The compounds in shilajit have been used for centuries in traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine and also offer health benefits for various conditions. This article discusses the use of shilajit in treating various health conditions and its side effect.

What is Shilajit

Shilajit is one of the many herbal and mineral combinations used in Ayurveda, an Indian medical practice that dates back thousands of years. Shijalit also treated many conditions through traditional herbal medicine. Moreover, it is a dark-brownish resin that comes from rock layers found in many mountain ranges around the world. This also includes the Himalayan, Tibetan, and Altai mountains. It is also rich in minerals and has a significant chemical called fulvic acid.

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Shilajit is a type of mineral pitch that emanates from Himalayan rocks between 1000 and 5000 meters above sea level, which is composed of humus and some decomposed plant remains. According to ancient ayurvedic texts, during the summer months of Jeshta and Ashada, the mountains get heated due to the sun’s direct rays melting their layers, which produces Shilajatu, a resin-like semisolid substance. This mineral is also present in the high-altitude mountains of Tibet, Japan, Kashmir, Bhutan, and Gilgit.

Some common names of Shilajit also include Black Bitumen, Asphaltum, and Mineral Pitch. In Ayurveda medicine, some states in India uses various names such as Asmajatuka, Gaireya, Silajat, Shilamaya, Kanmandam, Moomie, Asmaja, Memiya, Shiladhatuja, Shilajatu, Girija, Saileya Shilaja, Shilasweda, Silajatu,  Adrija, Moomiyo, Shilaniryasa, and Punjabinum. (1)

What is Shilajit Used For

In ancient Indian Ayurvedic medicine, shijalit is also a rejuvenator and an anti-aging compound. This supports the two main components of Indian Ayurvedic medicine: promoting human health and also increasing physical strength. (2)

Ayurveda medicine uses this naturally occurring substance also to manage stress, treat breathing disorders, regulate the use of the thyroid gland in our body, and treat skin diseases, mental disorders, epilepsy, anemia, and worm infestation. 

Shilajit Benefits

Because of its healing property that dates back to thousands of years in Ayurveda medicine, Shilajit offers health benefits for the following conditions:

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is an incurable brain condition that impairs memory, behavior, and thought. Drug therapies are also available to lessen Alzheimer’s disease symptoms. But some scientists think shilajit may stop or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s because of its molecular composition. (3)

Fulvic acid is an antioxidant that is the primary element in shilajit. By preventing the buildup of tau protein, this potent antioxidant promotes cognitive health. Although tau proteins are a crucial component of your nervous system, an accumulation can cause damage to brain cells. However, more studies and clinical trials are still necessary.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Extreme exhaustion or fatigue is a long-term symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Going to work or school and performing basic daily tasks can be challenging for CFS patients. According to researchers, Shilajit supplements may help with CFS symptoms and energy restoration.

Mitochondrial dysfunction has been linked to CFS. This happens when your cells don’t produce enough energy. In a 2012 study, the rats were forced to swim for 15 minutes every day for 21 days to induce CFS after receiving shilajit for 21 days. (4) The study proved that the use of this mineral has a reducing effect on the symptoms of CFS. The study believes this was due to the shilajit’s ability to stop mitochondrial dysfunction. Based on these findings, taking shilajit supplements may help increase your body’s mitochondrial function naturally and increase your energy levels.

Aging

Shilajit may offer a defense against free radicals and cellular deterioration due to its rich fulvic acids component, which is also a potent antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory. As a result, regular use may promote longevity, a slower rate of aging, and better general health. (5)

Low Testosterone Level

Some health benefit of shilajit to men is to help increase their testosterone level. There are cases where some men have lower levels than others. Low testosterone can show up as:

  • muscle mass loss
  • a low sex drive
  • fatigue
  • elevated body fat
  • loss of hair

A 250 mg dose of purified shilajit was administered twice daily to half of the participants in a clinical study that included male volunteers between the ages of 45 and 55. The other half received a placebo. The study discovered that those receiving purified shilajit had significantly higher testosterone levels than those receiving placebo after 90 consecutive days. (6)

Infertility

Shilajit is a reliable supplement that can help with male infertility. 60 infertile men took shilajit twice daily for 90 days after meals in one study. Over 60% of the study subjects displayed an increase in total sperm count at the end of the 90 days. Sperm motility increased in over 12% of people. Sperm motility, a crucial component of fertility, is the capacity of the sperm in a sample to move sufficiently. (7)

Iron Deficiency Anemia

Shilajit also offers health benefits to women. One of them is to treat anemia. A low-iron diet, blood loss, or an inability to absorb iron can all lead to iron deficiency anemia. These signs include:

  • headache
  • Exhaustion
  • cold hands and feet
  • Weakness
  • Erratic heartbeat

In a study, researchers formed 18 rats divided into three groups with six members. In the second and third groups, researchers induced anemia. The rats in the third group received 500 mg of shilajit after 11 days. On day 21, researchers took blood samples from each group. The findings showed that, among the rats in the second group, the third group’s rats had higher hemoglobin levels, hematocrit, and red blood cells. Your blood contains each of these essential components which increases with regular intake. (8)

Side Effects Shilajit

Despite being natural and secure, it is not allowable to consume raw or unprocessed shilajit. Its raw form may have fungus, free radicals, heavy metal ions, and other contaminants that can harm you. Make sure to buy purified and ready-to-use forms online or from a natural or healthy food store.

