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Diatomaceous earth also known as diatomite or amorphous silica, is a powder made from fossilized water organisms called diatoms. Deposits of silica are mainly found in aquatic environments such as lakes, rivers and oceans. Researchers have ranked diatomite as one of the most versatile and cheap health and industrial input.
Types of Diatomaceous earth
There two broad classes of amorphous silica:
• Food grade– Also known as human-grade diatomite, this is the type of silica safe for human consumption. Human-grade diatomaceous earth is safe to ingest and has a list of endless benefits in the human body. Human-grade can be used topically or taken as a health supplement.
• Filter grade– Also known as industrial grade silica, filter grade diatomite is unsafe for human consumption but a prevalent raw material in industries. To make filter grade diatomite, amorphous silica is treated with high heat and is converted from a powder to a crystalline form. This greatly enhances its filtering property.
Major health benefits of Diatomaceous earth
• Boosts hair growth– Did you know that close to 90% of human hair is made of silica? Studies have shown that taking food grade silica can help repair lost hair. This is why many products used to reverse balding are formulated with silica. Silica can promote the rapid growth of healthy and strong hair.
• Several studies have shown that consuming food grade silica improves bone metabolism and improves the production of collagen, a major structural component of bones. If sufficient silica is present in the body, other connective tissues such as joints are protected from deterioration.
• Lowers cholesterol levels– A few research findings suggest the possibility of silica reducing cholesterol levels in the blood. The presence of this compound in the body has the effect of reduced cholesterol absorption in the blood. However, studies on this aspect are still limited, and one should consult a health specialist before embarking on such a regime.
Silica and skin care
This is arguably the most popular use of commercial and dietary silica supplements in the modern world. Now that maintaining a youthful skin has become a very crucial aspect of many people’s lives, new ways of preventing quick aging of the skin are being derived each day. Silica has won the hearts of many beauty enthusiasts as it is a very versatile, cheap and safe skin product. Diatomaceous earth has been used in the skin care field in the following ways:
• As an absorbent – The tiny spherical particles of silica absorb unwanted skin secretions such as sweat and oil. If these wastes continually adsorb on the skin surface, its appearance may be compromised due to light reflection. The topical application of silica ensures that the skin is always glowing.
• As an anti-inflammatory – The skin is a sensitive tissue and on exposure to unfavorable conditions, it can develop very displeasing inflammations. Skin inflammation, especially on the face, leaves scars on healing, a significant turn off point and self-esteem killer in many people. Diatomaceous earth comes to the rescue of people with sensitive skin as it a perfect natural remedy for skin inflammations and related skin conditions.
• As an anti-wrinkle agent – wrinkle-free skin is highly sought for by people, especially women, as they get old. Diatomaceous earth enhances the production of collagen, a protein that keeps the skin elastic and wrinkles free hence helping people maintain a young skin for long.
Side effects of using silica
The significant side effect of silica use is breathing difficulties. If the tiny particles of amorphous silica find their way into the breathing tract and into the lungs, one may develop breathing problems and lung complications such as asthma and the worst, lung cancer. People who use silica are also at risk of tuberculosis. Care should hence be taken not to breathe in silica particles when using it.
Other minor side effects of diatomaceous earth are stomach upset, hypoglycemia and allergic reactions like skin rashes. The key to using this health supplement without experiencing these side effects is ensuring that you do not have underlying medical conditions.
Other Uses of Diatomaceous earth
Since silica is a free resource widely distributed worldwide, it has found many uses other than in the beauty industry. Silica is used for household purposes such as water purification and driving away insects and bugs. In water purification, silica is a perfect filter aid thanks to its fine particles. Diatomaceous earth works as a pesticide in two ways. First, it penetrates the waxy coating of insects, injuring their inner organs. Due to its porous nature, diatomite also draws fluid out of insect’s bodies and dehydrates them to death.
In conclusion, we can say that diatomaceous earth is so far a valuable compound in personal care products, cosmetics and industrial products. Since this is a free resource, we can expect nothing less than more uses from this compound. If you are looking for a superior, cheap and safe anti-aging compound, you should give diatomaceous earth a try.