Shilajit Benefits, Side Effects, and Preparations
What is shilajit?
Shilajit is a herbo-mineral constituent acquired from the rocks in steep mountainous regions of the Himalayas. It has been used as part of Ayurvedic treatments for centuries to relieve various ailments and enhance the quality of life. It is purely an amazing substance that is known to fetch a large number of therapeutic properties.
Shilajit is a combination of rock humus, organic substances, marine organisms, and minerals that have been compressed by layers of rock through a course of time. Its active constituents have proved to be effective in restoring the energetic balance and potentially able to prevent several diseases. When used correctly, shilajit offers several health benefits. A high concentration of fulvic and humic acids and many other minerals are likely reasons.
Shilajit benefits for men & women
Shilajit is widely available over the counter as an ayurvedic supplement. What is shilajit used for? Well! There is a multitude of health benefits one can obtain by using Shilajit as a supplement. Both men and women can take it and experience its benefits.
Shilajit benefits for men
Shilajit may help restore the spermatogenic activity in infertile males by gradually increasing the germ cell layers in the testis. It can increase the rate of spermatogenesis and daily sperm production.
Shilajit benefits for women
A woman can benefit from the use of Shilajit to address infertility issues, regulate the menstrual cycle, fight urinary tract infection (UTI), boost energy and strength, remove wrinkles, and promote hair growth.
Shilajit health benefits
Is Shilajit good for health?
According to recent clinical researches conducted on shilajit, it has been found that it can serve as a potential therapeutic agent in various diseases like cognitive disorders, impotence, infertility issues, diabetes, diseases of the urinary tract, fatigue, and muscle wasting. It also possesses antiulcerogenic antioxidant, anti-inflammatory activity and, Anti-allergic activity
Another variation, Shilajit Gold, is a composition of many other herbs apart from shilajit like gold, kesar and other important herbs like Kaunch Beej, Ashwagandha, and Safed Musali. Shilajit Gold is good for general health as it can serve to function in various diseases and also increase strength, immunity, stamina, vigor, and overall health of an individual.
1. Anti-viral effects
Shilajit, which is rich in various minerals and compounds, has reported producing anti-viral effects. Results from numerous assays and research have suggested that Shilajit exerts anti-viral activity. This is due to either targeting the early steps of the replicative virus cycle or by inactivating the viral particles irreversibly by acting as a virucide. Shilajit has the potential to interact with the virus particles and prevent the attachment of the viruses to the cell surface resulting in loss of infectivity.2.
2. Antioxidant effect
Studies conducted to understand the effect of shilajit on stress-induced diseases have shown that shilajit can reduce oxidative stress and thereby prevents various diseases. Chronic stress, which is the main causative factor for various diseases like mental disorders, diabetes, and fatigue, can induce oxidative stress. Oxidative stress leads to an increase in lipid peroxidase activity that can result in cell damage. Shilajit and its active constituents mitigate chronic stress-induced perturbations by normalizing SOD activity and reducing the lipid peroxidase.3.
3. Digestive health: Anti-ulcerogenic effect
A pre-clinical study conducted on rats has shown that shilajit tends to reduce the amount of acid and to result in peptide output, thereby reducing the total amount of protein and increasing the ratio of carbohydrate/protein in the gastric juice. This increased ratio can improve the mucosal barrier efficiency and protect the gastric mucosa from ulcers.4.
4. Anti-inflammatory effect
Research has suggested that selenium can act as a potent anti-inflammatory agent through the modulation of cell-signaling components associated with inflammation. Shilajit contains elemental selenium, which, when consumed in inflammation predominant diseases like arthritis, may help reduce mortality and improve the clinical outcome. Selenium may bring down the inflammatory pathway by inhibiting the nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-κB) signaling pathway and thus arresting the activation of NF-κB by modulating selenoprotein gene expression.5.
