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Shilajit: Know The Health Benefits And Side Effects Of This Naturally Occurring Substance From Himalayas

Shilajit is a blackish-brownish, oily and resin-like natural herb or substance mainly found in the Himalayas. According to a study, shilajit is formed by the slow decomposition of certain plants by microorganisms. The herb has many medical applications and is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of a range of conditions.

The plant species from which Shilajit is mainly produced include Trifolium repens and Euphorbia royleana. It is considered to be a millenary (a period of a thousand years) product of nature.

In this article, we will discuss some of the amazing health benefits of shilajit. Take a look.

Active Compounds In Shilajit

Shilajit is made of humic (humus) substances; the primary compound in the herb is fulvic acid It accounts for around 60-80 per cent of the total nutraceutical compounds, including some oligo-elements like selenium.

Other substances in shilajit may include eldagic acid, resins, fatty acids, albumins, latex, gums, sterols, triterpenes, amino acids, phenolic lipids, polyphenols, aromatic carboxylic acids and benzocoumarins. The benefits of shilajit vary from region to region due to its varying molecular composition. [1]

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Health Benefits Of Shilajit

1. Has antiageing properties

According to the Ayurveda, shilajit locks the process of ageing and may help rejuvenate the body. The fulvic acid in the substance is a potent antioxidant that may help scavenge free radicals in the body and protect cells from its damage, thus helping in preserving the cell functions and good skin health. [2]

2. Beneficial for men

Shilajit is an effective and safe Ayurvedic supplement for males. According to a PubMed study, this Ayurvedic Rasayana has positive effects on male androgenic hormones like testosterone and may help maintain its levels. Improved testosterone levels in men are responsible for improved fertility, increased muscle mass, good memory, energy and lower risk of chronic diseases. [3] Shilajit is also responsible to increase the production of sperm.

3. Prevents the risk of Alzheimer's

Shilajit may help improve cognitive functions and stimulate brain functions, thus preventing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's. The fulvic acid in the shilajit helps protect the cognitive impairment and inhibit the formation of plaques in the brain (amyloid-beta), which is the main cause of Alzheimer's. [4]

4. Helps improve fatigue

Muscle weakness and problems in the functions of connective tissue can lead to fatigue. A study has shown that purified shilajit in the form of supplements, when taken for around eight weeks after consulting a doctor, can help improve symptoms like fatigue by improving the muscle and connective tissue functions, strength and muscle mass. [5]

5. Benefits people with high-altitude problems

High-altitude problems such as pulmonary oedema, mountain sickness, body pain, lethargy and lack of appetite may arise when a person staying at low altitude areas moves to high-altitude areas. According to a study, shilajit, a herbomineral drug, can help overcome body pain, lethargy, tiredness and oedema by transporting vital nutrients to the deep tissues of the body in such situations. [6]

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6. Good for heart

Shilajit may help improve the heart functions and manage related problems like high blood pressure, says a study. The high anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of shilajit may help improve the muscle and nerve functions of the heart and prevent problems like arrhythmia or abnormal heartbeat and hypertension. [7]

7. May help people with obesity

Obesity is a global health issue. According to a study, shilajit can help maintain the optimum energy metabolism in the body and burn off excess calories consumed, thus preventing them from getting converted into fat and helping people with obesity. Shilajit may also help reduce skin folds, abdominal fat, thigh fat and total body fat. [8]

8. Decreases brain oedema

Mortality due to brain trauma or injury is mainly due to brain oedema or inflammation rather than bleeding. Shilajit has positive effects on brain oedema, intracanal pressure and other neurological outcomes that arise due to brain trauma or injury. The anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective and antioxidant properties of the herb can help improve post-traumatic injuries and decrease brain oedema. [9]

9. Helps prevent ulcers

Gastric ulcer is a common problem of the digestive tract leading to high mortality and morbidity around the world. A study says that oxidative stress and inflammation are the main cause of gastric ulcer, which can be treated with shilajit's anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities. Shilajit may also help protect against acetic-acid ulcers. [10]

10. Helps people with diabetes

Shilajit has a blood glucose-lowering capacity. It may help reduce glucose levels in the blood and protect pancreatic beta cells from oxidative stress. Shilajit also has a positive effect on cholesterol levels and thus, may help reduce its levels and help people with diabetes in managing the condition. [11]

11. Helps with anxiety

Shilajit contains minerals like magnesium and potassium which when absorbed by the body, helps provide calming effects and reduce symptoms like anxiety, stress and insomnia. The herb also helps increase the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps provide us with a feeling of pleasure and makes us happy.

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Side Effects Of Shilajit

  • In people with gout, shilajit may worsen the condition.
  • Shilajit is great for people with iron-deficiency anaemia, but those with increased iron levels in the body must avoid its supplements.
  • Purified shilajit is healthy, however, raw or unprocessed one may contain heavy metals and microbes that can harm the body.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women must avoid its consumption due to a lack of studies related to the same.
  • To Conclude

    Shilajit is a potent herb with many health benefits. It is mainly available in the form of supplementation as it is purified before usage. Consult a medical expert before using it and never self-medicate with this natural-occurring substance as it may have some side effects.

What shilajit does to your body?

Shilajit is a natural-occuring substance which helps the body in many ways. It may help improve the testosterone levels in men, improve the heart functions and prevent cardiac diseases and boost immunity.

Can shilajit be taken daily?

Shilajit is mainly taken as a supplement. Based on your health condition, a medical expert may prescribe you shilajit pills or powder which you need to take as per the instructions. Consuming shilajit for longer without any medical advice may cause you certain side effects.

Is shilajit have side effects?

Yes, shilajit may cause certain side effects like worsening the condition in people with gout. People with high levels of iron in the body, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers must consult a medical expert before taking shilajit supplements.