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Charcoal
Recommended daily allowance: None.

Symptoms of deficiency: None.

Benefits: Helps prevent poison from being absorbed in the digestive tract, helps absorb gas in the intestinal tract, may lower cholesterol.

Good food sources: Available as supplements only.

Cautions: Don't take charcoal for poisonings from: lye, strong acids (i.e. sulfuric acid), cyanide, iron, ethyl or methyl alcohol.

Substance interactions: May decrease absorption of medications taken at the same time.

Signs of toxicity: Very low toxicity.

* Activated charcoal is the only asorbent recognized by an FDA panel for the treatment of ingested poison.

* In studies, 1/4 ounce three times a day for a month reduced LDL cholesterol levels in patients by as much as 40 percent. It is thought that the cholesterol molecules attach to the charcoal and are excreted from the body.

* Charcoal will turn stool black, this is harmless.

* 1/2 to 1 teaspoon four times per day may help to reduce uric acid levels in the blood. Take charcoal upon rising, mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and at bedtime.

* Charcoal may be used to treat insect stings. After removing the stinger, clean the area well with soap and water or an antiseptic. Make a paste of the powdered charcoal and water. Apply to the sting and cover with a bandage or even plastic wrap (the charcoal needs to stay moist). It will adsorb (adheres it to the surface of the charcoal as opposed to absorb - drawing it into the charcoal) the venom in the sting area.

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