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


  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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  • Psalm19

    My wife and I work in the animal care field and we’ve noticed the increased rates of cancer and disease in people’s pets as well as many of the traditional allopathic flea and tick preventatives becoming ineffective. After intensive research, we opted to include diatomaceous earth on our new dog’s food approximately two years ago. Despite being in North Texas where fleas and ticks are rampant, we have seen no sign of either. There is evidence that DE may even prevent heartworms. The best thing about DE is that it is “dirt” cheap! Just one more example how God’s natural, inexpensive way trumps man’s expensive, allopathic, deadly way.

  • Liz

    I am a huge fan of diatmoaceous earth. It got rid of my first — AND last! — run in with fleas almost a decade ago. We had JUST moved in to a new apartment with (TIGHT) carpeting, and I noticed some flea bite symptoms on my poor fur baby. We doused the place in DE (floor, fabric furniture, cracks, DOG), let it sit a few hours, then vacuumed everything up. Never had a problem with them again.

    No article on DE is complete, though, without mentioning how DANEROUS this stuff can be if inhaled. It’s basicallly like snorting powdered glass; it will cut up your bronchial system like little Edward Scissorhands. When applying (AND vacuuming) DE, we used goggles and respirator masks (ya know, the cheap “surgical” masks from Home Depot). So, anyone using this, just be careful not to breath it in when applying it.

  • http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/ Global Healing Center

    Good point, Liz, thanks for the input!

  • Sturzoo

    we use it for our dairy goats, dogs, cat,calves, chickens…….. the whole farm even us… we have no fleas, ticks, lice (on goats), the flies are less than before we started using DE also. we use it on ant beds to be rid of the critters. WE (humans) use it daily for all the above tnat was spoken of in this article.. We have now been using it for 4 years and LOVE DE…

  • Suzanne Duffy


  • canadawest

    I wonder if it is useful if one has gallstones?

  • http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/ Global Healing Center

    Good question! Anyone have experience in this capacity?

  • Psalm19

    I have also discovered through online research and personal experience that DE also seems to be effective in fighting candida. It’s worth a look!

  • Sherry T

    Would love to know how DE can help the lungs. (I know not to breathe it in.) Anyone had experience with it helping get rid of chronic bronchial asthma? I am new to DE and love what I see that it can do so far. Please tell me more and/or point me in the right direction of where to find info on this and help for asthma.

  • sendingthesheepofftoslaughter

    I am also a huge fan of this product. I dust the dogs and the chickens with it and put it in the bedding of the chicken coop. I was putting a tablespoon in my coffee everymorning, but I stopped drinking coffee and have not found another drink to put it in. I keep planning on juicing in the AM, I bet that would be a great way to ingest it. I found my intestinal system to work and feel the best while I was doing this.

  • ANiceNurse

    How much diatomaceous earth should be added to a dog’s food? Does it depend on their size? Also, what is recommended for people? I have been using it topically on my dogs.

  • drew

    I was broken out head to toe, the worst itch of my life, I went to my family docter, shown and told him, he said I had scabies, gave me permithrin cream, the problem kept getting worst, I thought I was gone to die, done private research found diatomaceous earth I used this product all over the house started drinking it twice a day and in one week I am 90% better with my skin and track marks are all most gone from the scabies no more itching, this product is from heaven and saved my life where docters couldn’t so glad I found this product.the fda need do research and market product for human consumption..thanks. drew

  • Janet

    I have candida does DE work?

  • maria brown

    good to know

  • E_Durkheim

    What about putting it in yogurt? Broth?

  • Midge

    How much should I take for my nails. They are horrible. :/





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