5 Benefits of Diatomaceous Earth

5-benefits-of-diatomaceous-earth

Diatomaceous earth is a naturally-formed sedimentary mineral rock. It’s derived from the remains of diatoms, or oceanic unicellular algae. [1] Diatoms are over 30 million years old and are formed from the cementation of microscopic algae-like plant remains into the earth’s surface. These clay-like, chalky remains are usually found in the form of a thick, white, siliceous powder known as diatomaceous earth. [2] Often used to support body cleansing, some research also suggests it’s a natural tool for promoting normal blood lipids, detoxing toxic metals, and fighting harmful intestinal organisms.

Health Benefits

The use of diatomaceous earth knows no bounds, and has many applications in cosmetic, agricultural, and cleansing realms. It’s been extensively investigated and some interesting benefits have been discovered.

1. Natural Source of Silica

Food-grade diatomaceous earth is composed of approximately 85% silica. [3] This important, trace mineral is required by tendons, cartilage, blood vessels, and bones. [4] The nutrient even contributes to almost every vital organ, including the heart, liver, and lungs. Food was the primary source of naturally-occurring silica before modern farming practices depleted the soil. It is suggested that only 1/3 of the silica we need is available in natural, plant-based foods.

2. Promotes Skin Health

Because diatomaceous earth is a strong abrasive, it is often used as a toothpaste and facial exfoliator. The process of exfoliation is important in skin care as it helps to remove dead skin cells that may give the appearance of tired, worn-out skin. The product’s natural silica content is also necessary for healthy skin, teeth, hair, and nails, and the product is often touted as a potent beauty mineral.

3. Supports Heart Health

Research has also shown that food-grade diatomaceous may offer positive benefits for cholesterol levels and encourage heart health. [5] Nutrients such as silicon, calcium, sodium, magnesium, iron, and other trace minerals are available in diatomaceous earth, giving rise to a practically endless supply of health benefits. Most of these nutrients play a role in building and repairing of muscles and bones.

4. Natural Pesticide

One of the most common uses for diatomaceous earth is as a natural insecticide. Studies indicate that this clay-like powder can kill the harmful insects that threaten crops and home life. [6] Due to the incessant use of pesticides, many insects have become resistant to chemical deterrents. This organic pest control method is helpful for reducing the amount of environmental toxins we’re all exposed to.

5. Internal Cleanser

Diatomaceous earth acts as a mild abrasive topically as well as internally. It can help to remove intestinal invaders and other harmful organisms from the digestive tract. As an internal cleanser, diatomaceous earth may aid cleansing by supporting regularity and assist in removing toxic metals. [7] Some studies have shown diatomaceous earth to be very successful in ridding animals of harmful organisms. Food-grade diatomaceous earth placed in the feed of livestock may help discourage fleas and other harmful bugs. [8] Make sure that all diatomaceous earth is labeled “food grade” and is untreated and unheated!

What are your favorite uses for diatomaceous earth? Leave a comment and share your experience!

-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

References:

  1. Armbrust EV, Berges JA, Bowler C, Green BR, Martinez D, Putnam NH, Zhou S, Allen AE, Apt KE, Bechner M, Brzezinski MA, Chaal BK, Chiovitti A, Davis AK, Demarest MS, Detter JC, Glavina T, Goodstein D, Hadi MZ, Hellsten U, Hildebrand M, Jenkins BD, Jurka J, Kapitonov VV, Kroger N, Lau WW, Lane TW, Larimer FW, Lippmeier JC, Lucas S, Medina M, Montsant A, Obornik M, Parker MS, Palenik B, Pazour GJ, Richardson PM, Rynearson TA, Saito MA, Schwartz DC, Thamatrakoln K, Valentin K, Vardi A, Wilkerson FP, Rokhsar DS. The genome of the diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana: ecology, evolution, and metabolism. Science. 2004 October 1;306(5693):79-86.
  2. Enrico C. Vigliani and Giacomo Mottura. Diatomaceous Earth Silicosis. British Journal of Industrial Medicine. July 1948; 5(3): 148-160.
  3. Lloyd E. Antonides. Diatomite. USGS Mineral Resources Program.
  4. Martin KR. The chemistry of silica and its potential health benefits. The Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging. 2007 March-April;11(2):94-7.
  5. Wachter H, Lechleitner M, Artner-Dworzak E, Hausen A, Jarosch E, Widner B, Patsch J, Pfeiffer K, Fuchs D. Diatomaceous earth lowers blood cholesterol concentrations. European Journal of Medical Research. 1998 April 8;3(4):211-5.
  6. Korunic Z, Mackay A. Grain surface-layer treatment of diatomaceous earth for insect control. Archives of Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology. 2000 March;51(1):1-11.
  7. Danil de Namor AF, El Gamouz A, Frangie S, Martinez V, Valiente L, Webb OA. Turning the volume down on heavy metals using tuned diatomite. A review of diatomite and modified diatomite for the extraction of heavy metals from water. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 2012 November 30;241-242:14-31. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2012.09.030.
  8. Bennett DC, Yee A, Rhee YJ, Cheng KM. Effect of diatomaceous earth on parasite load, egg production, and egg quality of free-range organic laying hens. Poultry Science. 2011 July;90(7):1416-26. doi: 10.3382/ps.2010-01256.

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  • Jenny

    thanks for sharing that….the article said it should NOT be treated w/heat and organic food grade, where can get the highest quality….?

  • lisancali

    It’s on Amazon , They send you a huge 10 pounds in a bag . My mom bought some $19.00 . I’ll get the name of the company.

  • Lisa Penn

    I Was also broke out from head to toe and since I Was already going through breast cancer treatment I was referred to a Skin Cancer/Dermatologist. First visit he told me it was prurgis nodules that it would go away after my chemotherapy stopped. Mind you this was in December my last chemotherapy treatment wasn’t until March. I Couldn’t take the breakouts or itching so I returned to the Skin dr. This time I was treated for scabies I used the permethrin cream. Went back two weeks later still the same results. This is now June and my arms and legs look like I am diseased! Skin Dr. Informs me that it was a combination of my nerves,stress and the amount of medication I am on. And I was told to come back in a month. One night I wake up to go to the bathroom and my whole right arm is swollen bites everywhere! I Said to myself no way is this in my head. I Went back stripped all the cover off my bed and in the corner of my mattress are 3 little bugs. I Killed them because I hate bugs! Put them in a Kleenex and googled them low and behold “bed bugs “. I Suffered 7 months, thought I was going crazy all because this Skin dr didn’t have a clue as to what bed bug bites look like and had me thinking It was all in my head! Needless to say I cancelled my next appointment with him and have had my room treated and slept in my spare room. No more bites! But I am scarred up from not only my cancer scars but something that could have been detected earlier and I wouldn’t have to cover my whole body in the middle of summer ! Always follow your instincts doctors are only taking an educated guess.

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