What Is Shilajit and Is It Worth Drinking?

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Wellness Mama » Blog » Health » What Is Shilajit and Is It Worth Drinking?

Shilajit is a rock exudate, meaning a tar-like substance resulting from the breakdown of minerals and plant matter over a long period of time. Although it sounds rather bizarre, studies are finding that shilajit is an incredible source of healthful fulvic and humic acids, among other benefits.

For thousands of years, shilajit has been a cornerstone in the traditional, cultural medicines of Russia, Persia, India, and the Orient, so this seems to be another case of science confirming ancient wisdom. Shilajit tonics are now available in most health food stores and even online, so I wanted to look into the claims and see what it was all about.

Here’s what I found…

What Is Shilajit?

Shilajit comes from high up in the steep rocks of the Himalayan, Bhutan, and Kashmir mountains. Some shilajit also comes from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tibet, China, and Russia. So, it’s no surprise that shilajit use is so common in those cultures.

The elite mountaineers of the Himalayas, called sherpas, consume shilajit for its rejuvenation, anti-fatigue, and anti-aging effects. Perhaps their use of shilajit explains their hardiness (even at great altitudes and in frigid temperatures).

The exact make-up of shilajit varies, depending on the plant life and minerals in specific locations. However, shilajit has some basic similarities: humic acid, fulvic acid, and selenium. It has many plant-based compounds, including benzoic acid, tannic acid, fibers, and other carbohydrates.

What’s in Shilajit?

Shilajit is 50-60% fulvic and humic acids. Research shows these compounds are ancient sources of organic minerals and trace elements. Because their make-up is ancient, man cannot duplicate it (no Jurassic Park situation here).

Humic Acid

Humic acid is shown to fight inflammation, work against infection, and regulate disease. It also functions as a gut-guard, stopping toxins before they enter cells. This ultimately boosts the performance of the immune system.

Fulvic Acid

Together, fulvic and humic acid are the wonder-twins of the mineral world. Fulvic acid increases cell membrane permeability, which allows for easier absorption of nutrients. Because fulvic acid binds easily to water, it helps detox the body.

Other Components

Fulvic and humic acid aren’t shilajit’s only claim to fame, however. Studies show shilajit’s significant mineral content and other components may have benefits as well. Up to 90% of shilajit’s mineral content includes potassium, calcium, and magnesium, as well as other trace minerals.

Shilajit’s mineral content is significant enough that it also determines its color. Shilajit may be white, red, blue, or blackish-brown depending on its mineral content.

Is Shilajit Beneficial?

While most of the health benefits of shilajit are based on Ayurvedic texts, some animal and cell-based studies validate some of these claims. There are a few small clinical studies that demonstrate the safety and efficacy of shilajit. Therefore, take these health claims with a grain of salt (or shilajit!).

9 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Shilajit

Beyond the health benefits of fulvic and humic acids in shilajit, studies have shown some health benefits, including:

1. Helps With Fatigue and Stress

Shilajit works as an adaptogen. This is essentially plant-matter that helps the body adapt and show a better response to stress. It also protects the powerhouse of the cell (mitochondria), which converts everything we eat into chemical energy. (Without mitochondria, we can’t live!)

Because shilajit works as an adaptogen and mitochondria protectant, it may help with chronic fatigue and physical exhaustion. In one study with physically exhausted rats, shilajit seemed to reduce physical exhaustion and anxiety. Scientist theorize that this is because shilajit reduces cortisol levels and protects the mitochondria from the oxidative damage that physical exertion causes.

2. Helps With Iron Absorption

Iron deficiency anemia is a common problem in women of reproductive age because of poor absorption in the gut.

Dark brown shilajit contains high iron content, as well as substances that may help increase iron absorption. Dibenzopyrones and tannoids can maintain iron in a state that the gut can easily absorb. A mixture of shilajit and Indian gooseberry can significantly increase iron levels in red blood cells without side effects.

3. Enhances Cognitive Function and Memory

Shilajit increases levels of neurotransmitters that are important for brain function and memory, including dopamine, acetylcholine, serotonin, and noradrenaline in the brain. The increase in acetylcholine suggests that shilajit might help with Alzheimer’s.

4. Potent Antioxidant

Medical News Today cites shilajit’s levels of fulvic acid as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory:“As such, it may help reduce free radicals and cellular damage in the body, which are two key factors in aging. Daily supplementation of shilajit may contribute to overall vitality and a slower aging process in some people.”

5. Anti-Inflammatory

Shilajit injections in rats help reduce swelling caused by the injection of foreign substances in the paw. In addition, shilajit helps increase stomach mucus, which may prevent stomach ulcers.

6. Healthy Heart

Two control groups of rats were subjected to heart injury. One group of rats was not given shilajit before the test. One group of rats had 200mg of shilajit for 7 days before their test. The rats who ingested shilajit had significantly less heart damage than the other rats.

More human research and data is needed, but this suggests that regularly incorporating it in your diet may protect your heart in the event of cardiac episodes. As always, speak to a health professional before using any supplement regularly.

7. Normalizes Blood Sugar and Diabetes

In humans, shilajit helps reduce the dosage of diabetic drugs. It also helps normalize blood sugar and protect insulin-producing cells from damage, according to two other studies on diabetic rats.

8. Reduces Histamine and Allergic Symptoms

A cellular study shows that a whole shilajit extract can stop mast cells from releasing histamines. Mast cells are a type of white blood cell that is overactive in allergic diseases. It found that whole shilajit extract was more powerful than fulvic acid, humic acid, or other extracts of shilajit.

9. Supports the Immune System

Shilajit can also promote the growth of lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that fights infection.

Shilajit Side Effects and Cautions

A small study on the safety of shilajit appears to be safe in healthy human subjects. Their dosage of (up to) 2,000 mg of processed shilajit for 45 days did not produce any major changes in physical health and blood chemistry.

Other long-term studies with dosages of 100-250 milligrams for up to 90 days also show that shilajit is a safe supplement.

However, there are other possible concerns with its use:

Heavy Metal Content

Shilajit contains both helpful and harmful minerals. In fact, shilajit is banned in Canada because of its heavy metal content. If you suspect that toxic metals are causing your health issues, you may want to avoid taking shilajit or speak to a health care professional.

Potential Allergic Reactions or Sensitivity

It is possible that you may be allergic or sensitive to some components of shilajit. This may be because it contains a high amount of natural benzoate, which may cause sensitivity in some people. Also, sodium benzoate is reportedly a trigger of ADHD in children. So, avoid shilajit if ADHD is a health concern.

Quality and Purity

When it comes to a valuable substance sourced from the mountains, counterfeit products can be a real concern. If you are to take shilajit, you want to get the best! It should contain a high level of fulvic acid and be tested for toxic metals and contaminants. I use this brand and add a little into water and drink it.

Is Shilajit Worth Drinking?

Definitely decide this in together with your doctor like I did, but I can tell you based on the science it’s worth looking into!

It does taste earthy (as you would imagine) and a little bitter, but I’ve gotten used to the taste and just a little shilajit goes a long way.

I’m slowly working it into my weekly health routines, so stay tuned to find out if I suddenly have the the stamina of a sherpa… maybe it’ll help me with my mountain of laundry!

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Lauren Jefferis, board certified in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor or work with a doctor at SteadyMD.

Have you tried shilajit? What was your experience? I’d love to hear from you!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.

Comments

15 responses to “What Is Shilajit and Is It Worth Drinking?”

  1. Emily Avatar

    Is shilajit safe to take during pregnancy? I’m having a hard time finding reputable sources. Thanks!

    1. Jamie Larrison Avatar

      Many supplements have little to no conclusive safety data testing with pregnancy since researchers often stay away from testing on pregnant women for safety reasons. Some take the precautionary approach with Shilajit and don’t recommend it in pregnancy due to lacking safety data. Some may recommend it because it’s a good source of minerals and more of a food based dietary supplement (like vitamins). This would be a great question to ask your midwife/doula and see if it’s something that would personally benefit you.

  2. Phil Morphis Avatar
    Phil Morphis

    I’m on my second jar of Shilajit and to tell you the truth I don’t know about the first jar that I purchased because I did not get results that I having now unless it takes two jars. I’m a 65 year old male and I have to admit that because of TikTok is basically the only reason I started using it. But let me tell you for me especially for this second jar this has not only been game changer but life saver. For the past year I have been dealing with an enlarged prostate and my sex life was all but over. I don’t do doctors. That being said she is not my doctor but my wife has a PhD in nursing. I had tired every herb that is supposed to help the prostate and nothing was helping so I stopped taking the herbs and every morning and every night I have a cup of coffee and I put 0.2ml of shilajit about 2 tablespoons of honey and creamer in it, let me say this i wake up every morning under a tent. I told my wife if I start have wet dream then it will be just like it was when I was in high school. She claims it is better than it ever was. I don’t know if it will do this for every man but it sure has made a believer out of me. It hasn’t cured my prostate it’s still uncomfortable to urinate. But it sure has brought my sex back to life. And I notice more energy and I will continue using it.

  3. Tracey stevens Avatar
    Tracey stevens

    I just started taking it. the one i’m taking suggest 1/32nd of a teaspoon 3 times a week. Give it some times and see what happens.

  4. Krissy Avatar

    Can you tell me your take on shilijat vs fulvic? I really want to start one and am doing a ton of research but can’t really figure out which one is best!

  5. Ana Avatar

    Great article! Is shilajeet safe to consume if we have amalgam fillings?

  6. Suzy Avatar

    Hi Katie, I’m sure you and your team did quite a bit of quality research, but I don’t see much information about the source or purity of the product on the manufacturer website- did you guys find this info anywhere? Also curious as to why you stopped using the BlackMP product and started using the Purblack product? Thank you!!

    1. Ilya Avatar

      Purblack has a certificate on their website – but they mix the Shialjit from many regions. It is not contaminated with any heavy metals since it is tested. They have a patented extraction process for their Shilajit – which imho is overkill. You just have to slowly wash it out of the rocks (or boil, but better not to heat it, since active compounds might break down).
      This explains why purblack is just so expensive.
      Also all the studies are done on PrimaVie Shilajit tablets which is part of what nootropicsdepot or jarrow formula sells.

  7. Sam Avatar

    Right pronunciation is Salajit or Salajeet.. North of Pakistan which is the mountain is the main source of it. It grows from a specific mountain kind of inside mountain rocks.. Its really really powerful substance and normally gets diluted before reaching to customer for safe consumption ratios.

    Dosage should be really light and then you can have a glass of milk. Thats how we local use to take it. Its really helpful if you have joints pain issue.

    I can help to arrange and send if you need. 🙂

    1. Victoria Avatar

      If Canada thought it had enough heavy metals to ban it, there might not be a safe source. These kinds of things are not usually well regulated, so any claims a company makes about that are not necessarily being checked by anyone if you’re in the US.

      1. J. Z. Avatar

        It boggles the mind to consider that for thousands of years all life survived by drinking out of mud puddles that likely has traces of shilajit worldwide, but for the last 150 years, humans must drink government-managed water (treated with radioactive waste for the last 60 years), but if there are trace amounts of aluminum in a natural substance you’re going to be horribly maimed. But by all means let’s inject copious amounts of aluminum into babies and if you don’t agree, the all-benevolent government should take your kids from you, put you in jail, and ostracize you from society. And while we’re at it, increase the highway speed limits by 25% for, you know, “safety reasons” and “climate change.” Honk honk!

        1. Bob Jameson Avatar
          Bob Jameson

          Well said JZ, for people paranoid about heavy metals in Shilajit I would say you are exposed to alot more on a daily basis just from your drinking water, don’t even want to think about all the junk floating around in there, just looking at the gunk trapped by our water filters is why the majority of people are so sick these days plus the added fluoride “for your health” of course. Then there are chemtrails, GMO’s, additives in food, etc, etc.. I’ve been taking shilajit for over 25 years and only have greatly improved health to show for it, and always have a kilo on hand just in case. BTW, Purblack is not a good product, it’s just OK, all marketing hype more than anything, you can get a lot more for your $$ from other sources.

          1. Jamie Avatar

            Hi Bob, You mentioned that Purblack was not a good product. I’m curious on your thoughts on this and what your preference. is?

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