Himalayan Shilajit: Fulvic Acid and Trace Minerals
(A compilation of conclusions from scientific research).
Shilajit is a sticky substance found primarily in the rocks of the Himalayas. It develops gradually over centuries from the slow decomposition of plants. It is the result of a long, active process of micro-organisms that break down plant matter and minerals. The resin is rich in a wide spectrum of minerals, trace elements and contains an important compound known as Fulvic acid. Fulvic acid improves the absorption of minerals at a cellular level in the body, making Shilajit the perfect delivery method for ionic minerals into the body (1).
Source: The Truth About Cancer.com -"Why Fulvic acid is so good for Gut, Brain and Skin".
The Charaka Samhita (5000-year-old Ayurvedic text) addresses Shilajit in a chapter on rejuvenation therapy (Rasayana). It claims that Shilajit is effective for all Doshic imbalances when used at the right time and taken regularly. For an already healthy person, consuming Shilajit results in strength, stamina and energy due to its adaptogenic effects. Shilajit has been used as a catalyst or harmoniser by Ayurvedic practitioners to increase the actions of other herbs. Since thousands of years, Ayurveda has been using Shilajit, due to it’s absorption ability.
Many health issues can be traced to mineral or nutrient deficiencies. Intensive chemical farming (through pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, etc) and irrigation can strip off natural minerals and beneficial microbes from agricultural land and the plants that grow on it.
Macro and micro trace minerals are scientifically well established as vital to many different functions and processes in the body. Fulvic and humic acids have more recently been discovered to enhance bioavailability of nutrients.
The curative properties attributable to shilajit are provided by the significant levels of fulvic acids that shilajit contains, considering that fulvic acid is known by its strong antioxidant actions.
Recent studies on the composition of Andean Shilajit in Chile have evidenced an ORAC index between 50 and 500 Trolox units/g of material, which is substantially higher than Noni and blueberries (Quinteros et al., unpublished data). In this context, shilajit seems to be a powerful antioxidant phyto-complex.(2)
They include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride and sulfur. You only need small amounts of trace minerals. They include iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, cobalt, fluoride and selenium. Most people get the amount of minerals they need by eating a wide variety of foods, specially vegetables, fruits, meat, poultry and nuts.
Shilajit is Rich in Fulvic Acid, Vitamins, and Trace Minerals | Natural Herbal Supplement | Natural Super Food Properties (3) : for immune boosting,enhancing mental clarity, healthy aging, better nutriet absorption,anti-aging, relieving anxiety, fighting radicals, helping alzhiemers disease, supporting cadio health and replacing minerals and vitamins.
Recent investigations point to an interesting medical application toward the control of cognitive disorders associated with aging, and cognitive stimulation. Thus, fulvic acid, the main active principle, blocks tau self-aggregation, opening an avenue toward the study of Alzheimer's therapy. In essence, this is a nutraceutical product of demonstrated benefits for human health. Considering the expected impact of shilajit usage in the medical field, especially in the neurological sciences, more investigations at the basic biological level as well as clinical trials are necessary, in order to understand how organic molecules of shilajit and particularly fulvic acid, one of the active principles, and oligoelements act at both the molecular and cellular levels and in the whole organism.
Source: Biologic Wine " How to create Stable Humus- humic and fulvic acids".
Recent investigations point to an interesting medical application toward the control of cognitive disorders (4) associated with aging, and cognitive stimulation. Thus, fulvic acid, the main active principle, blocks tau self-aggregation, opening an avenue toward the study of Alzheimer's therapy. In essence, this is a nutra-ceutical product of demonstrated benefits for human health. Considering the expected impact of shilajit usage in the medical field, especially in the neurological sciences,
Constituents of Shilajit
Resins, Benzoic acid, hippuric acid, fulvic acid; minerals: silica, iron, antimony, calcium, copper, lithium, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, sodium, strontium, zinc (Pole, 2006)(5). The primary active ingredients in shilajit are fulvic acids, di-benzoic alpha pyrones, humins, humic acids and trace minerals. Chemical analysis has shown that about 80% of the humic components are present in shilajit.
