The Benefits of Shilajit

Shilajit
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Shilajit is a brownish-black resin discharged from layers of rock in several mountain ranges throughout the world. Found mainly in the Himalayas, shilajit is thought to form in part from the decomposition of certain plants.

Long used in ayurvedic medicine, shilajit contains a variety of minerals and high amounts of fulvic acid (a compound said to offer a variety of health benefits). Sometimes referred to as salajeet, mumijo, or momia, shilajit is available in dietary supplement form.

Uses for Shilajit

In alternative medicine, shilajit is touted as a natural remedy for the following health problems:

In addition, shilajit is said to strengthen bones and protect against osteoporosis. Some alternative medicine proponents also claim that shilajit can act as an adaptogen, a class of substances said to boost the body's resistance to stress.

Benefits of Shilajit

So far, research on the health effects of shilajit is very limited. However, several preliminary studies suggest that shilajit may offer certain health benefits. Here's a look at some key findings from the available research:

1) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Shilajit may aid in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome, according to a preliminary study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology in 2012.

In tests on rats, scientists found that treatment with shilajit may influence several processes involved in the body's production of energy. In addition, treatment with shilajit appeared to alleviate anxiety and protect against oxidative stress.

2) Alzheimer's Disease

Shilajit shows promise in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, according to a report published in the International Journal of Alzheimer's Disease in 2012.

According to the report's authors, the fulvic acid found in shilajit may help block the buildup of tau (a type of protein that forms neurofibrillary tangles, which are a key marker of Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases). However, the report's authors note that a great deal more research is needed to examine shilajit's effectiveness as an Alzheimer's treatment.

Caveats

Due to a lack of research, little is known about the safety of long-term or regular use of dietary supplements containing shilajit. However, there's some concern that shilajit may increase the body's production of uric acid and in turn, exacerbate conditions such as gout.

It's important to keep in mind that supplements haven't been tested for safety and dietary supplements are largely unregulated. In some cases, the product may deliver doses that differ from the specified amount for each herb. In other cases, the product may be contaminated with other substances such as metals. Also, the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established.

You can get further tips on using supplements here.Alternatives to Shilajit

A number of other natural remedies may offer health benefits similar to the purported benefits of shilajit. For instance, substances such as curcumin and resveratrol show promise for prevention of Alzheimer's disease. In addition, remedies like vitamin D and green tea may help strengthen bones and protect against osteoporosis.

If you're seeking an adaptogen to help your body deal with stress, consider herbs such as rhodiola, ginseng, and ashwaghandha.

Where To Find It

Widely available for purchase online, shilajit is sold in many natural-foods stores and in stores specializing in dietary supplements.

Using Shilajit for Health

Due to the limited research, it's too soon to recommend shilajit as a treatment for any condition. It's also important to note that self-treating a condition with shilajit and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences. If you're considering the use of shilajit, make sure to consult your physician.

Sources

Agarwal SP, Khanna R, Karmarkar R, Anwer MK, Khar RK. "Shilajit: a review." Phytother Res. 2007 May;21(5):401-5.

Carrasco-Gallardo C, Guzmán L, Maccioni RB. "Shilajit: a natural phytocomplex with potential procognitive activity." Int J Alzheimers Dis. 2012;2012:674142.

Schepetkin IA, Xie G, Jutila MA, Quinn MT. "Complement-fixing activity of fulvic acid from Shilajit and other natural sources." Phytother Res. 2009 Mar;23(3):373-84.

Surapaneni DK, Adapa SR, Preeti K, Teja GR, Veeraragavan M, Krishnamurthy S. "Shilajit attenuates behavioral symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome by modulating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and mitochondrial bioenergetics in rats." J Ethnopharmacol. 2012 Aug 30;143(1):91-9.

Wilson E, Rajamanickam GV, Dubey GP, Klose P, Musial F, Saha FJ, Rampp T, Michalsen A, Dobos GJ. "Review on shilajit used in traditional Indian medicine." J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Jun 14;136(1):1-9.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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