Health Benefits of Shilajit

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Shilajit, better known as mineral pitch, is making a buzz in health, wellness, and organic circles. The raw mumie rock and purified shilajit resin may not look much. But, the benefits of shilajit in restoring health and promoting wellness have been well-known since antiquity.

Its highly valued power to rejuvenate the mind, body, and spirit transcends many generations. In today’s modern times, it continues to spark curiosity. The world’s rekindled fascination with ancient medical practice has made it one of the central subjects of investigation.

Several studies later, researchers are only beginning to unearth what many eastern cultures have always known about shilajit benefits. Slowly but surely, scientific evidence is building up about its claimed benefits. That’s one of the reasons why shilajit also comes at a high price.

If you’re planning to take shilajit, make sure to check on product quality. Always demand proof of safety and efficacy. Look for shilajit protected by patents. It’s an assurance that extensive efforts have been taken to guarantee shilajit potency and purity. Beware of raw, unpurified shilajit and counterfeits. These can be detrimental to your health and well-being.

But, which of the health benefits of shilajit are backed up by science anyway? In this list, we tell you exactly that.

Boost energy levels

Probably the most acknowledged benefit of shilajit is its adaptogenic properties. It has the power to unlock more energy from your diet. That’s why it is highly regarded as a Rasayana (rejuvenator) in ayurveda. Other eastern medical traditions also place a high value to shilajit resin.

Nutrients are usually composed of large molecules that require to be broken down into smaller molecules. It’s not enough that you’re eating healthy. Most of the energy you can get from crop sources is usually not readily available for your body to use.

Shilajit itself is composed of essential trace minerals and other nutrients. Most of which are derived from decaying plant structures mixed with humic and fulvic acids, and minerals found in the soil.

Experts suggest that dibenzo-ɑ pyrones (DBP) are the primary components responsible for the adaptogenic properties of shilajit. DBPs are metabolites formed from decomposing organic matter.

Based on a study published in Pharmacologyonline, researchers suggest that DAP breakdown energy from food into adenosine triphosphate. ATP is the type of energy that the human body can use to power up various physiological functions. Higher ATP means more energy from food is converted. It also means more energy is available to build and repair tissues. [1]

Shilajit may also amplify the potential health and wellness benefits that you can get from medicinal herbs. Using shilajit for diabetes may help increase practical use for energy from sugar too. Can shilajit also help boost energy to help fight fatigue and stress?

Eases Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Based on study results, it appears that shilajit may also address signs and symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Researchers set up three treatment groups. Shilajit was standardized for DBPs, DBP-chromoproteins, and fulvic acid.

Observations showed shilajit regulated fatigue and promoted faster recovery. The results made researchers suggest that shilajit significantly replenished enzymes associated with CFS. Moreover, they also found that shilajit reversed oxidative stress. [2]

Thus, shilajit may help you feel more energetic and more enthusiastic. It could be the start of a more optimistic mindset.

Reduce stress and anxiety levels

Closely related to the first two shilajit health benefits mentioned above, shilajit may also help you rebound faster from stressful situations. Since stress is associated with anxiety and depression, shilajit will likely benefit people exhibiting risks for developing mental health disorders as well. Although more research is needed to establish any link with some degree of certainty.

Depressive disorders are one of the 10 leading causes of disease in 2019. That is according to the Global Burden of Disease report. The release also highlighted that self-harm ranks among the three leading causes in the declining trend observed in Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALY) among young people between 10 and 24 years old. [3]

Symptoms of depression include sudden weight gain or weight loss, sleeplessness, fatigue, and moodiness. There is some evidence that shilajit may be able to support the body resist these signs and symptoms. More on these below.

Improve Quality of Sleep

The CDC recommends adults must get at least 7 hours of sleep every night [4]. That does not guarantee you’ll wake up with a smile on your face though. Quality of sleep is the ultimate deal-breaker.

Sleeplessness may either be a cause or effect of diseases. There are several reasons why sleeping patterns may be disturbed. Some of the most common reasons are stress, anxiety, depression, and micronutrient deficiency [5].

Among the top shilajit resin benefits is that it is teeming with macronutrients and micronutrients. What makes it special is that shilajit resin is also capable of delivering these nutrients through membranes and reach cells. Researchers specifically found an association between sleeplessness and iron, magnesium, and zinc. [5]

If left unaddressed, lack of sleep and low sleep quality can lead to chronic and life-threatening diseases. That includes developing diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and obesity. Sleep deprivation may also adversely impact mental health, physical and cognitive performance, and immunity.

