Shilajit may be new to most of us, but it’s been a staple of ancient medicine, and some even call it one of the most effective plant-based therapeutics in the world. Renowned for its various potential healing properties, shilajit has finally made its way over to the US market, and we’re here to share everything you could ever want to know about this naturally occurring substance.
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What is Shilajit?
Shilajit is a sticky black substance that is sourced from layers of rock in the Himalayan Mountains and other high-altitude mountain regions around the world. It goes by many other names based on regional differences, including “moomiyo,” “silaris”, “mumie”, and “rasayana”. Historically, it’s most closely associated with ayurvedic medicine, which is the oldest medicine in the world, practiced in India and Nepal. Even to this day, shilajit is used in these parts of the world to treat a variety of ailments.
So, how is shilajit formed? Chemically speaking, it’s very similar to humic substances that are found in our soil, which result from the decomposition of plant matter. When observed more closely years ago, shilajit was found to possess plant residue, along with resins and gums. The plant residue was found to come from nearby plant life that, after dying, mixes with water. The resin of the plant then washes along the soil and finds itself mingling with organic elements and minerals in these mountainous regions, until it evaporates and becomes a crust that stays stuck within crevices of the mountain’s rock formations. Limestone is believed to play a role in enhancing its chemical makeup and allowing it to harden into the shilajit that we know.
And, that’s not all. As shilajit ages in these rock crevices, its chemical composition evolves over millions of years. The exact mechanisms involved in this process remain unknown.
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What are the Characteristics and Chemical Properties of Shilajit?
Shilajit is a sticky resinous substance that’s almost black in color, and its hue can vary very slightly depending on the region from which it’s derived, sometimes having a very subtle amber tinge to it. It’s believed by some researchers that the color darkens with age, implying that Himalyan shilajit is the oldest in the world.
Shilajit is the result of organic carbon that has aged in between layers of rock over many, many years. Within shilajit, you’ll find a multitude of organic elements, similar to humus that comes from soil, which is rich in nutrients and other beneficial compounds. Because shilajit is millions of years old, these compounds have undergone chemical changes that profoundly affect how they can benefit our health.
Ultimately, shilajit consists largely of humic and fulvic acids, along with organic acids, waxes, resins, alkaloids, and other compounds that can be extremely beneficial to us.
More specifically, shilajit contains:
- Benzoic acids
- Organic acids
- Hippuric acid
- Plant resins and waxes
- Humic and fulvic acids
- Silicone dioxide
- Hydro-oxidized amide peptide bonds
- Phosphoric anhydride
- Phenonlic and pregnane steroids
Note: The exact configuration of these compounds can vary depending on where the shilajit is sourced from. But, after years of research, it’s been confirmed that the benefits of shilajit are basically the same regardless of the region from which the substance is derived.
It’s also worth pointing out that shilajit is highly water-soluble, and this plays a role in its bioavailability, as it can absorb into the body very efficiently.
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How is Shilajit Prepared for Human Consumption?
Now we know where shilajit comes from, how it’s formed, and what chemical compounds are found within this dark and sticky substance. But, how is it actually prepared for human consumption?
Shilajit is harvested by removing the crust from designated collection sites in mountainous regions. But, it maintains a very high level of impurities, and so an extraction process is required, using water filtration and evaporation, until the shilajit is purified. Because shilajit is so water-soluble, the purification process is actually relatively simple. It’s maintained in a water solution at a specific temperature for 12 hours, and it’s stirred every 15 minutes. Then, it is run through fine mesh, as impurities are left behind and only shilajit remains. This is basically the same process that has been maintained since shilajit was first harvested many, many years ago.
After that point, the shilajit is dried, and run through a vacuum-based evaporator. This concentrates the substance, allowing it to be sold in either resin, liquid, or powder form. Naturally, powder form means that the shilajit was fully dried and ground.
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Key Benefits of Shilajit
The benefits that we can derive from shilajit come from its fulvic and humic acids along with its trace minerals, many of which are extremely rare, yet play a major role in our overall health.
Fulvic and Humic Acids
Fulvic and humic acids are the result of beneficial microbes consuming dead plant life so that it may decompose. They bind to nutrients to enhance their bioavailability, making them more readily absorbed by the body, and possess immune-boosting properties as well as antioxidants.
Many people are at risk of mineral deficiency, as minerals play a vital role in many functions of our health. The astounding variety of minerals, including rare, trace minerals, found in shilajit can play an incredible role in improving our health, and the unique bioavailability of these minerals is the result of the fascinating process that allows shilajit to exist. The fulvic and humic acid in shilajit enables these minerals to absorb into the body easily, so that we can maximize their benefits. These acids improve cell wall permeability, so that the minerals can enter the cells of the body efficiently.
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Let’s take a look at the more specific medicinal uses of shilajit, based on decades of research.
- Immune-Boosting Properties: Shilajit has been found to improve immunity by supplying the body with a high concentration of nutrients that support immune function.
- Blood Sugar Regulation: Shilajit’s chemical compounds can balance blood sugar levels in the body.
- Kidney and Urinary Tract Support: There are a number of minerals in shilajit that play a role in promoting the health of the kidneys and urinary tract.
- Detoxification: The compounds in shilajit can purify the blood to aid in detoxification.
- Bone Health: Many minerals in shilajit play a vital role in supporting the health of our bones.
