Activated Bamboo Charcoal — A Broad-Spectrum Binder
Why do so many of us enjoy a forest hike? The crisp, pure air is unparalleled. Who can blame us for enjoying this simple pleasure, when our current environment exposes us to so many silent toxins that accelerate ageing.
So, what can we do to ease and support our body's natural detox pathway? Ironically the bamboo forests may hold the answer to a cleaner life, in the form of detox binder—activated bamboo charcoal.
WHAT ARE THOSE TOXINS?
Before we investigate activated bamboo charcoal as a possible solution to help get rid of these toxins, we need to be aware of them in our daily lives. Now in this day and age, I think we are aware of most of them. We try to use preventative measures, as well as alternative natural options, however, we are still left very exposed.
Apart from heavy metals our havens of safety may contain mould-producing toxic compounds called mycotoxins. We could even be ingesting toxins like BPA’s or Bisphenol A, the building blocks of polycarbonate plastics often used for food and beverage storage which seeps into our food and drink.
“Heavy metal toxicity—from metals such as mercury, aluminum, copper, cadmium, nickel, arsenic, and lead—represents one of the greatest threats to our health and wellbeing...”
— ANTHONY WILLIAM, author of Medical Medium: Secrets Behind Chronic and Mystery Illness and How to Finally Heal, a New York Times best-seller.
All toxins are harmful, but heavy metals are hazardous. In addition to being damaging in their own right, they are also neurotoxins (a poison that disrupts nerve function and causes the immune system to malfunction). Toxic metals can be difficult to detect. As a result, it is very well hidden within us, not revealing itself unless we are actively looking for it.
CAN OUR BODIES GET RID OF TOXINS NATURALLY?
Our bodies produce naturally our own detoxifier called glutathione (3 amino acids: namely cysteine, glutamic acid, and glycine). Our bodies naturally produce glutathione, which binds to toxins and pulls them out of our systems to flush them safely and effectively. But when our body lacks glutathione, toxins linger in the bloodstream and are stored as fat, compromising our immune system. Toxic load, stress, exposure to heavy metals and ageing all rapidly deplete our glutathione supply. Lucky for us we can supplement glutathione to help our bodies combat these challenges.
While some of us are very good at detoxifying mercury and other toxins, some of us may have genetic variations (called polymorphisms) that make us more prone to metal toxicity. We lack the missing gene GSTM1 function — one of the most important genes needed in the process of creating and recycling glutathione in the body.
GSTM1 is a glutathione S-transferase gene (also known as GST gene) which is a family of enzymes involved in metabolism and in making toxic compounds less harmful to the body. It is responsible for Phase two detox, the part of the detox process when reactive molecules and free radicals are converted to substances that can be excreted by the urine, faeces, or sweat.
When GST genes malfunction, a problem arises. The GST genes can be deleted entirely (homozygously; also called nulls or deletions). A "null" GST gene is not functional. Between 20% to 50% of people have a GST null gene or missing GSTM1. One-third of our population that suffers from chronic disease is missing GSTM1.
You can support GST genes by boosting your glutathione levels as mentioned above and research suggests that you can support GST genes (and Phase 2 detox) by consuming bitter herbs that promote liver health—such as milk thistle and dandelion. Learning to support your system and how to detoxify are all ways to support your GST genes.
Organs of detoxification
Toxins are expelled from our bodies by the following organs:
- Lungs and cilia (little fibres) push contaminants out. Mucus catches any particles that shouldn't be in your lungs, you'll either swallow it or cough it up and it will disappear. Smokers beware that smoking affects your cilia and puts you at quite a disadvantage.
- The liver filters our blood to neutralize, and help our body get rid of, potentially harmful substances.
- Kidneys filter your blood as well, eliminating waste products from digestion and other bodily functions through urine.
- The large intestine is an organ that has evolved over time as a self-cleaning tool. After your small intestine absorbs the nutrients from what you eat and pushes them into your bloodstream, your large intestine gets rid of whatever waste remains.