Better Gut Health

Gut health is at the center of overall health and well-being. After all, most of the energy that is made available to the body through food goes through the gut. Poor gut health means poor nutrient absorption. In turn, that means less nutrients and energy for the body to perform optimally.

Shilajit contains a long list of minerals, including selenium and molybdenum. These essential trace elements facilitate detox. By taking out toxins, the body can function more effectively. Think of your body as a car that requires oil change regularly so that new oil can be absorbed more efficiently.

It contains iodine and zinc which serve as precursors for a long list of hormones, including the ones that regulate how energy is absorbed and used. It may also contain chloride which promotes a normal electrolyte balance in the gut. Shilajit is also rich in iron which facilitates good nutrient and oxygen circulation. [6, 7]

Improves Immune Response

Shilajit contains strong antioxidants such as DBPs. Zinc, calcium, and magnesium can help boost immunity. Although shilajit composition will vary across sources.

In a study that sought to compare the inorganic components and antioxidant activity of shilajit sourced from Pakistan and Afghanistan. The researchers used tools that helped them examine the mineral composition of the samples.

As expected, mineral constituents were present in varying qualities. The Afhghani shilajit was specifically found to contain higher levels of calcium and potassium. Both samples, however, demonstrated high antioxidant activity. [8]

Fights Off Viral Infections

Another group of researchers investigated how shilajit would interact with five different types of viruses. That included the herpes simplex viruses (HPV-1 and HPV-2), human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) and human rotavirus (HRV).

The results showed that HPV-1, HPV-2, RSV, and HCMV have a dose-dependent reaction with shilajit. The researchers reported that shilajit worked one of two ways. First, shilajit may have partially inactivated the virus. Or, second, it may have interfered with its attachment to cells which posed difficulties in its survival. [9]

Researchers point to the constituents of humic acid when explaining its antiviral properties. Humic acid consists of precursors that make it possible for living organisms to live, survive, and thrive. That includes lignin, peptides, tannins, lipids, and cellulose that once made up the structure and tissues of plants undergoing various stages of decay. [10]

Studies about health benefits of shilajit remain limited. You’ll find that many even show contradictory evidence. Such is the case with another study that sought to examine its antiviral effect. This time, specifically testing it on the HIV-1 virus.

Researchers examined how humic acid and shilajit reacted with the virus. The results obtained showed higher activity with humic acid than with shilajit. The researchers explained that the molecular structure of pure humic acid differed from shilajit which accounts for the difference in reaction.

In addition, the study also stressed that the antiviral properties associated with shilajit is the result of humic acid rather than fulvic acid [11].

There’s plenty of reasons to expand research in this area. Who knows what future studies might uncover that could potentially positively impact public health.

Enhance Brain Activity

One of the reasons for people’s growing curiosity around shilajit and its uses is its nootropic potential. More and more, people are struggling to cope with work, family, and societal expectations. That’s why nootropics, drugs that could potentially improve memory, cognition, and other brain activity became a hit in recent years.

Unfortunately, nootropics are plagued by controversial issues. There’s more proof available about the potentially adverse effects these drugs can cause [12]. Thus, there has been a growing clamor to shift to natural nootropics. In which case, shilajit may prove to be a viable alternative.

Researchers examined how shilajit affected the levels of dopamine and other chemicals in the brain associated with nootropic and anxiolytic activities. They found that one-time use of shilajit did not cause any difference.

However, regular shilajit administration for as short as 5 days caused dopamine levels to rise. They also found a positive correlation with active learning as well as indicators of memory retention. In contrast, biochemical reactions associated with anxiety declined. [13]

Cardiovascular Health

Shilajit nutrition facts may be altered and depend on the source. Meticulously selected and tested shilajit, however, is guaranteed to be full of nutrition. That includes the following macronutrients and micronutrients proven to promote heart health:

  • Iron. Iron deficiency can cause a decrease in blood oxygen levels and anemia. Both of which may contribute to the development of cardiovascular diseases, heart attack, and stroke. With a normal supply and proper absorption of iron, the body is able to produce sufficient levels of red blood cells. These, in turn, transport oxygen throughout the body. With it also comes nutrients and energy your cells need to function well. [14]
  • Potassium. The body requires a very small amount of potassium. However, a slight drop increases a person’s risks for high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack. Working together with sodium, potassium helps regulate the amount of fluid absorbed into cells. Both minerals are directly associated with nerve health as well. [15]
  • Manganese. Having regular levels of manganese in the body lowers a person’s risk for developing diabetes. Diabetes compromises nerve health. It is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. On the other hand, too much manganese can drive poorer iron absorption. That’s why it’s important to keep manganese levels in check. [16]

Promotes bone and muscle growth & repair

Tissue growth and repair require plenty of energy and the right nutrients to get the job done. Here are two other ways shilajit may support restoration of torn muscles and broken bones:

  • Shilajit is prized for its strong surfactant property. This means, it not only carries a rich amount of nutrients. It can actually carry these through thick tissue walls so they can be delivered to cells where they are needed the most. [17]
  • Shilajit may reinforce bones and muscles. A study composed of overweight Class 1 American adults provided scientific evidence for this. The researchers observed improvements after 16 weeks of regular supplementation with shilajit. Shilajit continued to be administered for four more weeks. During this period, exercise was added to the subjects’ daily routine.

The researchers noted improvements in the extracellular matrix. More specifically, 17 components of ECM associated with bone and muscle repair were improved. That includes collagen and elastin levels. [18]

Mitigates inflammation

Inflammation can be both good and bad for your health. It is the body’s way of coping with stressors such as injury, pain, and infection. In such cases, immune cells respond. Inflammation helps the body heal faster and protects it against foreign body invasion.

However, when the immune system is not properly wired, it causes the body to attack itself. This results in excessive inflammation which can damage cells. The damage may be short-term or long-term, temporary or chronic. [19]

A study about the anti-inflammatory properties of humic substances found that shilajit may mitigate the excessive release of cytokines. Cytokines are one of several amino acids released by the immune system when it detects that the body is under attack. By inhibiting the release of cytokines, allergic contact dermatitis was prevented.

Humic acid is one of the major components that make up shilajit. It’s possible that the same positive effect may be achieved with regular shilajit intake. Although more evidence is needed to establish effectiveness and safety. The researcher further suggests that shilajit may be used to treat other forms of inflammation and cancers. [20]

Speeds up wound healing

Shilajit has antibacterial properties. That’s why it’s not surprising that shilajit is associated with speeding up the rate of wound healing as well.

In a study, the subjects’ palates were deliberately wounded and treated with different solutions. One group was treated with a humic acid solution. The researchers concluded that the humic acid solution improved the speed and quality of wound healing. [21]

Maintains Youthful Skin

What’s inside your body shows through your skin. Thus, regular supplementation with shilajit not only makes you stronger inside but also radiantly beautiful on the outside.

Shilajit may deliver one or more of five minerals that have the power to boost skin health:

  • Zinc. There are several skin treatments that utilize zinc and for good reasons. Zinc is used for the treatment of acne, warts, melasma, eczema, and even basal cell carcinoma and dandruff. Zinc has strong anti-inflammatory properties and supports faster skin repair and healing. [22]
  • Sulfur. Many acne treatments use it as an active ingredient. It causes the skin to dry out and shed off. It also helps the skin better absorb sebum. Sulfur also has antibacterial and antifungal properties. [23]
  • Copper. It helps sustain and restore the youthful vitality of the skin. Copper serves as an enabler and regulator of the skin matrix. It can also help promote angiogenesis or the process of growing new blood vessels. In turn, this enhances the distribution of nutrients and oxygen to the skin. [24]

Promote healthy blood level and circulation

Apart from copper, shilajit also contains rich amounts of iron. This element aids in the production of red blood cells which transport oxygen and other nutrients throughout the system. It helps prevent iron deficiency anemia.

Shilajit is also a potent source of copper, potassium, and magnesium. Copper helps create and maintain a healthy network of blood vessels.

Maintaining normal levels of potassium aids in keeping blood pressure within proper limits. High blood pressure can destroy blood vessels. Low pressure, on the other hand, fails to distribute oxygen and other nutrients in the blood to all parts of the body.

Magnesium promotes a normal heartbeat. Abnormal pumping affects how blood is supplied throughout the body.