- Improved Digestion and Nutrient Absorption: Shilajit’s fulvic and humic acids allow for improved absorption of nutrients, by enhancing cell permeability, while the minerals in the substance can boost digestive health.
- Reproductive Health Properties: One of the most ancient uses for shilajit is boosting libido.
- Promotes Longevity: The properties of shilajit have long been seen as longevity-enhancing, and the high concentration of antioxidants in the substance likely plays a role.
- Cognitive Support: Shilajit’s fulvic acids contain antioxidants that play a direct role in the prevention and slowed progression of dementia, by improving cognitive health on a cellular level.
- Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Shilajit has been found to regulate inflammation in the body.
- Mood Effects: Shilajit has been found to offer antidepressant and anxiolytic effects that can alleviate mood disorder symptoms.
- Hormonal Balance: Shilajit may help regulate menstrual cycle, while promoting the production of male sex hormones to improve fertility.
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What About Side Effects?
Shilajit has long been regarded as safe, with no known side effects as long as the product that’s taken is legitimate, and even has undergone the purification process described above. Basically, the most common side effect is an upset stomach if shilajit is consumed on an empty stomach. Otherwise, it can increase iron levels, and because of that, you don’t want to take too much of it. Some people also report hormonal changes from taking too high of a dosage daily.
How to Take Shilajit
Shilajit comes in various product forms, such as:
- Live Resin
Still, it’s widely believed nowadays that live resin is the far superior option. How come? Well, because live resin is the most concentrated and unprocessed form of shilajit. This means that both its potency and bioavailability are likely higher than other product forms.
As for dosing, the good news is that shilajit products do have dosing directions on their labels, to guide beginners. Again, the product is generally very safe, so there’s no real worry about ill effects from taking a relatively higher dose than what’s recommended. Generally, the recommended daily dose is about 100-300mg, which allows you to get the full benefits of shilajit, and even ensures you’re getting the adequate amount of nutrients per day.
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Unsurprisingly, shilajit is most effective when it’s taken daily. With its high mineral content, the product works cumulatively – in other words, each daily dose contributes to the long-term positive benefits people want to derive from it. So, consider incorporating it into your daily routine for the most success.
We mentioned that shilajit is best taken in live resin form, due to its potency and bioavailability. The most common way to use resin is to stir it in a hot liquid, like tea, coffee, or water. Shilajit naturally has a bitter and burnt taste, so feel free to sweeten up whatever you’re drinking to mask the flavor to your liking. Of course, some people just don’t mind the taste at all. Shilajit does not need to be consumed right away, so don’t worry about having to chug a hot liquid in order for the product to be effective – you can wait until it cools down and sip it however you prefer.
Keep in mind that its effects will be stronger if you do take it on an empty stomach, as this allows it to absorb more easily into the cells of the body. But, like we said, some people may get an upset stomach from taking it on an empty stomach, so if your stomach is sensitive, keep that in mind. For many, this side effect stops occurring after the person has gotten used to consuming it daily.
How to Find the Best Shilajit Possible
Shilajit is something that’s very new to many of us, so it’s hard to know whether or not we’re buying the best-quality shilajit possible without a frame of reference. With that being said, how can you be sure you’re getting the real deal? Here are some things to look for.
Look for a Reputable Company
Of course, you’re going to want to pay close attention to the brand that you’re buying from. Shilajit can vary in terms of purity, and of course, there is always the risk of counterfeit products. By buying online, you can purchase directly from a brand while looking for certain indicators of quality, safety, and legitimacy on their website. Look for key information about how their shilajit is sourced, processed, and purified, and look thoroughly through reviews to be sure that customers are satisfied with the product.
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Look for Test Results
Any legitimate company selling shilajit online these days is going to offer third-party test results. This mainly shows you the purity of the product, but will also likely give you a breakdown of the key chemical compounds in the product, with an emphasis on the concentrations of certain metals in there, like lead, nickel, etc. These tests should be easy to find on a company’s website, because a good brand knows just how important it is that consumers are able to access them before making a purchase.
Put Shilajit to the Test
There are ways to test shilajit for purity and authenticity, but of course, these tests require that you purchase it first. An easy test is to place shilajit in a relatively warm environment until it liquifies. It should be sticky and have a flowing consistency, since any rigidity indicates that it’s not pure or authentic. Another thing you can do is dissolve it in water. Because shilajit is water-soluble, it should dissolve within a few minutes, turning the water amber. Also, once it dissolves, there should be no sediment.
Avoid Shady Vendors
Overall, you should strictly avoid any vendors that don’t seem legit. This means only buying shilajit from trusted sources. If shopping in person, we don’t recommend anywhere other than legitimate supplement shops and similar types of businesses. In other words, avoid shilajit that’s sold at convenience stores, flea markets, etc.
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Shilajit: Safe, Powerful, and Full of Potential Benefits
No matter what name it goes by, shilajit is one of the most highly regarded natural substances in history when it comes to maintaining our health. And, it’s easier to find in this part of the world than ever before, thanks to initiatives taken by brands committed to providing consumers with plant derivatives that can vastly improve our daily lives.
If you’re interested in incorporating shilajit into your routine, we recommend exploring the Shilajit Live Resin products at Bounce Nutrition. Binoid’s shilajit has undergone third-party testing, providing phenomenal purity for maximum benefits. It’s just the right consistency to dissolve in liquids quickly and easily, and even promises the potency you are looking for.
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