Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a naturally occurring sedimentary rock with a granular structure that is rich in silica. Because this material is soft enough to break down into powder, it can be easily ingested or used topically for a number of health benefits. Food grade diatomaceous earth consists of the fossilised remains of diatoms, a major group of micro-organisms that are found in vast oceans and waterways around the world. These diatoms are millions of years old and feature a number of important trace minerals, making them a powerful tool that we can use to enhance our health and well-being. Below we discuss what food grade diatomaceous earth is and the evidence-backed diatomaceous earth benefits.
- Promotes Stronger Teeth, Bones and Joints
- Can Strengthen Your Hair and Nails
- Helps in the Fight Against Parasites
- Can Help to Detoxify and Strengthen Your Digestive System
- Reduces Bloating, Wind, and Gas
- Increases Nutrient Absorption
- Helps to Balance Your Hormones
- Promotes Heart Health
- Strengthens the Immune System
- Essential for Collagen Production
- Prevents Heavy Metal Toxicity
- Beneficial in Wound and Burn Healing
- Can Help to Lower Blood Pressure
- Has Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
- Helps Control Diabetes
- Helps You to Look Younger
- Helps to Heal Infections of the Urinary System
- Can Decrease Headaches and Migraines
- Can Be Used Topically as a Skin Exfoliant
- Decreases the Risk of Bone Fractures
- Stabilises Endocrine Function
- Helps to Purify Water
- Helps to Keep Your Skin Looking More Supple
- Helps Provide Energy to Your Body
- May Be Able to Reduce the Risk of Dementia
- May Be Able to Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer's Disease
- Can Help to Lower Cholesterol
- Can Help to Prevent Post-Menopausal Osteoporosis
- Helps to Reduce Stress and Optimise Your Nervous System
- Helps to Regulate and Promote Healthy Sleep Patterns
- Assists in Reducing Muscle Weakness and Fatigue
What Is Diatomaceous Earth?
Diatomaceous earth is a simple and ancient treasure that has been recently re-discovered by health practitioners. While not all types of diatomaceous earth can be used internally by people, food grade DE is completely safe to ingest and is often coined a superfood. Diatomaceous simply means full of diatoms, with the single-celled honeycomb structure of these algae organisms containing a number of trace minerals that are essential for human health. Simply put, these diatoms work their wonders by gently exfoliating the gut and infusing trace minerals into the body as they go, among many other diatomaceous earth benefits.
While silica is the primary mineral found in diatomaceous earth, it also features calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, copper, zinc, iron, phosphorus, selenium, manganese, boron, and chromium among other minerals. When diatomaceous earth has been sourced and made for human consumption, it has the ability to support the body, protect the organs, enhance the immune system, and fight off dangerous parasites.
If you want to get started enjoying the benefits of diatomaceous earth, watch this video to learn the best way to take it:
The 31 Health Benefits of Diatomaceous Earth
1. Promotes Stronger Teeth, Bones and Joints
The silica in diatomaceous earth supports stronger teeth, healthier bones, and more flexible joints. According to a 2007 study in The Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging, dietary silicon is beneficial to healthy bone mass and connective tissue (1).
Not only does diatomaceous earth support normal metabolic processes, it also has a measurable effect on bone mineral density (2). Low bone mass often leads to osteoporosis, a disease which has been called “a silent epidemic of the 21st century.” Adding diatomaceous earth to your regular diet can have substantial positive effects on skeletal strength and function, with the high levels of silica and other minerals possibly helping to prevent and treat bone and connective tissue diseases like osteoporosis (3).
2. Can Strengthen Your Hair and NailsThe ingestion of food grade diatomaceous earth can help to protect and strengthen your hair and nails (4). Among other things, silica is well known for the positive effect it has on hair and nails, with this powerful mineral also helping to protect the scalp from fungal infections. Whether you have specific problems with dandruff or hair loss, or you simply want to increase the strength and shine of your hair and nails, food grade diatomaceous earth is a powerful form of bio-available silicon.
3. Helps in the Fight Against ParasitesDiatomaceous earth can assist in the fight against dangerous parasites. The composition and low density of this product are ideal for killing and flushing parasites from your body, with smaller intestinal parasites removed directly and larger parasites in the digestive tract chopped up before being flushed out. Due to the small size of the silica in diatomaceous earth, this material will not harm your beneficial gut bacteria. Diatomaceous earth has already been used for a long time to treat parasites in livestock and pets, with high-grade materials proving just as beneficial for controlling parasites in humans. According to a study published in the Oxford Journal of Poultry Science, diatomaceous earth has the potential to be an effective long-term treatment for parasite control and elimination (5).
