Shilajit Benefits Uses Side Effects And Dosage
What is Shilajit?
Shilajit is a naturally occurring mineral substance that is found in the Himalaya and Hindukush ranges of the Indian subcontinent. It is a rare resin which is made by thousands of years of decomposition of plants and plant materials. This trapped plant material then comes out from the rocks in the form of a brownish to black sticky gum-like substance. Ayurveda, the Indian traditional system of medicine, has been using shilajit for thousands of years for its health building properties. Mentions of shilajit are found in Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita, wherein it is called “stones of metal like gold” and as a gelatinous substance. In Ayurveda, shilajit is considered as a “rasayana” (tonic) referring to the benefits of shilajit in promoting overall health. In fact, the name shilajit aptly translates to “conqueror of mountains and destroyer of weakness”. Unfortunately, modern science still needs to explore this natural wonder.
Did you know?
According to ayurvedic doctors, the smell of shilajit is said to be like that of cow’s urine. Folklore claims, that if it’s consumed in the unadulterated form it’s highly beneficial for both men and women.
Some basic facts about shilajit:
Latin name: Asphaltum punjabianum
Common name: Asphalt, mineral pitch, mineral wax, Shilajit
Sanskrit name: Shilajit, Silajita
Geographical distribution: Shilajit is most commonly found in the Himalayas with Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh, and Kashmir having the most abundant reserves. It is also found in China, Nepal, Pakistan, Tibet, and Afghanistan.
- Health benefits of shilajit
- How to use Shilajit
- Shilajit dosage
- Shilajit side effects
Health benefits of shilajit
Shilajit has a number of healing benefits but its most importantly known as a health tonic. Let’s explore some uses of shilajit for promoting good health.
Help lose weight: Clinical studies indicate that shilajit contains some active compounds which help reduce weight and waist circumference by increasing BMI.
Reduces constipation: Shilajit has tonic effects on the body, which strengthen intestinal muscles and help in digestion and expulsion of food from your body thereby relieving constipation.
Increases sperm count: Shilajit, when consumed regularly for about 1.5 months, has been found to be effective in improving sperm count by increasing follicle stimulating hormone.
Relieves mountain sickness: Shilajit is a one-stop solution for high altitude problems. Not only does it relieve stress and anxiety but also shilajit is helpful in reducing lung problems and hypoxia at higher altitudes.
Reverts anaemia: Shilajit is a good source of iron, which is helpful in increasing haemoglobin and red blood count. Being a tonic, it also reduces weakness and fatigue in anaemic people.
Reduces Alzheimer’s progression: Research evidence indicates that the fulvic acid present in shilajit prevents the over-accumulation of tau protein in brain, which is otherwise responsible for neurodegeneration and Alzheimer’s. However, more studies are needed to confirm this benefit.
Prevents stomach ulcers: Shilajit is known to reduce gastric secretions and strengthen the stomach lining thus preventing ulcer formation.
- Shilajit for diabetes
- Shilajit for cholesterol
- Shilajit for weight loss
- Shilajit for constipation
- Shilajit for stomach ulcers
- Shilajit for heart
- Shilajit for anemia
- Shilajit for piles
- Shilajit benefits for men
- Shilajit antioxidant properties
- Shilajit for high altitude problems
- Shilajit for Alzheimer’s
Shilajit for diabetes
In Ayurveda, shilajit is known for its anti-diabetic properties. Ayurvedic doctors suggest shilajit to diabetics for its effectiveness in reducing diabetes symptoms and drug side effects. Furthermore, shilajit is also prescribed by Ayurvedic doctors to reduce the frequency of night-time urination, a symptom of old age and diabetes. Studies done in India hint that shilajit, when taken with some anti-diabetic medicines is more effective in reducing blood sugar than conventional medicines alone. However, due to a lack of human studies, diabetics are recommended to talk to their doctors before taking shilajit in any form.
