Activated Charcoal review
September 20 2017

Dyspepsia, stomach discomfort, belching
The purpose of this prospective, multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled trial was to evaluate the efficacy of a commercial combination of simethicone and activated charcoal (Carbosylane) on dyspeptic symptoms in patients consulting a general practitioner. Among patients consulting a general practitioner for dyspeptic syndrome, 3 months of treatment with Carbosylane resulted in significant symptomatic improvement. The improvement was still evident 2 months after the end of treatment. Gastroenterology Clinical Biol. 2009;

Kidney disease
AST-120 (Kremezin; Kureha Chemical Industry Co Ltd, Tokyo, Japan) is an orally administered adsorbent showing adsorption ability superior to activated charcoal for certain organic compounds known to be precursors of substances that accumulate in patients with chronic kidney disease and that are believed to accelerate the decline in kidney function. AST-120 is approved in Japan for prolonging time to hemodialysis therapy and improving uremic symptoms in patients with chronic kidney disease.

Drug absorption
Single and repeated doses of oral activated charcoal reduces the absorption and elimination of the antiepileptic drugs, lamotrigine, Lamictal, and oxcarbazepine, Trileptal.

Poisoning treatment
Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand 2010. Effect of activated charcoal in reducing paracetamol absorption at a supra-therapeutic dose.
Department of Medicine, Ramathibodi Poison Center, Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.
Activated charcoal (AC) is recommended for treatment of acute poisoning, thereby decreasing gastrointestinal tract absorption. AC from different sources may have different adsorptive capacity. The AC that is available in Thailand has not been proven yet for its efficacy The authors simulated paracetamol overdose model for the present study. To assess the efficacy of AC that is available in Thailand in decreasing absorption of paracetamol at supratherapeutic dose. This was a two-arm, prospective, crossover study. Washout period was 1 week Twelve healthy male volunteers participated. All volunteers were randomly assigned to either sequence of control-experiment (CE) or EC. The participants ingested 60 mg/Kg of paracetamol at Time=0. At Time = 0.25 hour, they ingested 50 g of AC as slurry with 250 ml of water when they were assigned as E, but drank 250 mL of water when were assigned as C. Blood samples were serially collected for determination of paracetamol concentration and calculating pharmacokinetic parameters, area under the time-concentration curve. The tested AC was found to be able to reduce the absorption of the supratherapeutic dose of paracetamol.

Health improvement
I've recently seen articles written by another doctor on the benefits of using activated charcoal as a health supplement. I would be interested in reading your opinion on this. This doctor says about using Activated Charcoal: " I regularly use charcoal as part of my personal detox plan. And I recommend it to patients I see in my clinic." Also, " Take 20-30 grams a day of powdered activated charcoal (in divided doses) mixed with water over a period of 1-2 weeks." I find this interesting since most of what I have seen researching on the web seems to indicate only to use under a doctor's recommendation / supervision and then only under certain circumstance, hence my question to you.
   We have not seen such studies in regards to health improvement using this product. It may or not help, we just don't know.

Brands
Two activated charcoal preparations, Kremezin and Merckmezin, are both available in Japan and derived from similar materials. However, their microstructures are distincty different, and possibly reflect differences in their properties of absorbance.