Address Altitude Sickness

Perhaps one of the earliest uses of shilajit is in alleviating high-altitude sickness. That may include one or a combination of symptoms that include nausea, chronic fatigue, hypoxia, cerebral edema caused by low oxygen supply, and depression.

Shilajit promotes body mechanisms that help counter these symptoms, all of which have been described in previous sections. In a review, researchers highlighted that many of these symptoms are brought about by the unique environmental conditions in high-altitude locations.

Among these unique environmental conditions are a thin atmosphere with a lower supply of oxygen, more intense UV radiation, low atmospheric pressure, and high wind velocity. Extreme weather changes during the day and at night also test the body’s resilience. Shilajit can be used to prepare the body for these demanding conditions and as a rejuvenator. [25]

Slow Down Cancer

Several studies have examined shilajit and how it might affect cancer cell proliferation. In one study, the researchers observed how shilajit supplementation affected the growth and spread of HL-60 cells. These cells are associated with leukemia. The researchers concluded that the introduction of shilajit into the system caused a slower rate of cancer cell proliferation. [26]

Another study examined how taking shilajit can drive apoptosis while simultaneously blocking proliferation. Apoptosis is an inherent cell mechanism programmed to eliminate potentially dangerous cells, including cancer cells. The researchers identified multiple ways by which shilajit can help slow down cancer. [27]

Obesity, Overweight, & Diabetes

Shilajit helps transform more energy from food. As such, it also helps prevent the unnecessary conversion of unused energy into fat.

Researchers examined if shilajit can help mitigate fat storage.

The researchers suggest that these effects may involve increasing the blood’s nutrient and oxygen-carrying capacity. By making these widely available for tissues to use, less of it is stored and locked away as fats. [28]

In another observation made with human subjects, researchers administered shilajit to patients with diabetes Type-2. The researchers observed significant improvements in signs and symptoms, including a decrease in blood sugar levels. [29]

Seizures

This can be caused by many factors, but the most common causes are psychosis and epilepsy. Drugs currently used to mitigate and treat these neurological disorders are associated with serious side effects.

That includes substance addiction and dependence, depression, behavioral changes, and sedation. Novel treatments are clearly needed and shilajit may pose an alternative solution.

One study deliberately induced epilepsy among subjects. Treatment groups received shilajit for 15 days before the event. Those who received shilajit responded better to the epileptic shock. The researchers further suggest this positive outcome may be the result of an enhanced GABA and suppressed dopamine levels. [30]

Shilajit Benefits for Men

Shilajit benefits for females and males include fertility. Increasing male fertility and testosterone levels is one of the shilajit benefits for men. Traditionally, shilajit has a reputation for being an aphrodisiac. Recent studies on Shilajit and Testosterone now confirm its effects on the male reproductive system.

In one study, researchers noted how shilajit intake among subjects resulted in an increase in the weight of their reproductive organs. This was just after 14 weeks of regular shilajit intake. The researchers also noted a significant increase in daily sperm count, testosterone levels, as well as certain enzymes used as indicators of enhanced fertility. [31]

Shilajit Benefits for Women

Women go through difficult changes in reproductive growth and development from the moment they experience their first menstrual cycle. This monthly cycle, reproduction, and menopause are regulated by a complex web of physiological reactions happening simultaneously.

Unfortunately, these changes are often accompanied by pain and discomfort. Use of shilajit for women can help improve nutrient levels. Iron, in particular, is important to protect women against iron deficiency which can result from heavy periods as well as conception.

Nutrients like copper can help promote regular menstrual cycles while magnesium can help alleviate cramping. Women are also more prone to bone density loss and osteoporosis. Calcium-rich shilajit can help mitigate these conditions as well.

There is currently no available study supporting the use of shilajit to improve fertility in women. That is, other than improving overall health and nutrient levels.

Shilajit and You

That’s an extensive list but there’s more to discover about shilajit. For now, at least you know what is shilajit used for. The next step is for you to find out what shilajit can do for you.

Beware of fake, low-quality, and unpurified shilajit. Keep in mind that, for shilajit to be effective, it has to be extracted from high-quality sources. Then, it needs to be purified using a well-defined process that guarantees its potency. Also, that it is safe for human consumption.

Check product patents and Certificate of Analysis for these details. Shilajit manufacturers who care about your welfare will have these documents. High-quality products will also be endorsed by experts who can vouch for product effectiveness and safety.

References:

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