Diatomaceous Earth and its Impressive List of Health Benefits
As scientific research and clinical methods of analyzing health and wellness improve, we people are becoming ever more aware of ways to preserve life and improve health.
Recently, a not-so-new natural supplement has been coming to the forefront of research and demonstrating that not only is it beneficial in a myriad of ways but also cheap and largely ignored by the world to this point.
That supplement is called diatomaceous Earth (DE), and is essentially a dietary form of silica.
Recent studies show that silica is essential in many functions of the body. Diatomaceous earth supplements can strengthen bones and joints, including in those suffering from osteoporosis, strengthen the immune system, and prevent Alzheimer’s disease as well as premature wrinkling and aging.
Silica is also shown to strengthen arterial walls and improve heart health. As a daily treatment, DE is also shown to destroy bad fats in the body and reverse many deadly risk factors for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even obesity.
Furthermore, the physical structure of DE makes it a highly-effective internal cleanser and anti-inflammatory. DE removes excess intestinal bacteria, parasites, viruses like e-coli, as well as heavy metals and other toxins. It is also known to treat headaches, vertigo, tinnitus, and insomnia.
By now you may be asking if diatomaceous earth is such a great and beneficial supplement, why had you not heard of it. Well here’s your chance… Read on and discover DE!
Diatomaceous earth is made up of the fossilized shells of diatoms. Diatoms are one-celled water plants like algae and phytoplankton and are the primary source of food for all marine life.
These microscopic plants have been a mainstay in earth’s ecology since prehistoric times, and still thrive today in both salt and fresh waters. Diatoms make their shells, or exoskeletons out of soluble silica (essentially sand) from their surroundings.
At the end of their life cycle, the shells of diatoms sink to the bottom of the water, and over time, form thick, chalky beds of fossilized sediment known as diatomite or diatomaceous earth.
To give you an idea of how many diatoms are required to make DE, it is estimated that one cubic inch of the earth contains up to 400 million diatom shells! Yet, so plentiful are these diatoms that hundreds of large deposits of diatomite occur around the world.
Diatomite is ground into a fine powder known as fossil shell flour or diatomaceous earth.
The chemical breakdown of DE is about 33% silicon, 19% calcium, 5% sodium, 3% magnesium 2% iron and lesser amounts of minerals like titanium, copper, boron, manganese, and zirconium.
Our Natural Need
Silica is one of the most abundant minerals on earth. It is literally everywhere, from the dirt under our feet to the foods we eat and even within our own bodies.
In fact, silica is one of the most important trace minerals to our health. For optimal health, the average body should hold approximately seven grams of silica, far outweighing our need for minerals like iron and calcium.
As highly processed as our food diet tends to be, we often deprive our bodies of natural sources of silica.
Foods like beets, alfalfa, oats, brown rice, leafy greens, and Bell peppers are good dietary sources of silica.
Others foods like asparagus, parsley, sunflower seeds, barley, millet, and wheat contain less silica. Even with a balanced diet, however, it is estimated that only a third of the silica our body needs comes from food.
In younger people, bodies tend to be more flexible, resilient, and energetic. Part of the reason for this is our ability to absorb and maintain high levels of silica at that age.
In later years though, as our dietary sources of silica are no longer enough, the body uses up the silica we’ve been storing.
It’s estimated that by the time we become adults, we have used up 80% of our body’s silica. Regardless of age or reason for deficiency, the fact is, we don’t get enough silica.
The result in our decline of silica levels is mirrored by a decline in health and accelerated aging.
Diatomaceous earth is very high in absorbable silica. It can boost silica levels in the body, increasing mineral uptake and vastly improving health and wellness.
While important, Calcium and vitamin D are inadequate alone to support bone growth, density, strength, and flexibility.
As a matter of fact, the body can’t even absorb or use calcium without the help of silica.
Recent studies show that calcium supplements can actually speed up the effects of osteoporosis and similar ailments.
To repair damaged bones, silica supplements are now recommended by the medical community to increase the body’s uptake of minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
Silica also promotes healing of fractures and helps to minimize scarring.
It’s a long-held belief in the medical community that Alzheimer’s disease is linked to an accumulation of aluminum in the brain.
Links between the disease and aluminum levels in drinking water have also been made.
Diatomaceous earth may be important, therefore, in supporting neurological health, as silica naturally reduces the buildup of aluminum. When added to water supplies laced with aluminum, scientists found that silica inhibited aluminum from being absorbed in test subjects and increased the elimination of aluminum through Urine.
The result was lowered aluminum concentrations in the brain, liver, bone, kidneys, and spleen.
