Activated Charcoal for Bloating and Bad Gas: Dosage, Timing and Warnings

Powdered Charcoal for GasActivated charcoal is very effective at stopping bloating, absorbing excessive gas and removing toxins and other undesirable compounds in your gastrointestinal tract.

It is, however, necessary to make sure you take this special kind of carbon in a particular way and at certain times for maximum benefit.

Learn exactly how to take activated charcoal for gas correctly ahead, the recommended dosage and timing, and a few charcoal side effects and precautions to be aware of.

How Does Charcoal Powder Absorb Toxins?

Activated charcoal is not metabolized by your body in any way. When you take it, the powder travels all the way through your gastrointestinal tract without being absorbed.

Activated carbon is electrostatically attractive to most gases, chemicals and other compounds.

This is generally a good thing, as it can quickly absorb toxins and gases like hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg gas), as it travels through your stomach, small intestine and particularly large intestine.

Conversely though, this same sponge-like action may also impact the effectiveness of medications, supplements and possibly some of the nutrients in food.

For this reason, it’s important to take powdered charcoal, capsules or tablets in a certain way and within a specific time frame.

How to Take Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal should always be taken on an empty stomach with a large glass of water, well away from meals and medications.

I personally drink a second glass of water around 10 minutes after taking charcoal capsules.

The water helps quickly move it from the stomach into the intestines, where it can start reducing belly bloat and bad gas.

Taking activated charcoal on an empty stomach makes good sense for two reasons.

Firstly, to allow the charcoal to travel through your system without the impediment of a large meal. Secondly it helps to avoid it absorbing beneficial nutrients from recent meals.

When to Take Charcoal for Best Results

Activated charcoal capsules, or food-grade carbon powder, should be taken at least an hour and a half, preferably 2 hours, after a meal.

The larger and more slow digesting the meal, the longer it would be worth waiting.

Activated carbon should also be taken at least an hour before a meal. You may have a fairly small window of optimal time to take charcoal for bloating and gas if you eat often.

This timing advice is especially important for prescriptions and supplements. Always allow for an hour before and 2 hours after taking supplements when using activated carbon.Powdered carbon for farting

Timing to Stop Gas with Activated Charcoal

Activated carbon is generally recommended for intermittent use, rather than as a daily supplement. However, if bad gas is an ongoing problem for you it’s one of the best natural remedies available.

Taking charcoal for chronic flatulence, you could notice when you are most often having bad smelling gas and time taking your capsules or powder to minimize this.

For instance, if bloating and intestinal gas in the morning is more of a problem, you can take it at least an hour before dinner on an empty stomach with lots of water. This gets it where it needs to go to combat gassiness the next day.

On the other hand, if farting at night is an ongoing issue, you could experiment with taking activated charcoal mid morning, between breakfast and lunch to stop gas in the evening.

Recommended Dosage

  • The most commonly recommended activated charcoal dose for frequent gas, bloating and toxin removal is 1000 mg (usually 2 capsules). Once again taken with a large glass of water, preferably 2 hours away from meals. This can be doubled for particularly excessive and smelly flatulence.
  • Giving activated carbon to children regularly, or especially babies, isn’t generally advised so consult with your GP for correct dose before using it in this way.

Warnings and Precautions

Activated carbon is a popular digestive remedy and flatulence cure. There are, however, some precautions and warnings associated with its use that it’s important to be aware of:

  • Activated charcoal absorbs various kinds of substances in your digestive tract. It should not be taken anywhere near important prescriptions. Consult your GP about using charcoal first.
  • The effectiveness of vitamin and mineral supplements and even nutritional content of foods may be reduced if taken around the same time as activated carbon. Ideally take it at least 1 hour before and 2 hours after food or supplements.
  • A side effect of taking larger amounts of charcoal can be black stools. This is harmless so don’t be concerned if you took it recently.
  • This natural remedy for gas may make dehydration worse if you are already dehydrated. Always take activated carbon with a big glass of water. A second glass of water 10 minutes later is advisable.
  • Charcoal should not be used as a treatment for ingestion of strong acids or alkaline substances. Obviously seek treatment as soon as possible.
  • As a precaution, it is not recommended for people with gastrointestinal injury or obstruction and liver or kidney issues.
  • It is also not suggested for pregnant or breastfeeding women or young children (even though it has been proven to not be metabolized so this may be just the standard blanket warning).
  • Activated carbon has occasionally been observed to make constipation worse in susceptible individuals. This is usually avoided by drinking plenty of water and timing taking it as suggested above.

Using Activated Carbon for Gas

Like fast-acting fennel tea and potent peppermint oil, activated charcoal is one of the most effective remedies for bloating and gas. Please keep in mind the dosage, and especially timing instructions, in this article when you use it though.

As with any supplement or natural treatment, it’s a good idea to take a month off from using it from time to time, especially if you are using charcoal to stop flatulence regularly.

