Every morning, I drop a nice heaping spoonful of dirt right into my son’s juice. Yes, seriously.
Our bodies are constantly being bombarded by viruses and bacteria, pollutants, heavy metals, and even parasites. Is there anything you are doing to ward off these attacks, and protect your body? What if I told you it could be as simple as eating some dirt everyday?
Okay, so diatomaceous earth (DE) isn’t quite dirt, but it really is close enough. Comprised of the fossilized remains of tiny phytoplankton, called diatoms, diatomaceous earth is an incredible source of silica. Over the course of thousands of years, these little fossils accumulated to form mines in rivers, lakes, and even oceans, and that’s where we get it today. So, what exactly does this stuff do for you anyway?
Heavy Metal Detoxification
We are exposed to heavy metals all. the. time. In fact, most people are surprised when they learn how easy it is for these substances to make their way into our bodies. Aluminum, which can be linked to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, can be found in infant formulas, deodorants, antacids, and many other medications[1,2]. Cadmium exposure has been linked to depression-like symptoms and weakened bones, but can be found in evaporated milk, white flour (refined wheat flour), cigarettes, and black rubber[3,4]. Lead has long been recognized as a dangerous substance for which there is no safe threshold of exposure and can lead to cardiovascular disease, and even death[5,6]. Lead can still be found in processed chocolate, though certain plumbing systems, and vehicle exhaust[7,8].
It’s easy to see that we are, quite literally, surrounded by heavy metals: ingesting and inhaling them almost daily. One main problem, is that these substances are not easily flushed out, and tend to remain in the liver, spleen, kidneys, fatty tissues, and even the brain. I’ve talked briefly about using DE to help remove these metals from the body via detox baths, but many people are not aware that it can also be taken internally. Most heavy metals are classified as cations, which means that they carry a positive charge. DE, on the other hand, carries a strong negative charge which attracts these metals like a magnet. This substance is also incredibly sharp, but because of its small size, poses no risk to humans. This is bad news for heavy metals stored within your digestive tract though, because as the DE makes its way through, it will chip away at these metals that find themselves trapped within your body.
When people think of intestinal worms, their mind is most likely brought to those furry family members who are dewormed on the regular. But, do you ever wonder why or how these domesticated animals are plagued by parasites so often? Unfortunately, these little guys are hard not to come into contact with. It is estimated that over half (60-80%) of Americans currently have some sort of parasite feeding on their body, right now. These little guys can be picked up through uncooked meat, walking outside barefoot, and you are especially likely if your dog or cat has had a recent infection. The main types of parasites to affect humans are: tapeworms, pinworms, and roundworms. Pinworms are especially recognized among parents, because they are a common parasite to plague school-aged children with millions of new diagnoses per year.
It is actually possible for parasites to live in the intestinal tract for literally years, undetected. This is no-good for the host (you!), because your body misses out on vital nutrients and minerals that are stolen by the worms. When the infestation grows large enough to be detected, common symptoms of parasites include: frequent bloating or constipation, nausea or vomiting, excess fatigue, inability to lose or gain weight, skin issues, lowered immune function and constant illness, muscle or joint aches, and seemingly constant cravings for sugar/carbs.
Thankfully, with diatomaceous earth, the ability to rid yourself of these pesky little critters has never been easier. One may wonder about the possible dangers of a substance powerful enough to destroy parasites, but that’s the beauty of such a natural product. It’s not about what DE is made of, but rather the molecular structure of the substance as a whole. DE is very hard, and very sharp (if diamonds were a 10, DE would be an 8), but is also small enough as to not harm the human body. DE is actually used in many forms of pest control, because it has the ability to virtually destroy anything with an exoskeleton. When this substance is ingested by the parasites living within your body, which is bound to happen as they are feeding off of you, DE destroys them from the inside-out, literally cutting them to pieces.
