Diatomaceous Earth for Human Use

Diatomaceous Earth is a popular product that has been used in food processing and in several cleaning industries. Over the past ten or fifteen years, a growing number of humans had advocated the consumption of diatomaceous earth due to its’ supposed health benefits.

While few studies are available, thousands of people from around the world claim that diatomaceous earth is legitimate. Most of the time, testimonies should be taken with a grain of salt but diatomaceous earth seems different.

Silica – The Key to Diatomaceous Earth?

According to diatomaceous earth supporters, diatomaceous earth’s high concentration of silica supplies the body with the essential mineral that most humans do not consume enough of.

The benefits of silica are well-documented, although diatomaceous earth has to have something else powering it than simple silica.

It turns out, the shape of diatomaceous earth plays a role in a few of the benefits of diatomaceous earth.

You see, if you put diatomaceous earth under a microscope it you’ll find that diatomaceous earth has sharp edges – albeit not sharp enough to scratch our tough skin.

When humans consume diatomaceous earth, these sharp edges scrape away at plaque, digestive waste, and other toxins that slow down our body’s internal processes. This is why digestive benefits are often reported within a few weeks of use.

Scientific Studies of Diatomaceous Earth

Unfortunately, diatomaceous earth has not been used enough for there to be a large number of scientific studies. However, the studies that are available show that diatomaceous earth can strengthen bones, nails, and teeth, improve blood cholesterol levels, and improve digestion.

The good news is that more studies are currently underway and that we should know a great deal more about diatomaceous earth within the next few years.

Diatomaceous Earth is safe

The good news for diatomaceous earth users is that is does appear to be very safe for human consumption. While safety precautions need to be taken for industrial grade DE, food grade DE is not nearly as potent and likely to cause respiratory issues. Still, if you are putting food grade DE on plants or for another purpose, it’s still a good idea to use eye and mouth protection.

As far as side effects go, well there are zero side effects. Diatomaceous earth users have reported zero serious side effects or minor side effects for that matter, most likely due to the purity of most food grade DE supplements. Therefore, if you were concerned about the side effects – don’t’ be.

Diatomaceous Earth – Legit or a scam?

While it would be a lot more comforting if there were more research studies available, diatomaceous earth still seems to be a legitimate supplement for a variety of reasons.

Plus, there seem to be zero side effects as the little research available claims it is safe along with the testimony of many users.

Therefore, we feel diatomaceous earth is a supplement to continue trying if you’re looking for a silica supplement or for a supplement to detoxify your body.

Diatomaceous earth is a trendy substance that has recently made headlines across the internet.

It’s touted as everything from a natural bed bug treatment to a natural way to detoxify your body.

Are any of these benefits proven by science? Or is diatomaceous earth (DE) just another hokey treatment backed by limited evidence? Let’s take a closer look today at the benefits of diatomaceous earth.

What is Diatomaceous Earth?

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) might sound like something from the future. However, it’s actually a kind of powdered fossil. DE is the powdered, fossilized remains of microscopic aquatic organisms called diatoms.

As these microorganisms became fossilized, their remains leave behind a unique shape with sharp edges.

This shape is what gives diatomaceous earth its unique properties. The jagged edges of the shape literally cut apart the exoskeletons of microorganisms like bed bugs (and worms inside your dog) while leaving the cells of larger organisms intact.

In other words, the microscopic sharp edges of DE are small enough to destroy insects, but too small to affect your body.

That unique shape also allows DE to “catch” toxins and safely carry them out of the body. Toxins become lodged and stuck in the DE. Then, the toxins are safely passed through your body.

That’s why DE can be found in powders, pet foods, health supplements, and other formulas. It’s often touted as a way to filter water, purify food, and improve your overall health.

That all sounds good. But does diatomaceous earth have the scientific evidence to back it up?

Let’s take a closer look.

Top 6 Benefits of Diatomaceous Earth

1) Diatomaceous Earth Can Be Used to Detoxify the Body

Diatomaceous earth works like a natural detoxifying agent within the body. It kills parasites and viruses that contribute to illnesses. It may also be able to clean the blood.

One study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in April 2000 examined the effects of silica on the body.

Food-grade diatomaceous earth consists of about 85% silica. In that study, researchers found that silica was effective for eliminating heavy metals from the body, including aluminum.

Researchers concluded their study by stating that “silica reduces aluminum availability from the human gastrointestinal tract.”

This study, and others, show why diatomaceous earth is a key part of many heavy metal detoxes.

2) Diatomaceous Earth Can Purify Water

People are increasingly using DE as a water purification tool. Many modern water filters pass water through DE in order to purify it. Typically, DE is used as one of several different filters in a filtration system.