Although Shilajit treats many health conditions in Ayurveda, there are still methods to purify them. This will allow them to become more effective, as the presence of soil impurities and some dirt may reduce the efficacy and may be unsafe for human use.  

This is why the purification process is necessary to remove the impurities and dirt and increase their healing properties’ efficacy for many health conditions. The standard purification process, also known as the Triphala decoction, uses a Triphala powder. Triphala powder is a combination of Amalaki, Haritaki, and Bahera needed to purify the mineral. (9)

Shilajit is not subject to U.S. FDA’s quality, purity, or strength inspections since it is a herbal method of treating health conditions. Therefore, choose a reliable source after thoroughly researching your available options for where to buy it.

Avoid taking shilajit if you have sickle cell anemia, hemochromatosis (excess iron in the blood), or thalassemia. It is also likely that some people can have an allergy to this supplement. If you experience a rash, an elevated heart rate, or vertigo, quit taking shilajit.

How to Use Shilajit

Shilajit is available as a liquid and a powder. But always follow the directions when taking supplements. If you purchase the supplement in liquid form, mix one to three pea-sized or rice grain-sized portions with liquid and drink throughout the day (depending on instructions). Alternately, you can consume milk and shilajit powder twice daily. Shilajit should be taken between 300 and 500 mg daily. Be sure to consult your physician before taking shilajit. (10)

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Although the results can vary, the duration where shilajit may take to work can be about 10 days of using them. For optimal results, taking one to three portions of Shilajit daily for six to eight weeks is recommended. 

Bottomline

Shilajit has been known for thousands of years as an important component of Ayurveda medicine. But it is still important that any individual who wants to try any herbal medicine such as shilajit must ensure to conduct proper research. Shilajit is not FDA-regulated like most supplements, so you must inform your doctor if you’re considering using it for any medical conditions. 

Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your own healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.

Editorial References And Fact-Checking

  • Velmurugan, C., Vivek, B., Wilson, E., Bharathi, T., & Sundaram, T. (2012). Evaluation of safety profile of black shilajit after 91 days repeated administration in rats. Asian Pacific journal of tropical biomedicine2(3), 210–214. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2221-1691(12)60043-4
  • Peterson, C. T., Denniston, K., & Chopra, D. (2017). Therapeutic Uses of Triphala in Ayurvedic Medicine. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.)23(8), 607–614. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2017.0083
  • Carrasco-Gallardo, C., Guzmán, L., & Maccioni, R. B. (2012). Shilajit: a natural phytocomplex with potential procognitive activity. International journal of Alzheimer’s disease2012, 674142. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/674142
  • Surapaneni, D. K., Adapa, S. R. S. S., Preeti, K., Teja, G. R., Veeraragavan, M., & Krishnamurthy, S. (2012, August). Shilajit attenuates behavioral symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome by modulating the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis and mitochondrial bioenergetics in rats. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 143(1), 91–99. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2012.06.002
  • Pandit, S., Biswas, S., Jana, U., De, R. K., Mukhopadhyay, S. C., & Biswas, T. K. (2016). Clinical evaluation of purified Shilajit on testosterone levels in healthy volunteers. Andrologia48(5), 570–575. https://doi.org/10.1111/and.12482
  • Biswas, T. K., Pandit, S., Mondal, S., Biswas, S. K., Jana, U., Ghosh, T., Tripathi, P. C., Debnath, P. K., Auddy, R. G., & Auddy, B. (2010). Clinical evaluation of spermatogenic activity of processed Shilajit in oligospermia. Andrologia42(1), 48–56. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-0272.2009.00956.x
  • Velmurugan, C., Vivek, B., Wilson, E., Bharathi, T., & Sundaram, T. (2012). Evaluation of safety profile of black shilajit after 91 days repeated administration in rats. Asian Pacific journal of tropical biomedicine2(3), 210–214. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2221-1691(12)60043-4
  • Meena, H., Pandey, H. K., Arya, M. C., & Ahmed, Z. (2010). Shilajit: A panacea for high-altitude problems. International journal of Ayurveda research1(1), 37–40. https://doi.org/10.4103/0974-7788.59942
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Charish Luzuriaga, RDN

Charish is a Registered Nutritionist-Dietitian (RDN) who really enjoys helping her readers understand their dietary habits better. She has impressive experience and knowledge about the nutritional values of various foods and ingredients and enjoys informing her readers about popular diets, supplements, and herbs. Charish harnesses her nutritional expertise to inspire and empower people to make positive, healthy changes through what they eat (and drink!). LinkedIn

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  • Charish is a Registered Nutritionist-Dietitian (RDN) who really enjoys helping her readers understand their dietary habits better. She has impressive experience and knowledge about the nutritional values of various foods and ingredients and enjoys informing her readers about popular diets, supplements, and herbs. Charish harnesses her nutritional expertise to inspire and empower people to make positive, healthy changes through what they eat (and drink!). LinkedIn

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Charish is a Registered Nutritionist-Dietitian (RDN) who really enjoys helping her readers understand their dietary habits better. She has impressive experience and knowledge about the nutritional values of various foods and ingredients and enjoys informing her readers about popular diets, supplements, and herbs. Charish harnesses her nutritional expertise to inspire and empower people to make positive, healthy changes through what they eat (and drink!). LinkedIn