Health Benefits of Diatomaceous Earth PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dee McCaffrey, CDC   
Saturday, April 02, 2016
 
You’ve probably never heard of one of the best and most economical supplements to improve your health and cleanse your body. In fact, this supplement is perhaps one of the best kept secrets ever. This relatively unknown “food” supplement is called Diatomaceous Earth, also known as DE. It is a completely natural substance that is rich in naturally occurring silica, a mineral whose list of documented health benefits continues to grow as more research is being conducted.
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Numerous clinical studies show that silica is a crucial mineral that plays a key role in many body functions.

Some of the most recent studies show that it can strengthen bones and joints, prevent osteoporosis and restore bone health if you already have osteoporosis, boost the immune system, ward off Alzheimer’s, prevent premature aging and wrinkling of the skin, and strengthens the arterial walls to maintain good heart health. Another of the benefits of silica is that it helps to destroy bad fats in the body. Used as a daily treatment, diatomaceous earth can alleviate the potentially deadly risks of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity.

Additionally, because of its physical structure, diatomaceous earth is a highly effective anti-inflammatory and internal cleansing agent for the body. It can remove intestinal bacteria, parasites, e-coli, viruses, pesticides, heavy metals, and other toxins. It has also been known to assist with vertigo, headaches, tinnitus, and insomnia.

Sound too good to be true? Read on to learn more about this overlooked multi-purpose supplement and how it can improve many aspects of your health at a fraction of the cost of other supplements.

What is Diatomaceous Earth?

Diatomaceous earth is the fossilized shells of microscopic water-dwelling organisms known as diatoms. Diatoms are one-celled plants (algae or phytoplankton) that are the primary food source for marine life. These plants have been part of the earth's ecology since prehistoric times, yet their species still exists today in both salty and fresh waters all over the world.

Diatoms use soluble silica (sand) from their environment to make their shells, or exoskeletons. As diatoms die, their shells fall to the bottom of the bodies of water in which they live. It is believed that 30 million years ago the diatoms piled up to form thick beds of chalky fossilized sediment. These beds, known as diatomite or diatomaceous earth, were discovered after the waters receded.

Today, hundreds of large deposits of diatomaceous earth occur all over the world. Some are still underwater and some are found in ancient dried lake bottoms. It has been estimated that one cubic inch of diatomaceous earth may contain as many as 400 million shells, that’s how small diatoms are!

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Diatomite is mined and ground into a powder that looks and feels like talcum powder. This all natural powder is called Diatomaceous Earth (DE) or fossil shell flour. It is made up of approximately 33% silicon, 19% calcium, 5% sodium, 3% magnesium 2% iron and many other trace minerals such as titanium, boron, manganese, copper and zirconium.

What Do Fossilized Shells Have to Do With Improving Your Health?

It’s all about the silica.

As I mentioned earlier, the shells of diatoms are made up mostly of silica (known by chemists as silicon dioxide). Silica is one of the most abundant minerals on the planet, but most of it is in a form that is unabsorbable by humans, and there are limited numbers of foods that contain an adequate amount of the absorbable form to supply the quantity our body needs. Silica is the most important trace mineral for human health. It plays an important role in many body functions and has a direct relationship to mineral absorption. For optimal health, the average human body needs to hold approximately seven grams of silica, a quantity far exceeding the figures for other important minerals such as iron and calcium.

Silica can be found in such foods as alfalfa, beets, brown rice and oats. Bell peppers and leafy green vegetables also provide silica, while asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, parsley, sunflower seeds and grain husks, such as barley, millet and wheat contain smaller amounts.

Years ago, the silica found in our foods was adequate, but with today’s depleted soils, only about one-third of the silica needed by our body is supplied in our food.

In our youth, our tissues absorb and maintain high levels of silica— enabling our bodies to remain flexible, resilient, and energetic— but as we age, and as our dietary sources of silica are not meeting our needs, our silica levels steadily decline until they become almost non-existent. In fact, 80% of all of our body’s silica is used up by the time we become adults.

Our bodies need silica regardless of our age and even when diet is not the primary factor in cases of deficiencies, we often become deficient in this essential trace element simply thorough the aging process. The effect of this steady decrease in silica levels is a progressive decline in health, increasing fatigue and acceleration of the aging process.