Shilajit for cholesterol
According to ayurveda, shilajit is useful for managing cholesterol levels. Studies suggest that a regular dose of 2 g of shilajit is very effective in reducing the low-density fats or “bad cholesterol” while simultaneously increasing the levels of high-density fats or “good cholesterol”. It was further suggested that the fulvic acid present in shilajit is responsible for the hypolipidemic (reducing blood cholesterol) effects of this resin. Furthermore, shilajit also contains Vitamin C and vitamin E which are known antioxidants. These antioxidants avoid the buildup of plaque in the arteries, thereby, reducing the risk of heart attack.
Shilajit for weight loss
Obesity is emerging as one of the increasing health concerns all over the world. Modern culture and lifestyle have made tackling this problem of utmost importance. In fact, the WHO has named obesity as a “world epidemic”. A review article published in the International Journal of Research suggests that an imbalance in the supply and demand of the oxygen in body tissues is the primary cause of obesity. It was further suggested that shilajit is a rich source of fulvic acid, minerals, and iron, which increases the red blood cells in the body. The red blood cells are the main carriers of oxygen to the tissues. So, the faster these cells are replaced the faster they’ll supply oxygen to the tissues.
Numerous studies are being done to test the effects of shilajit as a supplement in weight loss programs. A study done in India tested the effect of shilajit on a group of 70 people and it was found that consumption of shilajit leads to significant weight loss along with a decrease in the stomach folds along with reduction in hip and waist circumference.
In another study, shilajit, when administered to a group of people along with Agnimantha (Clerodendrum phlomidis), was found to be useful in reducing the body weight and the basal metabolic index (BMI). So, it can be safely said that shilajit is very effective in aiding weight loss.
Shilajit for constipation
Digestive disorders like constipation are becoming more and more common these days. People suffering from constipation often complain of feeling obstructed. Rectal bleeding has also been noted in some extreme cases. It is often hard to pinpoint the cause of chronic constipation for a given individual, however, usually it depends on their lifestyle, dietary habits, and physiology.
In Ayurveda, shilajit is known as an excellent agent for treating chronic constipation. Being a rasayana or health tonic, it strengthens intestinal walls and regulates peristaltic movements of the intestines (intestinal movements that move food forward in the gut). Shilajit also increases the secretion of bile from the liver (liver juices) which helps moisten and digest the food better.
Shilajit for stomach ulcers
Gastric ulcers are one of the primary causes of stomach discomfort. People who are under constant stress or on certain prescription medicines have increased risk of developing gastric ulcers. Studies claim that shilajit reduces gastric acid secretion and the breakdown of the stomach wall, thus protecting the inner lining of the stomach from being burnt by stomach acids. However, human studies are still pending, so it’s better to talk to your Ayurveda doctor before taking shilajit as a remedy for treating stomach ulcers.
Shilajit for heart
Lab studies on model organisms indicate that shilajit has a dose-dependent effect on blood pressure and heart rate. While shilajit reduces the heart rate at lower doses, it has been found to increase the heart rate to potentially fatal levels in higher doses.
However, there are no human studies to back this claim. So, if you suffer from any heart condition, it is better to talk to your doctor before taking shilajit in any form.
Shilajit for anemia
Anaemia is a condition marked by a low level of haemoglobin and red blood cells (RBC). According to Ayurvedic doctors, shilajit is a rich source of iron, which is the most important mineral responsible for the formation of blood. Animal studies suggest that regular consumption of shilajit increases the haemoglobin content and the total red blood cell count in the body.
Additionally, shilajit is an ayurvedic tonic and a rejuvenator. Thus, it can help in relieving problems like fatigue and weakness, which are commonly associated with anaemia. However, these findings are yet to be confirmed in clinical settings.
Shilajit for piles
Everybody has some amount of haemorrhoid tissue as part of their gut. The condition called haemorrhoids or piles occurs when these tissues get inflamed. Hemorrhoidal inflammation then leads to symptoms like anal pain, itchiness and bleeding while passing stools. One of the primary reasons for piles is increased pressure on the bowels and anal area.
In ayurveda, shilajit is considered to be effective in treating piles. Regular consumption of shilajit provides strength to the blood vessels thus preventing the bursting of arteries under stress. Furthermore, as per ayurveda, shilajit can also relieve the pressure in your bowels. However the right dosage can vary by person, so consult your ayurvedic doctor before taking shilajit for treating piles.