4. Can Help to Detoxify and Strengthen Your Digestive SystemThe benefits of diatomaceous earth can be seen throughout the digestive system, with the composition of this material proving useful in cleansing the intestines and digestive tract. Silica can be beneficial in soaking up and sweeping away a range of heavy metals and other toxins, as well as helping to eliminate intestinal worms, intestinal parasites, and other dangerous micro-organisms. The silica in diatomaceous earth can be taken to reduce the accumulation of waste and improve gut health, with silicon dioxide found to improve gastrointestinal disorders (6).
5. Reduces Bloating, Wind, and GasThe digestive benefits of diatomaceous earth help to cleanse and detoxify the human body of bad bacteria, helping you to eliminate uncomfortable bloating, excessive wind, and unwanted gas. By helping to improve healthy digestion through the removal of parasites, toxins, and other impurities, diatomaceous earth can help to ensure a functional and unburdened digestive system. Diatomaceous earth has been found to eliminate certain stored product pests such as meal worms and mites, and may play a similar role within the human digestive system (7).
6. Increases Nutrient AbsorptionFood grade diatomaceous earth helps to improve your digestive system, making it easier to absorb essential minerals and nutrients. If you can create an unburdened digestive system by removing the bad stuff from your digestive tract, nutrients will be more easily absorbed and the overall health of your body will improve as a result. Silicon is a major and naturally occurring trace element in the human body, with the vast majority of this material derived from our diet. The presence of silica in most human cells and primitive organisms suggests that it may have an essential biological role in all organisms (8). The bio-availability of silica has been found to improve nutrient absorption and modify nutrient efficiency and content (9).
7. Helps to Balance Your HormonesMany of the benefits of diatomaceous earth are related to the silica content, which accounts for roughly 80-90% of its overall composition. Silica has been found to regulate the balance between magnesium and calcium in the body (10), with this balance essential for maintaining healthy hormones. Silica affects all of your hormones, including your thyroid, with the selenium in diatomaceous earth also assisting with thyroid hormone metabolism (11).
8. Promotes Heart HealthThe silica in diatomaceous earth helps to keep arteries and blood vessel walls supple and strong and supports overall heart condition. According to research , silica may be helpful in reducing the risk of heart disease and atherosclerosis, which can cause strokes and heart attacks (12). Arteriosclerosis is a serious type of coronary artery disease that causes hardening of the arteries. This condition can be extremely dangerous, with hardened arterial walls causing the blood to move more slowly and increasing the chance of damage due to high blood pressure. The silica that is found in diatomaceous earth helps to strengthen the body’s veins and arteries through the formation of elastin and collagen (13).
9. Strengthens the Immune SystemThe health benefits of diatomaceous earth influence the entire body, with improved gut health and lower levels of inflammation helping to protect the immune system. This material is incredibly old and originates from deep within the earth’s rich crust, with the diatoms in diatomaceous earth providing humans with access to some of the most alkalising minerals available. According to research, the silica in diatomaceous earth helps to boost the production of the antibodies and antigens that the immune system needs to fight infections (14). What this means is simple - faster and more efficient healing from colds, flu, infection, and illness.
10. Essential for Collagen ProductionCollagen is the main structural protein found in skin and other connective tissues, with this protein also regularly used in cosmetic surgical treatments. The silica found in diatomaceous earth is important for the production and maintenance of collagen, which is also helpful in healing the lining of the gut, maintaining healthy skin, and improving hair strength among other benefits. According to research, silica induces a significant increase in collagen levels of between 13% and 19% compared to a control group (15).
11. Prevents Heavy Metal ToxicityDiatomaceous earth has a number of benefits for humans, many of which are related to the removal of parasites and toxins. The accumulation of aluminium in the body is a particularly big concern that often results in aluminium toxicity, something which can lead to numerous diseases. The silica found in diatomaceous earth possesses heavy metal detox properties (16) that reduce the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions that can result from long-term aluminium poisoning (17).
