The thing women need to know about taking activated charcoal

With the festive season just about past, many will be turning to detoxes and juices to repent for two months of excess food and drink.

One of those detoxes may include activated charcoal - a trendy supplement people use to whiten their teeth, draw out toxins, and even include in food like ice cream to turn it that perfect Instagrammable shade of black.

After a UK male model was mocked for saying he's "blessed in Britain" to be able to buy activated charcoal at a local café it's garnered some more interest from those chasing eternal wellness.

But users beware. A report from Eater last year points out the effectiveness of many drugs can be marred by the use of activated charcoal, perhaps most importantly including the contraceptive pill.

Gynaecologist and author of The Complete A to Z of your V, Dr Alyssa Dweck, told Insider that it's a real risk.

"The whole purpose of activated charcoal in the medical world is to prevent absorption of medications or drugs in order to prevent toxicity," she said.

"I'd say if you're eating, like, one ice cream with activated charcoal, you're going to be fine. But if you're taking in a big [dose], you're going to possibly have a bigger problem."

Dr Dweck says it's best to leave at least two hours between your birth control pill and big doses of charcoal; those you might find in supplements or products included in "cleanse" diets.

In addition, eating too much charcoal can prevent you from absorbing vitamins and nutrients that your body needs. On medical website Science-Based Medicine, Dr Scott Gavura says "activated charcoal appears to bond vitamins like ascorbic acid (vitamin C), niacin, pyridoxine (vitamin B6), thiamine (vitamin B1) and biotin," - meaning it has the potential to make food and drinks you consume actually less nutritious, not more.