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:
-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
-Stronger bones and a reduced risk of osteoporosis
-Improved joint and ligament health
-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.