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."
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.
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."
There is a possibility that activated charcoal can trigger an "intestinal disorder known as colitis."
One man, who began taking a supplement that contained activated charcoal, sought medical care within days for "a stabbing pain in his abdomen."
While the case of colitis is not confirmed to have been caused by the activated charcoal, the onset of his symptoms coincided with taking it and stopped when he was no longer taking it.
Side effects of activated charcoal can include black stool, constipation, slowing of the intestinal tract, blockages of the intestinal tract, "regurgitation into the lungs", and dehydration.
People who take acetylcysteine, acetylcysteine (antidote), citalopram, digoxin, dyphylline, methotrexate, theophylline, acarbose, leflunomide, or miglitol should be extremely cautious with taking activated charcoal as it has moderate or mild interactions with these drugs.
People with the following conditions should not take activated charcoal: