cropped shot of man in bed, suffering from stomach bug

Having a stomach bug can be debilitating—between trips to the bathroom, you’re also ambushed by a fever, muscle discomfort, and headaches. While recovery time can be as quick as 1-3 days, sometimes a pesky upset stomach bug can hang on for more.1

Luckily, there is an arsenal of gut health supplements and solutions to help alleviate stomach bug symptoms. In addition to eating mild foods and drinking enough water, activated charcoal can help to detox your body and provide relief around stomach flu symptoms.

In this guide, we’ll discover the benefits and uses of activated charcoal for stomach flu symptoms, and explore how activated charcoal is a safe, natural, and cost-effective toxin-absorbing solution.

What is Activated Charcoal?

Composed of various carbon-based substances such as coal, sawdust, and bone char, activated charcoal is charcoal that has been heated at very high temperatures. This makes the charcoal “activated.”

Activating charcoal comes with many benefits: By increasing the charcoal’s surface area and porosity, activated charcoal easily binds to toxins, thereby preventing them from entering the body.

If you are wondering “Does activated charcoal help with gas?”, the answer is yes. In addition to helping to reduce diarrhea symptoms, activated charcoal can also be enlisted to:2

  • Reduce alcohol poisoning
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Whiten teeth
  • Relieve intestinal gas and bloating
  • Improve kidney functioning

When it comes to the invasion of nausea-inducing stomach bugs, using activated charcoal for stomach bug symptoms can help to limit the body’s absorption of harmful toxins.

Adsorption vs. Absorption

Activated charcoal works through adsorption, not absorption. Although they sound similar, they pertain to different processes:

  • Absorption – Absorption refers to the process by which a liquid, chemical, molecule, etc. is completely absorbed by another material. The absorbed substance essentially disappears.
  • Adsorption – Adsorption, on the other hand, refers to the process by which a material is trapped on the surface of another material. Activated charcoal uses adsorption to bind harmful toxins to its surface.

Furthermore, activated charcoal isn’t absorbed by the stomach, meaning the toxins won’t enter your gastrointestinal tract and into your bloodstream. Instead, activated charcoal is excreted along with the trapped harmful toxins through stool.

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Benefits of Activated Charcoal for Stomach Bugs

Put simply, a stomach bug isn’t a bug at all. Instead, it’s an intestinal infection known as viral gastroenteritis.

Although it sounds scary, viral gastroenteritis is usually preventable and easily treatable. That said, if you do come down with an upset stomach bug, the symptoms can be quite frightening.

Fortunately, activated charcoal can squash stomach bugs before they get out of hand. Let’s dive deeper into activated charcoal’s bug-squashing benefits.

#1 Reduces Stomach Bug Symptoms

As stated above, having a stomach bug usually means having several unpleasant symptoms, including:

  • Diarrhea
  • Intestinal gas and bloating
  • Nausea and vomiting

By absorbing harmful toxins, activated charcoal can help alleviate these symptoms.


Since activated charcoal binds to toxins, ingesting the charcoal can prevent toxins from passing through the stomach into the bloodstream. Therefore activated charcoal can help limit the ability of the stomach flu virus to disrupt the digestive tract.

That said, while activated charcoal can help remove the toxins that cause diarrhea, it can’t alleviate secondary symptoms of diarrhea, such as dehydration and weight loss. In order to alleviate these symptoms, proper nutrition and hydration are required.

When you experience diarrhea, it’s optimal to eat foods that are high in potassium, such as bananas, potatoes, and fish. You should also be drinking plenty of water—at least one cup following every bowel movement.

Gas and Bloating

Gas and bloating are common symptoms of stomach bugs, and they generally arise as a result of digestive issues. This is because the viruses and bacterias that cause the stomach flu infect the gastrointestinal tract. If you think you are due for a detox, learn more about the signs you need a colon cleanse and the types of foods to incorporate into your diet.

Again, however, activated charcoal can help greatly reduce the stomach pain and discomfort associated with gas and bloating. By trapping gases inside of its pores, activated charcoal functions as a “scrubber,” cleansing the gastrointestinal tract of many harmful toxins.

Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting can be just as, if not more, debilitating as diarrhea, gas, and bloating. Symptoms of nausea include:

  • Lightheadedness
  • The urge to vomit
  • Dizziness
  • General discomfort

In many cases, these symptoms arise from the loss of fluids caused by diarrhea. By helping alleviate diarrhea, activated charcoal can also help reduce nausea and vomiting.

#2 Detoxes the Body

While activated charcoal can help alleviate stomach bug symptoms, it can also be used as a general body detox following the stomach flu.

Although symptoms have abated, detoxing post-stomach bug can help to cleanse the gastrointestinal tract to help it function normally again. What’s more, since gut health is the foundation of full-body health, activated charcoal may help other body systems and organs function properly, too.

