Shilajit is a natural substance common in Ayurvedic medicine. It contains antioxidants and minerals that may benefit health, but more research into its use is necessary.

Shilajit is a sticky, black, tar-like substance that comes from rocks in high mountain ranges. People can take it as a supplement in powder form.

Shilajit was traditionally sourced in India and Tibet, though it is now found in many other countries. Its compounds may be beneficial for many conditions.

This article looks at the benefits and possible side effects of this naturally occurring substance.

A ball of pure Himalayan shilajit on a golden spoon. -1Share on Pinterest
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When used correctly, shilajit may have several benefits for the body. This may be due in part to the high concentration of fulvic and humic acids, as well as many minerals.

Due to the molecular composition of shilajit, some researchers believe it may help prevent Alzheimer’s or slow its progression.

Shilajit is rich in an antioxidant called fulvic acid. Fulvic acid can prevent a buildup of tau proteins, which may help cognitive health.

Tau protein buildup can trigger brain cell damage, and researchers have linked it to Alzheimer’s. A 2023 study suggested that taking shilajit may improve Alzheimer’s symptoms and even prevent or slow its progression because of this.

However, researchers need to conduct more studies to further observe this possible link.

One 2018 review noted that fulvic acid, one of the key compounds in shilajit, has anti-inflammatory properties and can have beneficial effects on the immune system.

The researchers posit that these properties may be beneficial for preventing or alleviating some chronic inflammatory conditions, such as asthma, allergies, eczema, and diabetes.

However, they note that some of the research they found on fulvic acid was conflicting, so experts need to do further research on these possible benefits of fulvic acid.

A 2022 review found that shilajit may support the bone healing process, as it accelerated bone healing in studies in cells, rats, and humans.

They suggested that shilajit may be a promising supplement for treating bone conditions such as osteoporosis.

According to a 2022 study, taking daily shilajit supplements also helped improve bone mineral density in postmenopausal women with bone mass loss.

Additionally, another 2022 study concluded that shilajit is a safe dietary supplement that can potentially treat several diseases, including osteoporosis.

However, there needs to be more research into shijalit’s effect on bone health in humans.

According to a 2020 study, shilajit is known to have antiviral properties. Shijalit contains humic acids, which may help to fight viral infections.

The wide range of minerals and compounds found in shilajit may also help fight off viruses. An older 2015 research study noted that shilajit could fight off and kill many different viruses in isolated environments, including some herpes viruses.

Researchers commented that while it does appear to be effective, more studies carried out with live subjects are needed to back up these claims.

Shilajit also shows promise in fighting against certain types of cancer cells. One 2020 study found that shilajit helped inhibit the growth and spread of human breast cancer cells.

Another study from 2021 also found that shilajit can fight against bladder cancer cells and could have the potential to be used in treatments for bladder cancer.

Additionally, a 2022 study concluded that shilajit could strengthen the effect of chemotherapy drugs in the treatment of liver cancer in rats.

Researchers noted that results show that shilajit has promising anticancer effects, but more human studies are needed.

Fulvic acid, which makes up around 15% to 20% of shilajit, may improve gut health by improving the gut flora — the “good bacteria” in the gut. According to a 2018 review, fulvic acid may also improve nutrient absorption.

One study, which the review references, found that fulvic acid improved good gut bacteria and reduced bad gut bacteria in fish.

Another found that fulvic acid increased the activity of digestive enzymes in fish, therefore aiding nutrient absorption.

However, researchers need to study these mechanisms further in humans.

According to a 2019 review article, several studies have shown that shilajit may have a beneficial effect on stress.

Animal studies showed that it had stress-reducing and anti-anxiety properties, suggesting it has potential for alleviating these concerns in humans.

However, more studies are needed in humans to confirm this.

Shijalit may have properties that support healthy aging.

Researchers have observed that fulvic acid can help improve dementia symptoms, sleeping, appetite, and performance in older individuals in China and India.

Fulvic acid is a humic substance, which are compounds that result from decomposing plants. Humic substances have many benefits, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may help support graceful aging.

Shilajit is available as a powder, resin, or solid form. Generally, it is easier to take shilajit as a powder dissolved in liquid.

A safe daily dosage of shilajit is between 250 to 1,000 mg, but it is best to start with a lower dose to see how an individual reacts before gradually increasing it.

Depending on the instructions on the package, a person can dissolve 1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon of shilajit in liquid and drink it once a day.

However, it is important that a person speaks with a doctor before taking any natural supplements.

Research suggests that shilajit is safe for long-term use as a dietary supplement. However, there are some potential side effects of using shilajit.

Side effects may include:

  • dizziness
  • heartburn
  • stomach upset
  • headache
  • toxicity if the shilajit is impure or contaminated

Shilajit may lower blood pressure, which can be dangerous for people on high blood pressure medications. People with active heart disease or with a history of hypotension should avoid taking shilajit to prevent a drop in blood pressure.

It is also important to note that The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not monitor natural supplements, so it is essential to get the supplement from a reputable source. Low quality shilajit may be tainted with heavy metals, free radicals, and even arsenic in some cases.

Shilajit may have several health benefits and can be a safe and effective supplement when people use it correctly and buy it from a reputable source.

It may have beneficial effects on aging, stress, inflammation, gut health, and more.

It is always best to speak with a doctor about the correct dosage in each case. Working directly with a doctor can also help a person monitor any potential side effects.