Anyone that knows me well probably knows that I’ve always suffered from horrible hangovers. In college and for a few crazy years after, it was pretty normal for me to throw up the next morning after binge drinking. You would find me laying on the floor in our sorority house until it was time for me to get showered and dressed for another night out. These days I do a lot less binge drinking but I still suffer the consequences of having a few drinks. I’ve tried a few “hangover cures” that other people recommended through the years but with no avail. I still woke up drowsy, irritable, and stuffed-up, with a headache and major GI issues. That was until recently. A few months ago at my girlfriend’s bachelorette party, the host (also a friend) handed out activated charcoal pills as party favors. I was instantly intrigued. I followed her instructions to a tee: have one activated charcoal after your first drink, another one about 2 hours later, and then Advil before bed. The next day I was tired but felt amazingly better than I should have.
Since then, I have (of course) done some research on the topic. Since I’ve been pretty obsessed with Bulletproof radio (and everything Bulleproof for that matter), I came across a 10 minute podcast on Hacking the Hangover. To give you the cliff notes, Dave basically suggests that you 1. Drink clear alcohol 2. Drink one glass of water for each alcoholic drink 3. Take activated charcoal 4. Take Glutatathione Force (an antioxidant).
This past weekend Chris and I along with 4 other couples went to Napa for 3 nights. Clearly, I wasn’t going to drink clear alcohol there. We were in beautiful wine country. I did; however, come armed with a bottle of activated charcoal as well as Glutatathione Force. I can tell you without a doubt that the activated charcoal was the saving grace. I passed them out like candy and took about 4 per day. Other than being tired and a little off, I felt amazing. I cut the Advil out of the regimen since I’m all for natural cures. I never took or needed a pain reliever or another pill. I also made a few of our friends believers.
So what is activated charcoal and how does it work? According to WebMD:
“Common charcoal is made from peat, coal, wood, coconut shell, or petroleum. “Activated charcoal” is similar to common charcoal, but is made especially for use as a medicine. To make activated charcoal, manufacturers heat common charcoal in the presence of a gas that causes the charcoal to develop lots of internal spaces or “pores.” These pores help activated charcoal “trap” chemicals.
Activated charcoal is used to treat poisonings, reduce intestinal gas (flatulence), lower cholesterol levels, prevent hangover, and treat bile flow problems (cholestasis) during pregnancy.”
To put this in layman’s terms, activated charcoal helps your body rid itself of toxins- including alcohol. I was worried that maybe I was overdoing it but according to the Bulletproof blog, “Taking activated coconut charcoal on a daily basis is a great way to help you thrive in an overly toxin-filled environment.” Dave goes on to say that he also takes activated charcoal when he eats out at restaurants because lets face it, the quality of ingredients is rarely what you use at home.
Bulletproof sells a Coconut Charcoal Capsule that I just purchased. It’s not the one that I had in Napa. That one came from Whole Foods, but I believe in the quality of Bulletproof products and having the cleanest charcoal possible seems like a good idea.
- Please note, if you are taking medications don’t take them with activated charcoal. Also, if you have any health issues, always consult with your physician.
Cheers! I hope you find the results as amazing as I have.