Diatomaceous earth, which is very high in the absorbable form of silica, can replenish silica levels in the body, which can vastly improve your health and reverse many chronic problems. Studies show that high levels of silica can:

Improve Bone Health and Stop Osteoporosis: Calcium and vitamin D alone are not sufficient for bone growth, density, strength, and flexibility. In fact, the body cannot absorb and use calcium without the presence of silica. Recent data suggests that instead of promoting healing, calcium supplements actually speed up the leeching away of bone calcium and accelerate the degenerative process of osteoporosis and similar diseases that affect the connective tissues in the human body!

To re-mineralize and repair damaged bones, it is now advised that a sufficient silica supplement be taken daily because bones are composed of mainly of the minerals phosphorus, magnesium and calcium; however, these minerals need the presence of silica to be deposited into the bones, especially calcium. Silica hastens the healing of fractures and also diminishes scarring at the location of a fracture. A great deal of research evidence indicates that silica has the ability to “morph” itself into calcium through a transmutation process. Yes, silica actually has the ability to be turned into calcium when there is a calcium deficiency and the body needs it!

That fact alone should be reason enough to supplement with DE!!

Ward Off Alzheimer’s: Scientists and researchers have long hypothesized that Alzheimer’s disease is linked to a build up of aluminum in the brain, and links between aluminum in drinking water supplies and Alzheimer’s have now been ascertained. A factor that had been overlooked is that silica reduces the accumulation of aluminum. When researchers added silica to aluminum-laced water supplies, it inhibited the aluminum from being absorbed. It also caused a proliferation in the excretion of aluminum in urine and lowered aluminum concentrations in the brain, liver, bone, spleen and kidneys. Silica, therefore, may be important in supporting neurological health.

Improve Heart and Lung Health: Silica can hinder the effects of coronary disease by fortifying blood vessels. Studies confirm that with age, silica disappears from the aorta, the heart's key blood vessel— thus weakening its critical connective tissue, and resulting in a greater cardiac risk. Studies have shown diatomaceous earth to significantly lower cholesterol by removing plaque and keeping arteries and veins supple. It also helps to regulate blood pressure. Silica also aids in the repair and maintenance of vital lung tissues and defending them from pollution.

Stop Premature Wrinkling and Sagging Skin: Silica is excellent for supporting bones and connective tissue. Your body needs healthy connective tissue for internal organs and the largest organ which is your skin. And you probably know that degrading connective tissue, with age is why wrinkles appear and skin begins to sag. Perhaps it is not age, but rather not enough silica that makes this happen.

Collagen, which is mostly made up of silica, is the glue that holds us together. Collagen accounts for up to 75% of the weight of the dermis and is responsible for the resilience and elasticity of the skin. Our connective tissues consist of collagen, elastin, mucopolysaccharides and mucous carbohydrates which aid in moisture retention. Their capacity to hold on to moisture keeps the connective tissue resilient and has apparent importance in the prevention of premature aging. All these valuable molecules house large quantities of silica. Also, many people with advanced arthritis suffer from bone deformation when tendons and ligaments in the joints lose flexibility due to loss of collagen. Tendons and ligaments need silica for health and flexibility.

Boost the Immune System: Silica may play an important role in the immune system and its biological response to harmful stimuli. Silica is necessary for the body to produce antibodies that fight off viruses, bacteria, allergens and other invaders that the body views as foreign.
 
Other Ways Diatomaceous Earth Can Improve Your Health

One of the most sought after benefits of diatomaceous earth is to cleanse the digestive tract. Many people consume a variety of processed foods, which contain various harmful chemicals and toxins. Plus, as air quality has decreased, we are constantly putting more toxins in our body that need to be removed.

Diatomaceous earth can purge any parasite, virus, bacteria, or toxin that is clinging to our digestive tract. While diatomaceous earth feels like a soft powder, the truth is that diatomaceous earth is actually a small cylinder with extremely sharp edges. As we consume diatomaceous earth, these sharp edges scrape away parasites, toxins, and viruses clinging to the lining of our digestive tract. Plus, any toxins or bacteria floating in our digestive tract are absorbed and trapped by diatomaceous earth. It has also been shown to cling to bad fats in the body, effectively reducing bad cholesterol. Diatomaceous earth is then expelled through our bowel movements and these harmful materials are removed.

Our skin and organs are strong and thick enough not to be affected by these sharp edges, which is why we feel no pain taking diatomaceous earth. After a few days, the body’s digestive system can be thoroughly cleansed and can operate much more efficiently.

Are All Forms of Diatomaceous Earth the Same?

