According to MailOnline.com, this kind of charcoal isn’t like the coals you find in your fireplace, but what is known as “activated" charcoal, a tasteless, odorless fine black powder made from wood or other natural materials such as coconut shells.
When taken either as a pill or in a solid or powder form, the charcoal removes toxins and acts like fiber moving through your digestive system, much like a colonic irrigation, leaving you gas and bloat-free.
Celebs like British singer/actress Sarah Harding swear by it. Harding recently said she sprinkles the powder on her breakfast cereal every morning. Read more testimonials here!
[pictured: Sarah Harding/Getty]
Dr. Jeffrey Aronson, consultant clinical pharmacologist and physician at the University of Oxford, told MailOnline, “The charcoal acts like a super sponge. This means that pretty much every poison, heavy metal, chemical and intestinal gas in the digestive system sticks to it before it is excreted out of the body through normal bowel movements.”
Other doctors advise caution, however, saying taking charcoal isn’t a miracle cure for digestive disorders.
Dr. Juliet Stevens, medical adviser for the charity Sense About Science, which aims to teach people how to evaluate scientific evidence, says that while charcoal works as a bulking agent, you’d probably be better off just eating fiber-rich foods.
If you have long-term digestive issues, Dr. Stevens says, you should still consult a physician to get to the “root of the problem.”