Shilajit benefits for men
Studies have found that shilajit can be used in the treatment of oligospermia (low sperm count). In a group of 60 men, a 100 g capsule of Shilajit was administered twice a day for a period of 90 days, after which the total sperm count increased along with higher level of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH, a male sex hormone which is responsible for the formation of sperms).
In another study, it was found that shilajit also increases the level of testosterone and other related male hormones. So, shilajit has potential as a remedy for male sexual problems.
Shilajit antioxidant properties
Processed shilajit is an excellent antioxidant. Chemical studies indicate that purified shilajit is a much better antioxidant than non-purified shilajit. The fulvic acid and vitamin content of shilajit are considered to be the primary antioxidants present in shilajit. These compounds scavenge the free radicals present in the body and help reduce oxidative stress.
Are you wondering what are free radicals?
Free radicals are a type of oxygen species that is formed due to metabolic functions. Stress and poor lifestyle further add to free radical formation. An excess of these free radicals is detrimental for body functions. Shilajit, as an antioxidant, is thus beneficial for the proper functioning of almost every vital organ of the body. Furthermore, lesser oxidative stress would decrease fine lines, wrinkles and other premature signs of ageing. And who wants to look old early?
Shilajit for high altitude problems
If you have ever travelled to a hill station, you might have noticed a few common things like buzzing in ears or a slight difficulty in breathing. These changes occur due to Mountain sickness, which is caused by the difference in the pressure and environmental conditions of the higher altitudes. Its other symptoms include nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, stomach problems, anorexia, cough, lethargy, dizziness and fatigue.
For the older and the ill, mountain sickness can have more severe symptoms like lack of appetite, stomach pain, muscle cramps etc.
According to research done in India, shilajit is a one-stop solution for all these problems that come with higher altitudes. Studies suggest that shilajit is rich in fulvic acid (a chemical compound) and other minerals which help relieve the symptoms of cold and hypoxia (lower oxygen in body). Furthermore, shilajit also acts as a tonic for the body, ensuring proper functioning of the major body organs. Additionally, consuming shilajit is also known to relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety that come with high altitude. Finally, as a diuretic, shilajit removes the extra fluid from the lungs thus acting as a reliever from pulmonary edema (accumulation of fluids in the lungs).
Shilajit for Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease which is associated with conditions like dementia and loss of cognition (ability to focus). In Ayurveda, shilajit is used along with some other herbs to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety, mood swings, irritability, depression etc which are commonly associated with Alzheimer’s.
Recent studies suggest that shilajit may be effective in relieving some of the Alzheimer’s symptoms and in slowing down the progress of this disease. It was further suggested that the fulvic acid present in shilajit stops the accumulation of tau protein, which is a natural protein present in the brain but its excess can lead to neurological disorders.
However, more studies are still needed, to understand the exact mechanism and effects of shilajit in human Alzheimer’s cases.
How to use Shilajit
Shilajit is commonly used in the form of a resin or powder but it is also available as capsules, tablets, oil, creams and in cosmetics. Shilajit syrup and liquid are also commercially available in the market.
Ideally, 300-500 mg of shilajit can be taken everyday without any significant side effects. Ayurvedic doctors suggest 1-3 drops of liquid shilajit to be taken with milk to enjoy its health benefits.
The exact dosage and duration of administration of shilajit varies, depending on the age and physical condition of the person. So, it’s better to refer to an ayurvedic doctor to determine the correct shilajit dosage for you.
Shilajit side effects
While shilajit has many health benefits, there are a few precautions that you should be aware of, such as:
Raw shilajit is considered unfit for human consumption as it is known to be rich in certain minerals. Raw shilajit may also be contaminated by fungi like Aspergillus. Always use shilajit in its processed form.
According to doctors, thalassemia patients should avoid shilajit because it is rich in iron.
Currently, there is no information available on the safety of shilajit for pregnant women. Thus, if you are expecting, you are advised to check-in with your OB-GYN before taking shilajit.
According to ayurveda doctors, if you are suffering from gout you should not take shilajit as it is known to increase uric acid levels.
Also, if you are on a prescribed medication it is important to talk to your ayurvedic doctor before taking shilajit in any form to ensure it does not interfere with your treatment.