5. Memory enhancement
Fulvic acid predominant Shilajit is known to improve cognitive functions in both pre-clinical and clinical studies. Research has indicated that a neurodegenerative disorder like Alzheimer's disease is characterized by the presence of amyloid-β plaques and intracellular tangles of tau protein, which are responsible for the degeneration of neurons. Fulvic acid & humic substance, the main constituents of Shilajit, have the potential activity to protect cognitive impairment. This happens by preventing the self-aggregation of tau fibrils & affecting the length of fibrils and their morphology (responsible for the development of Alzheimer's disease).6.
The several compounds found in shilajit could be useful for brain function, and may even help Alzheimer's disease treatment.
A research report in the International Journal of Alzheimer's Disease noted that shilajit has been used historically for longevity and to slow aging. The chemicals in it can help to control cognitive disorders, such as Alzheimer's.
Researchers anticipate shilajit to affect preventing cognitive disorders, but more study is required to explore these possibilities.
6. Growth promoting effect
Fulvic acid, the humic substance present in shilajit, can act as catalysts and has the ability to react with almost all chemical compounds of a living organism. It constitutes of reactive groups like acidic carboxyl and hydroxyl groups that can bind with inorganic cations. Thus, Shilajit can promote the growth of the tissue by facilitating wound healing.7.
Ayurveda also uses Shilajit in diabetic conditions, where it acts as an antioxidant to prevent the islet cells of the pancreas from the cytotoxic effect of oxidative stress. It has been found that pancreatic cells that are responsible for secreting insulin and maintaining the blood glucose levels in the body have low concentrations of catalase, superoxide dismutase (SOD), and glutathione peroxidase enzymes. This low concentration makes the islet cells more vulnerable to the cytotoxic effects of the free radicals. However, Shilajit usage increase in islet cell SOD activity and decreases the cytotoxic effect on islet cells, thus promoting a significant decrease in the blood glucose level.8.
Generally, the causes of male infertility include semen or sperm abnormalities, sperm transport disorders, and aspermia. Oxidative stress plays a critical role in defective sperm formation, sperm count profile, and male infertility. Shilajit may stimulate testosterone biosynthesis by increasing the activity of testicular hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases though its effect on pituitary gonadotropin secretion.9.
Anemia develops when the blood doesn't contain enough hemoglobin. There are several causes of anemia, including iron deficiency. Iron deficiency anemia may cause numerous symptoms in the body, for example, fatigue, Cold feet, and hands, irregular heartbeat, or headaches.
Shilajit comprises high levels of humic acid and iron, which might assist in treating nausea. It's necessary to explore this option with a physician before taking supplements, however.
10. Rejuvenation & longevity
The primary ingredient in shilajit, fulvic acid, functions as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound. Therefore, it may decrease free radicals and cellular damage in the body, which are two important factors in aging. Daily supplementation of shilajit can promote overall energy and a slower aging process in some individuals.
11. Chronic fatigue & Anxiety
According to a research study from 2012 in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, scientists discovered that shilajit helped reduce symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.
Researchers found that shilajit could help improve cell functions, so it may decrease fatigue at the origin of the issue and raise energy levels naturally.
12. Altitude sickness
Conventional practitioners have claimed that shilajit may help reduce altitude sickness. Atmospheric pressure changes at high altitudes can greatly influence some people's health. Altitude sickness symptoms include body pain, fatigue, lung congestion, and reduced oxygen in the brain.
Shilajit is a complex compound that contains more than 80 unique minerals, in addition to fulvic acid and humic acid. Due to this wide spectrum of valuable components, shilajit may help reduce many symptoms of altitude illness. It may help enhance the brain's cognitive processes, boost the immune system, and decrease inflammation, all of which could lessen altitude illness.
13. Liver cancer
Shilajit also shows promise in fighting certain kinds of cancer cells. One study found that shilajit induced the destruction of cancerous liver cells. It also ceased these cancer cells from multiplying. Researchers noted that their results demonstrate that shilajit has an anti-cancer impact, but more studies are necessary.
