Shilajit, a natural resin-like substance found in the rocks of the Himalayas and other mountainous regions, has been used for centuries in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. This ancient remedy is known for its many health benefits and is gaining popularity in the wellness community. However, with its growing use, concerns about its safety have also surfaced. In this article, we explore what shilajit is, its potential benefits, possible side effects, and important safety considerations.
What is Shilajit?
Shilajit is a sticky, tar-like substance that oozes from the cracks in rocky formations. It is formed over centuries by the decomposition of plant and microbial matter. Rich in minerals, fulvic acid, and other bioactive compounds, shilajit has been traditionally used for a variety of health purposes.
Shilajit, often referred to as "the destroyer of weakness" in Sanskrit, holds an important place in the world of traditional medicine. The history of shilajit goes back to ancient times, with references to its use found in some of the oldest texts of traditional medicine. Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine dating back over 5,000 years, considers shilajit as one of its top remedies. According to Ayurvedic texts, shilajit is classified as a "rasayana," a rejuvenating substance that enhances overall health, longevity, and vitality.
Shilajit has also been valued in other traditional systems of medicine. In Central Asia, Persian, Arabic, and Tibetan traditional medicine, shilajit is known by various names and is highly regarded for its many health-promoting properties.
What is Shilajit Used For?
Because of the abundance of minerals in shilajit, it is known to have many potential health benefits. Some of the most common uses of shilajit include:
1. Energy and Vitality: Shilajit is often promoted as an energy booster, helping to combat fatigue and increase stamina. (1)
2. Nutrient Absorption: Due to the fulvic acid in shilajit, it is believed to enhance the absorption of nutrients, aiding in overall well-being. (2)
3. Anti-Aging Properties: Some proponents claim that shilajit has antioxidant properties, which may help combat cellular damage and slow down the aging process. (1)
4. Immune Support: Shilajit is thought to strengthen the immune system, potentially offering protection against infections. (3)
5. Cognitive Health: It is sometimes used to improve cognitive function and memory. (4)
6. Bone Health: Shilajit's mineral content may contribute to improved bone health. (5)
7. Inflammation: Shilajit contains compounds that may help to lower inflammation levels in the body. (5)
Shilajit has been used as a medicine in Ayurveda and other traditional medicine systems for thousands of years. While there have been many benefits associated with shilajit, and several promising studies, there is still a need for more research to understand the full scope of benefits that shilajit provides.
Potential Side Effects and Safety Considerations:
While shilajit is known to have many benefits, there are some concerns that people have regarding shilajit. We will discuss these concerns below and also share how you can avoid these concerns and make sure that you are getting a safe form of shilajit.
When considering the safety of shilajit, several aspects need to be taken into account:
1. Heavy Metal Contamination: One of the primary concerns with raw shilajit resin is the possibility of heavy metal contamination. Shilajit harvested from certain regions may contain trace amounts of heavy metals, which could be harmful to health over time.
2. Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: The safety of shilajit during pregnancy and breastfeeding has not been extensively studied. Due to the lack of sufficient evidence, it is generally recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding women be cautious and avoid using shilajit.
3. Underlying Health Conditions: If you have underlying health conditions such as diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, or kidney issues, it's crucial to consult your healthcare provider before using shilajit. Shilajit may interact with medications or affect certain health conditions.
4. Digestive Upset: Some individuals may experience mild digestive discomfort or an upset stomach when taking shilajit, particularly as a raw resin.
Shilajit Extract, the Safer Option
To address concerns about heavy metal contamination and ensure a more standardized product, organic shilajit extract is considered a much safer alternative to raw shilajit resin. The extraction process involves purifying the shilajit and removing potential impurities. High-quality shilajit extracts are manufactured under controlled conditions, providing a more consistent and reliable product.
Our High-Himalayan Shilajit Liquid Tonic, for example, utilizes a broken-down particle size-technology to maximize its absorption and effectiveness. Shilajit at this small size can absorb more effectively than raw shilajit resin.
Our organic shilajit is wild-harvested from a source above 16,000 ft in the Indian Himalayas for maximum purity. Plus, our low-heat, solvent-free extraction method (below 96°F) preserves the important bioactive nutrients in this mineral-rich compound. Our shilajit is also processed in an FDA GMP and ISO 9001:2008 certified facility, and we use no fertilizers, chemicals, or pesticides in our formula.
All of these considerations are important to take into account for a truly pure and chemical-free shilajit supplement.
Furthermore, when choosing a shilajit product, it is essential to look for those that undergo third-party testing. Reputable manufacturers often have their products tested by independent laboratories to verify the absence of heavy metals, and contaminants, and to ensure the potency of bioactive compounds. Look for products with clear labeling and transparency regarding their testing procedures.
While shilajit has a long history of traditional use and potential health benefits, there is a wide variety of shilajit products available today, and some may contain contaminants if not properly processed or tested for purity. Thus, the safety of shilajit is a matter of concern for some people, especially for specific populations such as pregnant or breastfeeding women and individuals with certain medical conditions.
Choosing a high-quality shilajit extract and ensuring third-party testing can enhance safety and minimize potential risks. Ultimately, if you are considering taking shilajit, it is crucial to consult with a qualified healthcare professional to determine if it is safe and appropriate for your individual health needs.