Why is DE such a popular water filter? One study published in the Journal of Applied and Environmental Microbiology found that DE helps kill viruses, reducing the risk of getting a viral infection from your water.

In another study, researchers created a filter that used DE. They ran tap water contaminated with heavy metals and viral strains through that filter.

Researchers found that DE absorbed “up to 80%” of the viruses present. That may not sound impressive.

However, these viruses all passed through other water filtration systems safely. So even if you’re drinking filtered water, it may still contain viral strains.

3) Diatomaceous Earth Fights Against Parasites

DE is frequently used to control parasites. You’ve probably heard of DE in dog food, where it’s used to kill eggs and worms in your dog’s digestive tract. DE can also be found in chicken feed.

A study published in the Oxford Journal of Poultry Science proved that DE was an effective treatment at controlling parasites in hen populations.

In that study, researchers took two groups of hens. One group was fed DE, while the other was not. The group of hens fed DE had a significantly lower incidence of infections.

These hens also had a significantly heavier weight, laid more eggs, and consumed more feed than hens fed a control diet.

Their eggs had larger yolks, something that’s associated with a higher concentration of nutrients.

In other words, hens (and other animals) fed DE appear to be healthier due to the reduced risk of parasites.

4) Kills Bed Bugs and Other Pests

Many people first hear about DE when researching bed bug remedies online. Instead of using pesticides or insecticides, many people use DE to fight back against bed bugs in their home.

DE isn’t just an effective bed bug treatment; it’s also a proven treatment for house dust mites, cockroaches, ants, and fleas.

The reason DE works as a natural insecticide is simple: the substance absorbs lipids from the waxy outer layers of insects’ exoskeletons.

This causes the insects to dehydrate. They die a slow death of water deficiency. At the same time, the silica in DE “slices” the exoskeletons, physically removing it from their body. This is why it’s called a desiccant form of pest control.

This desiccant/dehydration effect, by the way, is the same reason DE is used in foods. It reduces moisture, preventing your food from spoiling.

If you’re using DE as an insecticide, then you’ll want to spread it in areas where it physically touches the insects.

Once insects walk over the DE, it sticks to their skin and gets everywhere, causing them to die.

You can read more about the science behind DE and pest control here.

5) Boosts the Health of your Skin, Nails and Teeth

A growing number of people use DE to clean and protect their skin and other sensitive bodily tissues.

The reason DE improves your skin is simple: DE has a natural abrasiveness and it kills parasites.

When DE is added to toothpastes and exfoliators, these traits work hand-in-hand to improve your skin quality. DE can actually be found in many toothpastes and exfoliators on the market today.

Alternatively, some people buy powdered diatomaceous earth and add it to their existing toothpaste.

Meanwhile, DE is also used to improve the quality of your bones, nails, and teeth. It’s thought to improve the health of these systems by improving the body’s utilization of calcium.

6) Improves the Health of your Bones, Joints, and Ligaments

One study published in the Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging in 2007 showed that dietary silicon (like the silicon found in DE) boosts the health of your bone and connective tissue, helping to reduce your risk of low bone mass (osteoporosis).

Researchers don’t actually understand why it works like this. However, researchers believe that silicon helps synthesize collagen, the crucial protein used to form joints and lubricate connective tissue.

Collagen, for what it’s worth, also plays a crucial role in your body’s anti-aging defense, which connects it to our 5th point.

Other Uses for Diatomaceous Earth

Up above, we talked about some of the most-established benefits of DE. Here are some of the other uses for diatomaceous earth currently available:

Healthier-looking hair and teeth

-Improved digestive health and more regular bowel movements

-Better liver and colon health

-Detoxifies the body and removes heavy metals

-Stronger immune function and protection from illnesses

-Cleaner home, free from parasites, bed bugs, and viruses

Healthier-looking skin and nails

-Stronger bones and a reduced risk of osteoporosis

-Improved joint and ligament health

-Higher energy

-In dogs and cats, cleaner skin and a reduced risk of fleas and other pests

How to Use Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is safe for humans and animals to consume. However, when buying diatomaceous earth, make sure you’re buying the food-grade stuff. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only recognizes food-grade diatomaceous earth as part of its “GRAS” (Generally Recognized As Safe) list. That means DE is legally allowed to be added to foods and supplements.

Some of the different ways to use diatomaceous earth include:

-Pesticide: Hundreds of pesticides on the market today use diatomaceous earth, including bug killing sprays or even rodent sprays.

-Hygiene Products: Toothpastes and skin care products often use DE.