14. Heart health
As it might lower blood pressure, people who have cardiovascular disease or hypotension shouldn't take shilajit.
Shilajit may protect the heart and enhance heart health. A recent study using rats noticed that the protective effects shilajit has on the heart.
Animals treated with shilajit before cardiac injury had less damage to the center than those who were not.
It's important to remember that shilajit may decrease blood pressure in some cases and shouldn't be taken by anyone with heart disease - or for that matter, with any medical condition before discussing it with your doctor.
14. Obesity & weight problems
Carrying extra pounds around can tire the back muscles and place strain on the spine. A research study in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that individuals who were overweight who obtained an oral supplement of purified shilajit reacted better to exercise than those who didn't.
Researchers noted that the shilajit appeared to activate genes in the body, which helped the skeletal muscles quickly adapt to the new workout. This process may mean less fatigue and more strength with time.
Shilajit preparation & uses
You can take Shilajit powder dissolved in milk or water.
One can also purchase Shilajit in many forms. It is available as an extract powder or as a resin supplement in a gooey form, which dissolves in hot water or milk.
An individual could dissolve a pea-sized part of shilajit in liquid and drink it up to three times per day, based on the directions that come with the type of shilajit on the package.
You should discuss the dosage with an Ayurveda expert before taking shilajit. The recommended dose of shilajit on many packages is 300 to 400 mg per day. However, it's necessary that a person also speaks with a physician before taking any supplements.
Shilajit side effects
Research suggests which shilajit is safe in use as a dietary supplement. However, there are several possible side effects of using shilajit.
Shilajit may lower blood pressure, which is harmful to people on high blood pressure medicines. Individuals with active heart disease or with a history of hypotension should avoid taking shilajit to avoid a drop in blood pressure.
The US Food and Drug Administration or FDA doesn't track natural supplements, so it's necessary to find the supplement from a respectable source. Low-quality shilajit might be tainted with heavy metals, free radicals, as well as arsenic sometimes.
Who Might Avoid Taking Shilajit?
These days, there aren't many reports or studies regarding the side effects of shilajit. If you're pregnant or have any medical condition, you should talk with your physician before taking shilajit. Avoid using shilajit in the following scenarios:
- High iron in the bloodstream
- Intense heart / high blood pressure issue
- Virus infections
- Shilajit is not recommended for infants or toddlers (younger than 3 yrs)
- Chronic allergies
- Sinusitis, rhinitis or runny nose
- Chronic sleep deprivation
How much should you be taking daily?
It depends on the shilajit quality and your general health. In case you've got the highest quality shilajit and your general health is great, then 100mg per single serving once every day is the best way to begin taking it. When you are familiar with using shilajit, you may increase the dose per day if needed. The higher doses and frequency of usage usually benefit the elderly or people with chronic conditions or to recover from injury. In these cases, we recommend taking 150mg - 250mg per serving twice daily.
Please consider the quality of shilajit is diverse, and our recommendations are based on Grade A Himalayan Shilajit. Other shilajit types generally require a higher dose to attain the same results.
Scientific studies in shilajit
Is there any science and research done to showcase the efficacy of shilajit medicinal properties on human beings?
1. Clinical evaluation of the spermatogenic activity of processed Shilajit in oligospermia.10.
The study was conducted on 60 infertile male patients to study the safety and spermatogenic activity of processed Shilajit (PS). However, 35 patients whose total sperm counts found to be below 20 million semen were considered oligospermia and enrolled in the study. Processed shilajit at a dose of 100 mg was administered twice daily after major meals for 90 days. Researchers evaluated parameters like total semenogram and serum testosterone, follicle-stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormone at the start and end of the treatment. They also evaluated biochemical parameters for oxidative stress.
Out of 35 patients, 28 completed the study and showed a significant improvement in sperm, total sperm count, motility and normal sperm count, and FSH when compared to the baseline value. Total malondialdehyde content was also significantly decreased.
