As the world flips another chapter in its yearly cycle, people’s shifts always go to a new year new you mentality and start putting themselves first. And many are looking into health, a brand new start to the year for systemic detox and cleansing in order to lose weight and feel better.
And there has been an ancient secret for modern health that has suddenly started getting its notable attention is a great food-grade supplement to add into your diet and life.
Diatomaceous earth, or DE for short, used to be unknown, but is now gaining traction among those who are conscious about their health.
To understand why, you first have to understand what food grade diatomaceous earth is, and what effects it has on our on-going health.
DE contains roughly 80% to 90% silica and is an up and coming darling of the health supplement universe right now. It is a mineral supplement and has a strong loyal fanbase who swear by its many alleged miracle properties, ranging from potentially treating Alzheimer’s disease to stopping wrinkles, to strong bones and good hair.
Before delving into the cans and cannots for DE, let’s first size DE up and find out what we’re dealing with here.
Complete Analysis of Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
Let’s break it down, shall we? The “diatom” in the beginning of the mineral’s name is derived from diatoms, which are microscopic algae that reside in the water. After they die, they fossilize like anything else and their rock-hard shells later form the main portion of DE.
For many decades, Diatomaceous Earth has been utilized in different kinds of industrial gizmos ranging from pool filters to dynamite. Yes, dynamite. This is due to the porousness of the fossilized diatoms. If you look at the food industry, you’ll find DE being utilized as an anti-caking agent in foodstuffs such as coffee creamer and various seasonings.
A simple Google search will inform you that diatomaceous earth is dust from a rock that naturally occurs and is often composed of silica, alumina, and iron oxide.
Both alumina and iron oxide are found in very small amounts in DE. Roughly 3% and 1%, respectively. Countless other sources indicate that DE can also contain any of the following elements: calcium, sodium, magnesium, titanium, boron, manganese, copper, and zirconium.
This disparity is caused by the fact that the chemical composition of DE relies on the location in which it was mined. Wikipedia states that DE was first discovered in Germany in the early 19th century. Since that time, DE deposits have also been discovered in the Czech Republic, Scotland, and the United States of America.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the majority of freshwater deposits of DE in the United States are found in western states. In that location, the ancient lake beds give massive amounts of diatomaceous earth which have food and industrial uses.
When looking into the health benefits of DE, you’re actually looking into the various things that silica (or amorphous silica as it is referred to in studies) can do for your body.
Speaking of alternative names for things, let’s look at the many alternative names for diatomaceous earth:
• amorphous silica
• D Earth
• D Powder
• Silicon dioxide (SiO2)
• diatomaceous silica
Ingesting Diatomaceous Earth vs Inhaling Diatomaceous Earth
As you keep searching on the internet for as much information as you can get about DE, you’ll be sure to find intimidating warnings from the government about the dangers of amorphous silica. These exist because of the dangers posed when you inhale pure amorphous silica over long periods of time. Doing that can lead to various issues in your respiratory system. The form of amorphous silica that DE includes is not toxic when you breathe it. It only becomes dangerous to your heath when it is crystallized in a process called calcination.
Guidelines & Benefits Of Diatomaceous Earth
There are various guidelines and warnings issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSHA) that pertain to crystalline silica in workplaces where workers aren’t sheltered from the dust. The ones concerned with the quality of the air are those involved in milling.
Food grade DE in the form of a dietary mineral supplement poses no danger to your health unless you do something really stupid. But that applies for any kind of substance mostly. Even consuming water in large amounts can poison you.
Due to the fact that DE has been utilized in the food industry for many years, there are studies from all the way back in the 1930s that verify that DE, or silicon dioxide/silica as it is referred to, is safe for human consumption.
With all of that settled, we can now focus on the reasons that people decide to ingest DE and the benefits they allege that it does for them. After that, we’ll compare these allegations to the cold hard evidence provided by legitimate scientific studies.
The many alleged health benefits of Diatomaceous Earth
A simple glance at Amazon reviews for DE and you’ll find everyone claiming that it is a miracle mineral that can do it all. Here are just a few of the alleged benefits of DE. Be wary that these are just claims:
• Gives you higher energy levels
• Absorbs E. coli
• Cleanses the colon
• Absorbs drug and pesticide residues
• Lowers cholesterol levels
• Maintains healthy blood pressure
• Helps with weight loss
• Stops osteoporosis
• Triggers healthy hair, teeth, gums, and nails
• Has anti-aging properties
• Treats urinary infections
• Treats headaches
• Aids with joint health
• Prevents tissue degeneration
• Stops baldness
• Treats eczema and acne
• Heals burns, rashes, warts, frostbite, abscesses, and bed sores
• Stops bleeding gums
• Stops tooth decay
• Fades age spots
• Expels bacteria from the body
• Shields your lungs from pollution
• Stops the harmful side effects of menopause
• Diminishes inflammation in the bowels
• Prevents kidney stones
• Treats bronchitis
• Raises your metabolism
• Cures tinnitus
• Treats insomnia
• Assists in dealing with diabetes
• Alleviates symptoms of Alzheimer’s
This list could go on forever, due to the sheer infinity of alleged health benefits that DE has. Of course, most of these alleged “benefits” are based solely on user experiences and retellings.