-Food Additive: Diatomaceous earth is a popular natural food additive. It’s often added to foods as an anti-caking or clarifying ingredient.

-Abrasives: DE can be found in abrasive products, including everything from exfoliators (for your skin) and defoliators (for cleaning).

-Healthy Beverage: add one teaspoon of food-grade DE to your water and drink daily on an empty stomach. For maximum benefit, take it at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating. If using DE as a healthy beverage, make sure you drink more water per day. There are plenty of DE detox guides you can read online where you gradually increase your dosage over a 90 day period.

-Home Cleaning Product: Sprinkle some DE powder anywhere you think bugs, insects, or fleas could be lurking in your home. Rub the powder into the carpet with a broom. Use enough DE to cover the surface – but not so much that it’s difficult to breath.

How Diatomaceous Earth Works

You know about the uses of diatomaceous earth. But how does DE actually work?

DE, as mentioned above, consists of tiny microorganism skeletons. These skeletons are made from silica – the same substance that makes up 26% of the earth’s crust. Other natural sources of silica include rocks you might recognize, including emerald, quartz, feldspar, mica, clay, and even sand or glass.

Today, DE is available in two different grades, including food-grade and non-food grade. You use the food-grade stuff for eating and the non-food-grade stuff for cleaning.

DE is a trendy health supplement. However, it’s been popular since the 1960s, when people discovered they could use it as a food additive or pesticide. Manufacturers started to extract diatom silica residues from the sea to make diatomaceous earth. That same residue is also found in the sediments from rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans.

One of the most unique things about diatomaceous earth is that it’s not poisonous. Yes, it can kill viruses, parasites, bugs, and rodents, but it passes harmlessly through the bodies of all larger creatures.

Not all diatomaceous earth comes from nature. Typically, today’s DE supplements use silicon dioxide, which is created in a lab by adding oxygen and water to pure silica. Pure silica is a natural substance found in seawater, but silicon dioxide is not. Most DE products use a type of silica called amorphous silicon dioxide.

Diatomaceous Earth Review Summary

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a popular health supplement, food additive, and insecticide. Its unique chemical composition allows it to kill insects while simultaneously having powerful health effects on the body.

Scientific studies have shown DE has a proven ability to carry toxins away from the body – especially heavy metals like aluminum. It’s also part of a popular detox plan, where you take one teaspoon of food-grade DE with water daily to support a clean and healthy body.

Whether you’re interested in the skin, teeth, hair, and nail benefits, or you’re searching for an effective bed bug remedy, diatomaceous earth has a proven ability to help your body, reduce pests in your home, and even boost your pets’ health in a number of powerful ways.

40 COMMENTS

  1. I have Fibromyalgia. Body aches, joint pain, chronic fatigue.Wonder if Diatomaceous will help? Haven’t seen anyone comment on Fibro.

  2. I bought a bag of D. E. at a home store. I found out it’s health benefits and read that you need food grade internally. Not wanting to waste my bag of it, I called the telephone # on the back of the bag. A man answered and said do not injest this as I would need food grade.

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  3. I take a tsp. of Perma Guard D.E. in the morning and one in the evening. I use it with juice. I won’t use Almond Milk because I found out they put Calcium Carbonate in it. That totally defeats one of my reasons for taking D.E. in the first place. Calcium Carbonate is made from marble or lyme rock. Our bodies cannot digest it.

    Anyway, my experience with D.E. has been more regularity, more energy and less pains in my hip and lower and upper back. I also have had a lot less pressure in my upper abdomen. The pressure is caused from gallstones.

    One thing that anyone taking D.E. should know is to drink lots of water and fluids. If you don’t, it can cause constipation and you will be dehydrated.

    I am telling anyone, who will listen, to try D.E.

  4. Is it safe to use with other supplements, herbs or vitamins? Or because of its abrasive/detox qualities is best to take alone? Thank you. !

  5. How can Diatomaceous Earth be good for human consumption, when i use it on mt dog/ cat to KILL FLEAS / TICKS?? No thanks, i’ll stay away from it.

