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Consuming a type of crushed rock has become the newest fad in the health area. Although it may sound surprising and peculiar, it is true! Recent studies and claims require our attention to be focused on a powder made from sedimentary soft rock, that has amazing benefits for not only your body but also your pets and your house. Curious now? Read on to know in detail about the dirt craze that has taken up the health-conscious world by storm!
What Is Diatomaceous Earth?
A naturally occurring sand extracted from the earth, diatomaceous earth is made from fossilised algae known as diatoms which are the (fossilised) remains of tiny, aquatic organisms that have collected in the sediment of streams, lakes, rivers, and oceans. The deposits are found all around the world and can be 100,000 to millions of years old  . A soft white powder, it contains 80 to 90 per cent silica. In comparison to other elements that they contain, the silica found in diatomaceous earth is highly absorbable by the human body, making it extremely beneficial for your health  .
Diatomaceous earth is of two types, food grade, which is suitable for consumption, and filter grade, which is inedible and has various uses. In food grade diatomaceous earth, 0.5 - 2% crystalline silica is present. In filter grade diatomaceous earth (non-food grade), 60% crystalline silica is present, making it toxic for consumption. Both varieties have a plethora of uses  .
Uses Of Diatomaceous Earth
- Water purification 
- Insect repellent
- Kills parasites
- Used as a deodorant
- Used as an exfoliant
- Rids bed bug
- Kills ticks and fleas on dogs
- Kills garden pests
- Used in compost pile 
- Used as a feed for chickens and farm animals
- Improves soil quality
- Used as an ant repellent
- Used as an abrasive cleanser
- Absorbs odours
- Removes stains from clothes
- Keeps silver from tarnishing
- Used as an insulating material
Benefits Of Diatomaceous Earth
Here, we will be focusing on exploring the advantages of food-grade diatomaceous earth on the human body.
1. Aids weight loss
It is asserted that diatomaceous earth may help loose that extra unwanted fat deposited in your body. The detoxifying nature of the white powder is linked to these benefits, as it flushes out the unwanted toxins and fat from your body  .
2. Manages cholesterol levels
A study conducted on exploring the impact of diatomaceous earth on high cholesterol levels have gathered that the supplement reduces the total cholesterol by 13.2%, 'bad' LDL cholesterol and triglycerides decreased slightly. Along with this, it also helped in increasing the levels of 'good' HDL cholesterol  ,  .
3. Detoxifies your body
Diatomaceous earth is widely used for its ability to remove toxins and unwanted chemicals. It is one of the major health benefits of the type of sand. Regarded as a natural detoxifying agent, diatomaceous earth helps get rid of parasites and viruses that can cause illnesses  . The silica in the sedimentary deposit fights the damages caused by the free radicals on cells, functioning in a similar way as that of antioxidants.
4. Improves digestion
The detoxification property of diatomaceous earth aids in improving your digestion process by cleansing your digestive tract. The substance's ability to remove toxins is asserted to have a positive impact on your digestive system. It also helps relieve constipation  . It removes the bad bacteria, thereby eliminating bloating, excessive wind, and unwanted gas. It is also beneficial in improving the nutrient absorption in your body due to the improved function of your digestive system  .
5. Improves bone health
Studies have pointed out that diatomaceous earth is extremely good for your bones. The silica content in the substance help improves silicone levels in your body, which in turn betters your bone strength. Likewise, the silica helps in improving your bone metabolism and bone strength. It also helps decrease the risk of bone fractures, as it improves your bone volume and mass. Apart from this, the manganese and copper found in diatomaceous earth are involved in the synthesis of your bone matrix  .
Therefore, it can be pointed out that diatomaceous earth help prevents post-menopausal osteoporosis and arthritis. It also improves your nail health.
6. Boosts immunity
The antioxidant-like property possessed by the substance help improve your immune system. By getting rid of the unwanted toxins from your body, diatomaceous earth gives your immune system a boost. Studies reveal that it helps boost the production of the antibodies and antigens required by the immune system to fight off the infections. It helps your body from colds, flu, infection, and illnesses. It is also beneficial in preventing heavy metal toxicity  .
7. Balances hormones
Diatomaceous earth is 80 to 90 per cent silica, a substance that has been found to play a major role in maintaining healthy hormones. It regulates the balance between the levels of calcium and magnesium in your body, which is critical for hormonal balance. The silica in diatomaceous earth affects all the hormones in your body including your thyroid, thereby helping with thyroid hormone metabolism as well  .
