6 Health Benefits of Bentonite Clay

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

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Bentonite clay has been traditionally used to promote internal cleansing and has become a popular ingredient in a number of detoxification programs. Many people have used bentonite clay to address symptoms of constipation, like bloating and gas. Some have even cited it as effective against more serious gastrointestinal conditions, like irritable bowel syndrome. Research has also revealed its role in protecting the immune system and combating the effects of various toxins present in the environment.

Six Health Benefits of Bentonite Clay

Bentonite clay has been used for centuries, and research is catching up and investigating its long term use. As a detox tool, bentonite clay may be helpful for reducing dietary and environmental toxins, supporting the immune system, and helping to remove fluoride from drinking water. Here are some of the researched benefits of bentonite clay.

1. Removes Fluoride

One study found that bentonite clay, when combined with magnesium chloride, successfully reduced fluoride contained in fluoridated water. This may provide hope for the development of a natural filtration technique in the future, especially considering the rising concern of fluoride on human health. [1]

2. Combats Dietary Toxins

Aflatoxin is a type of mold-like compound produced by organisms that thrive on a variety of different food crops. These toxic substances are detectable in peanut butter and some cooking oils, and research shows that they can interfere with the functioning of the immune system. [2] Aflatoxins may also contribute to possible liver damage, including liver cancer. [3] Animal models have shown that bentonite clay may reduce health damage associated with the ingestion of dietary aflatoxin. [4]

3. Fights Environmental Toxins

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is a term describing an assortment of chemicals emitted from cleaning supplies, paint, office equipment, permanent markers, pesticides, building materials, and hundreds of other everyday items. Breathing in these compounds is commonplace for many people, as indoor paints often contain many of these health-damaging chemicals. Bentonite clay has been shown to adsorb VOCs, possibly reducing human exposure to these dangerous compounds. [5] [6] Determining the proper application of bentonite as a VOC-reducing agent is still being researched.

4. Toxic Metal Cleansing

Bentonite clay is typically used for cleansing the body of toxic metals, compounds that may degrade the health of the body over time. The most damaging toic metals are mercury, cadmium, lead, and benzene, compounds contained in some processed foods (especially those with high fructose corn syrup), drinking water, building materials, and the environment. [7] One study has revealed that bentonite clay may be helpful for reducing these harmful metals. [8]

5. Cleans Contaminated Soil

Soil near busy highways or roads can often be contaminated with a variety of metals, pollutants, and toxic chemicals. Much of the contamination in soil has been built up for decades, and many of these chemicals can interfere with the quality of the soil and crop production. Organic chemical compounds, like benzene, toluene, and xylene, are often found in contaminated soil. These aromatic chemicals are carcinogenic, and exposure to them over time can lead to negative health effects. [9] Bentonite clay may be helpful for reducing soil contaminates by acting as an amendment to chemically-adulterated soil. [10]

6. Immune System Support

Bentonite clay has been shown to be protective against agents responsible for reducing the effectiveness of the immune system, and animal models show that bentonite clay may be a possible immune system strengthener. In one study, broiler chickens were fed food containing aflatoxins to test their immune response. Aflatoxins seemed to initiate unfavorable effects in the immune system, an action that can increase the animals’ predisposition to a number of diseases. Following the administering of bentonite clay, the aflatoxins’ immune-degrading effects were significantly suppressed. [11]

Why is Bentonite Clay Effective?

Bentonite clay has negatively charged molecules, which seems to enhance its adsorptive properties. It’s able to pass through the intestinal tract and attract the toxins which are positively charged. When they are in contact with each other, they swap ions and are bound together and the toxic molecule is absorbed by the clay molecule. Its absorptive abilities come from the low number of minerals–17, to be exact–that comprise the bulk of the product. This low number indicates a higher potential to absorb other molecules. The toxin molecules that bonded with the clay molecules are internalized in the clay molecule. In this state, your body supposedly expels the toxin-filled clay through normal bowel movements.

Using Bentonite Clay

Bentonite clay is powerful and effective. The clay can be used as a facial mask by mixing 1 tablespoon bentonite clay with 1 tablespoon of water. For internal cleansing purposes, mix 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of clay in water and consume. You can gradually work your way up to 2 or 3 teaspoons, but be sure to speak with your doctor while increasing your intake. Don’t take 2 hours before or after medications, and wait an hour after taking bentonite clay to eat. You can also add 1/4 cup of bentonite clay to bathwater along with 1/4 cup of baking soda for detoxing and for softening the skin. Rehydrate after a detox bath. Diabetics are advised against taking hot baths. Keep in mind that clay may be an irritant to the lungs for some people, so individuals should avoid inhaling it.

Have you tried bentonite clay? What was your experience? Please leave a comment and share it with us!

References (11)
  1. Thakre D, Rayalu S, Kawade R, Meshram S, Subrt J, Labhsetwar N. Magnesium incorporated bentonite clay for defluoridation of drinking water. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 2010 August 15;180(1-3):122-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2010.04.001.
  2. Cusumano V, Rossano F, Merendino RA, Arena A, Costa GB, ancuso G, Baroni A, Losi E. Immunobiological activities of mould products: functional impairment of human monocytes exposed to aflatoxin B1. Research in Microbiology. 1996 June:147(5):385-91.
  3. Julia R. Barrett. Liver Cancer and Aflatoxin: New Information from the Kenyan Outbreak. Environmental Health Perspectives. December 2005; 113(12): A837-A838.
  4. Thieu NQ, Ogie B, Pettersson H. Efficacy of bentonite clay in ameliorating aflatoxicosis in piglets fed aflatoxin contaminated diets. Tropical Animal Health and Production. 2008 December;40(8):649-56. doi: 10.1007/s11250-008-9144-3.
  5. Zaitan H, Bianchi D, Achak O, Charik T. A comparative study of the adsorption and desorption of o-xylene onto bentonite clay and alumina. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 2008 May 1;153(1-2):852-9.
  6. Günister E, Isci S, Oztekin N, Erim FB, Ece OI, Gungor N. Effect of cationic surfactant adsorption on the rheological and surface properties of bentonite dispersions. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science. 2006 November 1;303(1):137-41.
  7. Jarup L. Hazards of heavy metal contamination. British Medical Bulletin. 2003;68:167-82.
  8. Oyanedel-Craver VA, Fuller M, Smith JA. Simultaneous sorption of benzene and heavy metals onto two organoclays. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science. 2007 May 15;309(2):485-92.
  9. Martyn T. Smith. Advances in Understanding Benzene Health Effects and Susceptibility. Annual Review of Public Health. Vol. 31: 133-148. April 2010. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.publhealth.012809.103646.
  10. Gitipour S, Bowers MT, Bodocsi A. The Use of Modified Bentonite for Removal of Aromatic Organics from Contaminated Soil. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science. 1997 December 15;196(2):191-198.
  11. Ibrahim IK, Shareef AM, Al-Joubory KM. Ameliorative effects of sodium bentonite on phagocytosis and Newcastle disease antibody formation in broiler chickens during aflatoxicosis. Research in Veterinary Science. 2000 October;69(2):119-22.

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