12. Beneficial in Wound and Burn HealingThe silica and other minerals found in food grade diatomaceous earth have been found to stimulate the rapid re-growth of damaged skin tissue. Silica is present in all human tissues at all times, with most of the silica that our body needs coming from our diet. According to research, silica is integrally bound to connective tissues around the body and plays an important structural role in healing and growth (18).
13. Can Help to Lower Blood PressureMagnesium, potassium, and other minerals found in diatomaceous earth may have a positive effect on heart health and blood pressure. A number of studies have shown links between magnesium consumption and lower blood pressure, which is integral for human health and longevity. According to a study published in the journal Hypertension, people who took magnesium supplements over a period of three months had lower blood pressure than those who did not take magnesium supplements (19).
14. Has Anti-inflammatory Benefits
Inflammation is a defence mechanism that occurs when the body attempts to heal problems. Even though this biological response is an important part of self-protection, it often gets out of control and causes disease. The magnesium content in diatomaceous earth helps to prevent the chronic inflammation that is responsible for so many diseases, with the rich mineral makeup also helping to prevent early ageing and obesity. According to research, a low magnesium status has been associated with numerous pathological conditions characterised by chronic inflammation (20).
15. Helps Control DiabetesThe health benefits of diatomaceous earth stretch far and wide, with the rich mineral content of this food grade product helping to protect against numerous diseases. The magnesium and manganese found in diatomaceous earth are both known to provide assistance in controlling diabetes, which is one of the most prevalent diseases in the developed world. Type 2 diabetes is frequently associated with extracellular and intracellular magnesium deficits, with magnesium supplementation in diabetic patients found in most, but not all clinical studies (21).
16. Helps You to Look YoungerSilica and many of the other minerals found in diatomaceous earth are known to have an effect on skin elasticity and other factors known to affect beauty and subjective ageing. While the silica found in high-grade diatomaceous earth is retained by the body in all tissues, the highest levels of silica have been found in bone and other connective tissues related to physical appearance, including skin, nails, and hair (22).
17. Helps to Heal Infections of the Urinary SystemRegular ingestion of diatomaceous earth may help to prevent kidney gemstones and heal infections of the urinary system. The high levels of magnesium and other minerals found in diatomaceous earth can act as a natural diuretic, which may be able to increase the excretion of urine and help to promote normal function in the urinary system. According to one study , magnesium supplements can decrease the severity and recurrence of urinary tract infections (23).
18. Can Decrease Headaches and MigrainesHeadaches, migraines, and associated conditions such as vertigo and tinnitus may be partially alleviated with food grade diatomaceous earth and other natural supplements. Magnesium is essential to many intracellular processes and is known to play an important role in migraine pathogenesis (24), with many of the other minerals found in diatomaceous earth also needed to prevent cortical spreading depression and other causes of headaches.
19. Can Be Used Topically as a Skin ExfoliantSilica is one of the most important minerals on Earth and the second most abundant element in the Earth's crust at 28%. While most of the silica present in igneous and sedimentary rocks is not readily broken down, diatomaceous earth is a notable exception. Diatomaceous earth can be used both internally and topically, with its silica and mineral content acting as a great skin exfoliant and facial scrub (25). While food grade diatomaceous earth is generally believed to be completely safe to consume, when using it as a beauty product, some people advise against breathing in the fine particles.
20. Decreases the Risk of Bone Fractures
Among all the diatomaceous earth health benefits, bone health gets most of the attention for a very good reason (26). The silica in food grade diatomaceous earth is known to increase bone volume and mass, with dietary silicon one of the best ways to improve bone and connective tissue health and reduce the risk of bone fractures (27). While the exact biological roles played by silica in bone health are unknown, it is thought to improve the synthesis and stabilisation of collagen and its matrix mineralisation. The copper and manganese in diatomaceous earth are also involved in the synthesis of the bone matrix.
21. Stabilises Endocrine FunctionThe health benefits of diatomaceous earth affect every part of the human body, with the silicon content able to control metabolism in various endocrine glands (28). Ageing and poor health often lead to decreased silica absorption and inadequate or reduced hormone or thyroid activity, which can be partially alleviated with silica supplements or the ingestion of diatomaceous earth products.
22. Helps to Purify WaterAlong with being used internally and topically to improve health and well-being, diatomaceous earth can also be used to improve the quality of the water we drink on a daily basis. This product has been used in water filters for years now, with its chemical composition and high silica content making it a great filtration aid. According to a study published in the Journal of Applied and Environmental Microbiology, diatomaceous earth helps to kill dangerous viruses and purify drinking water (29).