No! There are two types of DE—Food Grade and Pool Grade.


Most deposits of diatomaceous earth are from salt water sources, while only a few are from fresh water sources. Of the hundreds of DE deposits that exist worldwide, only 4 of them can be called food grade. The DE sourced from fresh water beds are of extremely high purity--so pure that it is called Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth, or also known as fossil shell flour. Food grade diatomaceous earth, the only form safe for human consumption, is a white powder, while other forms of diatomaceous earth may have a brown/reddish tint.

Also, there are two types of naturally occurring silica—crystalline silica and non-crystalline (amorphous) silica. Crystalline silica can be very dangerous, especially to our lungs if inhaled, while non-crystalline silica is completely safe, even for human and animal consumption. The fresh water diatoms contain mainly non-crystalline silica, while salt water diatoms can contain both types, with higher amounts of the crystalline form.

PERMA-GUARD is the trade name known worldwide for using a grade and quality of Diatomaceous Earth (DE) that is extremely pure. Brands that use Perma-Guard food grade Diatomaceous Earth contains less than 0 .5% crystalline silica. It is important to have a consistent shape diatom and no unwanted sediment. The shape of the diatom must be tubular with holes on the walls. It must be from fresh water because the fresh water diatoms form a harder shell and are less fragile that those from salt water. Salt water deposits contain a mix of diatom species. These deposits shapes and sediments are inconsistent making them unusable for safe human consumption.

Other types of diatomaceous earth have other industrial uses. It is heated to a very high temperature (about 1000°C or 1800°F). This type of DE is called “calcined.” It is used for pool filters and other types of filtering but it is also used as a filler and can end up in paints, cosmetics, drugs, chemical insecticides, and other things. Food grade DE is never heated.

Bottom Line: ONLY use Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth for health purposes!!! Food grade diatomaceous earth is the purest form of diatomaceous earth and can be consumed and used by humans. Food grade diatomaceous earth is heavily regulated and must contain less than a certain amount of specific minerals.

Pool grade DE is calcinated and is a stronger, more potent form of DE. It is not to be used by humans and pool grade DE must be handled with gloves and a mask to ensure no throat irritations occur.

All DE should have a label that tells you if it has been calcined and how much crystalline silica it contains.

How Much to Take – How Safe Is It?

Food grade diatomaceous earth is a very fine powder and is very light due to its high porosity. It mixes easily into liquids and foods. Most people take a teaspoon or a tablespoon two or three times a day (up to a total of one quarter cup per day) for best results. Mix it into water, juice, smoothies or other foods.

It sort of resembles putting a spoonful of baking soda in water and drinking it!

Silica is water soluble; hence, once you get it into your body it easily absorbed via the intestinal wall and is also rapidly excreted. It does not accumulate in the body, so consistent daily supplementation is important. Studies have not found any negative side effects from too much silica. Its safety and extensive range of uses makes silica one of the most important minerals used in complementary therapy and alternative medicine. Regular supplementation could make a significant difference in your health.

Being approved by the FDA, Diatomaceous Earth has absolutely no dangerous side effects. It can be used by anyone, as long as the person doesn't suffer from a serious illness. As with any other health supplement, talk to a doctor before using DE. You might have some intolerance to it, so it's advisable to not risk your health. Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers can use it as long as their doctor has agreed.

What Other Uses Does DE Have?

One of the most commonly known uses for diatomaceous earth is as a non-toxic bug killer. DE is almost pure silica (with some beneficial trace minerals); under a microscope, it looks like shards of glass (glass is made from silica). On any beetle-type insect that has a carapace, like ants, fleas and cockroaches, the DE works under the shell and punctures the body, which then dehydrates their innards and the insect dies. DE is totally nontoxic. There is no buildup of tolerance like there is to poisons because the method of killing is PHYSICAL, not chemical. But rest assured, food grade DE doesn't hurt people or animals. In fact, it makes a great flea killer for your pets, and can also be added to their food as de-wormer. Many farmers use it to keep farm animals healthy, both inside and out. Food grade DE is also added to grains in storage because it keeps bugs from eating the grain. So if you eat any grains, you’re probably already eating a little bit of DE!

Where to Get It!

You can buy food grade diatomaceous earth online. Processed-Free America sells it through our online store. You get a good bargain compared to all the other supplements and products you may be taking for calcium and bone building supplementation, detoxing, cholesterol lowering, and more.  
 
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