What is shilajit?
Shilajit is a sticky substance found primarily in the rocks of the Himalayas. It develops over centuries from the slow decomposition of plants.
Shilajit is commonly used in ayurvedic medicine. It’s an effective and safe supplement that can have a positive effect on your overall health and well-being.
Here’s a look at eight ways to use shilajit.
1. Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that causes problems with memory, behavior, and thinking. Drug treatments are available to improve symptoms of Alzheimer’s. But based on the molecular composition of shilajit, some researchers believe shilajit may prevent or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s.
The primary component of shilajit is an antioxidant known as fulvic acid. This powerful antioxidant contributes to cognitive health by preventing the accumulation of tau protein. Tau proteins are an important part of your nervous system, but a buildup can trigger brain cell damage.
Researchers think that the fulvic acid in shilajit may stop the abnormal buildup of tau protein and reduce inflammation, potentially improving Alzheimer’s symptoms. However, more research and clinical trials are needed.
2. Low testosterone level
Testosterone is a primary male sex hormone, but some men have a lower level than others. Signs of low testosterone include:
- a low sex drive
- hair loss
- loss of muscle mass
- increased body fat
In one clinical study of male volunteers between the ages of 45 and 55, half of the participants were given a placebo and half were given a 250 milligram (mg) dose of purified shilajit twice a day. After 90 consecutive days, the study found that participants receiving purified shilajit had a significantly higher testosterone level compared to the placebo group.
3. Chronic fatigue syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a long-term condition that causes extreme tiredness or fatigue. CFS can make it difficult to go to work or school, and simple everyday activities can prove challenging. Researchers think that shilajit supplements may reduce symptoms of CFS and restore energy.
CFS has been associated with mitochondrial dysfunction. This occurs when your cells don’t produce enough energy. In a study from 2012, researchers gave lab rats shilajit for 21 days, and then induced CFS by forcing the rats to swim 15 minutes for 21 consecutive days. The results found that shilajit helped reduce the effects of CFS. They think this was the result of the shilajit helping to prevent mitochondrial dysfunction.
Based on these results, naturally boosting your body’s mitochondrial function with shilajit supplements may help improve energy levels.
Since shilajit is rich in fulvic acid, a strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, it may also protect against free radicals and cellular damage. As a result, regular use of shilajit may contribute to longevity, a slower aging process, and overall better health.
5. High altitude sickness
A higher altitude can trigger a range of symptoms, including:
Altitude sickness can be triggered by low atmospheric pressure, cold temperatures, or high wind velocity. Researchers think that shilajit may help you overcome high altitude problems.
Shilajit contains fulvic acid and more than 84 minerals, so it offers numerous health benefits. It can function as an antioxidant to improve your body’s immunity and memory, an anti-inflammatory, an energy booster, and a diuretic to remove excess fluid from your body. Because of these benefits, shilajit is thought to help counteract many symptoms associated with higher altitudes.
6. Iron deficiency anemia
Iron deficiency anemia can result from a low-iron diet, blood loss, or an inability to absorb iron. Symptoms include:
- cold hands and feet
- irregular heartbeat
Shilajit supplements, however, may gradually increase iron levels.
A study divided 18 rats into three groups of six. Researchers induced anemia in the second and third group. Rats in the third group received 500 mg of shilajit after 11 days. Researchers collected blood samples from all groups on day 21. The results revealed that rats in the third group had higher levels of hemoglobin, hematocrit, and red blood cells compared to rats in the second group. These are all vital components of your blood.
Shilajit is also a safe supplement for male infertility. In one study, a group of 60 infertile men took shilajit twice a day for 90 days after meals. At the end of the 90-day period, more than 60 percent of the study participants showed an increase in total sperm count. More than 12 percent had an increase in sperm motility. Sperm motility refers to the ability of the sperm in a sample to move adequately, an important part of fertility.
8. Heart health
Shilajit as a dietary supplement may also improve heart health. Researchers tested the cardiac performance of shilajit on lab rats. After receiving a pretreatment of shilajit, some rats were injected with isoproterenol to induce heart injury. The study found that rats given shilajit prior to cardiac injury had fewer cardiac lesions.
You shouldn’t take shilajit if you have active heart disease.
Shilajit side effects
Although this herb is natural and safe, you shouldn’t consume raw or unprocessed shilajit. Raw shilajit may contain heavy metal ions, free radicals, fungus, and other contaminations that can make you sick. Whether you purchase online or from a natural or health food store, make sure shilajit is purified and ready for use.
Because this is considered an herbal approach to health, shilajit isn’t monitored for quality, purity, or strength by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Carefully research your options of where to purchase it and choose a reputable source.
Don’t take shilajit if you have sickle cell anemia, hemochromatosis (too much iron in your blood), or thalassemia. It’s possible to be allergic to this supplement. Stop taking shilajit if you develop rash, increased heart rate, or dizziness.
How to use it
Shilajit is available in liquid and powder forms. Always administer supplements according to instructions. If you buy the supplement in liquid form, dissolve a portion the size of a grain of rice or a pea size in liquid and drink one to three times a day (depending on instructions). Or you can take shilajit powder twice a day with milk. The recommended dose of shilajit is 300 to 500 mg per day. Speak with your doctor before taking shilajit.