While there are other similar substances containing fulvic and humic acids, shilajit is differentiated in that it contains (6) oxygenated di-benzoic alpha pyrones. Shilajit collected from different areas does in fact exhibit differing chemical characteristics and bioactivities, however, the core composition includes low molecular weight chemical markers, aucuparins, di-benzoic alpha pyrones and triterpenic acids. (Ghosal, 1990)
SUN DRYING – WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Preserving All Minerals and Micro-nutrients in Shilajit
The best way to convert manually purified Shilajit into resin or semi liquid form is to sun-dry it, so that it doesn’t lose its positive value and fundamental nature.
(7)Almost 99% Shilajit vendors boil Shilajit as it is fast and inexpensive way to make resin from the Shilajit filtrate. Boiling greatly compromises its quality and kills the Shilajit Spirit! Constant exposure of heat is unnatural to Shilajit which belongs to cold mountainous regions. When filtered Shilajit is dried in the Sun for 3-4 weeks below 40°c till it becomes the world’s finest PURE – GOLD Shilajit resin. This way it can be preserved with its full count of minerals and micronutrients and retain its true essence and soul. Only such an Original Shilajit has powerful spirit and high potency.
Minerals:Their Functions and Sources
The body needs many minerals; these are called essential minerals. Essential minerals are sometimes divided up into major minerals (macro-minerals) and trace minerals (micro-minerals). These two groups of minerals are equally important, but trace minerals are needed in smaller amounts than major minerals. The amounts needed in the body are not an indication of their importance.
A balanced diet usually provides all of the essential minerals. Below is a summary of macro and micro-minerals, their functions in our bodies, and their sources in food.
Polyphenols, (8) the phenolic compounds present in plant foods include tannic acids, phenolic acids, flavonoids and polymerization products. They are particularly high in beverages such as tea, coffee, herb teas, cocoa and red wine. Hydrolysable tannins of black tea have been shown to be a most potent inhibitor of iron absorption. Disler et al. (1975) found a fourfold reduction in iron absorption from a meal with tea. Chlorogenic acid, the phenolic compound in coffee, is also inhibitory (Brune et a/. 1989) and coffee also reduces iron absorption (Morck et al. 1983). The monomeric flavonoids of herb teas (Brown et al. 1990) and the polymeric flavonoids of red wine (Cook et al. 1995) also inhibit iron absorption but are less potent than black tea. A glass of red wine reduced iron absorption from a small bread meal by 75 YO (Cook et al. 1995) but had no inhibitory effect when consumed with a meal of string beans, potatoes and hamburger (Hallberg & Rossander, 1982), presumably because other components in the meal offset the inhibitory effect of red wine. Phenolics in vegetables can also strongly inhibit iron absorption (Tuntawiroon et al. 1991) and there is a strong inverse relationship between their polyphenol content and iron absorption in man (Gillooly et al. 1983).
Some important Macro Minerals Are Sodium, Chloride, Potassium, Calcium, Phosphorous, and Magnesium.
1.Sodium is much needed for balancing our body fluids, nerve transmission and muscle functioning and contraction. Sodium works with chlorine and potassium to bring about a better balance.
Diet Sources: Table Salt
Little bits in Milk
Large amounts in processed foods and meats
2. Chlorine - Chlorine is required for stomach acids and satisfactory fluid balance in our bodies. Chlorine requires sodium and potassium to better absorb and bring about a balance in our body fluids.
To facilitate muscle contractions and pumping-in-and-out of blood we require the trio of chlorine, sodium and potassium to work together.
Too much or too little of chlorine are bad for our bodies. Too much chlorine can result in hyperchloremia whereas, too little, can result in hypochloremia.
