Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth

diatomaceous-earth

It does not take long to do a quick search online about the magical powers of Diatomaceous Earth.

From humans to pets and animals, to gardens and bed bugs to heavy metal detox and cleansing, food grade D.E. is causing quite the stir as a natural alternative to a wide range of day to day nuances.

Diatomaceous Earth isn’t a really known substance, but gaining traction at the moment. It’s especially getting popular for people who care about their health a lot.

Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth vs Regular?

It’s an extremely popular supplement. Food Grade diatomaceous earth is otherwise known as silica. Majority of diatomaceous earth (DE) contains silica. There are many committed followers to the use of DE. There are all sorts of claims that are being thrown around such as the ability to prevent diseases that limit cognition and prevent/counter skin related problems. It’s considered the one size fit all solution for many users.

Let’s explain DE in detail so you can understand the ins and outs of this substance.

DE consists of fossilized algae that have lived thousands and thousands of years ago. These algae once inhabited the Earth in ancient times. After, the algae has died – their shells are slowly converted into what is known DE. Yes, DE consists of fossilized organisms.

One of DE’s unique properties is the ability to be very permeable. Because, of this property it is used in many industries. You can find DE in toothpaste, explosives, in certain spices, and even coffee creamers. You can see how DE can be used in a variety of ways.

DE consists of three ingredients: silica, alumina and iron oxide. The last two substances are a minority compared to 90%+ silica within DE. There are also claims that DE contains other minerals as well such as: sodium, magnesium, boron and so much more.

What’s interesting is that these claims can be true. Since, DE consists of fossilized algae (fossil shell flour) – the composition of the substance will depend on where it is found. DE has been found all over the world. Due to different geological structures of these places, the composition of the DE will be different. DE has been found in Germany, Czech Republic, United States, and the United Kingdom. (1)

When doing research on DE, it’s important to note that because of the high concentration of silica; you are asking whether silica can provide any benefit for you.

There is an answer to that. Many scientific studies has been conducted on silica. What’s also interesting to note is the various nicknames that the silica goes through. The wide range of names include: diatomite, amorphous silica, and kieselgur.

Possible Diatomaceous Earth Side Effects?

Should you breathe diatomaceous earth or eat it?

As you conduct more research on DE, you’ll eventually slam yourself into something alarming. The government advises you to not take DE within its purest state. The reason being is that inhaling a substance that contains 100% silica, will eventually damage your lungs. You’ll end up developing a variety of problems for your lungs. When DE is goes under the process of crystallization, the DE turns into a substance that can be dangerous to your health.

The CDC has many informational resources that show the dangers of crystallized DE. (2) It is a major concern for people who work in mines and come in daily contact with the substance. Luckily, this isn’t a concern for you if you are not working in a mine that is in direct contact with the substance. If you are a miner then it is highly recommended to wear equipment that reduces your exposure to crystallized DE.

When purchasing DE, you’ll most likely find out that it is considered safe by the government. You will not face any adverse reactions to the DE, since it isn’t crystallized. There are scientific studies that go back 90 years, proving that DE isn’t a harmful substance when consuming DE. (3)

This substance poses little risk to the human body. That risk has been effectively proven away. Now, that you understand what DE is – a discussion can be made on why people use it at all. And, if there’s any scientific merit to it as well.

There are a variety of claims that believers believe DE can do for them. There are too many to count and most of them have no scientific merit behind them. It’s all anecdotal evidence. These are some of the claims:

  • Gets you higher energy
  • Removes and cleans toxins from your body
  • Helps you to lose weight
  • Keeps your hair clean and healthy
  • Can be used to evade drug detection tests.
  • Can be used as a pain killer
  • Solution to baldness
  • Slows down aging
  • Counters the effect of pollutions to the lung
  • Treats diabetes
  • Raise metabolic activity
  • And the list goes on…..

Many of these claims are highly unrealistic and have no scientific evidence behind them. You should not rely on these claims, as they have not been conducted on a scientific. People’s self-experience can be highly biased and clouded. Thus, one cannot get accurate data from these group of people. Most of these outlandish claims can be explained through the placebo effect. (Your brain believes in a result or effect and thus actually creates the result/effect.)

What can DE actually do for you?

Despite, there not being any scientific evidence for many of the health benefits for DE – that doesn’t mean there is none. There’s growing research indicating that the use of silica can improve bone health. This is especially relevant to the use of the elderly, who are a common group that face issues with bone health. Research has indicated that not having silica within your body can produce adverse health effects. And, that includes your bones. This research has proven that silica plays a role in improving bone health. (4)

Scientific research has also indicated that DE can reduce your cholesterol levels. Subjects who had high traces of cholesterol were given DE, and the result was that people the amount of cholesterol went down. (5)

Conclusion

Diatomaceous Earth isn’t bad for you, if it isn’t crystallized. Most of the DE you will encounter is safe. There are only two benefits to DE that has been confirmed by science – lowering cholesterol and improving bone health. Everything else is hype.

REFERENCES

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diatomaceous_earth
  2. http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/81-123/pdfs/0552.pdf
  3. http://www.inchem.org/documents/jecfa/jecmono/v46aje60.htm
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17435951
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9533930

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