Bentonite Clay

Bentonite clay is a type of absorbent clay that is formed from aged volcanic ash found all over the world. That said, today bentonite clay is predominantly harvested in the U.S., France and Italy.

Bentonite Clay Traditional Benefits

Bentonite clay is a type of absorbent clay that is formed from aged volcanic ash found all over the world. That said, today bentonite clay is predominantly harvested in the U.S., France and Italy.This specific type of clay has a unique ability to absorb toxins in the body. As such, many have been using bentonite clay to detoxify the body. In fact, bentonite clay has been used for centuries as a detoxifying agent in ancient cultures. Today, many people use it to improve skin tone and digestion, in addition to detoxifying the body. In turn, the body may be better able to fight disease and illness. Bentonite clay is now used as a wellness product and may be either applied to the skin topically or ingested.

What is Bentonite Clay Used For?

Bentonite Clay may have numerous benefits to the body, including the following: Eliminates Harmful Toxins From the Body Promotes Better Digestion Improves Skin Health Combats Bacterial Infections Helps with Thyroid Function Strengthens Immunity

Benefits of Bentonite Clay

Bentonite clay has a long track record of medicinal uses, and while there are few human clinical trials that have been done on this substance, the lab and animal studies that have been done reveal that bentonite clay shows some great promise. Here are some of the benefits of bentonite clay.May Help Eliminate Harmful Toxins From the BodyBecause bentonite clay is highly absorptive, it may be able to draw out many heavy metals and toxins out of the body. More specifically, it may be able to attract positively-charged particles in the body because of its negative electric charge. Many toxins — including heavy metals and free radicals — are positively charged, making the negatively-charged bentonite able to attract these particles and draw them out of the body.One animal study1 found that pigs who ate bentonite clay for a few months experienced a reduction in the concentration of lead in their blood, bones, hair, brain, liver and kidneys. In another study2, rabbits who were fed food with aflatoxins, which are carcinogenic toxins, showed an improvement in reproductive function after bentonite was introduced into their feed.May Help Promote Better DigestionEliminating toxins and heavy metals from the gut can help promote better digestion, and that's exactly what bentonite clay may be able to do. Research has shown that bentonite clay can help extract toxins from the body.In terms of improving digestion, bentonite clay can bind to certain toxins like aflatoxins, as mentioned earlier, which are common in the standard North American diet. An overabundance of aflatoxins can lead to liver damage and even the development of certain cancers.In one animal study3, researchers discovered that the molecules in bentonite clay are able to bind to bovine rotavirus and bovine coronavirus in cows, which are two significant viruses that can cause gastroenteritis.Bentonite clay may also be effective at treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In one study4, patients with IBS who took 3g of bentonite clay twice daily for eight weeks saw improvements in their digestion compared to those on the placebo group.May Promote Better SkinThe skin can benefit from the use of bentonite clay. Rashes, allergic reactions and blemishes can all potentially be alleviated with the use of bentonite clay.In one study5, participants who applied a bentonite clay lotion showed a reduction in the severity of poison ivy, particularly when it was applied before coming into contact with poison ivy. The study's participants also showed improvements in chronic dermatitis when a solution containing bentonite clay was applied to the skin.Bentonite clay may also be beneficial to those suffering from acne6. One study conducted on people with mild acne showed that applying a mask containing bentonite clay twice a week (for six weeks) experienced a significant reduction in the number of lesions.May Help Combat Bacterial InfectionsMany bacterial infections have become resistant to antibiotics, such as MRSA, which is a type of staph. This particular bacteria can cause several issues, ranging in severity from skin infections to infections of the blood. However, bentonite clay may actually be effective at combating bacteria like MRSA and step in where conventional medicines are unable to be effective.One study showed that certain bacteria — both resistant and nonresistant to antibiotics — could be killed off by exposing them to bentonite clay. In the study7, it was shown that the clay's minerals may have antibacterial properties that might be effective at killing harmful bacterial infections like MRSA.May Help With Thyroid FunctionSome animal studies8 suggest that bentonite clay may help to absorb certain thyroid hormones that can help alleviate hyperthyroidism, showing that bentonite clay may be a viable alternative to help lower thyroid levels.May Help Strengthen ImmunityA significant portion of the immune system lives inside of the gut microbiome. When the gut is unhealthy, immunity weakens. That's because toxins can more easily leach into the blood when the gut wall is compromised.Bentonite clay may be effective at strengthening the gut wall. Some studies9 suggest that bentonite clay may not only fight off infections and viruses, but it may also work to keep the gut wall strong. By protecting the gut wall, the number of toxins, chemicals and bacteria entering the blood will be limited, thereby helping to strengthen the immune system and protect the body.May Help Slow the Growth of Certain CancersBentonite clay's ability to extract toxins from the body may play a role in slowing the growth of tumors in certain cancers. One study10 found that bentonite clay slowed the growth of cancer cell line U251, a type of cancer cell found in glioblastomas.Another study11 found that bentonite clay was able to kill off Caco-2 cancer cells, which is a colorectal cancer line. The researchers found that the clay caused oxidative stress only on the cancer cells without harming healthy cell material.