23. Helps to Keep Your Skin Looking More SuppleThe collagen in diatomaceous earth has been found to have a number of beneficial effects on factors of human skin physiology that are commonly related to ageing (30). Skin elasticity was vastly improved with collagen supplements, with skin moisture and trans-epidermal water loss also improved to some degree.
24. Helps Provide Energy to Your BodyThe magnesium content in diatomaceous earth helps your body to produce energy from food and improve exercise performance (31). Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a critical role in how the human body functions on a daily basis, including energy metabolism and the maintenance of normal muscle function.
25. May Be Able to Reduce the Risk of DementiaThe high silica content in diatomaceous earth, along with the other nutrients and anti-oxidants, may be helpful in reducing the risk of dementia. According to a 2009 report published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, silica can be ingested to counteract the damaging effects of aluminium in drinking water (32). In the study, scientists found that the mineral silica can help to decrease the risk of aluminium-induced dementia in elderly patients, with diatomaceous earth one of the best sources of silica in the world.
26. May Be Able to Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer's DiseaseDiatomaceous earth may be able to help decrease the risk of Alzheimer's disease, with studies already showing the health benefits of water that is rich in silicon. According to a study by Christopher Exley, a leading scientist on the issue of aluminium toxicity, silicon dissolved in water can chelate damaging aluminium from the body without having any harmful effects on other beneficial metals (33).
27. Can Help to Lower CholesterolMany of the benefits of diatomaceous earth are related to the circulatory system, with silica and other minerals known to influence heart health and blood pressure. While many studies have been undertaken to look at the benefits of silica, magnesium, and other minerals, there are not many studies based on diatomaceous earth as a product. According to one 1998 study published in the European Journal of Medical Research, however, consuming diatomaceous earth three times a day for eight weeks was found to improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels in healthy human subjects (34).
28. Can Help to Prevent Post-Menopausal Osteoporosis
Silica is known to improve bone matrix quality and facilitate bone mineralisation, with both of these factors capable of preventing and managing post-menopausal osteoporosis (35). While the benefits of calcium and vitamin D supplementation are well known when it comes to osteoporosis treatment, silica and many of the other minerals found in diatomaceous earth are only now starting to be recognized.
29. Helps to Reduce Stress and Optimise Your Nervous SystemThe magnesium levels found in diatomaceous earth are capable of optimising our central nervous system and helping our cells to produce and use energy (36). Magnesium is crucial for a wide range of body functions, helping with stress management, anxiety, and cell repair. By increasing our magnesium levels with diatomaceous earth and other supplements, we can optimise our nervous system, moderate out anxiety levels, and feel less stressed throughout the day.
30. Helps to Regulate and Promote Healthy Sleep PatternsThe health benefits of food grade diatomaceous earth stretch far and wide, with the mineral content of the ancient diatoms assisting us on both a psychological and physical level. The magnesium and calcium in diatomaceous earth is needed by the body to promote healthy sleep patterns, with insomnia one of the primary symptoms of magnesium and calcium deficiency. According to a study by the Human Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota, a high magnesium and low aluminium diet is one of the best ways to promote deep and uninterrupted sleep (37). Poor sleep and insomnia are responsible for so many health conditions, with a lack of magnesium and other key minerals found in diatomaceous earth often having a snowball effect.
31. Assists in Reducing Muscle Weakness and Fatigue
Diatomaceous earth includes a number of powerful minerals, including phosphorus and calcium which have the ability to reduce physical health problems such as muscle weakness, numbness, and fatigue. The phosphorus in diatomaceous earth can also have a positive effect on libido levels and impotence, making it a great sexual tonic when combined with a healthy diet and exercise. Phosphate is an excitatory or high-energy mineral because it is used to fuel our bodies and produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate) (38).
Final Thoughts on the Diatomaceous Earth Benefits
Food grade diatomaceous earth is here to stay and is a new age superfood. The health benefits of diatomaceous earth are extensive with more coming to light everyday. However, diatomaceous earth can only be consumed when it is food-grade diatomaceous earth. So do your research and made sure you know that the diatomaceous earth you are consuming is food-grade.
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Content updated on February 8, 2022.