The Wonderfully Diverse Benefits of Diatomaceous Earth

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By Dr. Justin Marchegiani

What is Diatomaceous Earth?

Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring sand-like material composed of the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms called diatoms. This fine powder of silica-rich rock and fossilized algae is also referred to as dinosaur dust or the miracle mineral. It builds up over time in the sediment found near oceans, rivers, streams, and lakes. 

Diatomaceous earth is used commercially and at home for a variety of purposes. Manufacturers will include diatomaceous earth in products like toothpaste to act as a mild abrasive. It is an ingredient in some cat litter brands, insecticides, potting soil, and is even used for stabilizing dynamite! There are many ways to use diatomaceous earth at home for an easy, affordable, and effective solution to many everyday problems.

Diatomaceous earth can be found in two main forms:

  • Food-Grade: at 0.5–2% crystalline silica, food-grade diatomaceous earth is safe for you and your pets to use externally and consume internally. It is FDA-approved for ingestion.
  • Not food-grade: this type of diatomaceous earth contains 60% or more crystalline silica and is intended for industrial processes.

Benefits and Uses of Diatomaceous Earth

Bone Health

Silica is one of the most important minerals for bone health, hair, nails, and skin. The safe levels of silica found in food-grade diatomaceous earth may be a natural way to support your skeletal system and decrease your risk of osteoporosis.

Detoxing and Parasites

Many of my patients are dealing with internal parasites. Diatomaceous earth is one of the cheapest and most natural ways to kill parasites and internal worms. Diatomaceous earth is a natural detoxifier with the ability to bind to many types of pathogens, including viruses, parasites, and heavy metals.

Cholesterol

In a study to investigate whether diatomaceous earth could lower blood cholesterol, researchers found that serum cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides were all positively affected. Measurable effects lasted even a full month after participants stopped taking diatomaceous earth. These results indicate diatomaceous earth may be a natural option for those seeking to reduce blood cholesterol and improve lipid metabolism.

Pest Control

Whether you’re dealing with a bed bug epidemic, ants, or fleas, diatomaceous earth is a natural line of defense against the creepy crawlies. The course and porous nature of diatomaceous earth absorbs lipids from the waxy exoskeletons of bugs, which dehydrates and ultimately kills them. Diatomaceous earth can be used to eliminate bed bugs, fleas, cockroaches, ants, and dust mites–all without the toxic chemicals used in traditional pesticides and insecticides. 

How to use Diatomaceous Earth

Drinking

It is best to take diatomaceous earth on an empty stomach, away from food and other supplements. Start with one teaspoon mixed into a glass of water per day, working your way up to two teaspoons per day (one in the morning, one at night). Be sure to stay hydrated, you may benefit from drinking some plain water after drinking the diatomaceous earth water. For a detox protocol, take two teaspoons of diatomaceous earth daily for two weeks, then take one week off. Continue two weeks on and one week off for three months for a gentle and effective natural detox.

For Your Pet

Since diatomaceous earth is safe for pets, you can mix some into their wet pet food to kill any internal pathogens and parasites, naturally. If your pet is dealing with fleas, simply rub some diatomaceous earth into their skin, using your fingers to get under the fur and onto the skin. This will help kill any fleas taking up residence on your furry friend.

In the Home

To stop pests around the home, sprinkle a fine layer of diatomaceous earth into the carpets and furniture, allowing it to sit for a minimum of four hours, or ideally overnight. After you have allowed the diatomaceous earth to set in and reach the bugs, you may do a thorough vacuuming. Be sure to securely dump the contents of the vacuum bag. If the pest problem is severe, you can repeat this process a few times per week until it clears.

DIY Deodorant

For a smooth and natural deodorant you can make yourself at home, look no further than diatomaceous earth!

Ingredients:

  • 3 TBS Coconut Oil
  • 2 TBS Shea Butter
  • 1 TBS Diatomaceous Earth
  • 1TBS Bentonite Clay
  • 6 TBS Arrowroot Powder
  • Optional: Essential Oils

Soften the coconut butter and shea butter in a double broiler on low as to not burn them. When they have melted (1-2 minutes) turn off the heat and allow them to cool slightly. Mix in the remaining powder ingredients and optional essential oils for natural fragrance, and mix until smooth. Store in a jar or tin in a dry, cool place.

Diatomaceous Earth Precautions

If you are planning on taking diatomaceous earth internally, be sure to choose food-grade. Because of the fine powdered nature of most diatomaceous earth, take caution when dealing with this substance. Pouring it too quickly can release fine particles into the air, which can irritate the eyes and lungs.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9533930

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2658806/

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The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Justin Marchegiani unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Justin and his community. Dr. Justin encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified healthcare professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Marchegiani’s products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using any products.