2. Another study looked at the capacity of shilajit to boost testosterone levels in healthy subjects. Men of age 45-55 years old were granted shilajit for three months. After the research period, researchers noted significant increases in the levels of testosterone.
Shilajit, a herbo-mineral preparation, can offer a new and promising approach in the long-term management of various diseases like diabetes, arthritis, ulcers, infertility, and many more, because of its multifaceted action. Numerous clinical research conducted on humans has shown that Shilajit has a positive effect on the management of various diseases. It can also help increase longevity, reduces stress, reduces allergies, improves memory and cognitive ability, relieves digestive troubles, and respiratory problems. Shilajit proves to be a potent and effective ayurvedic medicine that can be used in almost every disease ailment living up to its ancient reputation.
1. Chaudhary, Satya & Singh, Anil Kumar & Dwivedi, K. (2016). MEDICINAL PROPERTIES OF SHILAJIT A REVIEW. 2.
2. Cagno, Valeria & Donalisio, Manuela & Civra, Andrea & Cagliero, Cecilia & Rubiolo, Patrizia & Lembo, David. (2015). In vitro evaluation of the antiviral properties of Shilajit and investigation of its mechanisms of action. Journal of ethnopharmacology. 166. 10.1016/j.jep.2015.03.019.
3. Agarwal, S. P., Khanna, R., Karmarkar, R., Anwer, M. K., & Khar, R. K. (2007). Shilajit: a review. Phytotherapy Research, 21(5), 401–405. doi:10.1002/ptr.2100
4. Goel, Ruchika & Banerjee, R & Acharya, Satya. (1990). Antiulcerogenic and antiinflammatory Studies with Shilajit. Journal of ethnopharmacology. 29. 95-103. 10.1016/0378-8741(90)90102-Y.
5. Balkrishna, Acharya & Sakat, Sachin & Joshi, Kheemraj & Paudel, Sandeep & Joshi, Deepika & Joshi, Kamal & Ranjan, Ravikant & Gupta, Abhishek & Bhattacharya, Kunal & Varshney, Anurag. (2019). Herbo-mineral formulation ‘Ashwashila’ attenuates rheumatoid arthritis symptoms in collagen-antibody-induced arthritis (CAIA) mice model. Scientific Reports. 9. 10.1038/s41598-019-44485-9.
6. Cornejo, Alberto & Jiménez, José & Caballero, Leonardo & Melo, F. & Maccioni, Ricardo. (2011). Fulvic Acid Inhibits Aggregation and Promotes Disassembly of Tau Fibrils Associated with Alzheimer's Disease. Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD. 27. 143-53. 10.3233/JAD-2011-110623.
7. Vucskits, A & Hullár, I & Bersényi, A & Andrásofszky, Emese & Kulcsár-Huszenicza, Margit & Szabó, József. (2010). Effect of fulvic and humic acids on performance, immune response and thyroid function in rats. Journal of animal physiology and animal nutrition. 94. 721-8. 10.1111/j.1439-0396.2010.01023.x.
8. Trivedi N A, Mazumdar B, Bhatt J D, Hemavathi K G. (2004). Effect of shilajit on blood glucose and lipid profile in alloxan-induced diabetic rats induced diabetic rats. Indian journal of pharmacology.
9. Mishra, Raghav & Jain, Ashish & Singh, Shio Kumar. (2018). Profertility effects of Shilajit on cadmium‐induced infertility in male mice. Andrologia. 50. 10.1111/and.13064.
10. Biswas, Tuhin & Pandit, Shrihari & Mondal, S & Biswas, S & Jana, U & Ghosh, T & Tripathi, P & Debnath, P & Auddy, R & Auddy, B. (2010). Clinical evaluation of spermatogenic activity of processed Shilajit in oligospermia. Andrologia. 42. 48-56. 10.1111/j.1439-0272.2009.00956.x.