The more I research Diatomaceous Earth, the more intrigued I become. I love the amazing back story to this supplement. As I have written previously, Diatomaceous Earth is found naturally in our earth’s soil and is in fact the fossilised shells of microscopic marine dwelling organisms commonly known as Diatoms. What is fascinating is although this species still lives in our waters today, it has been around from prehistoric times.
To make their shells, Diatoms utilise soluble silica which is sand. As these Diatoms perish, their shells settle on the lake beds, accumulating to create packed layers of powdery fossilised residue which we now know as Diatomaceous Earth. Over time as these waters retreated, enormous deposits of Diatomaceous Earth have been discovered on ancient dried out lake beds. Fortuitously for us, these microscopic Diatoms left behind this nutritious powder, so high in silica.
As I’ve mentioned previously Diatomaceous Earth is believed to be beneficial for:
Improving gut health reducing bloating and gas
Cleansing the digestive tract and intestinal wall
Detoxifying and eradicating bugs, parasites, candida and viruses
Increasing collagen to help maintain healthy joints, cartilage and ligaments, strengthening nails, stimulating hair growth and preventing wrinkling and sagging skin
Increasing bone density and flexibility as well as accelerating the healing of fracture
We can now add another to this list. There has been a belief for some time that Alzheimer’s Disease may be connected to an accumulation of aluminium in the brain. There was an interesting study of 7598 women undertaken in France where it was initially found those women with normal to higher mental function had a higher daily intake of silica. Seven years later during the second phase of the study, 60 of those women who had initially shown normal to higher mental function had developed Alzheimer’s disease whilst 323 maintained normal cognitive function. Those women diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease were 2.7 times more likely to have a lower daily intake of silica compared to those without Alzheimer’s Disease. There is some belief aluminium may be linked to certain senile plaques in the brain and silica may be a natural solution to this aluminium build up. (1) Another study was undertaken to reduce the levels of aluminium in individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease by drinking silicon-rich water. By drinking 1 litre of silicon-rich water every day for 12 weeks, the silica enabled the removal of aluminium from the body by way of urinary excretion. (2)
There has been some reports that Diatomaceous Earth may be helpful in lowering cholesterol. In an 8 week study undertaken to measure the effectiveness of Diatomaceous Earth in lowering cholesterol the participants all had a history of high cholesterol. After taking 250mg, 3 times a day for 8 weeks the results showed their serum cholesterol had reduced substantially. In addition, their low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride levels had also decreased. (3) An article in The Lancet suggests a lack of silica in our diet may contribute to the build of fats and cholesterol in our artery walls. We know certain dietary fibres can help lower cholesterol and it has been found these particular dietary fibres contain high amounts of silica. As with these dietary fibres, Diatomaceous Earth may be effective by binding with the cholesterol and dietary fats, transporting them through the digestive tract and eliminating through our stools. The reason high cholesterol is not an issue in less developed countries may well be because of the accessibility of dietary silica. Interestingly when certain foods are processed e.g. white flour they have been found to be depleted of silica.
Further studies need to be undertaken to measure how effective Diatomaceous Earth may be for lowering cholesterol as well as the effect on prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease. However, to my mind at around 40 cents a day, this supplement has so many potential health benefits, why wouldn’t you include it in your daily health regime?
I suggest beginning with 1 teaspoon a day for the first week, 2 teaspoons a day for the second week then 1 to 2 tablespoons per day. It is a very palatable powder. In fact, is has no taste and I simply add it to my muesli every morning. We suggest taking it 3 hours away from any other medications.
(1) Sophie Gillette-Guyonnet, Sandrine Andrieu, Fatemeh Nourhashemi, Viviane de La Gueronniere’ Helene Grandjean and Bruno Vellas; Cognitive impairment and composition of drinking water in women:findings of EPIDOS Study; American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol 81, No4, 897-902 April 2005
(2) Pub Med J. Alzheimers Dis. 2013:33(2):423-30 Silicon-rich mineral water as a non-invasive test of the ‘aluminium hypothesis’ in Alzheimers Disease. Davenward S; Bentham P’ Wright J; Crome P; Job d; Polwart A; Exley C.
(3)Pub Med Eur J Med res. 1998 Apr 8 Diatomaceous Earth lowers blood cholesterol concentrations. Wachter h; Lechleitner M, Artner-Dworzak E, Hausen A, Jarosch E, Widner B, Patsch J, Pfeiffer K, Fuchs D
(4) Silicon, Fibre and Atherosclerosis Klaus Schwarz The Lancet Volume 309, Issue 8009 Pages 454-457