Here are a few ways activated charcoal can help increase post-stomach bug health:

  • General detox – As stated above, activated charcoal works by trapping and removing harmful toxins, including viruses and bacteria. This means that activated charcoal can help remove toxins not associated with the stomach bug, but that nevertheless can cause stomach pain and discomfort. The best part? Activated charcoal is selective in its bacterial removal. This means that helpful gastrointestinal bacteria are left intact so that they can carry on their vital gut-supporting functions.3

  • Promotes kidney health – Some studies show that activated charcoal can promote kidney health by eliminating harmful toxins before they reach the kidneys.4 Using activated charcoal to trap stomach flu toxins means your kidneys won’t have to work as hard to remove these unwanted toxins.

  • May help to reduce cholesterol – While high cholesterol is not a symptom of the stomach bug, it nevertheless poses a significant health risk. The good news is that some studies show activated charcoal may help lower bad cholesterol. So, in addition to mitigating the effects of the stomach flu, you can also support your heart health.

  • #3 Provides a Safe Solution

    Studies have shown that activated charcoal is safe when used in the short term.5 That said, prolonged activated charcoal use does come with a few risks. These risks include:

    • Black stool
    • Stomach cramps
    • Constipation

    However, when used as a short-term treatment for stomach virus symptoms and ingested in the right dosage, activated charcoal is profoundly beneficial to your body. To that end, let’s break down safe dosages by age group:6

  • Adults and teenagers – For adults and teenagers ages 12 and up, the recommended daily dose of activated charcoal is between 25-100 grams. If taking multiple doses, it’s best to limit intake to no more than 50 grams every four hours.

  • Children – Children ages 1-12 can also benefit from activated charcoal, but unlike adult dosages, children’s doses are based on body weight (especially after the first dose). The first dose should be no more than 50 grams. After the first dose, limit intake to no more than 2 grams per kilogram of body weight every four hours.

  • Infants If administering activated charcoal to infants up to a year old, limit the first dose to no more than 25 grams. After the first dose, limit intake to no more than 1 gram per kilogram of body weight.

  • Following these guidelines will help you feel the benefits of activated charcoal safely and responsibly.

    #4 Lends a Cost-Effective Alternative

    While some pharmaceuticals and in-home treatments can be quite expensive, activated charcoal is a relatively inexpensive treatment option for stomach bugs.

    On average, you can expect to pay between $6-11 for a 100-charcoal capsule (280mg/charcoal capsule) bottle.7

    That said, the price can fluctuate depending on brand and form. For example, activated charcoal in powder form tends to be cheaper than sprays.

    #5 Uses Natural Ingredients

    Derived from carbon-based substances, activated charcoal is composed of natural ingredients. This makes activated charcoal a great alternative for people looking to move off of manufactured pharmaceuticals for a natural remedy.

    However, this doesn’t mean all activated charcoal products are created equally. For the best natural and organic activated charcoal on the market, there’s only Cymbiotika.

    Soy-free, sugar-free, and vegan, Cymbiotika’s Activated Charcoal is designed to help alleviate stomach issues, including those caused by stomach bugs.

    Cymbiotika’s Activated Charcoal includes the following natural ingredients:

  • Coconut charcoal – Coconut charcoal is at the center of Cymbiotika’s Activated Charcoal. Made by burning coconut shells, coconut charcoal is a safe, clean substance that traps harmful toxins and detoxes the body.
  • Lemon peel oil – While not typically thought of as a powerful anti-bacterial, lemon peel oil can help eliminate bacteria—especially on the skin. In addition, lemon peel oil’s calming properties can help alleviate anxiety and depression.
  • Organic sunflower oil – Studies have shown that like lemon peel oil, sunflower oil can be really effective as an antibacterial agent.8 Sunflower oil has been used for thousands of years for its bacteria-fighting and calming properties.

  • To get the full benefits of Cymbiotika’s Activated Charcoal, pump it onto a spoon or spray it directly into your mouth. Depending on your symptoms, it may be helpful to take another dose after 30 minutes.

    Activate Your Health With Cymbiotika’s Activated Charcoal

    When it comes to things you want to avoid, stomach bugs are at the top of the list. But having a stomach bug doesn’t mean you need to feel discomfort and nausea for a long time. With activated charcoal, you can recover more quickly and keep your body feeling better longer.

    In short, activated charcoal is a safe, cost-effective, and natural way to alleviate stomach flu symptoms. By trapping harmful toxins in the stomach, activated charcoal helps you kick painful stomach bug symptoms to the curb.

    Kickstart your health with Cymbiotika’s Activated Charcoal.


    1. Mayo Clinic. Viral gastroenteritis (stomach flu).
    2. National Library of Medicine. Is there a role for charcoal in palliative diarrhea management?
    3. National Library of Medicine. Adsorption effect of activated charcoal on enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli.
    4. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Oral activated charcoal adsorbent (AST-120) ameliorates CKD-induced intestinal epithelial barrier disruption.
    5. ScienceDirect. Charcoal: An ancient material with a new face.
    6. Mayo Clinic. Charcoal, Activated (Oral Route).
    7. How Much Does Activated Charcoal Cost?
    8. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research. In-Vitro Antimicrobial Activity of Edible Oils Against Human Pathogens Causing Skin Infections.

    by / Dec 11, 2021