10 Proven Health Benefits of ShilajitDr. Surya Bhagwati
Shilajit is one of the most popular herbal supplements in India, so you might be surprised to learn that it is not really a herb. Shilajit is in fact a blackish brownish exudate found primarily from Himalayan mountain rocks. This organic substance is a natural product and has been highly valued in Ayurvedic medicine as a rasayana or rejuvenative. It has mainly been used as a supplement to fight the effects of aging, boost strength and endurance, and promote general wellness. We are now learning that there is a strong scientific basis for the recommendations provided by Ayurvedic sages centuries ago. Before we look at these health benefits of shilajit, it helps to understand the composition of this natural nutraceutical.
Shilajit is rich in a variety of minerals, but its main constituent is fulvic acid. For this reason, researchers believe that the organic substance is a product of decomposition of certain plant species through microbial action. This occurs over centuries, making shilajit a millenary product of nature. Shilajit also contains other nutrients and molecules, including some fatty acids, eldagic acid, resins, sterols, amino acids, polyphenols, and phenolic lipids. This rich profile gives shilajit a range of health benefits, but they are most strongly linked to its main constituent – fulvic acid.
Health Benefits of Shilajit
1. Preserves Cognitive Function
Ayurvedic physicians have routinely prescribed shilajit to boost brain health and we now know that it is neuroprotective. Regular intake of shilajit may help prevent or delay the onset and progression of degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s. This is because fulvic acid is a powerful antioxidant that protect against the buildup of tau proteins, which is known to cause brain cell damage. Shilajit also has anti-inflammatory effects, which can also reduce Alzheimer’s symptoms.
Despite what marketers may claim, no substance on earth (natural or artificial) can reverse or prevent aging. However, some herbs and ingredients are known to delay or reduce the effects of aging. Shilajit is one such substance. As pointed out in a study, shilajit’s main compound, fulvic acid, acts as natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. This means that it can protect against oxidative stress and cellular damage, which play a major role in aging.
3. Improves Fertility & Sex Function
This is perhaps one of the most popular shilajit uses today, as it is often an ingredient in sex power capsules and other products to enhance male performance. This use of shilajit is supported by some evidence, which shows that the ingredient can lead to an increase in testosterone levels. This can boost virility and sex drive, improving performance. Another study found that regular supplementation could boost fertility levels within three months. Similarly, there are significant fertility and libido benefits when using shilajit for women.
4. Energy Booster
Since ancient times, shilajit has been regarded as a powerful antidote to weakness and fatigue in Ayurveda. This belief is supported by modern research. A 2012 study found that shilajit supplementation can even provide relief from chronic fatigue syndrome, which causes extreme fatigue. Although the study was conducted on rats, it is believed that similar results are produced in humans within just three weeks. This is attributed to shilajit’s ability to prevent mitochondrial dysfunction, an important feature in chronic fatigue syndrome.
5. Fights Altitude Sickness
It is often said that the longevity and good health of sherpas can be linked to their regular consumption of shilajit. This may actually be more than hearsay as fulvic acid and the minerals in shilajit offer wide ranging benefits. Researchers believe that one of these benefits includes improved tolerance to high altitudes or protection from altitude sickness. Fulvic acid is said to help carry nutrients into deep tissues, helping your body better cope with the stress of altitude sickness. If you’re going mountaineering in the future, make sure to begin shilajit supplementation a few weeks before at least.
6. Anemia Relief
Anemia is most commonly caused by iron deficiency and it affects every aspect of health as iron is needed for healthy cells and hemoglobin. Iron deficiency anemia is known to cause heart rhythm irregularity, coldness in the hands and feet, headaches, and inexplicable fatigue. Shilajit is an effective antidote for this type of anemia because of its high content of humic acid and iron. In addition to boosting iron levels it can also relieve some of the symptoms of anemia.
7. Cardiac Health
In keeping with the belief that shilajit can benefit almost every aspect of health, researchers have also found some cardiac health benefits. They found that shilajit supplementation may enhance cardiac protection, reducing heart damage and the risk of injury that results in cardiac lesions. Keep in mind that shilajit is used as a hypertension treatment as it can lower blood pressure. This means that if you suffer from any heart condition, you should consult your doctor before taking the supplement.
8. Weight Loss
Obesity is one of the main risk factors for almost every lifestyle disease and chronic condition, whether its diabetes or cancer. We are now learning that a high BMI also increases the risk of death in COVID-19 infections. This makes weight loss measures all the more important today. While diet and exercise should be your main focus, you can also support these efforts with Ayurvedic supplements like shilajit. Studies have found that regular supplementation with shilajit can improve weight loss by enhancing muscle adaptations to exercise.
9. Enhanced Muscle Growth
When it comes to Ayurvedic bodybuilding supplements, shilajit is perhaps the best choice after ashwagandha. Like ashwagandha, shilajit may encourage muscle growth through its testosterone boosting effect. That effect however, remains speculative. At the same time a study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition shows that daily supplementation with a 500 mg dose of shilajit capsules can help preserve muscle strength for longer durations, increasing resistance to exercise fatigue. The decline in maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) would allow for longer training or workout time.
10. Immune Boost
There is some evidence of shilajit as an immunomodulatory herb, although more research is needed in this regard. Nevertheless, shilajit’s rich and complex nutraceutical profile may support immune function, helping fight of certain infections. One study did come to this conclusion, showing that the organic ingredient can defend and against and destroy viruses like herpes viruses under certain conditions.
When using shilajit, don’t let your choice be guided by shilajit capsules price. Make sure that the supplement is produced by a reputed manufacturer due to the risk of contamination. Most of these benefits are linked to pure shilajit medicine and shilajit used in polyherbal formulations. Remember to also check the strength of the supplement and dosage guidelines as some brands may offer shilajit supplements with a strength of just 200 to 300 mg.
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