5 Benefits of Diatomaceous Earth

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM Published on , Last Updated on October 5, 2015

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!


  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.
  • 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.

  • StevenF

    Are you confirming that Liz is correct stating that food grade DE is dangerous if inhaled?

  • Derrick Smith

    Do you even know what these organisms are? The internet has made everyone a doctor. Wow!

  • Derrick Smith

    Wow, you are just full of useful information. Where did you get your MD again?

  • Nick

    Highly unlikely that they are good for gallstones. The liver flushes gallstones by reaction to a certain treatment of oil etc.
    I have had over a 100 friends remove their gallstones by drinking olive oil and lemon juice . Me too done it many times . painless and simple. Just go on youtube and check out the many approaches.

  • Jax

    Doctors are just Practicing Medicine, so either way do your research.

  • http://www.brainout.net brain out

    My package just arrived from Amazon, the one you’re describing.

    The consistency is very much like talc, it’s a pistol to transfer from the large bag (just like the Amazon picture) to other containers, but I didn’t experience any blowback. Whiter than shown on the website or the bag in Amazon, link here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00025H2PY?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00

    I don’t know if it will do good, I got it to get rid of my ants which have been in and out and biting me while I sleep, for a month. Never had that happen before. So I just drank a 50/50 mix of cranberry juice and water, with maybe a tablespoon of this stuff in it. Puts an ‘edge’ on the taste, nothing more.

    The ants disappeared after I sprayed them with babypowder talc, prior to this product’s arrival. Site says this stuff can be mixed with water in a slurry and then sprayed anywhere, becoming effective only when dried.

    That’s what I read from the website. Does it work? Well, I don’t know. Nor will I know about any claimed health benefits, either, for some time.

  • Jag

    Most Doctors are paid and educated by the drug companies. Also they are licenced killers
    only they do it very slowly and not held accountable.

  • jag

    Nothing constructive again from this idiot.

  • hana

    No, pool grade is dangerous but not necessarily because there are any additives. Food grade has less than 1% of crystalline silica while pool grade has 60% or more, which is what makes it dangerous.

  • http://ljnsvoice.blogspot.com/ Toni

    Thanks for clarifying. I didn’t know.

  • http://ljnsvoice.blogspot.com/ Toni

    It sounds to me like her doctor was making stuff up.

  • http://ljnsvoice.blogspot.com/ Toni

    That’s a bit rude, Mr. Smith.

  • Deb Foster

    I ordered DE and it should arrive tomorrow, I am really excited for my husband and I to start taking it.
    I want to give it to my dogs as well. They are 3.5 and 7.2 pounds and eat dry dog food so not sure how to get them to take it. Everything I’ve read says mix it in their food but they eat dry kibble, not wet canned food. Any suggestions?
    I also have an ant problem and am soooo looking forward to using it to get rid of them!

  • Andrik

    Yea that’s what I thought Toni but just wanted to get some opinions in case there was something i didnt know. They just make things up as they go along. Im still taking it and feel great!

  • Melinda Rose

    Why, Derrick, do you have West Lee’s photograph as your avatar?

  • lisancali

    Ha-ha I’m no MD . I love all of Gods amazing Creation. His herbs are beneficial for all of our needs. Thank you Derrick 😉

  • lisancali

    Silica most important next to oxygen. Your body is made of what? Internet blahh I believe nothing on the internet. Advice take yourself to a health food store they will give you more info with their MD certifications.

  • lisancali

    Myself I just sprinkle de everywhere. Interesting thank you for the info brain out. I’ve never mixed with water . Ants and all parasites can live when DE is around.

  • lisancali

    Oh and Derrick it doesn’t take a genius to know what’s healthy and beneficial for us.

  • http://www.brainout.net brain out

    Well, I had quite the ant invasion just after the DE arrived. Turns out one of my bags of cocadas was open, but I had it in a box, so didn’t know. The ants were very quiet, but by the hundreds, making a beeline behind my stove where I guess the nest is. How I missed them for several days, I don’t know, the path between box and stove is a short inside carpeted walkway. But once I saw them, I panicked, started dumping DE everywhere in the bag, on the cocadas, on the kitchen floor, carpet, everywhere.

    Took awhile for that many to disappear, but they did. That was end July. So far I’ve not seen them again, but honey, I still have nightmares of them biting me while I sleep. No more cocadas for me, either.

    Funny thing, they didn’t go after anything else, though I have a lot of open food.

  • Linda

    Great information and I have a question about my cat if anyone can help. She has a 1.5cm cyst which she just started biting and now there is a opening on one side which she keeps licking. She doesn’t seem to be in any pain and sleeps a lot as usual. Can I/should I apply DE to the wound to help heel. Currently I am only using Colloidal Silver

  • Deb Foster

    Red Lake DE is NOT pure DE it is mixed with volcanic ash and clay. The best DE Is from Perma Guard, it is the purest you will get and is sold under many different lables, In Canada Star Lake sells it. In the States Earthworks Health sells it. I’m sure there are others that also sell Perma Guard.

  • Deb Foster

    Depends on the size of the dogs, I give my 3 lb yorkie 1/4 tsp and my 7 lb yorkie 1/2 tsp a day, I take 2 heaping TBS a day now but started with 1 tsp a day for 3 days, then 2 tsp for 3 days then 1 TBS for 7 days then upped it to 2.

