Have you heard about the variety of diatomaceous earth benefits? With all the ailments people must live with and all the natural and synthetic remedies said to help, it isn’t easy to figure out which substances have what effects. We’re here to help. Diatomaceous earth is one substance that has a number of different benefits. Let’s discuss the many food grade diatomaceous earth benefits.
What is diatomaceous earth?
Diatomaceous earth (DE) is colorless naturally-formed sand. It is found on the ocean floor as a chalky powder. Derived from microscopic fossilized unicellular algae (known as diatoms), DE is more than 30 million years old, and many claim that it has numerous health benefits.
There are two different kinds of diatomaceous earth: food grade and filter grade. Food grade diatomaceous earth is safe to consume, while filter grade diatomaceous earth benefits have industrial uses that are toxic to humans.
The diatoms in diatomaceous earth are made up of 80-90% silica, which is a chemical compound related to the element silicon (which is different from silicone). Silica has many uses, some of which are industrial and some of which may benefit humans.
Food grade versus filter grade diatomaceous earth
Silica comes in a crystalline form and a non-crystalline form (amorphous). The crystalline form is sharp and looks like glass under a microscope. These properties make it great for industrial use but dangerous in high levels for personal use.
Food grade diatomaceous earth contains 0.5–2% crystalline silica and is used as an anti-caking agent in various foods as well as an insecticide. Food grade diatomaceous earth is approved by the EPA, USDA, and FDA.
Filter grade diatomaceous earth is said to contain upwards of 60% crystalline silica and is toxic for mammals, including humans. Among its many industrial applications are water filtration and the production of dynamite.
What is diatomaceous earth used for?
The use of DE can be applied to cleansing applications, cosmetics, and agriculture. Many studies have been performed on DE proving its many uses.
Since DE is a natural abrasive, it has been used as a facial exfoliate and toothpaste. The abrasive properties come from the tiny particles and their sharp edges and holes. This is beneficial for clearing dead skin cells from the body.
Diatomaceous earth is also an excellent natural insecticide. The silica in diatomaceous earth removes an insect’s waxy outer coating, which causes any insect that comes in contact with it to basically die from dehydration. Diatomaceous earth may work similarly to kill internal parasites like worms in farm animals such as cattle and chickens.
DE is also a very good source of natural silica. Food grade DE is 85 percent silica. This is a very important element in the body required for cartilage, bones, tendons, and blood vessels. Silica is vital for all major organ health. Before modern farming ruined the soil, food was the main source of this health-boosting mineral.
Examples of products that may contain diatomaceous earth:
Skin care products
Food grade diatomaceous earth benefits
Much research has shown that food grade DE has a positive effect on cholesterol levels and heart health. DE also has trace amounts of calcium, iron, and magnesium. All these nutrients are vital for overall muscle and bone health.
The non-oxidized version of silica is silicon, which is a naturally occurring mineral that is stored in the human body and appears to be crucial for the health and strength of bones, hair, nails, and skin. Silica is typically not well absorbed, but some researchers believe that silica can release small amounts of silicon, which your body can use.
One study has shown that diatomaceous earth may help reduce cholesterol. Reduced cholesterol can lead to improved heart health.
Diatomaceous earth may also help remove heavy metals, free radicals, and other toxins from the body.
Is diatomaceous earth safe?
Diatomaceous earth is safe to swallow. However, you must be cautious when handling it, because inhaling DE can cause scarring and inflammation of the lungs due to the sharp edges of the crystalline structure. This condition, called silicosis, caused around 46,000 deaths in 2013, mostly to people who were mining it.
While diatomaceous earth is “Generally Recognized as Safe” by the FDA for human consumption, it may cause mild side effects such as:
How to take diatomaceous earth
Start by adding 1 tablespoon of DE to water or juice each day. Note that it will not dissolve completely. Work your way up to 3-4 tablespoons per day. Drinking this mixture has been shown to cleanse the digestive tract of toxins and intestinal organisms. This will benefit your body by allowing more nutrients to be absorbed for energy and overall health.
Just like with any supplemental booster, do your research and start slow. With all the problems that pharmaceutical drugs can cause, looking into natural remedies may be just the answer you are looking for.
Foods high in silica
Not a big fan of trying to add a non-dissolvable powder to your drinks? There are a variety of foods that contain silica naturally that may be easier to eat than taking diatomaceous earth. These foods include:
Some other types of beans
Nuts and seeds
Bananas and dried fruit
Coffee and tea
Meat and dairy
Spring and mineral water
Curious about more natural remedies?
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