Our ageing bodies may need extra help effectively excreting those toxins if our detoxification pathways are already compromised. A possible solution may be detoxification (whereby a poison or toxin is removed from the body). This is where toxin binders come into play, in particular, activated bamboo charcoal.
WHAT ARE TOXIN BINDERS?
So what are these toxin binders? It’s exactly what their name suggests, they in essence effectively bind to the toxins in your body and help to remove them.
Detox binder products work by:
- Clearing out toxin buildup
- Inducing biofilm removal in the gut
- Alleviating gas and bloating
- Preventing acute poisoning
WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE ARE NO BINDERS?
Heavy Metal Toxicity
Despite the fact that heavy metal toxicity is quite common, it is not commonly diagnosed. Several heavy metal neurotoxins can inflame and irritate our central nervous system (especially our brain), causing symptoms such as memory loss, brain fog, fatigue, and depression. As well as inflaming our digestive tract, toxic heavy metals release poisons into the gut. Furthermore, heavy metals serve as food for viruses, bacteria, parasites, and other pathogens in our bodies. This can, for example, result in an overgrowth of bacteria in the gut, a condition known as SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). Epstein-Barr and shingles are both caused by toxic heavy metals; symptoms include tingling, numbness, fatigue, anxiety, heart palpitations, ringing in the ears, dizziness and vertigo, along with back pain, neck pain, knee pain, foot pain, and other pains that are often mistaken for other conditions.
High exposure to toxic metals such as cadmium (used to make batteries and coat iron and steel). According to research studies, people are exposed to cadmium through contaminated food, tobacco smoke, and polluted air near industrial areas, which could prematurely age their cells and cause a number of diseases.
You can test for heavy metal exposure at home using urine and blood samples they screen for the most common heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, mercury and cadmium.
Without binders, your body is vulnerable to "enterohepatic recirculation." This occurs when toxins are not "bound" for excretion through the bowels but instead go through continuous cycles of processing by your liver, reabsorption by your intestines, and then recirculation by your liver. Your body goes through a lot of strain in trying to detoxify itself as a result of this repeated process and as discussed coupled with the physical changes in our liver’s size and blood flow brought about by ageing the process of eliminating toxins is reduced.
Binders prevent your body from getting stuck on repeat. Binders can effectively remove toxins and help stop enterohepatic recirculation when used for detoxification.
You can think of biofilms as a protective shield that protects pathogens from being detected by your immune system. It is common for pathogens to adhere to the gut lining and create physical barriers around themselves with heavy metals and polysaccharides.
This allows pathogens to survive inside your body, where they continue to produce toxic byproducts. In conventional stool samples, biofilms also prevent pathogens from being identified. So, the only way to effectively rid your body of these pathogens is to first break down the biofilm sheltering them, and then clear out the released toxins.
The first step is to equip your body with the tools it needs to bind and eliminate released biotoxins. By using binder supplements you can induce the removal of biofilms that cause dysbiosis in the gut, meaning that there are more harmful bacteria in it than beneficial bacteria.
WHAT IS ACTIVATED BAMBOO CHARCOAL?
Activated bamboo charcoal powder is a fine odourless black powder made from carbon-based organic materials such as bamboo. Charcoal bricks or burned food do not contain this substance. Activated Bamboo Charcoal is the binder we will be focussing on and this amazing product will be on our virtual shelves soon.
The special process that activates the charcoal creates lots of holes of various sizes and crevices on the charcoal particles increasing the surface area and available binding sites.
The activation process can double the surface area to a whopping 1,200 square meters (1,435 square yards) per gram. This large surface area allows for the absorption of heavy metals, chemicals, and other toxins.
WHY IS ACTIVATED BAMBOO CHARCOAL A BINDER?
Activated bamboo charcoal attracts substances, which cling to and accumulate on its surface. Although the term absorption is used it is not your regular absorption, for example, the way a dish cloth absorbs water is due to the nature of its fibres, not because of physical attraction.
