Alginate-coated activated charcoal enhances fecal excretion of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin in mice, with fewer side effects than uncoated one

J Toxicol Sci. 2021;46(8):379-389. doi: 10.2131/jts.46.379.


Activated charcoal (AC) is a potential candidate antidote against dioxins. However, it is difficult to take AC as a supplement on a daily basis, because its long-term ingestion causes side effects such as constipation and deficiency of fat-soluble essential nutrients and hypocholesterolemia. Alginate-coated AC, termed Health Carbon (HC), was developed to decrease the side effects of AC, but its pharmacological effects, including side effects, remains unclear. Here, we show that HC enhanced fecal excretion of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) and decreased some side effects of unmodified AC, such as hypocholesterolemia, in male mice. Basal diet mixed with HC or unmodified AC at various concentrations was fed to mice for 16 days following a single intraperitoneal administration of [3H]TCDD. Both HC and unmodified AC at 3% or more significantly increased fecal excretion of [3H]TCDD in comparison with the control basal diet. Consistent with this, [3H]TCDD radioactivity in the liver-a major TCDD storage organ-was markedly decreased by HC at concentrations of 3% and 10%. In an examination of potential side effects, unmodified AC at 10% or more caused significant body weight reduction and at 20% caused significant hypocholesterolemia. In contrast, HC caused weight gain reduction only at a concentration of 20%, and there was no evidence of hypocholesterolemia at any dietary HC concentration. HC not only retains the ability of AC to enhance fecal excretion of TCDD but also reduces some of the side effects of AC.

Keywords: Dioxin; Fecal excretion; Health Carbon; Hypocholesterolemia.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Alginates* / administration & dosage
  • Animals
  • Antidotes / administration & dosage
  • Antidotes / adverse effects*
  • Antidotes / pharmacology*
  • Charcoal / administration & dosage
  • Charcoal / adverse effects*
  • Charcoal / pharmacology*
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Constipation / chemically induced
  • Feces*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins / metabolism*
  • Weight Loss


  • Alginates
  • Antidotes
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins
  • Charcoal
  • Cholesterol