Diatomaceous Earth (DE) pronounced known as “The Grass of the Sea,” is made up by fossilized remains of microscopic shells created by one-celled plants named, “Diatoms.” DE is a chalk-like powder made up entirely of these diatoms that have fossilized over thousands of years.
This Ahhmazing clay is made up of a whopping 80% to 90% silica. Silica may just be one of the most overlooked minerals in terms of health benefits. Silica is most commonly found in nature as sand or quartz. In the human body, this chemical compound is what holds us together as it is a key element in the formation of collagen. Silica is found in every organ of the body from the blood circulatory system to the transmission of nerve signals.
Specific benefits of silica include:
Promoting stronger fingernails
Producing healthy hair and clear skin
Countering some effects of aging
Daily healthy functioning of our body’s organs and connective tissues
Counteracting dry skin
Boost to metabolism
Stimulation of cell formation
OK, back to Diatomaceous Earth.
Food grade DE is used for a great many things, almost all of which fall into two main unrelated categories: health benefits + pest control . . . yep, pest control! It is either taken internally as a supplement or used as a natural solution to treat all kinds of insects. There are other grades like pool grade DE that are used to filter water, but have been treated + are not safe for consumption. Make sure you have the right grade for the job . . . food grade diatomaceous earth.
According to the Global Healing Center, DE is used to support body cleansing, some research also suggests it’s a natural tool for promoting normal blood lipids, detoxing toxic metals, and fighting harmful intestinal organisms. Below are a few DE benefits:
1. Internal Cleanser
Diatomaceous earth acts as a mild abrasive topically as well as internally. It can help to remove intestinal invaders + other harmful organisms from the digestive tract. As an internal cleanser, diatomaceous earth may aid cleansing by supporting regularity and assist in removing toxic metals. I periodically take DE, especially when I detox.
2. Natural Source of Silica
Food-grade diatomaceous earth is composed of approximately 85% silica. This important, trace mineral is required by tendons, cartilage, blood vessels, and bones. The nutrient even contributes to almost every vital organ, including the heart, liver, and lungs. Food was the primary source of naturally-occurring silica before modern farming practices depleted the soil. It is suggested that only 1/3 of the silica we need is available in natural, plant-based foods.
3. Supports Heart Health
Research has also shown that food-grade diatomaceous may offer positive benefits for cholesterol levels and encourage heart health.  Nutrients such as silicon, calcium, sodium, magnesium, iron, and other trace minerals are available in diatomaceous earth, giving rise to a practically endless supply of health benefits. Most of these nutrients play a role in building and repairing of muscles and bones.
Because diatomaceous earth is a strong abrasive, it is often used as a toothpaste + facial exfoliator. The process of exfoliation is important in skin care as it helps to remove dead skin cells that may give the appearance of tired, worn-out skin. The product’s natural silica content is also necessary for healthy skin, teeth, hair, and nails, and the product is often touted as a potent beauty mineral.
@ J. Lexi, I believe that @ least 90% of what we eat for skin health can be applied topically. I use DE in several of our products:
That’s it for now . . . helping to keep you exfoliated, hydrated + moisturized!
Check out our affiliate partners for great ingredients @ great prices.
What are the potential health risks to using DE?
There’s a very short list of mild risks to using food grade DE, and they fall into two categories:
- Dry skin: Exposure to DE on your skin can cause it to dry out. Simply wash off the DE with water and apply a moistuizing lotion.
- Mild lung irriatation: For anyone with sensitive lungs, breathing the airborne DE particles can cause irriatation. Wear a regualr dust mask if this is a concern to you.
- Constipation: Eating too much DE with not enough water can lead to constipation. Simply lower your DE intake and increase your water consumption, along with your fiber intake if needed.
- Bloating: Again, this tends to occur as a result of not enough fluids in the body. Increase your water intake to mitigate the problem.
Can DE cause cancer?
There are no studies that show a link between the consumption of or exposure to our food grade DE and cancer. Studies have shown, however, that prolonged exposure to pool grade and industrial DE over several years is carcinogenic.
Does DE react if mixed with chemicals?
No. DE is quite innert and often does not respond to chemical exposure.
What is the difference between diatomaceous earth and bentonite clay?
Diatomaceous earth and bentonite clay are two very different natural substances. Diatomaceous earth is formed through the fossilizing of single celled diatoms in freshwater rivers and lakebeds that build up as sedimentary deposits over a long time. It is almost pure amorphous silica. Bentonite clay on the other hand is primarily montmorillonite, which is a group of minerals that can vary slightly depending on the type of bentonite. Both products are highly absorbent, but bentonite clay does not have the same abrasive properties as DE and so it cannot kill bugs and boost cleaners like DE can.
Since DE is abrasive, can it cause damage to the intestinal lining?
We have yet to find any medical reports that suggest DE could cause intestinal damage. The extended list of testimonials in the community suggest that DE may add to intestinal health, rather than cause harm.
Is there proof of the benefits?
DE’s potency as a pest control has been made clear by research and years of use. As for the health benefits of ingesting food grade DE, we rely mostly on the testimonials of people who take it as proof that it can benefit the body, but scientific research does suggest that DE can have tremendous benefits, such as lowering cholesterol (source: European Journal of Medical Research).
What is the pH level of DE?
The pH level of our DE falls between 7.5 and 9.0, depending on the batch.
Does DE go bad?
Because diatomaceous earth is made from fossilized diatoms, it is already extremely old and won’t expire. As long as you keep it clean, it will stay good indefinitely. Remember that DE is highly absorbent, meaning that it will absorb any foul tastes, smells, liquids, or other contaminants it is exposed to, which could make your DE unusable. But as long as you keep it clean, your DE will be fine to use for years to come.