Shilajit was around long before humans walked the earth, but modern science has only just started to verify some of the alleged benefits of this unique substance.
We’ve seen supplements based on traditional herbal remedies come and go, but Shilajit actually has some sound research behind it.
Although researchers have only just started to explore the wonderful world of Shilajit, we’ve already uncovered a handful for unique health benefits.
It looks like the ancient people of the Himalayas were right…
This stuff is pretty incredible!
In this article, we’re going to take a hard look at the the science behind Shilajit and it’s key component, Fulvic Acid.
We’ll talk about what it is, how it works, and most importantly, how it can benefit. We’ll also cover dosage, side effects, and how to go about choosing a high quality, reliable Shilajit supplement.
If you’re ready to ditch the folk-lore and develop a real understanding of what Shilajit is capable of, from a scientific perspective, then by all means, read on…
What Is Shilajit?
Shilajit is a gummy substance, or resin, that oozes from rocks found in the Himalayan mountains. It typically occurs between 1000 and 5000 meter heights.
It is cultivated by the indigenous peoples of the areas where it’s found naturally and has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda, a traditional system of medicine.
Shilajit is a Sanskrit word which literally translates to “Conqueror of mountains and destroyer of weakness”.
As you can imagine, the people who first discovered it thought highly of it.
It is believed to help overcome tiredness, lethary, and chronic fatigue as well as fight off altitude sickness, but in recent years, Shilajit has made it’s way out of the maintains and into the world of health supplements.
Shilajit contains dozens of trace minerals and phytonutrients, but the primary bioactive component is Fulvic Acid.
Fulvic Acid provides a number of health benefits and Shilajit is typically standardized for a certain amount of Fulvic Acid.
So, even though Shilajit contains trace minerals and nutrients other than Fulvic Acid, for all intents and purposes, the benefits of Shilajit are the benefits of Fulvic Acid.
What Are The Benefits Of Shilajit?
Although modern science still has a ways to go with verifying the many alleged benefits of Shilajit, there have been a few studies in a few key areas of interest.
1 | Shilajit Improves Cardiovascular Health
In vitro (cells in a test-tube) evidence suggest that Shilajit may be able to reduce heart rate, though the mechanism of action remains a mystery.
One human study found that Shilajit (6.61% Fulvic Acid) improves various indications of cardiovascular health.
Shilajit had the following effects:
- reduced triglycerides by over 20%
- reduced LDL (bad cholesterol) by over 20%
- increased HDL (good cholesterol) by just under 6%
This study used 2 grams of Shilajit, providing about 130mg of Fulvic Acid.
Based on the preliminary research, it definitely looks like Shilajit offers some cardiovascular benefits, though we don’t know whether higher doses are more beneficial are what the deal is there.
Time with tell!
2 | Shilajit Reduces Blood Glucose
In one study, 200mg of Shilajit (54.8% Fulvic Acid) reduced blood glucose by about 7% over a period of 90 days.
Another study, using a dose of 2000mg of Shilajit (6.61% Fulvic Acid) failed to find any meaningful impact on blood sugar.
The subjects in each study were healthy humans, so it’s not entirely clear why there’s a discrepancy in the results. Although the second study used a lot more Shilajit, the amount of Fulvic Acid was similar in both studies.
Right now, it seems like Shilajit (and Fulvic Acid) has the potential to lower blood glucose, but may not be entirely reliable.
3 | Shilajit Improves Sexual Health
In mice, Shilajit has been shown to increase sperm count, but there’s not a ton of human research to corroborate this.
One study in male subjects with initially low sperm counts found that Shilajit improved various parameters of sperm quality, including count, motility, and volume.
So yes, it looks like Shilajit can be used to improve sexual health in men, but further studies are needed to identify a mechanism of action.
We do have some clues about how Shilajit is able to improve semen quality, though.
In the subjects who experienced improvements in semen quality, there was also a marked decrease in lipid peroxidation.
Lipid peroxidation is the process by which free-radicals steal electrons from the lipids (fats) that make up cell membranes. Research indicates lipid peroxidation and reduced anti-oxidant activity are associated with lower semen quality.
So, it would appear as though Shilajit works by increasing general anti-oxidant and scavenging the free radicals that would otherwise cause lipid peroxidation and reduce semen quality.
4 | Shilajit Encourages Healthy Testosterone Levels
In the last few years, we’ve seen a lot of testosterone boosters come out with Shilajit as a key ingredient. Well, to be honest, there’s not much research.
All we have to go by is one study…
Infertile men (with low testosterone) experienced a 23% increase in Testosterone after 90 days, using 200mg of Shilajit providing 110mg of Fulvic Acid.
So, it’s a bit of a stretch to say that Shilajit ‘boost testosterone’. Based on the research, it looks like it may help partially restore it when testosterone is initially low.