As mentioned the activation process creates millions of micropores on the surface, allowing them to bind to molecules, ions, or atoms and remove them from dissolved substances. This is one of the reasons it can be used for water filtration and why it is so effective as a treatment to remove toxins and poisons.
HOW IS ACTIVATED BAMBOO CHARCOAL POWDER MADE?
We mentioned that the forests may hold the solution for us and this is why Youth & Earth has chosen to source our charcoal bamboo from amidst the bamboo forests of Japan, in the mountains of Miyazaki. Here organic bamboo is called Moso bamboo and it thrives in this perfect subtropical climate without any chemical fertilizers and in pure pollution-free air.
The bamboo takes around five years to mature. Moso bamboo grows at a hectic pace averaging around 40 to 50 feet within the first few months and you’ve heard right it can grow over 3 feet a day in their native habitat!
So let’s embark on a short journey on how activated charcoal bamboo is made.
(The specific details are unique to the activated bamboo charcoal UK that will be available as a Youth & Earth product, but generally, the stages mentioned are similar to most.)
The bamboo is purchased from local farmers who harvest bamboo from natural growing bamboo forests. The bamboo is then cut and the nodes removed. It is left to dry naturally for over 3 months before the smoking process.
The smoking process is done by skilled craftsmen using specialized techniques. The bamboo is smoked in Earthen furnaces that are very delicate and difficult to control the temperature but produce high-quality bamboo charcoal, making it the best manufacturing method. It is only natural firewood and bamboo that are used to fuel the fire. In the process, no gas, oil, or chemicals are used.
Bamboo wood is burned for three days at a very high temperature between 800 and 1000°C. It actually has an electric charge and will conduct electricity. You could do a bulb test, this indicates that the charcoal is activated and of good quality.
The producers require one month's work. The bamboo charcoal activated carbon should appear black with metallic or iridescent reflections. If two bamboo bars of coals are shaken together, they should sound metallic, this will indicate carbon of good quality.
WHY USE BAMBOO CHARCOAL ACTIVATED CARBON?
For thousands of years the Far East has used activated bamboo charcoal as a method of traditional water filtration and in ancient medicine for its’ antibacterial properties. It was applied to wounds and infections and even used to rid patients of poisons and toxins. It has a history of being a general detox agent. Activated bamboo charcoal powder has literally a thousand benefits, both externally and internally, but we will focus on the benefits it offers when consumed.
1. Reduces toxic overload
Activated Bamboo Charcoal is considered a broad-spectrum binder that will bind a little bit of everything from toxins, vitamins and minerals. Activated charcoal can be used externally, for example, on the skin, or internally, through the digestive system. It works by essentially “mopping up” biofilm. According to research, daily use of activated charcoal reduces the body's toxic load by more than 60%.
By binding and limiting chlorine, bacteria, viruses, yeast, toxic excretions, metabolic by-products, and other waste products in the body, activated charcoal can also improve health. It gently allows the toxins to be passed through the body as faeces, it also reduces the discomfort associated with gastrointestinal issues.
Today studies reveal activated charcoal powder is more effective than stomach pumps for poisoned patients its effectiveness lies in its ability to bind and absorb almost any toxins. As charcoal cannot be absorbed by the body, toxins that bind to it leave the body through the faeces. Activated bamboo charcoal bulk can absorb nearly every kind of poison, with few exceptions.
2. Treats gastrointestinal problems
As mentioned above it prevents the absorption of bacteria helping to prevent diarrhoea, yes it’s known as an antidiarrheal treatment and what's more appealing is that it also helps reduce gastrointestinal discomfort such as intestinal gas, bloating, and abdominal cramps.
A study was conducted where activated charcoal won against a placebo and effectively reduced abdominal cramping and flatulence symptoms.
“You have a few options to relieve bloating and gas… Activated charcoal can be taken in capsule, liquid, or powder form, and since it is tasteless it can be mixed into a non-acidic juice of your preference.” - Carrie Lam, MD, a fellow of Anti-Aging, Metabolic, and Functional medicine and co-founder of Lam Clinic.