Diet Sources: Table salt
Small amounts in bread, meats and milk
Large amounts in processed foods
Vegetables – tomatoes, celery, lettuce, olives
3.Potassium – Potassium like sodium is much needed for balancing our body fluids, nerve transmission and muscle functioning and contraction.
Diet Sources: Bananas
Fresh fruits and vegetables
Root and bulb vegetables
Source: The Foodstate Company "Magnesium,Selenium and Zinc".
4. Calcium is crucial for healthy bones, teeth and our immune system. It helps muscle movement and curbs blood clotting. Calcium assists in blood pressure regulation as well. Magnesium and Potassium are required to better absorb calcium and save our bones.
Despite the fact that most of us consume calcium, more than required, and we end up getting brittle bones and arthritis. This is mainly due to non-absorption of calcium-rich foods and consumption of the non-bioavailable types of calcium (9). We end up with over-calcium and vitamin D, deficiencies (Vitamins D2 and D3 in particular). We need natural Vitamin D from sunshine to better absorb calcium. Deficiencies in Vitamins D3 and D2 also lead to non-absorption of calcium (10).
Calcium absorption from a meal containing Calcium oxalate is less than from a meal containing Calcium carbonate (Heaney et al. 1990). Phytates also reduce Calcium absorption.
Diet Sources: Milk and milk products
Fortified Soy milk and Tofu
Fish with bones (canned fish)
Veges like – Broccoli,mustard greens, Spinach
5. Phosphorus - is needed for acid balance in our bodies, phosphorus is immensely important for healthy bones and teeth. Having said that, if phosphorus is unaccompanied by Calcium, it leads to poor and deficient bone health.
For example, energy drinks and soft drinks contain plenty of phosphorus, but lack in calcium and hence they create an imbalance for bone health.
Phytates in whole-grains, nuts and seeds tend to block the action of phosphorus, hence hampering the action of phosphorus on bones, almost by 50%
Phosphorus is found in most high protein foods, but if sufficient amounts of calcium are not present, it can create and imbalance; taken on a long term basis without sufficient (nearly twice the amount of phosphorus) it can lead to osteoporosis.
Diet Sources: Poultry
Nuts and seeds
6. Magnesium is found in bones and is needed to make protein. It assists the immune system of our bodies to become strong. Magnesium is very useful in muscle contraction and nerve transmission (11). We need Magnesium in large quantities to maintain our health. Magnesium is widely distributed in plant and animal foods, especially nuts, legumes, green vegetables (present as the inorganic ion of chlorophyll), cereals, and chocolate. Hard drinking water may also be an important source of dietary Magnesium.
Deficiency in magnesium can result in muscle cramps, numbness, or nerve tingling. It can also cause fatigue, loss in appetite, and/or nausea.
Magnesium deficiency can cause nausea, appetite loss, fatigue, weakness, stiffness and enhanced pain perception. In extreme cases, one can experience numbness, cramps, nerve tingling, abnormal heart beats and even seizures!
Magnesium absorption and bioavailability is one of the least well understood aspects of magnesium metabolism. The magnesium content of Western diets that include a substantial amount of refined foods is relatively low and increased intakes of alcoholic beverages may, in some instances, lead to a reduction in magnesium utilization and hence a depletion in body levels. The substitution of whole grain for refined cereal products can significantly increase dietary magnesium intake, but high intakes of dietary fiber and phytate may reduce its bioavailability (12).
Having said the above, the right amount of magnesium and vitamins content in your diet can help in cleansing and constipation, therefore acting like a detox.
Diet Sources: Nuts and seeds
Leafy, green vegetables
‘Hard drinking’ water
7. Sulfur - Sulfur is found in protein molecules. Sulfur is part of protein foods.
Diet Sources: Meats
Poultry and fish
Trace minerals (micro- minerals)
We walk, exercise, and sweat. We lose valuable minerals, naturally from our bodies, skin and bones. The depletion of micro-minerals or trace minerals is also pretty high due to air and water pollution. The food we consume usually contains toxins, which damage our cells and deplete good micro-minerals like, zinc, selenium and iron on a continuous basis.
