by Emy Breitenwischer, B.S. in Food Science & Nutrition, Concentration in Dietetics & Nutrition Management
“Oh I use to buy that to clean the pool”, says my dad upon hearing the words, diatomaceous earth (DE). Yes, DE can be used for an array of purposes throughout a wide range of industries, such as pest and flea control, gardening, pool cleaners and supplies around the house. But today, I’ll explain how I’ve been using it as a nutritional supplement.
A lot of you may be asking, what actually is diatomaceous earth? To be honest, I had no clue until I did a little research. Food grade diatomaceous earth is a fine, white powder that is made from fossilized remains of tiny, aquatic phytoplankton called diatoms. Diatoms’ skeletons are made from silica, a mineral that provides numerous health benefits to the body. Please note, I am talking about food-grade DE. This means it has been through a process that purifies it, making it edible and safe to consume (because not all types are); the powder is fine enough to mix with food or drink. Non-food grade DE may have chemical additives, which makes it harmful to consume.
So how does DE work? It’s chemical composition is about 85% silica and has a very strong negative charge, which may attract things that are positively charged such as toxins, heavy metals, bacteria, viruses, fungi, drug residues, and pesticides. It looks like a cylinder full of holes (as seen on the picture in the newsletter) and is very hard, giving it a gentle abrasive quality. The idea is that when DE is consumed, it moves through the stomach and digestive tract, attracting and absorbing these positively charged elements and trapping them in their cylinder to gently “cut them up” and then flush out of the body. Think of DE as softly scrubbing the inside of your intestines and gut clean and eliminating all the junk that has built up over time.
The benefits from taking DE are shockingly wonderful due to the rich silica content. Some include regular bowel movements, decrease in insomnia, increased energy, decreased mental fog, reduced joint inflammation, stronger bones, healthier skin/hair/nails, diminished allergies, improved back pain and headaches, lower blood pressure, and the elimination of parasites and/or yeast overgrowth.
After reading how much it could help the body, I had to give it a try!
Here’s how it works:
I purchased SilaLive Silica, which is Living Organic Silica and Food Grade DE. There are no preservatives in this supplement so it doesn’t need to be refrigerated and doesn’t go bad. It is a fine, white powder that tastes a little chalky when mixed with a liquid. This supplement is safe in the sense that your body will excrete anything extra that is not needed.
Start small. It’s recommended to take 1-2 scoops mixed with water or juice per day, but start with ½ scoop and work your way up slowly. If you use too much too soon, you may experience discomfort from quick detoxification. I started with 1/2 a scoop mixed into about 8 ounces of water in the morning for a few days and then transitioned to a full scoop each morning. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated and avoid constipation, and to disperse the DE throughout your digestive tract to help flush out toxins.
It’s best to take it on an empty stomach, so it does not interfere with digestion of food and absorption of nutrients, preferably in the morning (it seems to increase your energy during the day so taking it at night may keep you awake).
Try not to let the powder touch your skin, as it can be very drying. Also, make sure you do not inhale the powder because it can irritate the nose and lungs due it’s abrasive quality.
So how does it really taste? It’s not that bad, just chalky. Some mornings it goes down easier than others, but in the long run it’s worth it. I’ve been taking it for about a little over a week now and have already noticed some improvements. I fall asleep very easily and sleep through the night (for the most part), my energy levels during the day have dramatically increased (I’m not so tired or groggy anymore after 8 hours of sleep), my mental sharpness and ability to complete tasks has increased, I’m not as famished throughout the day, and I just “feel better” overall. I’m planning to continue taking DE for a few months, so I’ll be interested to see if my hair grows thicker, skin improves, sickness is avoided and my allergies subside. I’d recommend taking a probiotic when first starting this supplement to repopulate your gut with healthy bacteria. Overall, I highly recommend buying DE and incorporating it into your daily routine; your body, immune system and health will thank you for it in the long run!
*Some information found from SilaLive