3. May lower cholesterol levels
We are all aware of the two types of cholesterol. There is good cholesterol (HDL, high-density lipoprotein) which you want a good amount in your system and there is bad cholesterol (LDL, low-density lipoprotein). You want as little of this in your system as possible. Now one of the main ways you can lower your levels of LDL cholesterol is through your diet.
Interestingly enough bamboo charcoal activated carbon has been reported to help some people with high cholesterol by lowering LDL cholesterol levels. Scientific studies have shown that its benefits may match some of the benefits of prescription cholesterol medications. Studies have shown that it increases good cholesterol in the body while decreasing bad cholesterol by 25% in just four weeks.
4. Aids those with chronic kidney disease
The health benefits of activated bamboo charcoal powder are undeniable. In people with chronic kidney disease, who are unable to remove waste products as effectively as people with healthy kidneys and may be helpful in eliminating waste products like urea from the kidneys. But its effectiveness will likely vary from person to person. Always speak with a doctor to learn whether a drug or supplement will benefit you personally. Several studies have shown a link, but more research is needed to confirm it.
A study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) shows how activated bamboo charcoal powder combined with a low protein diet can help treat kidney disease. A decrease in blood urea and creatinine levels were seen in many patients after using activated charcoal for almost a year.
5. Lowers inflammation
The process of back diffusion may explain why bamboo charcoal-activated carbon is used to treat skin ailments such as rashes. Charcoal's purifying properties are not used internally, but topically to heal the skin. People have praised its health benefits for healing spider and mosquito bites.
6. Reduces odours
Trimethylaminuria (TMAU) - also known as fish odour syndrome - causes unpleasant body odours. TMAU affects those who cannot transform fishy smells into non-fishy smells before they leak out in the urine. Due to this, a fishy smell accumulates and is released through sweat, urine, and breath.
Some research suggests that activated bamboo charcoal powder may help with odour reduction due to its ability to bind and its porous surface that can absorb. More research is needed, but some research suggests that bamboo charcoal-activated carbon may help.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO TAKE ACTIVATED BAMBOO CHARCOAL?
Do not take simultaneously with supplements or medication. Space your supplement at least an hour apart and your medications a few hours apart. This is to prevent the charcoal from binding to them and rendering them inactive.
Drink a lot of water as charcoal absorbs water. This will prevent constipation and it will help to eliminate more toxins and regulate your bowel movements.
Eat enough fibre as it will help move activated bamboo charcoal powder through the intestines so that it may be eliminated from the body as faeces. Maintain a healthy diet throughout the day by eating plenty of fibre-rich vegetables.
Ideally, take it before going to bed roughly about 3 hours after eating dinner for pure detoxification methods.
Take it with meals if you have leaky gut or food sensitivities. The bamboo charcoal-activated carbon will help to reduce inflammatory activity and reduce food sensitivity reactions.
- Make sure you are getting enough minerals as the activated bamboo charcoal can pull minerals out of the body as well as toxins.
IS IT SAFE TO USE ACTIVATED BAMBOO CHARCOAL?
As a general rule, activated bamboo charcoal powder is considered safe, with adverse reactions being rare and rarely severe. Nausea and vomiting are the most common side effects.
The use of activated bamboo charcoal may also worsen symptoms of variegate porphyria, a genetic disease that affects the gut, skin, and nervous system.
Medical help should always be sought for treating poisonings or overdoses.
Before using activated bamboo charcoal, seek medical advice, especially if you are taking other medications as it may also reduce the absorption of some medications.
Even though activated bamboo charcoal powder hasn't been linked to birth defects or other health problems in babies, it's best to check with your doctor before taking it if you're pregnant or nursing.
We posed a question at the beginning of this article "What we can do to ease and support our body's natural detox pathway?" There seems to be a natural solution that has been used for healing for more than 3,000 years. Activated bamboo charcoal powder can help detoxify the body of harmful substances while gently aiding our gut’s health.
The content of this article is for informational purposes only.
It’s not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or health provider before starting a new health regime or program.
Do not ignore medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you’ve read on this site or any Youth & Earth product.