Despite the fact our bodies require trace minerals in small quantities, there are a few like Iron and Selenium that are needed in a larger quantity than other micros.
1. Iron - Iron is required for metabolizing energy. Iron is what we loosely call hemoglobin. The first item in your list of a blood test. Iron is a part of a molecule (hemoglobin) in the red blood cells carrying oxygen in the body.
Iron is widely distributed in meat (30-70% is haem iron), vegetables and cereals, but the concentration in milk, fruits and vegetable is low (Thompson, 1988). Iron in the water supply is also low; the maximum permitted level in drinking water in the US is 03 mg/l (Thompson, 1988). The iron content per se of individual foods has little meaning since iron bioavailability varies considerably. ABSORPTION, TRANSPORT AND METABOLISM iron is absorbed into the mucosal cells of the small intestine, primarily in the duodenum, by an active, saturation process (Charlton & Both well, 1983).
Efficiency of absorption is increased with iron deficiency and reduced when erythropoiesis is depressed. Some absorbed iron is stored temporarily as ferritin in the mucosal cell either to be mobilized later or to be excreted when the cell is exfoliated. The haem iron molecule is taken up intact into the mucosal cell, where the iron is released and enters the non-haem iron pool. The adult male loses about 1 mg Fe/d via epithelial cells, gut secretions, urine and skin; in menstruating women, additional losses when averaged over 28 d can be a further 1.4 mg/d (Herzberg et af. 1987). Iron is transported in the plasma bound to transferrin which delivers it to the cells or to the bone marrow (13).
Food iron is present as haem iron and non-haem iron. Haem iron absorption is relatively unaffected by diet composition, but it is increased by muscle protein and decreased by Calcium. On the other hand, non-haem iron absorption is very sensitive to dietary components, being facilitated in the presence of ascorbic acid or muscle protein and inhibited by phenolic compounds, phytic acid, calcium and certain proteins. With the possible exception of calcium, the effects take place in the intestinal lumen where the facilitators and inhibitors compete to bind iron in soluble or insoluble forms (14).
Sources: Red meats
Iron-enriched breads and cereals
Dark green leafy greens- kale, silver-beet
2. Zinc - Zinc is needed to prepare proteins and genetics in our bodies. Zinc is also a part of enzymes, healing wounds, fetal development, production of sperm, normal growth and sexual maturity, and our Immune system.
The clinical manifestations of severe Zinc deficiency in man are growth retardation, a delay in sexual and skeletal maturation, dermatitis, alopecia, loss of appetite and behavioral changes (Hambidge, 1986). Mild Zinc deficiency is more difficult to diagnose. Reduced growth rate in children and impaired immune function are regarded as early signs of Zinc deficiency.
Functions of Zinc (15)
- As a component of nearly 300 specific enzymes, Zinc is involved in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and energy production.
- It is also an essential trace element for a healthy immune systemand plays an important role in wound healing.
- Zinc is also required for insulin activity.
RDA: 12 mg/day for men and 10 mg/day for women, 12 mg/day for pregnant and lactating women.
Zinc deficiency may occur due to insufficient dietary intake. Zinc deficiency may cause impaired immune function, hair loss, delayed sexual maturation, impotence, and eye and skin lesions. Delayed healing of wounds, taste abnormalities and mental lethargy can also occur (16).
The bioavailability of Zinc can vary from 5 to 50 O/O. Diets can be roughly classified as having a low, medium or high bioavailability, according to the content of Zinc, phytate and animal protein. The highest absorption, 30-50 %, is found in refined low Zinc diets with low phytate content or in animal protein based formula diets. From a mixed animal and plant product diet, 20-30 YO Zinc absorption can be expected. The lowest absorption, 10-15 %, is seen from diets dominant in developing countries, based on cereals and legumes with a high phytate content and with negligible amounts of animal protein (17).