Over time, studies show that silica levels decline in the aorta, the heart’s key blood vessel.
The result is weaker connective tissue and greater risk for a heart attack. Diatomaceous earth can help by strengthening blood vessels. Further studies show DE to help significantly lower cholesterol and plaque and help keep arteries and veins flexible.
Silica also helps maintain and repair lung tissue and help normalize blood pressure.
As we’ve established, silica is an essential element in the health of bone and connective tissues. The biggest organ in the body falls under that category, and also benefits from silica. Simply put, silica can help save your skin!
75 % of the weight of our skin comes from collagen, which is responsible for our skin’s elasticity, and made mostly of silica.
As skin ages, it loses collagen and elasticity, resulting in sags and wrinkles. But beyond being a beauty preserver, silica is a large and essential part of all our body’s connective tissues, including elastin, mucopolysaccharides, and mucous carbohydrates that promote moisture retention.
By staying moist and resilient, these tissues, which also make up tendons and ligaments, are key in preventing premature aging, arthritis, and bone malformation due to collagen loss.
As silica is a vital part of healthy skin and digestive tissue, it is also important in the prevention of illnesses and infection.
The skin and digestive system, after all, are our first lines of defense against pathogens. Silica is a necessary element for the body’s production of antibodies against viruses, allergens, and bacteria.
Diatomaceous earth is often used for cleansing the digestive tract. While its texture is that of a fine powder, the granules of DE are actually extremely sharp-edged cylinders which effectively scrape away toxins, parasites, and viruses throughout our digestive tract.
The ability of DE to absorb also assists in trapping floating toxins and clinging to bad fats in the body. The result is reducing bad cholesterol, as these trapped materials are excreted through bowel movements.
Don’t be fooled by the description of the diatomaceous earth granules, there is no pain associated with taking DE as it is not abrasive enough to cause organ damage. Instead, it causes a clean and efficient digestive system within a few days use.
Selecting Your Supplement
There are two different types of diatomaceous earth, namely food grade and pool grade.
While most DE comes from salt water sources (all but four worldwide), only fresh water deposits are pure enough to be food grade. Food grade DE is also known as fossil shell flour, and is the only form safe for consumption.
An easy visual distinction is that food grade DE is a white powder while other forms may have a reddish or brown tint.
Like diatomaceous earth, there are two different types of natural silica. Crystalline silica can be dangerous to humans, especially when inhaled. Non-crystalline or amorphous silica is safe for consumption.
Fresh water DE mainly consists of non-crystalline silica while salt water sources contain both, and actually more of the harmful crystalline variety.
Pool grade DE is primarily used for industrial purposes. After being heated to extremely high temperatures of 1000 to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit, pool grade DE can be used for pool and other filters as well as in paints, cosmetics, chemical insecticides, pharmaceuticals and more.
Food grade diatomaceous earth is the purest form in the world, and again, the only form safe for human consumption.
The production of food grade DE strictly regulated and guaranteed to contain non-harmful amounts of non-silica minerals. Double check the label to see if DE has been heated and for the amounts of crystalline silica contained.
Most people take a teaspoon or tablespoon of diatomaceous earth 2-3 times daily. As a fine, water-soluble powder, it mixes easily with most any liquid or food. I find juice or a smoothie to be a natural vessel.
Once ingested and processed by the digestive system, DE is absorbed by intestinal walls and excess is excreted.
Silica will not accumulate in the body, so consistency is key when taking DE as a daily supplement.
No negative health effects have been observed in studies on taking too much silica, but as excess is excreted it is recommended to not take more than about a quarter cup per day.
DE is approved by the FDA and has no side effects, but can be a significant health booster with regular supplementation. It’s recommended as with starting any new supplement to talk to a medical professional prior to starting a DE regiment.
Food grade DE is non-toxic and no threat to humans or animals. In fact, many people use it as a natural dewormer for pets or as a non-irritating external treatment for fleas.
DE is also added to grains in storage because it keeps bugs from eating grain. The effect of DE is basically that of a non-toxic insecticide. DE is a fine, almost talc like powder to us, but on a microscopic level, equivalent to crushed glass.
To beetle-type insects like fleas, ants, and cockroaches, DE works its way into the shell and punctures the bodies of the bugs, dehydrating and killing the insects with no harm to the host, be that your pet or your kitchen!
Finding Diatomaceous Earth
At present, the best way to find food grade DE is online. Compared to other supplements, DE is very inexpensive, particularly if it can help replace other things you take such as cholesterol-lowering medications, calcium or bone supplements, and more.
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