Nature is responsible for making so many things that have helped us, from the very fruits and vegetables we eat to the healing juices of an aloe vera plant and the sweetness extracted from stevia leaves.
And now, we have shilajit. Pronounced “SHIL-a-jeet,” this substance is primarily secreted from rocks in Himalaya, Tibet, and other mountainous areas, and is formed over centuries from the gradual decomposition of certain plants via microorganisms. As such, it has a unique, health-helping profile that has been long recognized in non-Western medicine.
But what are these health benefits, exactly? And how can you incorporate this substance into your everyday life?
What Is Shilajit Made Up Of?
The list of organic and inorganic elements found in shilajit are plentiful, but some include: fulvic acid, iron, zinc, magnesium, copper, nickel, iodine, sulfur, and more. Fulvic acid is one of the standout components in shilajit, which is a component of soil that’s released when organic matter decomposes. When this happens, millions of beneficial microbes are released. Additionally, shilajit contains a unique assortment of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, hormones, ketones, and flavonoids. It can come in powdered or solid form, which can be mixed with water or swallowed as a pill. It is often recommended that you take shilajit first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
Thanks to the vast number of minerals it contains, shilajit can be helpful for slowing the appearance of aging and catalyzing the upregulation of collagen in several genes. In other words, the genes involved in making collagen become more responsive, thereby allowing more high-quality collagen to be produced in the body. This causes skin to appear thicker and more elastic, which are associated with looking younger. Some people even use shilajit externally as a face mask due to its antiviral properties!
2. Cognitive improvements
A study in the International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease said that fulvic acid has the potential to improve symptoms of diseases associated with cognitive decline like Alzheimer’s disease. Their research concluded that shilajit helped stimulate cognitive activity in humans, while also catalyzing hippocampal cells to grow in size. Refresher: the hippocampus is the part of our brain associated with memory, emotions, and motivation.
Shilajit contains a number of antioxidants that allow it to combat free radicals in the body, which contribute to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress has been connected to central nervous system diseases like Alzheimer’s, changes to skin elasticity, and inflammatory diseases like arthritis.
4. Fatigue fighting
A study on rats in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology concluded that shilajit was able to mitigate the effects of chronic fatigue syndrome through lending the mitochondria a helping hand—the powerhouse of our cells.
5. Anxiety busting
A study on rats in the Journal of Pharmacology showed that shilajit significantly reduces anxiety levels due to its ability to increase dopamine levels after a five-day period. Anecdotally, many people have highlighted shilajit’s ability to improve their mood in a number of ways.
The Bottom Line
While this substance might be relatively unheard of in Western medicine, shilajit has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic Medicine to help fight inflammation, increase energy, and more. As is the case with any supplement, make sure you’re getting your shilajit from a trusted company. I love Pure Himalayan Shilajit myself, which provides this substance in a number of forms based on your preferences!