  6. Linda, sorry if this query arrives many times to you but I was having difficulty posting my question to you. I only recently discovered DE and you spoke so highly of the product I am curious to know how your doing? I purchased some a few days ago in desperation !!! – my son developed an awful rash 3 months ago and it’s driving us all nuts trying to figure out what’s causing it. I just wondered if he had a yeast thing going on, so he’s going to give this a go , fingers X that it helps…Do you know if it’s safe for people to take if their on any medication? Would appreciate any info. ????Thanks. Caroline

  7. DE was suggested to me by an actual doctor who has been treating me for the past 10 years and has thankfully in the last year taken a more alternative route. After many years of suffering with extreme bloating and constipation I was desperate. I changed my lifestyle,started eating right and excercising,lost 30 pounds in the process yet I was still feeling sick. I was diagnosed with candida overgrowth and parasite infestation. Within two weeks of DE I was feeling so much better. I was regular for the first time in many years. It was a great feeling. My acne was significantly reduced and my skin had overall better appearance.one spoonful mixed with almond milk daily is all it took. I would highly suggest this to anyone with stomach issues. I had no side effects just great results. Please try for yourself. I will never be without it.

  8. I have used Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth for years. I have recommend to my friends for killing parasites and its a great source of silica.

  9. I originally was looking for a natural flea/ mite repellent for my dogs and came across DE food grade. So I dusted dogs down. Within hours my white Bichon stopped licking/ scratching and seemed calm. I had tried every chemical/ drops/ sprays etc previously. I now have happy dogs. But then I read more and after one week taking a heaped teaspoon each day, I can not believe how well I feel and how my energy levels have increased. So good for dogs, good for me. Now part of our family regieme and the best part is it’s so cheap.

  10. Has anyone found out any information regarding when to take DE? Before/after breakfast? When is it O.K. to take vitamin supplements in conjunction with DE? How much is enough DE to take daily, 1 or 2 tablespoons? Any help would be very much appreciated.

    • Hi Marsha, You take the Diamotaceous Earth 1 hour BEFORE MEALS or two hours AFTER MEALS, 1 teaspoon is best to start, do this for about 4 days and then up it to 1 teaspoon am and 1 teaspoon pm equals 1 tablespoon in all! It states to take for 10 DAYS ONLY! THEN COME OFF IT FOR 10 DAYS! THEN START AGAIN. DO THIS FOR ABOUT 3 MONTHS EQUALS 90 DAYS. It did state use a teaspoon for a few weeks? then up it? But that cannot be correct if you can only take it for 10 days? So I think taking 1 teaspoon for 5 days and up it to 2 teaspoons for the following 5 days. Hope this is of help. Rosina Lock x

      • Hi rosina, i am a bit confused on your instructions regarding assumotion o DE. Could you explain better please….thanks very much. Prescious info!!

  11. I bought a 50 lb bag of DE from a feed store because this was my option ..is this any better or worse of a DE supply ? It is food grade and OMRI approved ..should I have boughten a different one or is this just as clean and pure as any other .?

    • Shane,

      You should still be-careful with some of the D.E. that you can buy at feed stores. Most of the time that is used as anti-caking in animal feed or to apply to coats of animals. Not necessarily for ingestion of humans. So the product isn’t as clean as it should be. The cleaner the product (less heavy metals and toxins) to begin with, the more benefits it will have on your health.

      You may pay more, but you are paying for a higher quality and cleaner product. – And at the end of the day, isn’t that what you would want for your body.

      SilaLive is one of the brands we have reviewed and prefer even though the price is a little high, we are happy to pay it since we know its a cleaner product.

      — Supplement Police

    • Hi Shane, your bag of DE sounds very large? Unless it states `100 PER CENT FOOD GRADE I would not ingest it! It has to say FOOD GRADE on it. And don’t breathe it in at all. When you mix it up hold the glass away from you, Food Grade is perfect for human consumption NOT THE other DE! So please be careful. Rosina x

  12. A friend bought food grade DE to use in her organic garden. She sprinkled it on at the end of the season to deter “bad” garden insects. She wears day and night contact lenses, but wore no eye protection. Applied it late in the evening, and went to bed not long after, but showered first. Awoke feeling like she had glass in her eyes. Went to her opthomologist. He told her she had tiny scratches on corneas. I am not sure I would want to take this internally after her experience. She also developed a respiratory infection from breathing it. It feels soft and powdery, but actually has sharp edges, as you mentioned. How does one make a DIY Toothpaste without breathing it? Or how does one ingest it without encountering the sand problems?

    • If u think about it, ur GI tract is made to take on all kinds of textures. Think about all the different kinds of foods and their textures and make ups, rice, oats, wheats, they say we eat sand and dirt because it is mix in our flour, sugar, veggies that are canned. On the other hand ur eye is not made to take on any roughage it is a sensitive jell, soft. Using a Pure food grade DE, does make a difference, would not throw it over a garden like lime, kills bubble bees too. I do sprinkle it on ant hills. Any air bone dust gets into ur lungs, always wear a mask. Just use real common sense.

