Food-grade diatomaceous earth has become well known as an enhancement that upholds stomach-related, bone and heart well-being. What does science say regarding it? Food-grade diatomaceous earth is a powder from the cell walls of minuscule skeletons of green growth or sea-going organic entities. Additionally known by different names, for example, “dinosaur dust”, “marvelous mineral”, or “fossil shell”, we can think that it is in both modern and food types. Food-grade diatomaceous earth is utilized as a food supplement, as it is accepted to take out poisons, weighty metals, and different squander from the body. It likewise works on bone and cardiovascular well-being. Is there any supporting proof? Is its utilization safe?
What Is Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth?
This feature differentiates it from that for industrial use, which has over 60% of crystalline silica, a toxic quantity for humans and animals. As a review shared in The Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging explains, silica is used as a food additive, specifically as an anti-caking agent. In beverages and products, it allows for clarification and control of viscosity. In turn, it is an excipient used to produce drugs and vitamins. Today, this ingredient is available in pressurized powder and liquid, used for the exterior of farms, gardens, buildings, and food for humans and pets. To be more specific, you can find the following product presentations:
- Granulate: available as a powder, suitable for human consumption, as it contains less than 1% crystalline silica.
- Ground or micronized: it is the form that is usually used in insecticides.
- Calcined: obtained by heat treatment. It is used to filter liquids and explosives, so its use is exclusively industrial.
What Is It For?
Silica, the main active compound in food-grade diatomaceous earth, is a critical component of ligaments, cartilage and muscles. Likewise, it plays a vital role in plant growth and development. On the other hand, it acts effectively as an insecticide. As stated in the research published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, silica causes the insect to dehydrate, facilitating its extermination. Diatomaceous earth is thought to provide numerous health benefits as a dietary supplement. However, much of these applications come from anecdotal evidence, as no quality clinical studies have been conducted to corroborate their purported effects. What would these uses be?
Effects On Body Detoxification
One of the most popular benefits of food-grade diatomaceous earth is detoxifying the body. According to its supporters, this supplement can cleanse the digestive tract, optimize liver function and stimulate the elimination of toxins. Despite these claims, there is no conclusive research on the subject. Although industrial-grade diatomaceous earth has been found to help remove heavy metals from water, there is no evidence that food-grade diatomaceous earth does. Only one study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that silica could help eliminate heavy metals such as aluminum, limiting their availability in the gastrointestinal tract. More evidence is needed.
Effects On Bone Health
Advocates of food-grade diatomaceous earth claim it is a good supplement for taking care of bone and joint health. This is evidenced by the silica content, a beneficial mineral for bones and connective tissue. A study shared in The Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging explains that silicon, the non-oxidized silica, protects bone health and helps prevent loss of bone density. The problem? The silica contained in food-grade diatomaceous earth cannot be absorbed, so it is unlikely to have this advantage.
Effects On Cholesterol Levels
During a study reported in the European Journal of Medical Research, participants used food-grade diatomaceous earth to lower cholesterol levels. In particular, they took 250 mg of the product thrice a day for eight weeks. After this time, the researchers observed the benefits. To be more precise, a 13.2% decrease in bad or LDL cholesterol and triglycerides was determined. In addition, an increase in good or HDL cholesterol has been recognized. Given the age of the study and the few participants, further trials are needed before confirming these effects.
Other Possible Effects Of Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth
As a food supplement, food-grade diatomaceous earth is associated with other possible health effects. However, these are theoretical claims, as they are not supported by evidence. Such benefits include the following:
- Support of the digestive process.
- Muscle and joint protection.
- Promoting hair growth.
- Strengthening of the skin and nails.
- Elimination of head lice in children.
Presentation And Dosage
Food-grade diatomaceous earth can be included in dietary supplements and medications. It is also present in skincare and pet nutrition products. It can be found in toothpaste, scrubs, foods and drinks. Dosage tends to vary. It usually varies between 1.5 and 3 grams per day. In any case, it is advisable to consult the manufacturer’s instructions. As far as possible, these supplements should be taken under medical supervision.
Product Safety And Contraindications
In general, food-grade diatomaceous earth is safe. As long as it is taken in moderation, it usually poses no risk. This is due to the risk of silicosis, an inflammation that leads to lung scarring resulting from crystalline silica respiration. Due to the lack of studies, this product should not be used by pregnant or lactating women—neither from children nor from patients with a chronic disease.
Food-grade diatomaceous earth appears to have beneficial effects on the body, such as detoxifying and lowering cholesterol. Therefore, food-grade diatomaceous earth supplements should be used cautiously and never replace medical treatments.
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