Are they crazy to think that DE cured all of these ailments? Perhaps, perhaps not. What you should know is to not trust everything you see on the internet, as self-reporting especially as it pertains to medical products is sketchy and has a lot of holes. All it takes is for someone to feel better after taking DE and they’ll go on Amazon and write a review attributing the alleviation of their symptoms to DE. Often times, it’s just a coincidence.
So, what does the research say?
Silica & D.E For Bone Health
The most impressive and promising health benefit of DE resides in the field of bone health. ¹ Research published by the National Institutes of Health in a medical journal pertaining to health and aging shows what effect silicon has on bone health. This is one of the most important forms of care for the elderly offered today.
This particular study mentions that osteoporosis, a disease that lowers bone mass and makes it hard for the body to recover from fractures, can be prevented by incorporating a few minerals into the diet. Current research has proven that Vitamin D and calcium are beneficial in this instance. Other minerals including potassium, fluoride, and magnesium also help maintain healthy bone mass.
Lately, the spotlight has been shown on silicon and science is giving it an in depth look. Silicon is the third most frequently appearing trace element in the human body behind zinc and iron.
If you actually look at those studies from the 1930s mentioned earlier, you’ll find a previously held belief among doctors that silicon was simply washed away in urine. That all changed beginning in the 1970s, when research indicated that a shortage of silicon in the body led to health issues, mostly pertaining to areas of connective tissue. Since that time, a lot more research has been done, with the results indicating that silicon is a vital part of the diet, especially to maintain bone health.
Silica For Blood Cholesterol
It’s been known for almost twenty years now that diatomaceous earth has a beneficial effect on the blood cholesterol of people
There was a study from all the way back in the late 1990s involving 19 people, with a history of high cholesterol, who ingested diatomaceous earth for 8 weeks. Each person took 250 mg of DE three times a day and the results were promising. The peoples’ serum cholesterol went down by a massive amount and their cholesterol levels even managed to stay low… FOUR weeks after the study!
Believe it or not, but DE’s benefits don’t end there. Scientists also found reduced levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and a reduced amount of triglycerides. Both of these are very good things for your health.
Debunking Some DE Myths
If you do some digging into DE, you’ll most likely see a few articles talking about DE being a detox agent. They explain this by citing that the shapes of the molecules are jagged, which allow to absorb toxins (as well as the previously mentioned drug residue and pesticide residue, among other things).
Where did this idea come from? Is it proven by science?
Well, it is true that the shapes of DE molecules are jagged, which most likely serves as the launching pad for these theories of DE being a detox agent. The theory goes that the jagged edges cut and jab at the toxins that stick to the inside of the gastrointestinal system and then the DE absorbs the toxins. Once absorbed, the toxins are expelled out of the body through the urine.
This concept has been particularly appealing to farmers, as they could use those jagged edges to remove parasites that have invaded the inner workings of their sheep and goats. Unfortunately, none of the few studies that have been conducted show that DE helped at all in this manner.
Other studies have shown that DE doesn’t help with anemia, either. There are some DE claims that you can automatically dismiss when you start doing your research.
On the bright side, you can still attribute improved bone health and lower levels of cholesterol to DE. What’s more, DE is readily available in the supplement form in just about any drugstore. A bit of advice would be to ensure that whoever manufactures it is reputable and that it meets the quality standards set forth by the government. You’re best off buying from a US manufacturer, due to the tough regulations on drugs and supplements set by the FDA. Finding an American manufacturer should be a piece of cake, since there is an abundance of DE deposits of food grade quality in the United States.
DE is a very smart [and beneficial] choice if you’re trying to find a new supplement to add to your daily routine.
A couple years ago, it was recorded that more than half of the citizens in the United States are taking dietary supplements. This is the first time in history that this has happened. It gets even more incredible. Statistics recorded by CDC show that approximately 59 percent of women in the United States take vitamins, minerals, herbs, and / or other supplements regularly.
As you can imagine, that many people purchasing supplements has an impact on the economy. In fact, it represents a part of a massive global trade in an industry that is referred to as VMS by insiders. The VMS stands for, you guessed it, Vitamins, Minerals, and Supplements. What’s more is that industry is worth in excess of 32 billion and is still growing at a very rapid pace!
The biggest mineral supplement demand exists in the United States. Because of this, there is a large variety offered in the mineral supplement market, including smash hits like iron and calcium pills. Chromium, selenium, and the aforementioned silica are also big sellers in the States.
Diatomaceous Earth & Silica Conclusion
It baffles me why DE marketers spread so many lies and half-truths about the benefits of DE, when there are so many actual silica benefits that have scientific basis. It’s like they think that consumers wouldn’t be happy enough with a mineral supplement that improves bone health and lower cholesterol, among all of the health benefits that have the backing of hard scientific evidence. Instead, they market it as a miracle “cure all” supplement, which it isn’t.
As you can clearly deduce from the studies presented here, a lot is happening as it pertains to nutritional research in the medical field. DE shows a lot of promise in multiple different ways, so don’t hate on it. However, don’t fall so far in love with it that you ignore all of the facts and believe everything that is touted about it. There are plenty of snake oil salesman on the internet and in real life that will say anything about a product to make you want to buy it!