While some practitioners do recommend activated charcoal as part of a detox plan, unless you are following their advice it’s best used as an occasional but very effective cure for excessive gas.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 27 comments
Carolina Israel

For how long is it safe to take activated charcoal?

    James Dillan

    Hi Carolina. It’s safe to take activated charcoal long term. It’s not metabolized by the body in any way.

    Just keep in mind the precautions in the article about timing and taking it away from food, supplements and particularly prescriptions.

    All the best.

Bertha Mwanza

I have been having problems with gasses and I’m hypertensive. I take my meds in the morning and evening, 6am and 6pm respectively. What’s the best time to take activated charcoal powder?

    James Dillan

    Hi Bertha. It would be best to consult your doctor. 2 hours after breakfast or 2 hours after dinner if you are still up then would usually be recommended timing for activated charcoal.

Devin Scott

It’s fantastic to earn that charcoal can help get rid of stains from coffee and red wine. My wife is worried about her teeth decaying from drinking coffee. I’ll let her know that she should try charcoal to whiten her teeth.


I always smell as if I’ve farted even I actually haven’t. Can this help me with this weird problem?


How long will it take for the activated charcoal capsules to work once I am extremely bloated and in pain.

What is the time to work between taking it on an empty stomach or after a meal where you find yourself bloated after eating.

    James Dillan

    Hi Renee,

    It’s difficult to tell as it depends where the blockage is within your intestinal tract. I would estimate it usually takes 20 minutes or more, though drinking lots of water may speed this up.

    A strong fennel tea is often a better choice if you are already suffering from painful bloating as many report this works with a few minutes

    All the best,



I’m an avid fan of activated charcoal and use it for teeth whitening, but honestly wasn’t totally aware of these benefits. Thanks so much for sharing this info!


Hi! I was a little confused about the timing bit in your article. I have terrible gas after dinner that I eat around 6pm. When would be a good time to take the activated carbon capsules?

Also, can I take the capsules before drinking alcohol? Eg. at a dinner party? Thanks!


Thanks for the information, I have just bought some Charcoal capsules from Holland And Barrett and the directions say to take them straight after a meal, so a little confused.

    James Dillan

    Hi Jim.

    I’d say that information is incorrect. After a meal is not a good time to take activated charcoal unless perhaps with a very low quality meal full of toxins. The directions in the article were researched from medical resources and I stand by them.

    All the best,



Hi, sometimes I go to restaurants where I may OVEREAT. When is preferable to take the charcoal? Before I got or after and how long before or after?
Thank you.


I used to chew every charcoal tablet or capsule I find. But I stopped after realizing not all the woods are good to get it the body system. I bought an activated charcoal, with prescription to mix it with water and drink. I found it not tasty so I started eating it raw ,then after, I drink water. Is it a bad habit???. Also, I eat the activated charcoal right after meals, because, I feel nausea after my meals and always eat about a tablespoon of the activated charcoal to prevent such feelings. It helps though, but is it also a bad habit.


Hello just curious to know if it’s OK to drink my charcoal water in the morning on an empty stomach? I added a teaspoon to a 16 ounce bottle of water and drink the whole thing not sure if that was good or not can you help me find the right dose pls

    James Dillan

    Hi Tanya,

    This is a good time to have charcoal water as long as you are not having any important medications or supplements nearby the charcoal.

    All the best,



Confused. For really bad gas (from eating beans) do we take this BEFORE or AFTER eating the gas causing beans? If I wait two hours, seems like the gas will already be ramping up, but too soon, and maybe the charcoal will not work. Advice? I get HORRENDOUS gas when eating beans. But I miss eating them :(


    Hi Flo,

    Taking activated charcoal 1 to 1 and a half hours before eating a meal with beans should help. You may have to test the timing a bit depending on your own digestive system.

    An easier way is to have the beanzyme mentioned in this article at the same time as any bean or legume meal It also works for vegetables like broccoli.

    Hope this helps,



    Try soaking and sprouting beans. It makes them easier to digest. Also certain beans are easier on the gut such as navy beans.

kahunde florence

hello dear,am an obese lady and used to have excessive acids and heart burn so my doctor always prescribed for me antacids but i read this article recently and have been doing as you instruct,the result is good because i no longer have heart burn.thankyou for the advice.


    Hi there,

    Thanks for your comments and glad to hear using activated charcoal for heartburn and acid reflux has worked so well for you.

    All the best,



Great article,
I have used activated charcoal in the past and had great results reducing flatulence


This post provided guidance that NIH, the mayo clinic and the national digestive disease web sites did not. THANK YOU! Much appreciated. I will buy the charcoal capsules from your affiliate link as a thank you.


    Thanks a lot for your comment. That’s quite a compliment. I hope charcoal works as well for you as it has for me.


Leave a Reply: