Diatomaceous Dynamics

-R K Chandrika

Odds are you have not come across this. Unless you have been in America, Europe, Australia, China or thereabouts, and have a keen interest in alternative therapies and treatments. The FDA recognises food grade diatomaceous earth as a safe supplement.  However, though it is exported from India to several Western countries, the Indian food and supplements authorities have not yet examined this rich source of natural supplementation and treatment.

Say hello to this fascinating substance that both nourishes and detoxifies.

What is Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth?

This long mouthful of a name comes from tiny aquatic organisms called Diatoms. Their fossils, mainly constituted of silica, have accumulated on river, lake and ocean beds over thousands of years, and are now mined for diatomaceous earth (DE).

Food grade DE, also called amorphous DE, is the one that is safe and beneficial both for consuming, or using around households and establishments to exterminate mites, fleas, bed-bugs, ants, termites, or such.

The DE that is used in industrial applications is the crystalline kind, and is not meant to be consume. It is also hazardous if inhaled or upon skin contact.

Food grade DE is used in animal food as a deworming agent, as well as for its silica supplementation. It is also used on their coats to be safely rid of ticks, lice and fleas. Contact with DE slowly kills insects with exoskeletons, but is safe and beneficial for every other kind of being. DE can also be added to stored grains and pulses, to prevent and be rid of bug infestations.

If you use food grade DE for anything, you should make sure that the fine powder doesn’t get into your eyes, and that you don’t inhale it accidentally, since this can damage the lungs and respiratory system. Further, if you buy this online in India, remember that it has no certification, and after having ascertained the safety of your source, you will be taking DE at your ownresponsibility.

After all those caution flags and disclaimers, let’s get on to why food grade DE figures here, and why you’d want to be consuming this regularly.

How DE Works

Diatomaceous Earth is 85-90% silica. Silica or silicon, is quite a cold-shouldered mineral when nutritionists list out essential minerals, while it is a very criticaltrace mineralutilized by several body functions. It is abundant in your body when you are young, which accounts for the soft, lustrous hair, soft and supple skin, white, smooth nails, and strong teeth and bones. As we grow older, the silica level in our bodies invariably goes down drastically, owing to poor lifestyle and nutritive choices, creating a deficiency. In recent times, this has been further exacerbated by poor seed quality, hybrids, genetically engineered food and the depleted soil it grows in. What we eat today is far more nutritionally impoverished than what our forefathers partook of.

Calcium and magnesium are essential for bone and cartilage, but it is silica that helps in balancing their ratio and for their assimilation in the body. If you are low on calcium but have a good level of silica, you’d have better bone health than if it were reversed, since in the absence of calcium, the body is able to convert silica into calcium.

Silica prevents aluminium toxicity by drawing it out of the body, thus averting some mental degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. It also prevents hardening of the arteries, creating conditions for good heart health.

When you supplement with DE, a small portion is absorbed into the blood stream, adding enough for your body’s requirement.

Its other contribution is to the digestive tract, where bacteria, moulds, viruses, endotoxin, excess mucus, and drug and chemical residues adhere to the DE passing through and are escorted out of the body. A clean tract and colon are vital in preventing polyps, ulcers and cancerous growths. DE is often used in the alternative therapy for certain cancers.

What DE Can do for You

Food grade DE reportedly (and in my own experience with it)results in significant improvement and reversal in joint and bone-related pains. Reportedly, it helps in the body’s self repair in cases of osteoporosis. This could be both because of the high silica it has as well as the gut detoxification it effects.

A large number of people first experience better bowel evacuation (more regular if they are constipated, and better periodicity if they have conditions like irritable bowel syndrome or a tendency to get diarrhoea), reduction in episodes of acidity, and better digestion. Improved gut detoxification enables better absorption of nutrients, better hormonal balance, and minimizes toxic fallout, which leads to innumerable benefits. This could explain the amazing variety of health improvements that people report when they take DE long term.

The most commonly reported results after pain reduction, increased flexibility and absence of stiffness are better respiratory health, easing of allergies, disappearance of small tumours, lowering of blood pressure, reduction of high cholesterol,improved energy levels, better sleeping cycles for both insomniacs and over-sleepers, improved heart health, reduction or elimination of sugar and junk food craving, reduction in weight, better moods, sharper memory, apart from improvement in skin, nails and hair.

However, there is plenty of individual variation, and it is difficult to predict the progression for each individual. Some report improvement in skin and hair in a couple of months, and some report it after thirty months or so (provided they have been consistent in the intake of DE, and provided they have also paid attention to other nutritive factors in their overall diet).

Aggravation of symptoms is often experienced as a short healing crisis, for which, the best course of action is to either cut back on the dosage, or stop the consumption of the DE for a period of 5-7 days, and re-start at a lower dose, slowly building it up to a level where more positive changes are observed. In the beginning, when there is a lot more action going on, quicker breaks, say, after the first 10-15 days is advised, but as you arrive at a more comfortable understanding of how your body responds to DE, the gap can be after longer and longer forays of DE intake. It is to be noted that even if no exacerbation of any condition is observed it is better to take a break now and then from DE for a few days. The return to it is invariably more rewarding.

Caution Notes

The most important thing to look out for during DE courses is extreme hydration. If you do not drink more than enough water, your detoxification can be both uncomfortable and incomplete. As a user said, having DE without enough water is like trying to wash clothes with only detergent and no water.

Take DE at least an hour and half away from prescription medicine and supplements to avoid the possibility of them being absorbed and eliminated.

If you are new to DE and other alternative health regimes, you’d best do it with supervision from a therapist or someone who has already been there.


R K Chandrika has been imparting nature treatment and spiritual healing and practices for the past 20 years, apart from being a professional documentary filmmaker. She runs a holistic nature care enterprise accessible on www.grasroutes.com. You can send in your questions at tmcdotin@gmail.com.  She will answer the more relevant and generic questions of them, which will be carried the following Sunday. 

Disclaimer: Everything related to health in this column is for information purposes only. Readers are expected to exercise their own good sense in following any of them, and consult a professional therapist or doctor for conditions that warrant doing so. The author and The Morning Chronicle bear no responsibility for any outcomes from following anything described herein.

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