      • Karolyn,

        I agree with you that you should do research before taking any supplement. But just to clarify on your statement/question, you shouldn’t inhale it due to the product consistency. It is a very fine powder (like baby powder) which if it is inhaled can iratate the lungs causing inflammation.

        That’s why the products are taken with water, juices, and shakes.

  13. Considering trying DE for the specific purpose of binding/reducing toxicity of mycotoxin activity. Those with intense/prolonged exposure to mold will understand. In trying to understand and navigate effectively through the process of remediating the human body after the building/home has been remediated, I have found little true scientifically proven helps. The idea of DE use for binding the myco-neuro-toxins and moving them out came from various studies performed in the veterinary sciences as related to cattle/dairy/poultry/swine industries. Mycotoxin poisoning was first tagged by veterinary science and, as best I can determine, remains an area unstudied by true scientific means other than veterinary/agriculture sciences. You find much on the web/forums about a wide variety of protocols suggested for human body remediation from mold exposure, however, those of us walking through this exposure are finding that the typical protocols are somewhat helpful at best. So! DE – has been suggested as a possible help to detox cattle/pigs/poultry – they admit to limited study, but state that they believe it is promising. Will try!

  14. I’ve been taking g DE for .six months. First thing I noticed is energy. Lots of it. I was suffering from plantar fasciitis and IBS pain that put me on the bathroom floor twice a week. I finished my prescription of Naproxon after my usual cortizone shot in my heels but surprise I didn’t have to go back to the doctor as I had for the past year! I had no more pain! My IBS also just went away! I feel at least 15Years younger. I’m 61. My nails are shinier and healthier and also my hair is much better. Whatever my body was lacking, I found it with DE. I tell everyone can about it. Also I give it to my animals. 3 dogs and 6 cats. I had a flea problem but now zero bugs or internal parasites. I brush my teeth with it mixed with coconut oil, frankincense, and mint . Feels good. I will never be without it. My pains are gone. Fleas are gone…. And it’s really cheap!

  15. I am 54 and had elevated blood pressure. Taking DE (two spoonfuls a day) with juice, etc. has lowered my blood pressure to a point where I no longer needed my blood pressure meds. Just DE. Has my doctor scratching his head….

  16. DE saved my life. I felt like I was dying, had major food sensitivities even though I have always been anti-processed food, anxiety, skin lesions that flared up for two summers in a row and left permanent scars on my arms, shoulders and mainly my face, and the worst was my teeth were rotting. I had too molars pulled and a root canal and then other cavities and major fillings that were beginning to hurt. The docs wanted to just put me on depression meds and wouldn’t do full blood work so I tried DE and after a day or two it killed whatever was living in my cheeks as dead blood lined my inner cheeks one morning. I got constipated, stoped it for a few days and then saw three different types on parasites in my waste for weeks. My skin cleared, nails got strong, hair got thicker, anxiety went away, and I looked pretty again. No more cavity pain or dental problems- and I was headed for major surgery and expensive dental work. I brush my teeth with it. I don’t even take it regularly internally anymore. But it cured me and I will be forever grateful that it gave me my life back. Try it.

  17. Hello,
    I’ve been using DE for while, very happy with it. However, was not sure if taking supplements right after DE will wipe them out of body? Should I wait for 2 hr or so, like you do with activated charcoal?
    Thank you for advice.

    • Milica, I have the same question. Has anyone gotten back to you with an answer? What are the guidelines you know about for activated charcoal? Thank you for your help.

  18. I’ve been using DE going on 3 years I originally started using it was to clean my digestive system but the more I read the more Iliked.I’m 52 my Dr. Suggested that I might be doing harm to myself but my bp is120 over 70 I’m still athletic and I’ve lived a semi destructive life style I think I will stick to my DE

    • Rick,

      Thanks for stopping by to leave a comment. We feel like Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth is one of those unheard of super supplements that we feel most people should be taking, but they simply do not know about them. Same with Silica Supplements.

      Glad to hear that you have been taking it for some time now and are thriving. The only thing I would add with your D.E. is possibly a Probiotic. Hyperbiotics is one of our favorite brands and I believe a #1 seller on Amazon.

      Hyerbiotics PRO-15 Review

      And not sure what kind of D.E. you are taking, but you may also want to take a look at SilaLive.

      Take a look at that and see what you think.

      — Supplement Police

    • If the DE doesn’t work….it probably is a high yeast count in your son. I have psoriasis….I started taking Lactoferrin, it went away in 10 days…and I was in a flare up for more than a year. He should take DE anyway…any skin irritation, fungus, allergy comes from within our bodies….and obviously not enough antibodies to make our chemistry from epidermis to organs…correct…I am taking DE now with Lactoferrin.

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