How does activated charcoal work?

  • Activated charcoal works by absorbing toxic chemicals and dead bacteria in the stomach and intestines.
  • According to Dr. Will Cole, "When charcoal is activated by heating at high temperatures in airtight spaces it breaks down into a fine black powder. This powdered form increases its power through creating more surface area which gives the activated charcoal the ability to adsorb."
  • Charcoal should be used in conjunction with detoxification, which kills the overactive bacteria in the small intestine. The charcoal is what helps move the dead bacteria out of the body.
  • The activated charcoal, when taken in oral form, will attract toxins and bacteria as it moves through the body, exiting through bowel movements.



  • For digestive health, activated charcoal not only absorbs dead bacteria, it also "minimizes the gaseous air found in the digestive system."
  • According to Dr. Eric Regier, approximately "96% cases of bloated stomach are due to SIBO," so minimizing the gaseous air in the digestive system is a main benefit of activated charcoal for treating SIBO.
  • SIBO is often triggered by food poisoning, but activated charcoal can "help the body to expel irritants after food poisoning."
  • Based on the study "Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth: Novel Insight in the Pathogenesis and Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome," a 400 mg dose of activated charcoal for seven days decreased H2 in SIBO patients, which then decreased "flatus episodes."


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