Whole grains, Wheat
Cashews, Almonds and Walnuts
3. Iodine - Iodine aids in metabolism and is found in the thyroid hormone. The thyroid hormone helps regulate body growth and development.
The concentration of Iodine in plants and animals is greatly influenced by the soil. In the Western world, milk and its products are good sources of Iodine (Lamand & Tressol, 1992), especially where cattle feed iodization occurs (e.g. Finland, Norway and the UK). Seafood also contains large amounts of Iodine from sea-water. Bread, which contains iodate products as dough strengtheners, and processed foods containing iodized salt are also good sources of inorganic iodide. In countries where Iodine prophylaxis exists, iodized salt has been the main source, and in this form absorption approaches 100% (Delange & Birgi, 1989). Excess Iodine intake can result in hyperthyroidism (Pennington, 1988) when the thyroid gland is overstimulated.
Sources: Iodized Salt
Foods grown in Iodine rich soil
4. Selenium –Selenium is an antioxidant that aids in fighting damaged cells and flushing out toxins. Antioxidants are essential for our bodies to fight germs, bacteria and viruses.
Selenium can be present in different organic and/or inorganic forms in human diets. The absorption, retention and metabolism of dietary Selenium are largely dependent on its chemical forms, which are responsible for differences in the overall utilization or bioavailability of different Selenium food sources. In addition to the dietary forms, the bioavailability of Selenium is influenced by the presence of certain dietary constituents (e.g. Met concentration, this’s, heavy metals, vitamin C) which may enhance or decrease the utilization of dietary Selenium (18).
5. Copper – Copper vigor- rates our metabolism and is a trace mineral part of many enzymes. The Copper content of food reflects its geographical origin and the processing conditions it undergoes prior to consumption. Foods high in copper include liver, kidney, shellfish, wholegrain cereals and nuts. Soft or acidic water passing through copper pipes can also contribute copper to the diet. ABSORPTION, TRANSPORT AND METABOLISM copper absorption in human ranges from 25 to 70 %, the major site being the small intestine (19). Intestinal absorption (active and passive) is regulated by nutritional status, the chemical form of the element, and interactions with dietary components (Johnson et al. 1988). There appears to be no effect of age or sex on net copper absorption (Johnson et al. 1992).
Nuts and seeds
5. Manganese – Manganese is part of many enzymes. Manganese is especially found in plant food, Shilajit and many other foods.
Manganese deficiency in man is rare; homeostatic regulation is primarily brought about through excretion of manganese via bile, rather than through changes in the efficiency of Manganese absorption. High amounts of Calcium, Phosphorus, fiber and phytate appear to inhibit Manganese absorption, and Manganese- Iron interactions have been demonstrated. Manganese absorption from human milk is higher than from cows’ milk (20).
Sources: nuts, such as almonds and pecans.
beans and legumes, such as lima and pinto beans.
oatmeal and bran cereals.
whole wheat bread.
leafy green vegetables, such as spinach.
fruits, such as pineapple and acai.
6. Fluoride – Fluoride in drinking water is responsible for bone formation and teeth. Fluoride also prevents tooth decay. Drinking water either contains natural fluoride or maybe floriated.
Sources: Drinking water* (See Appendix I)
7. Chromium – Chromium is a trace mineral that is closely related to insulin. Chromium regulates glucose or blood sugar levels.
Richest dietary sources of chromium are spices such as black pepper, brewer’s yeast, mushrooms, prunes, raisins, nuts, asparagus, beer and wine. Refining of cereals and sugar removes most of the native chromium, but stainless steel vessels in contact with acidic foods may contribute additional chromium (21). Beverages, including milk, may provide up to one-third of the daily intake of chromium. However, the insulin potentiating activity of foods (see below) may not correlate with total chromium content (Khan et al. 1990).
Sources: Unrefined foods,
Whole grains and nuts
8. Molybdenum – Molybdenum is contained in some enzymes.
Breads and grains
Other trace nutrients known to be essential in tiny amounts include nickel, silicon, vanadium, and cobalt (22).
