Last Updated on July 25, 2022 by Lori Geurin
Find out 5 health benefits of diatomaceous earth, plus uses, and precautions.
I recently purchased a large bag of organic, food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) online because I’ve been reading about the health benefits and wanted to try it for myself. To the human eye, it looks like a fine powder, much like baking flour. But under a microscope, it resembles Chex cereal. It looks and sounds kinda strange I’ll admit.
So let’s dig a little deeper to learn why so many people are raving about diatomaceous earth and find out what it can do for you.
- What Is Diatomaceous Earth?
- Different Grades Of Diatomaceous Earth
- 5 Benefits Of Diatomaceous Earth
- Popular Uses For Diatomaceous Earth
- Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth Dangers
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What Is Diatomaceous Earth?
Diatomaceous earth is made up of the fossilized remains of diatoms, an ancient type of algae. Over time, these microscopic shells accumulated in freshwater lakes and formed large silica deposits.
The deposits are then ground into a fine, chalk-like powder which becomes the diatomaceous earth.
Under a microscope, you can see DE has sharp, coarse edges. And this makes it effective for a variety of uses.
Different Grades Of Diatomaceous Earth
- Food Grade–As the name implies, organic food-grade DE is safe for humans and animals to eat. Due to its high silica and trace mineral content, it is often taken as a supplement, as well as a variety of other uses.
- Pool Grade–This purpose of this type of DE is only to be used as a filter aid for swimming pools. It can be toxic if inhaled and even cause cancer, so you must use caution when handling.
- Pest Control Grade–Pest control grade DE is used to get rid of, you guessed it, pests! DE is a great natural insecticide. It’s especially effective for getting rid of fleas, ants, and bed bugs.
5 Benefits Of Diatomaceous Earth
Please note that there aren’t many human studies on diatomaceous earth. Many of these claims are anecdotal. More research is needed.
1. Healthy Skin And Nails
The silica in DE strengthens nails. (1)
Also, DE is a great facial exfoliator, ridding the skin’s surface of dead skin cells.
2. Healthy Teeth
Because DE is naturally abrasive, it’s used in many kinds of toothpaste and is effective at polishing teeth. It also draws stains out of teeth, making them whiter. Plus, the silica in DE strengthens the enamel of our teeth. (2)
(Find out how to do oil pulling with coconut oil for whiter teeth.)
3. Gets Rid Of Parasites And Detox
One study in The Oxford Journal Of Poultry Science found DE to be an effective parasite cleanse. (3)
Estimates of the percentage of Americans infected by parasites vary, some as high as 80%. But, the bottom line is that you don’t have to visit a foreign country or drink “bad” water to get parasites. Many people report DE helping them get rid of parasites.
It’s also great at binding to bacteria, viruses, and heavy metals which gives the body a good detoxification. And it makes sense because supplementing with DE daily gives your digestive tract a good scrub.
Check out our social media detox challenge!
4. Improved Bone and Joint Health
Supplementing your diet with silicon is proven to increase bone mineral density and proper joint formation. (4)
So, this makes DE perfect for anyone wanting to prevent osteoporosis and grow strong bones, joints, and healthy ligaments.
5. Kills Insects Without Harmful Chemicals
DE is an excellent natural choice for eliminating bed bugs, fleas, dust mites, and cockroaches. According to pctonline.com:
Both silica gel and diatomaceous earth kill insects by removing a portion of the razor-thin, waxy outer coating that helps them conserve moisture. As a result, they desiccate and die from dehydration.
Popular Uses For Diatomaceous Earth
Below are some common ways diatomaceous earth is used.
- water filters
- products to kill fleas on pets
- facial scrub
- treatments to kill bedbugs
- nutritional supplements
- rodent-killing products
- cleaning products
- stain remover
- fridge deodorizer
Next, we’ll take a quick look at how you can take diatomaceous earth for better health.
How To Use Diatomaceous Earth (Food Grade)
Most people start by taking 1 teaspoon one time per day for several days in liquid or food. After your body adjusts you may want to gradually increase this amount up to 1 tablespoon.
It’s important to mention that the DE will not completely dissolve, so you’ll have to keep stirring it until you drink the entire glass of liquid down. Or you can mix it into a smoothie.
Just make sure to drink plenty of water.
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Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth Dangers
Although food grade diatomaceous earth is safe to consume there are some precautions you should be aware of.
Please note that DE is not recommended for people who have Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis. (6)
Also, be very careful not to inhale the powder into your lungs when measuring your dose.
For more great safety tips about diatomaceous earth check out the infographic below.
Summary – Health Benefits Of Diatomaceous Earth
As you can see, DE is used for many purposes, such as cleaning, deodorizing, and killing unwanted bugs.
Taken internally, food-grade diatomaceous earth has some reported health benefits including healthier teeth and gums, skin and hair, getting rid of parasites and improved joint and bone health. Just keep in mind that much of the information we have about DE is anecdotal and more research is needed.
If you’re taking food-grade DE always use care not to breathe in the powder.
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Have you tried DE? What’s your favorite use for diatomaceous earth?