Activated charcoal is finding its way into a variety of products ranging from toothpaste, deodorants and skin cleansers to functional beverages. But what is it and why would anyone want to clean their teeth with gritty black stuff from their grill?
It’s a valid question. So here’s the scoop. Activated charcoal is not the same charcoal used in a grill, even though they are both derived from carbon. Activated charcoal has been processed at very high temperatures to change its chemical structure. The resulting material is highly absorbent with millions of tiny pores that capture, bind, and help remove toxins and chemicals in the body so they can be flushed out.
It makes sense in many personal care products, where it is purported to deep clean and whiten teeth and promote skin health. In fact, activated charcoal is now the fastest growing ingredient in HBC products up 30%+ and generating sales of $18 million in 2018.
But activated charcoal is also emerging as an ingredient in functional beverages and sipping vinegars which harkens from its medical roots as a remedy to draw out and absorb ingested poisons. There is even some rationale that it may help soak up irritants in the gut, such as gluten or lactaid.
Who knows – it could give new meaning to the phrase – Take the black!