9. Cobalt - The adult human body contains approximately 1 mg of Cobalt, 85% of which is in the form of Vitamin B12.
- Cobalt is the central part of Vitamin B12 chemical structurewhich plays a critical role in the formation of erythrocytes (red blood cells). Apart from red blood cell production, Vitamin B12 also plays a significant role in nerve repair and regeneration.
- Cobalt also plays an integral role in generating neurotransmitters, which are requisite for the proper operation of an organism.
The deficiency of Cobalt is strongly related to disturbances in Vitamin B12 synthesis resulting in anemia and peripheral neuropathy (23).
Sources: Green leafy vegetables
Dairy products, egg, milk
Organ meat, egg, and milk
10.Boron - Boron plays important roles in metabolism that render it necessary for human health.
- Boron is essential for the growth and maintenance of bone
- It raises the levels of antioxidant enzymes, such as superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase that protects from the damaging effect of free radicals.
- It improves wound healingby stimulating specific enzymes like lactase, collagenase, and alkaline phosphatase that play a critical role in wound healing.
Boron is also found to improve the brain’s electrical activity and cognitive function in the elders (24). Studies suggest a Boron deficiency can increase the risk of arthritis development (25).
Sources: Vegetables and Fruits
Avocados, Apples, Peas and Beans
Shilajit contains many of the vital trace minerals (both macro and micro) and Vitamins( discussed in Part II) needed for energy reactions in our cells and high percentages of fulvic acid to help transport these mineral molecules deep into the body. The minerals in Shilajit and other plant food are in ionic form, which means that the body can more easily absorb and move them to areas where they are needed.
Source: Pinterest ." Shilajit Trace Minerals on Instagram: Your body needs specially".
SHILAJIT INCREASES THE ABSORPTION OF NUTRIENTS
A balanced diet allows you to obtain the proper amount of electrolytes and other minerals is vital for digestive health, nutrient absorption and metabolic functions. Having said that, a healthy life is more than just food ; you need to get the right nutrients.
Plants offer us a bounty of vitamins and minerals that are necessary for our bodies. However, there are certain health vitamins and minerals that we can only receive from the plants, which received non-carbon-based minerals from the soil. Plants receive their nutrition from the ground. Humans can fully assimilate nutrition only from plants. If you consume a total of 5-10 plants in your diet, your nutritional intake from these plants will be limited to minerals and biologically active substances from those 5-10 plants. If you consume high-quality, genuine shilajit, you are consuming minerals, biologically active substances and metabolites from hundreds of plants. Therefore, the health benefits will be greater (26)
Shilajit is said to have the unique ability to bring the essence of any tissue system (dhatu). For example, the essence of muscle (mamsa) is to give shape, the essence of blood (rakta) is to bring life, and the essence of the marrow/nervous system (maja) is to bestow knowledge.
What does modern scientific research say about Shilajit?
Scientific research has identified macro and micro minerals and trace elements. Shilajit also contains Fulvic acids and potent antioxidant properties. These elements validate the health supporting characteristics long ascribed by Ayurvedic medicine
4. Int J Alzheimers Dis. 2012; 2012: 674142.
Published online 2012 Feb 23. doi: 10.1155/2012/674142
5.Shilajit: A Natural Phytocomplex with Potential Procognitive Activity. Carlos Carrasco-Gallardo, Leonardo Guzmán, and Ricardo B. Maccioni * Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer
10.BIOAVAILABILITY OF MINERALS AND TRACE ELEMENTS Members of EC Flair Concerted Action No. 10: Measurement of micronutrient absorption and status" COMPILED BY: SUSAN FAIRWEATHER-TAIT,' AND RICHARD F. HURRELL' Norwich NR4 7UA, UK P.O. Box 474, 8803 Ruschlikon, Switzerland Institute of Food Research, Norwich Laboratory, Norwich Research Park, Conley, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Laboratory for Human Nutrition.
17, 18,19.20,21 https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge