Charcoal News – New & Old
Adsorption or Absorption?
We often notice people confusing the mechanism adsorption with the more common term absorption. Charcoal adsorbs things to its surface. A sponge absorbs into itself.

*adsorb/adsorption - technically, a surface-based adhesion of atoms, ions, molecules from a gas, liquid, or dissolved solid, as distinguished from absorption which involves the entire volume of the material.

To put it into simple terms - when you eat a banana cream pie you absorb it; when you get a banana cream pie thrown in your face you adsorb it.

Can Activated Charcoal Contribute to Increased Longevity?
Without argument Activated Charcoal (AC) does prolong life both directly and indirectly. For those rushed to a hospital Emergency for poisoning, activated charcoal has without question prolonged thousands of lives. For millions of people around the world who are tethered to a kidney or live dialysis unit one or more times a week to clean the blood of toxins, activated charcoal has directly or indirectly helped to preserve their lives for extended years. Activated charcoal is used in thousands of applications to remove toxins from the water we drink, the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the soil we grow our food in, again directly or indirectly extending life. But in each of these areas (except poisoning) charcoal shares the credit. To what degree activated charcoal does contribute to longevity remains a subjective opinion. But contemporary research demonstrates it is probably much more than we would have thought.
C60 and Long Life
In a study published this year (January, 2012) in Biomaterials* by a team of eight researchers, mostly from the University of Paris (Dept. of Pharmacology), quite by accident, it was discovered that the
C60 carbon molecule, also known as Buckminsterfullerene (or "Buckyballs" - with the same molecular configuration as soccer balls), extended the lifespan of laboratory rats by up to 90%. The Study was actually designed to measure to what degree C60 may pose chronic toxicity. Research over the past 25 years has demonstrated the potential of C60 for biomedical applications, and while several independent research groups have showed that C60 has no acute or sub-acute toxicity in various experimental models, no live experiments had ever been conducted. How completely surprised the researchers were to see the lifespan of the rats almost double.
Experimental animals in Groups A, C, and E were dosed with toxic CCl4 (Carbon tetrachloride). When the first of Group A animals died (those given only water), the experiment was terminated and the lifespan of Group C (given only olive oil) and Group E (olive oil and
C60) were followed. Group E, given C60 dissolved in olive oil, significantly outlived Group C. Control Groups B and D were not dosed with CCl4. Completely unexpectedly, control Group D given C60 and olive oil, not only showed no toxic side effects of the C60, but actually lived almost twice as long as control Group B (only given olive oil). In fact it was thought a longer treatment period with olive oil and C60 could have generated even longer lifespans. It was proposed that the increase in lifespan with the C60-olive oil was due to the “attenuation of age-associated increases in oxidative stress” by C60. In other words, somehow the C60 adsorbed/neutralized/deactivated oxidative stress radicals.
Charcoal and Long Life
So what does this have to do with Charcoal or Activated Charcoal? Except for trace amounts of ash content, charcoal, like
C60, is pure carbon. This would mean nothing as far as increased longevity is concerned, since graphite and diamond are also pure carbon but show no anti-aging benefits as demonstrated above, but, unlike graphite and diamonds, C60 has been linked to common wood charcoal.

In 1999 Eiji Osawa, and colleagues at the Toyohashi University of
Technology in Japan, demonstrated that C60 can also be extracted from wood charcoal. As a result, many researchers now visualize charcoal as a structure made up of fragments of these “Buckyballs”. One is justified in wondering if the anti-aging benefits of C60 may not spill over onto the lowly charcoal. In a far less dramatic way charcoal taken as a digestive aid on a daily basis has also shown to increase the quality and length of life.
"In one animal study, Dr. V. V. Frolkis, a famous Russian gerontologist, and his colleagues, demonstrated that the lifespan in OLD laboratory rats increased up to 34% by feeding them charcoal in their diet! Toxins, including free radicals, are believed to play a significant role in aging. But these “loose canons” will form a stable matrix with charcoal in the gut until they are eliminated from the body. Researchers concluded that the binding up of these toxins in the intestinal tract before they are absorbed or reabsorbed into the system may be one mechanism that allowed the rats to live longer and healthier.” p. 60
* Baati T, et al., The prolongation of the lifespan of rats by repeated oral administration of [60]fullerene, Biomaterials (2012), doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2012.03.036

Charcoal Extends Life of Dead People (?)
Charcoal not only helps preserve living people, it also helps preserve dead people.This section is from "The Domestic Encyclopaedia Vol1", by A. F. M. Willich ©1802. Amazon: The Domestic Encyclopaedia.

“Besides these various purposes to which charcoal is daily applied, it also promises to be of considerable service in medicine; on account of its absorbent and antiseptic properties. (See Breath, p. 335.) From a late account given by Dr. Metzler, an eminent physician in Germany, we quote the following extraordinary fact: The corpse of a person that had been murdered twelve days, was brought before a coroner's inquest, and, contrary to the expectation of the court, there was not the least mark of putrefaction, nor any offensive smell perceptible. On opening the intestines of the abdomen, they were found in an unity dry state. The cause of this phenomenon was soon discovered; for it appeared in the course of examination, that the body had been kept for the whole time buried in dry coals coarsely pounded, at least twelve inches deep. It was still more remarkable, "that the cartilaginous parts, especially those of the breast, had acquired a degree of softness, resembling that of butter." — We submit the application of this singular property to the discernment of our readers.”

Chinese Mummy
One visitor to our website pointed us to a book about mummies*. According her report:

“A Chinese lady who died 2100 years ago was buried in a series of caskets within caskets, they were buried in five tons of charcoal (this is sort of hard to imagine, eh?), and then the whole deal was sealed with white clay. The charcoal was thought to soak up anything that seeped through the clay.”

Apparently she was as well preserved as Egyptian mummies buried in layers of sand and charcoal. This ritual of burrying the dead in large amounts of charcoal has been observed in different countries around the world. Hmmm, if charcoal works so well in preserving dead mummies, murder victims, and old laboratory rats, one wonders how well it might help those reading this article???

*Tales Mummies Tell, Scholastic Press, 1998, p. 22

To learn more of the amazing uses and benefits of activated charcoal, get the book The Complete Handbook of Medicinal Charcoal.