Does Activated Charcoal Work for Hangover?

Updated on January 8th, 2020
activated charcoal for hangover

There are several home remedies such as lemon water, ginger honey water, a carbohydrate-rich breakfast, etc. that can treat a hangover.

But, one solution that has gained a lot of popularity as a remedy against a hangover is activated charcoal. So, how effective is activated charcoal for hangover, let’s find out here.

Does Activated Charcoal Work for Hangover?

The hangover is the feeling of dizziness, headache, state of confusion, sleepiness, and thirst that a person experience after a session of heavy drinking. One can get a hangover at any time of the day.

However, they’re usually reported during the morning time after a night of drinking too much. In addition to the above, there can be some other symptoms and signs of a hangover. These different, and relatively rare, symptoms include depression and heightened anxiety.

Apart from the amount of alcohol consumed, the other two factors mainly responsible for the intensity of hangover are the duration of sleep after the consumption of alcohol and the amount of water consumed before it.

Consuming activated charcoal(1) for hangover has become a rage in the last few years, and several people believe that it is the perfect way to cure a hangover. The scientific reason for this is that activated charcoal is expected to absorb several poisons in the stomach that are caused because of the alcohol consumption.

A study has also confirmed that if a person consumes alcohol and charcoal at the same time, blood alcohol level can be controlled. Several sources will confirm that activated charcoal successfully extracts and absorbs from wine and sugar content in mixers.

[Also Read: Natural Remedies for Hangover]

Did You Know?

  1. Activated charcoal is believed to be beneficial for us in several ways, the most important of them being skincare and teeth whitening and oral health. It is believed to have antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and detoxifying effects on the body, which repels dirt, dust, harmful chemicals, and toxins. Though activated charcoal has been observed to work in these dimensions, there seem to be no benefits that are scientifically proven.
  2. Activated charcoal has been seen to reverse the effects of poison. It often acts as a magnet that absorbs the poisons, and successfully neutralized them, thereby cleaning the body of harmful toxins. However, this is not scientifically proven and a sure-shot way to heal the body of the toxins.

How to Use Activated Charcoal for Hangover?

Activated Charcoal
Image: ShutterStock

Several people have different notions about the way one is supposed to consume activated charcoal for a hangover(2). Several studies will also provide different conclusions about the way activated charcoal functions for one to avoid a hangover.

However, the most common finding from research as well as observation from experiences is that it is only able to absorb a small quantity of alcohol which is drunk immediately before consuming the tablet.

Thus it is suggested to consume activated charcoal right before one is going to consume a certain amount of alcohol. Since the amount of alcohol that a certain amount of activated charcoal will be able to compensate is not known.

Hence, it is suggested that one should still drink in moderation instead of relying a lot on the tablet of activated charcoal. Also, do not forget the other rules of drinking. Consume a lot of water between drinks, and make sure to get a good night sleep after.

[Read: Home Remedies for Hangover]

Interesting Facts About Activated Charcoal

  1. Due to the newly discovered benefits of activated charcoal, it is finding its way to our lifestyle by various means. Activated charcoal is now available in toothpaste, soap, several other cosmetic products, and even juices. Several people prefer to take activated charcoal tablets daily.
  2. Similar to anything good for health, people hardly pay any attention to the side effects of activated charcoal. However, it is interesting to note that there are quite a few ways in which this could harm you. For example, people who suffer from obstruction of intestines should avoid activated charcoal. It can also cause problems like constipation or lumps of foreign material.

Is Activated Charcoal Good for Hangovers?

Activated Charcoal
Image: ShutterStock

Whether activated charcoal is the go-to solution is yet to be known. This is one of the most debated cures of a hangover, as some people have reported feeling better waking up the day after they consumed activated charcoal while drinking, whereas some people didn’t.

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[Read: Essential Oils for Hangover]

The difference lies in the way it works. Since alcohol is absorbed in the stomach pretty fast, the time frame of consuming the activated charcoal is concise. As the alcohol is incorporated in the stomach and not in the small intestine, the window for the activated charcoal to work is tiny.

And if you’re able to time it correctly, and also consume just the right amount of alcohol, activated charcoal will work. However, if you fail to plan it exactly as it is supposed to be, you will likely wake up with a massive head.

There is another downside of consuming activated charcoal while you’re consuming alcohol. In case it does work in a short period and can absorb the alcohol, this will be done very quickly, and you will not experience the effects of the consumption of alcohol as well.

This means that even though there will be no hangover in the morning, there will be no light headedness or any other effect for which you’re consuming the alcohol.

Due to these very reasons, activated charcoal is not used as a standard procedure for the treatment of alcohol poisoning. There are severe hangovers that often require proper medications to get rid of.

And that is the only way that you can be sure that a hangover is being treated. While consumption of water is another way to avoid a hangover, a lot depends on the amount of water and the amount of alcohol consumed.

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