  • Lois Gleim

    Hello Laureen,
    Does it help with pain?

  • Pat RIOT

    can’t spell earth without heart <3 diatomaceous

  • Jill Yerington

    Uhhh, I am a professional healthcare provider (who has seen the error/s and frightening ways of Big Pharma) with an undergrad degree in bio chemistry and I am here to tell you that the health food store clerks are not the end all be all of dispensing natural health care products. They are sales associate who in no way, shape or form have the ability to know everything they need to know, when it comes to giving out recommendations. That said, I’m sure they are trained and in serviced on and for the different products, with many truly having a passion for healthy living and all that entails. I have been to many and have been given wrong information and/or they were not able to answer more secondary questions. Do your due diligence if researching on the net, and make sure that you are gleaning your info from reputable sources-both medical and naturopathic.

  • Colleen Bruggman

    DE can be used as a hair volumizer. Just sprinke a little into your roots and voila! Instant volume.

  • lisancali

    I go based on what God has created and what God has created is for our benefits . our diets are depleted from soil and man thanks to big corporate Monsanto . Mother nature is giving it up . Diatomaceous Earth is just right for me.Mans opinions and Chemicals aren’t a part of my life. Silica is good for us . So individual’s 1 up on Diatomaceous earth.

  • lisancali


  • Laurie Annie

    Just because you do not have a certificate hanging on the wall does not mean you are not educated. I believe I know more than most doctors when it comes to nutrition and I’ve studied this for over 13 yrs to heal my son’s vaccine injury that ironically was given by an indoctrinated western doc. People are fed by the FOOD industry, which pays no attention to HEALTH ….AND…treated by the HEALTH industry that pays attention to no FOOD! All propaganda driven without one thought to health!

  • Casey Nelson

    i find that if i eat 2 cups of diatomaceous earth a day i feel like i could dry up a whole river

  • Lara Parkes

    I don’t bother mixing DE in water etc…I take a heaped teaspoon and have a bottle of water handy to wash it down..It doesn’t have a taste and it’s over in seconds…My dad suffered chronic diarrhea most of his adult life…Since taking DE, it has completely stopped and his stools are soft and no more sitting on the toilet for more than a few minutes…DE food grade is the only one you should take for yourself and animals..My skinny little dog is filling out and I’ve seen dead worms in his stools..No more sliding his butt on the ground..This stuff gives you energy, removes toxins from your body and your skin will improve in a few weeks…Feed your dog a teaspoon a day in his food and watch him get well and his coat shine…I don’t feed him canned food..He eats chicken giblets, cooked and raw,mixed with pure butter and grated carrots and apples and a teaspoon mixed in his food and he loves it….Occasionally i mix in brown rice…I rub DE into his coat weekly, just a bit otherwise it makes his coat dry..He has no fleas at all..You can buy DE on Ebay and shouldn’t pay more than 20 dollars for 500gms…DE is really fantastic..I’ve been using it for 3 years now, daily and my cholesterol is normal, my hair is strong and my energy levels are great.

  • Lara Parkes

    The internet has allowed people to take care of their own health without shoving a pill down their throat..

  • Lara Parkes

    Rub in some Black Seed oil …It gets rid of any inflammation on your skin in days..Any open wound it clears up very quickly..Another miracle oil.

  • Jill Yerington

    Jeez, ……sensitive much? You don’t know jack CRAP about what who I am or what I believe in. Did I say that I was an MD? I am %110 against Big Parma….I believe that everything that we have here on this blessed earth is perfectly suited to and for our health and health maintenance……WITHOUT synthetic laboratory made poison that is pushed and crammed down our throats.

  • Jill Yerington

    And I feel exactly the same way! The food that is offered is either full of pesticidal poisons, GMO’s, chemical compounds that our bodies (namely, our liver’s) don’t know exactly how to metabolize therefore it sets off a very different metabolic cascade, all of which is extremeley harmful. And evidenced by so much unnecessary sickness and chronic disease state’s. Our fore father’s were hunter’s and gatherer’s, with a diet of fruit, nuts, berries, and meat,……….they didn’t put in all these preservatives, food colorings, and non bioidentical compounds in their bodies.
    Yes, I KNOW all about soil depletion and the fact they (non organic/conventional)are not fetilizing or even replenishing with something as paramount to life as magnesium. Hello! So.Many.Disease.States.Are.Caused.By.This.Very.Important
    In. Our. Soil/Food/Water. Don’t even get me started on the state and quality of our water supply.
    And yes, I absolutely ADORE diatomaceous earth!!! I use it,- got my entire family using it. Even cleared up my 4 yr old AND 18 yr’s old Keratosis Pilaris!! Worked like a charm. Amazing rate of nail and hair growth- crazy! Cleared up my Mother’s years old toenail fungus beautifully. Scrubs your insides (entire GI tract) clean from the inside out- absorbing and carrying out heavy metals, candida overgrowth, parasites, and basically anything that is not healthy.

  • Dee Walker

    I have been doing some research and looks like it has a (very) high aluminum content. I was at this site because I use dome of Dr Groups products and looking for an answer as to whether or not it is safe to injest with such a high aluminum content.

  • http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/ Global Healing Center
  • Dianne Brown Iszczenko

    I mix it w/juice.

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