Consisting of the fossilized remains of diatoms, Diatomaceous Earth (DE), or Diatomite is a naturally occurring, soft, siliceous, sedimentary rock that has been crumbled into a fine white to off-white powder(.1) Because of DE’s high level of absorbency, coupled with being almost entirely composed of silica(2.), diatomaceous earth is a substance with myriad uses. Diatomaceous earth is often used as a filtration aid, a mild abrasive in metal polishes, and even toothpaste! It is used as an absorbent, a matting agent, a filler, a thermal insulator, and also a stabilizer in dynamite! While these many uses are impressive, you may be unaware of the many human health benefits of Diatomaceous Earth.
Am I Consuming Rock Dust?
There are two grades of Diatomaceous Earth. One is termed ‘Food Grade’ and meant to be taken by humans. The other grade is ‘Non-Food Grade’ and is intended for industrial use and practices. Despite the ready availability at either local nurseries or most health food stores, all human health benefits are derived exclusively from Food Grade DE.
One of the ingredients of diatomaceous earth is silica. “Silica is a key component of the earth’s natural rock, sands, and clay. Silica is also found in human muscles, cartilage, and ligaments. It is also found in plants, as it aids in their structural development.”(3.) Orthosilicic acid, the form of silicon predominantly absorbed by humans, is found in numerous human tissues, including nails, bones, tendons, aorta, liver, and kidneys.(4.)
Research on DE by the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging has provided compelling evidence which suggests silica is essential for (human) health as well as possessing a strong anti-aging effect. Results have provided support to claims of four benefits in humans.
Four Health Benefits of Diatomaceous Earth
1. Diatomaceous Earth works as a natural detoxifying agent within the body, killing parasites and viruses that can contribute to illnesses, while also helping to clean the blood(5.). Benefits of using DE internally include; reducing odors, helping to curb gas, cleansing the digestive tract, and boosting liver function. “A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that silica also helps eliminate heavy metals from the body, such as aluminum, making it perfect for a heavy metal detox. In studies, it has been shown to have a high-aluminum-affinity and reduces aluminum availability from the human gastrointestinal tract.“(6.)
2. Fighting Parasites – A 2011 study published in the Oxford Journal of Poultry Science found that DE has the potential to be an effective treatment for controlling internal worms (parasites)(7.). Interestingly enough, this was observed in hens that produce organically raised, free-range eggs. The study also proved that hens that ingested the DE had better appetites, heavier weights, laid more eggs, and consumed more feed.
3. Improves the Health of Joint, Bones, and Ligaments – Silica within DE has proven to help with normal bone metabolism and joint formation. Many years of studies have shown a positive association between dietary silicon intake and greater bone mineral density, thus thwarting osteoporosis. Hence, there is a strong belief that silica aids in the formation of collagen.
4. Helps Clean and Protect Skin, Nails, and Teeth – Because of DE’s ability to kill parasites, as well as being mildly abrasive, it is often used in facial cleansers or scrubs. It has been observed to possess anti-aging effects given its ability to assist the body in using calcium as it forms stronger teeth and bones.
Diatomaceous Earth – Caveats
Realizing the potential value where improving human health is concerned, it might be beneficial to begin a regimen of using diatomaceous earth for improving one’s health. However, it should be mentioned that “As your body begins to detox from the DE, you may experience what is commonly known as “die-off,” which sometimes gives people mild flu-like symptoms for a couple of days. This is a side effect of toxins leaving your body, not a side effect of DE itself.” The potential benefits of regular use coupled with the designation of being “generally recognized as safe”, Diatomaceous Earth has attracted many to discover the personal benefits to be enjoyed within their own lives!
Footnotes / Endnotes:
- Diatomaceous earth. Wikipedia. – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diatomaceous_earth.
- 5.) 6.) 7.) – ‘6 Proven Diatomaceous Earth Uses and Benefits ’- By Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DMN, CNS https://draxe.com/nutrition/diatomaceous-earth/- 08/09/19 – inclusive. quotations.
Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth: Human Benefits. – By Staff – Diatomaceous earth.
- Diatomaceous earth. Wikipedia. – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diatomaceous_earth