to fulfill major obligations at home, work, or school because of alcohol use.
  9. Giving up previously enjoyed social, occupational, or recreational activities because of alcohol use.
  10. Having a tolerance (i.e. needing to drink increasingly large or more frequent amounts of alcohol to achieve the desired effect).
  11. Developing symptoms of withdrawal when efforts are made to stop using alcohol.

A great way to get things in check is to commit to a period of time without any alcohol consumption and monitor how you feel, what you accomplish, and if you feel uplifted. You may need to ask your friends to support you during this time and have some sober activities prepared! Board games, cards, movies, sports, hiking — all these things can be great sober fun!

If your problem is more severe than this, or you are needing help in any way, reach out to a trusted friend or family member or you may benefit from your local Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for a whole slough of support and resources. If that’s not your jam, check out Hello Sunday Morning for assistance in moderating your use.

My hope is that in the near future it will be more common not to drink and doing so will be more like taking a drug, or having an experience that is typically out of the ordinary.

It is never too late to make a change, first step is to get really honest with yourself…

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Alternative News

Joe Rogan May Take Down The Original Criticism Of “The Game Changers” Documentary

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Joe Rogan recently had James Wilks, the maker of "The Game Changers" documentary on to discuss the benefits of a plant base diet and to refute a previous episode where Chris Kresser debunked it.

  • Reflect On:

    When it comes to health, it's important sometimes to suspend what we believe and have been made to believe, and simply look at the information from a neutral perspective.

Joe Rogan has long ‘criticized’ vegans in various ways, and has also emphasized his belief that one cannot be optimally healthy on a vegan diet. He’s done this a number of times, which was hard for some onlookers to watch and listen to who have educated themselves on plant-based diets. Until recently, Rogan mainly focused on guests that were geared towards promoting meat-eating as optimal, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but a balance of understanding and information can go a long way to educating people.

One of the most recent examples of Joe Rogan and his guest ‘”debunking” a plant-based diet came from a critique of a recent documentary that is now airing on Netflix, called “The Game Changers,” made by filmmaker, James Wilks – a retired English mixed martial artist. The film was executively produced by James Cameron, and features interviews with the top scientists and doctors in their field who present an abundance of research and publications showing the benefits of a plant-based diet.

Not long ago, health coach and author Chris Kresser came on the “Joe Rogan Experience” after the documentary received a lot of attention, and the title of the podcast was titled: “Chris Kresser Debunks ‘The Game Changers Documentary.’

For someone like my self who has done a lot of research into the topic, it was frustrating to listen to it given the fact that it was quite clear, for me and others who had actually done thorough research from a neutral standpoint, that Kresser wasn’t really addressing all the facts, and was simply a big believer in what he was saying without even examining the information on the other side.

The challenge is, Rogan’s podcast was listened to by millions of people, and many came away actually believing the information that was said in the original debunking episode – information we later find out was completely incorrect. These types of episodes that massively mislead people are not just an issue with people who have large followings discussing vegan diets and health, but it’s a big issue with many other topics. This is why it was great that Rogan decided to have James Wilks on for a chance to defend his documentary, and the truth is he absolutely destroyed Kresser’s claims that were presented as facts in the previous podcast with Rogan. The best part was Kresser was on the show as well so he had a chance to truly make sure everyone was on the same page.

Wilks addressed every single criticism made by Kresser in the previous episode, from topics such as B12, protein amount, and protein quality, among many others. He also brought up the fact that we shouldn’t be listening to people like Kresser on such topics, but should be relying on properly published peer reviewed research that’s repeatable, non-industry conflicting research, as well as information that comes from the world’s leading scientists in the field of biology and nutrition, many of whom were presented in the Game Changers documentary. Or, people like Wilks, who have throughout done their research.  This episode really exposes how Kresser is not accurate or factual in his position on this topic, an important note for his followers.

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It’s important to keep in mind that not everything Kresser said previously had time to be addressed in this podcast, but it could have been. 100 percent of Kresser’s criticisms that were addressed were 100 percent completely debunked by Wilks, so much so that this is what Joe Rogan had to say via an Instagram post:

If interested, you can watch The Game Changers documentary on Netflix, and check out the podcast in question below.

Some Quotes From The Game Changers Documentary

One of these experts is Dr. Christina Warinner, who earned her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2010 and received her postdoctoral training at the University of Zurich (2010-2012) and the University of Oklahoma (2012-2014). She became a Presidential Research Professor and Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma in 2014, and is currently a Leader in Microbiome Sciences at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

Her work has led to some very interesting findings and conclusions:

“Humans do not have any specialized genetic anatomical or physiological adaptations to meat consumption. By contrast, we have many adaptations to plant consumption.” (The Game Changers documentary)

She goes deeper in her presentation at the 2016 International Conference on Nutrition in Medicine, and in this TEDX talk she gave a number of years ago.

Gradual increases in brain sizes of early humans have also been attributed to meat, but research is showing that “because there is not a very strong match between meat consumption and gradual increases in brain size, scientists have looked to other options. And given that plant foods are such an important part of modern humans that hunt and gather foods, the money is on plant foods and shift in the kinds of plant foods as being the major driving factor in increasing brain size.” – Nathaniel J. Dominy

“We have a brain, that just is desperate for glucose. It’s such a fussy organ, that’s the only thing it really takes in for energy. Well, meat is not a very good source of glucose, to have a big brain like this you need to eat something different. And the most efficient way to get glucose is to eat carbohydrates.” – Dr. Mark Thomas, geneticist, University College, London (The Game Changers documentary)

With overwhelming scientific evidence to many of the most common deadly diseases, I discovered that the meat, egg, and dairy industries have been engaged in a covert response, funding studies that deny this evidence while burying their involvement in the fine print. One of the hired guns paid to conduct these studies is Exponent, INC. A company whose research was used by the Tobacco industry to deny the connection between second hand smoke and cancer. For more than 50 years, Exponent has generated studies that challenge the health-risks of everything from asbestos, arsenic and and mercury, to animal foods.” – James Wilks,  “The Game Changers” documentary

“The formula, works beautifully for people selling food, it works beautifully for people selling drugs to treat the diseases that bad food causes, and it works beautifully for the media, which can give us a new story about diet, everyday. But despite the appearance in our media of confusion, there’s massive global consensus about the fundamentals of a health-promoting, and it’s a diet that every time… In every population, every kind of research, it’s a plant food predominant diet, every time.” – Dr. David Katz, Founding Director of Yale University Prevention Research Center (The Game Changers documentary)

A Related CE Articles With More Information: 

Humans Are Not Designed To Eat Meat – Leading Microbiome Scientist Explains

12,000 Doctors Urge The FDA to put Cancer Warnings on Cheese 

Scientist: Milk From Cows Has “The Most Relevant Carcinogen Ever Identified” & “Turns on Cancer”

Scientist Explains How Cow’s Milk Leeches Calcium From Your Bones & Makes Them Weaker

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