How to Use Bentonite Clay

Bentonite clay can be used in a couple of different ways, including the following:TopicallyFor the purpose of clearing and protecting the skin, bentonite clay can be applied as a topical. Mixing water with bentonite clay powder will create a paste that can be lathered on the skin to draw out impurities, clear the skin, alleviate any blemishes or rashes, and protect it from the elements.The clay should be applied as a mask and left for a few minutes to dry. It can then be removed by using a wet washcloth.You can also add a 1/4 of a cup of bentonite clay to a bath, and allow it to dissolve into the water.To target specific spots, a concentrated amount of bentonite clay can be applied directly to the affected area and covered with gauze, then left on for a couple of hours before being rinsed off.InternallySmall amounts of bentonite clay can also be consumed through capsules for the purpose of boosting immunity, fighting off infections, strengthening the gut wall, or simply cleansing the body of any toxins and heavy metals that may have built up over time.The clay can also be gargled in the mouth with water for a few seconds to be used as a mouthwash. It may also be consumed by drinking 1/2 to 1 teaspoon once a day with water.

Recommended Daily Allowance of Bentonite Clay

Bentonite clay may be used daily without any known side effects. If taken orally, as much as 2 teaspoons may be used daily, split between two separate servings. It's generally not recommended to consume bentonite clay for longer than four weeks at a time.Always follow the directions of the manufacturer, as well as the advice of your physician before using bentonite clay, particularly if using orally.

Is Bentonite Clay Healthy?

Bentonite clay has long been used as a topical lotion or face mask to clear the skin of blemishes as well as to draw out impurities, both in the skin and in the deeper tissues within the body.Many ancient cultures have been using the clay for centuries as a way to treat various disorders. If you decide to consume bentonite clay orally, make sure to start with a small amount first and only obtain your bentonite clay from trusted sources. There aren't any known significant side effects of bentonite clay. That said, it's possible to get sick from consuming more than the manufacturer's directed dosage.If using bentonite clay on the skin, it's recommended to first conduct a patch test before using it on the face or on a larger area of the body in order to rule out any potential allergic reaction or sensitivity.

Citations and Sources

1 Biological Trace Element Research, "Effect of montmorillonite superfine composite on growth performance and tissue lead level in pigs" 2 Mycotoxin Research, "Aflatoxicosis in rabbits: Effectiveness of Egyptian raw bentonite in prevention or diminution the detrimental effects of naturally aflatoxin contaminated diets" 3 Veterinary Microbiology, "In vitro studies on the use of clay, clay minerals and charcoal to adsorb bovine rotavirus and bovine coronavirus" 4 Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, "Symptomatic efficacy of beidellitic montmorillonite in irritable bowel syndrome: a randomized, controlled trial" 5 Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, "Prevention of poison ivy and poison oak allergic contact dermatitis by quaternium-18 bentonite" 6 Forschende Komplementarmedizin, "Clay jojoba oil facial mask for lesioned skin and mild acne--results of a prospective, observational pilot study" 7 Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, "Broad-spectrum in vitro antibacterial activities of clay minerals against antibiotic-susceptible and antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens" 8 European Journal of Pharmacology, "Montmorillonite ameliorates hyperthyroidism of rats and mice attributed to its adsorptive effect" 9 Iran Journal of Public Health, "Bentonite Clay as a Natural Remedy: A Brief Review" 10 Chemosphere, "Role of bentonite clays on cell growth" 11 Journal of Applied Toxicology, "Toxic effects of a modified montmorillonite clay on the human intestinal cell line Caco-2"

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