Such a small increase isn’t enough to make any difference in terms of muscle growth, but if you’re a man suffering from low T, Shilajit may be worth supplementing with.
5 | Shilajit May Reduce Pain Perception
In mice, Shilajit has been shown to reduce pain perception. It also appears to be able to reduce morphine tolerance, despite this study not showing any sort of pain-killing effect of Shilajit on it’s own.
It’s unclear how exactly Shilajit might dulls pain perception, but preliminary research indicates it may have something to do with acting on GABA receptors and reducing the firing of neurons associated with pain.
Right now, there’s not enough research to conclude that Shilajit is an effective pain-killer on its own, but it makes sense to consider as an adjunct therapy (in addition to your current pain medication).
6 | Shilajit Supports Healthy Skin
No studies have tested the effects of oral Shilajit supplements on skin health, but Fulvic Acid–the major component of Shilajit–has been shown to reduce severity of eczema via topical application (applied directly to the skin).
Humic substances in general have anti-inflammatory effects which can help treat a variety of skin conditions.
It’s not clear if this extends to oral supplementation, but why not?
I wouldn’t say Shilajit is a miracle skin-health supplement, but Fulvic Acid definitely appears to be beneficial for skin health in general. You can draw your own conclusions from there.
7 | Shilajit May Help With Chronic Fatigue
Shilajit appeared to exert these effects by influencing the hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis and preserving the structural integrity of mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell.
Unfortunately, there have been absolutely no studies to test whether these effects apply to humans as well.
What Kind Of Results Can You Expect With Shilajit?
Shilajit is a general health supplement, not something that will instantaneously enhance your life. The effects are not going to be immediately noticeable, but over time, you can expect:
- more natural energy
- lower blood glucose (if you measure that)
- higher sex drive
- healthier skin
And, of course, you may notice benefits in other areas as well.
We’ve only just started to develop an understanding of what Shilajit and Fulvic Acid are capable of, but so far, it looks quite promising.
How much Shilajit you need to take depends on the Fulvic Acid content. Human studies have used doses ranging from 200-2000mg of Shilajit, but the Fulvic Acid content stayed in the 100-150mg range.
So, if you’re supplementing with Shilajit that contains 50% Fulvic Acid (or more), 200mg/day should do it.
If you’re using Shilajit that contains say, 6% Fulvic Acid, you’ll need atleast a couple grams.
Unfortunately, most Shilajit supplements are under-dosed in terms of total Fulvic Acid content. Some of them don’t even list the amount of Fulvic Acid they contain.
Stay clear of these types of supplements and only go with a Shilajit that clearly states the amount of Fulvic Acid it contains.
Shilajit Side Effects
Throughout all the studies using Shilajit, in doses ranging from 200-2000mg, absolutely no adverse effects have been observed. It appears to be VERY safe, even at higher than necessary doses.
That is, assuming your Shilajit is high quality and uncontaminated.
As you can imagine, something that is harvested from mountains by the indigenous people of the Himalayas might not be held to the same quality standards as something that’s manufactured in accordance with GMP standards in the US.
That’s why you should be especially careful when selecting a Shilajit supplement. Go with a brand that third party tests their supplements and proves they’re free of heavy metals and bacterial contaminants.
Finally, if you’re diabetic, you need to be careful not to go hypoglycemic when taking Shilajit. Remember, it does lower blood sugar.
If you’re healthy, you’ve got nothing to worry about with Shilajit, but anyone with any sort of pre-existing medical condition should definitely seek their doctors advice before taking it.
Choosing The Best Shilajit Supplement
If you’re a regular reader of my work, then you know not all supplements are created equal. Some supplement companies are shady and others are trustworthy, and you need to be able to tell the difference.
Otherwise, you’ll just get ripped off.
When it comes to Shilajit, you need to be especially careful. Quality is determined by a number of factors, including:
- cultivation techniques
- processing techniques
- storage conditions
The list goes on, but you get it…
When it comes to Shilajit, I’d recommend going with a brand-name like PrimaVie by Natreon.
PrimaVie has been used clinically and is standardized to contain no less than 50% Fulvic Acid. It’s essentially the gold standard as far as purity is concerned.
Many Shilajit supplements don’t even list the amount of Fulvic Acid they contain.
Primavie provides an elements of trust that just isn’t there with most Shilajit/Fulvic Acid supplements.
The Bottom Line On Shilajit
Shilajit is a unique supplement which may provide a range of health benefits, mostly relating to it’s anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.
The most promising benefits are those relating to sexual and hormonal health and lowering blood glucose, but further studies may very well reveal an even wider range of benefits.
If the ancient people of the Himalayan region were right about how awesome Shilajit really is, modern science has only just started to scratch the surface.