8. Promotes heart health
The silica present in diatomaceous earth plays the central role in improving various parts of your body. It helps maintain your arteries as well as your blood vessel walls strong, which aids in improving your heart health. It is also beneficial in reducing the risk of heart disease and atherosclerosis, limiting the possibility of strokes and heart attacks  . The silica in diatomaceous earth helps to strengthen your veins and arteries through developing collagen and elastin.
9. Lowers blood pressure
Diatomaceous earth has traces of magnesium and potassium which help in reducing high levels of blood pressure. This is in accordance with the property of magnesium that lowers the hikes in blood pressure levels. In a study published by Hypertension, it was revealed that the individuals who consumed magnesium supplements over a period of three months had lower blood pressure; in comparison to the ones who did not take the magnesium supplements  .
10. Controls diabetes
Amongst the plethora of health benefits offered by diatomaceous earth, controlling diabetes is one of the most critical. The manganese and magnesium content in the powder are known to possess the ability to control diabetes. As type 2 diabetes is frequently associated with magnesium deficits, studies have revealed that the consumption of diatomaceous earth supplements has been beneficial in controlling diabetes  .
11. Treats urinary tract infections (UTIs)
The high levels of magnesium in diatomaceous earth act as a natural diuretic, and hence healing infections caused in the urinary tract. It also helps by increasing the excretion of urine and thereby promoting the normal function in the urinary system. Also, diatomaceous earth not only treats the infections but also prevents the further onset of it  .
12. Controls migraine
Studies have revealed that diatomaceous earth plays a major role in migraine pathogenesis. The magnesium content in the substance helps in reducing the symptoms of migraine  . It is also beneficial for headaches and associated conditions such as vertigo and tinnitus, as well as the cortical spreading depression. It also helps in reducing stress and optimising your nervous system.
13. Stabilises endocrine function
Diatomaceous earth is used in managing and controlling metabolism in various endocrine glands. As an individual age or due to poor health, decreased silica absorption and inadequate or reduced hormone or thyroid activity may occur. This can be managed by the consumption of diatomaceous earth  .
14. Improves skin quality
Diatomaceous earth possesses exfoliating properties which help in treating acne and acne scars. The silica content in it makes it effective in being used as a skin exfoliant, helping you in keeping your skin looking young and supple. It also helps in drying out the impurities and toxins found on your skin. Likewise, it also helps in limiting the onset of age-related symptoms on your skin such as blemishes, wrinkles and dark spots  ,  .
15. Boosts hair health
Studies reveal that silica plays a major role in promoting hair growth, therefore, making diatomaceous earth a significant element for improved hair health. It strengthens your hair from the root, which can aid in reducing hair fall caused due to dandruff and other fungal infections  .
How To Consume Diatomaceous Earth?
You can get it in powder form or in the form of supplements. Medical professionals advise to mix a teaspoon of diatomaceous earth with water and take it once a day. It is most effective when consumed in an empty stomach, one to two hours before eating. Drinking an extra cup of water after taking diatomaceous earth can boost its effectiveness.
[Source: Victorian Microscope Slides]
Consult a doctor before incorporating diatomaceous earth into your daily diet.
Diatomaceous Earth Recipes
Green diatomaceous smoothie
- 1-1½ cups of kale
- ½ a medium cucumber, peeled
- ½ green apple, peeled
- 1 tsp of food grade diatomaceous earth
- 1-2 tsp of honey, optional
- Add apple and cucumber to a blender.
- Blend on medium and then add kale and diatomaceous earth, and blend.
- Slightly melt the honey and add it to the smoothie.
- Blend well.
Diatomaceous earth coconut cocktail
- ¾ cup of coconut water
- 1-2 tsp of honey
- 1 tsp of food grade diatomaceous earth
- ½ a lime
- ¼ tsp of pink Himalayan salt, optional
- Add honey, coconut water, and diatomaceous earth to glass.
- Stir until the honey dissolves.
- Squeeze the lime into the mixture.
- Add pink Himalayan salt if desired, and stir well.
- Avoid it during pregnancy and breastfeeding  .
- Breathing in large amounts of diatomaceous earth can cause lung problems such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
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