One study, examining the effects of DE on organically raised free-range hens, found that “hens treated with dietary DE had significantly lower Capillaria FEC, slightly lower Eimeria FEC, fewer birds infected with Heterakis, and significantly lower Heterakis worm burden than control hens.” In addition “hens consuming the DE diet laid larger eggs containing more albumen and yolk than hens consuming the control diet.”
Bone & Teeth Health
As noted before, DE is 85% silica. This is very important to note, because silica is absolutely vital when it comes to the health of your bones, joints and ligaments.Silica is the natural form of silicon, and is enriched with oxygen. The National Institute of Health labels osteoporosis (a degenerative bone disorder) as the “silent epidemic” of the 21st century, and noted that the most important source of silica is that which is taken in through the diet. Two studies recently examined the dietary intake of silica and found that it was “significantly positively associated with bone mineral density at the hip and spine of pre-menopausal women. We also showed a similar correlation in post-menopausal women but only in those currently on hormone replacement therapy.” What this shows is that protecting and supporting your bones from an early age is of upmost importance. In fact, deficiency in this essential nutrient can lead to poor skeletal development. But, another study which surfaced in 2014, shows that regular silica intake can actually regenerate bone and improve diseases like osteoporosis.
Teeth are another aspect of the body which benefit greatly from regular silica intake. Researchers out of London recently examined the teeth of large herbivores, and compared their fecal silica content. When comparing the teeth, they were looking for a specific pattern of teeth called hypsodonty. Hypsodonty is a type of high-crowned teeth where the enamel extends beyond the gum line, providing extra material for wear and tear. Not surprisingly, those animals with higher amounts of silica in their fecal matter had significantly increased hypsodonty.
Skin & Hair Health
Your skin is your largest organ, and many people simply do not do enough to protect or support it. DE is so beneficial for the skin, because connective tissues like the skin and trachea, as well as the hair contain the highest concentrations of silica. In fact, we begin to see the aging of the skin (wrinkles, age spots, sagging) as the silica levels drop off. This loss results in less collagen, less connectivity, and less elasticity. One double-blind study evaluated women with thinning hair and compared the results of women who began taking an organic silica supplement, and those who were taking a placebo. The study found that daily silica intake “significantly increased hair growth after 90 and 180 days…suggesting continued improvements may occur with ongoing treatment. No adverse events were reported.”
There are plenty of health benefits that one could see by taking a daily dosage of DE. As Dr. Josh Axe points out, other benefits could include:
- improved digestion and more regular bowel movements
- better liver and colon functioning
- improved detoxification and removal of heavy metals
- stronger immune function and protection from illnesses
- a cleaner home, free from parasites, bed bugs and viruses
- healthier-looking skin, hair and nails
- stronger bones and protection from fractures or osteoporosis
- improved joint and ligament health
- improved energy
- for dogs and cats, cleaner skin and protection from flees
Diatomaceous earth is generally regarded as safe, even during pregnancy, but it is extremely important to work your way up, starting with low dosages in the beginning. It is important to be aware of the Herxhemier Reaction, especially if your body has a lot of detoxing to do. This is a short-lived reaction (typically lasts a few days) to the body detoxifying itself. This normal – even healthy – reaction is evidence of the bacteria, parasites, and viruses that are being killed off. The reason this happens is because the immune system is reacting to the toxins that are released when the “bad guys” are killed off, and the body is unable to rid itself of them quickly enough. Flu-like symptoms are the most commonly noticed: body aches, a general feeling of illness, chills or nausea. This is one instance where “it gets worse before it gets better” holds very true. In order to minimize these unpleasant effects, starting slowly is very important.
Start by adding 1/2 tsp into a juice or smoothie, and slowly increase by about 1/2 tsp per week until you reach 1-2 TBL per day. For children under 60 lbs, cut these doses in half.
Find a quality DE supplement here.
I guess they weren’t lying when they said a little dirt wouldn’t hurt ya. Be well.
Until next time