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How We Use Activated Charcoal for Stomach Bugs

There’s nothing worse than your house getting hit with a stomach virus IMO. Watching it pick off your family members one by one, wondering who will be next? Will you catch it too? Will it pass you? Symptoms typically come on quickly knocking you off your feet for 1-3 days.

Now let me just say, this is just my research, I am not a doctor. This is not medical advice. You should discuss it with your healthcare provider. Please check out the links below for medical statements and information on activated charcoal. The amazing thing is, eight years ago when researching this topic there was very little, but today? There's a host of MD, DO, FMP doctors talking about it!

So why activated charcoal?

This is an excellent adsorption material used for thousands of years in medicine. It is now mostly used for treating ingested overdoses/poisons.

Did you know, Ancient Hindu used it for purifying their water (1)? Or that the Native Americans used it to neutralize stomach acids and healing wounds(2)? Ancient Egyptians used it for stomach ailments and absorbing unpleasant odors(3). A French pharmacist named Touery was the first to prove charcoal’s protective effects. In 1831, he famously ingested 10x the lethal dose of strychnine in front of the French Academy of Medicine. He survived by mixing the poison with charcoal(4).

It is thought that activated charcoal adsorbs the bacteria responsible for the stomach bug, helping you prevent and/or treat it.

Keep in mind this is not the charcoal you find on your grill. Activated charcoal is specially processed for medicinal uses.

Where to buy it?

When one kiddo was struck first I wasn’t prepared, so I went from drugstore to drugstore, finally having success at Walgreens. As I was still unsure, I spoke with a pharmacist there about it to get better dosage ideas and she happened to be very knowledgeable on using activated charcoal for stomach bugs.

My oldest kiddos and I used capsules, but at the time Kiley wasn’t able to, so we used a powder. The powder will obviously be black (and stains), I mixed it in a stainless steel water bottle so she wasn’t able to see the color and freak out. It’s not recommended for kids under the age of three. Be warned, opening the capsules will result in a mess no matter how well you do, they actually seal those suckers. I ended up buying powder from Amazon, linked here for my sanity (5). We had a white sink at the time.... never again.

When our kiddos were 11 and 12 years old, one capsule 2-3x per day was enough for them and it prevented them from coming down with the bug. One kiddo was green and kept waiting any minute for it to begin, but the AC worked amazingly for her and by dinner time she looked normal!

Side note: I took the max recommendation and be warned, if you sneeze after a day of taking it, you will look like puff the magic dragon and have "soot" all around your nose and face. The max dose was a bit overkill for me, but throwing up is the last thing I want to do.

Dosage Recommendations:

For more on dosages, please refer to your healthcare provider, you can also check out the links below we’ve used.

A common recommendation for something like stomach bugs, diarrhea, or food poisoning is for adults and teens to take 520-975 mg at a time and up to 5 g per day(6).

There is no concrete recommendation for kiddo’s. I typically did ⅛-¼ powder when Kiley was 7.

While it has proven successful for our family the past seven years, please note, it can absorb the good vitamins and minerals leaving you deficient. When we're taking probiotics, I make sure to take it a couple hours apart (before and after) from the AC.

This is not one to take long term, we personally don’t take longer than 24 hours as its not needed past that in our experience.

If you’re on medications, check with your doctor first as it can and will absorb them. Hope this helps give you some new avenues to research!




Posts may contain affiliate, sponsorship, and/or partnership links for products fitmommeg has approved and researched herself. If you purchase a product through an affiliate, sponsorship and/or partnership link, your cost will be the same and fitmommeg will benefit from the purchase.

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