Shilajit is a viscous substance secreted by high mountain rocks, rich in many beneficial compounds like fulvic acid and minerals.
Shilajit has been used in traditional medicine for centuries, and modern science has confirmed many of the purported health benefits of Shilajit.
While blackish-brown tar-like goo probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of health supplements, shilajit has many potential health benefits.
Shilajit (also known as mumijo) is a sticky substance found mainly in the high mountain rocks of the Himalayas made up of compressed and preserved plant matter. Shilajit originates from the decomposition of plants high in minerals and nutrients beneficial to humans, so there has been great interest in the benefits of shilajit capsules and supplements.
Shilajit is commonly used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine as a natural remedy for various health conditions, including joint pain, digestive issues and high altitude sickness. The benefits of shilajit resin also make it a highly desirable ingredient in dietary supplements, as it may help boost your energy and support general health.
Plant matter trapped in the Earth is slowly transformed by microbial action and the weight of the mountains into a dense, mineral-rich substance known as Shilajit. This blackish-brown substance (which roughly translates to “conqueror of mountains and destroyer of weakness” in Sanskrit) is exuded from high mountain rocks in certain mountain ranges like the Himalayas.
It’s unclear whether shilajit is a biological or geological substance, as it contains many nutrients found in both categories, which are responsible for the many benefits of shilajit. Although it is often referred to as tar or resin, shilajit is water soluble and comprises 60 – 80% of humic substances, organic compounds that makeup soil, peat, and coal.
Shilajit is widely used in Ayurveda, a traditional model of medicine built on balancing the body’s three doshas (similar to the four humors in ancient European medicine) with natural extracts and diet. The benefits of shilajit resin are believed to rejuvenate the whole body, thanks to its high levels of beneficial minerals and biological compounds, notably fulvic acid.
Fulvic acid is a humic substance (meaning it naturally occurs in soil and compost) with many proven health benefits, from improving gut health to supporting healthy skin. Additionally, shilajit contains small amounts of minerals and organic compounds linked to most of the benefits of shilajit capsules, though more research is needed to determine how they affect the human body.
The quality and content of shilajit can vary significantly based on where it is harvested, how it is refined (if at all), and the trace minerals it contains, potentially affecting the benefits of shilajit resin supplements. Shilajit is typically graded based on its trace minerals, as they produce different colors: Red shilajit contains gold, white is silver, blue is copper, and iron is black.
While the exact composition of shilajit varies, the benefits of shilajit come from the various compounds and minerals it contains, and one serving (about ½ teaspoon or 250mg) contains, on average:
Black shilajit containing gold is the rarest form and is considered to provide the strongest benefits of shilajit capsules according to Ayurvedic principles. However, most forms of shilajit have similar observable effects, so we strongly recommend black shilajit, as it is the most widely available and has been studied in more detail.
Although it isn’t exactly the most appealing supplement on the market, shilajit is packed full of nutrients, including copper, zinc, and fulvic acid, which have many beneficial properties. Research has confirmed that the benefits of shilajit resin may have health benefits for various conditions when used as a supplement, including:
Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that causes issues with brain function, specifically memory, behavior, and brain function. Some researchers believe the benefits of shilajit capsules may slow or prevent the progression of Alzheimer’s, as fulvic acid has antioxidant effects that prevent the accumulation of tau protein, which can trigger brain cell damage.
The menstrual cycle can be hard on women, disrupting their hormonal balance and depleting their stores of iron and hemoglobins through bleeding. Fortunately, studies show that shilajit may help restore hormonal balance and blood quality by raising iron and testosterone levels, meaning the benefits of shilajit can help with general health and ‘that time of the month’.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is characterized by extreme tiredness or fatigue and is associated with mitochondrial dysfunction, which occurs when your cells don’t produce enough energy. Fortunately, the benefits of shilajit capsules helped reduce the effects of CFS in animal studies, which was hypothesized to be a result of shilajit preventing mitochondrial dysfunction.
Fulvic acid has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that can help protect your body against free radicals and cellular damage, which are linked to the harmful effects of aging. Although the benefits of shilajit resin are by no means a fountain of youth, there is some evidence that its antioxidant effects may contribute to improved longevity and overall better health as you age.
Altitude sickness can be triggered by low atmospheric pressure, cold temperatures, or reduced oxygen levels and can cause various symptoms, including hypoxia, insomnia, and pulmonary edema. Fortunately, one of the oldest known benefits of shilajit is its effectiveness as a treatment for altitude sickness, as it functions as an antioxidant to support immunity and a diuretic to remove excess fluid.
Iron deficiency anemia can be caused by blood loss, inability to absorb iron, or a low-iron diet and causes many health issues, with symptoms including fatigue, headaches, and irregular heartbeat. Shilajit may help to increase iron levels, and animal studies found that the benefits of shilajit capsules led to increased hemoglobin and red blood cells, which are vital components of blood.
Shilajit supplements may help improve fertility in men and women by improving sperm count and quality in men and regulating the menstrual cycle in women. It is theorized that the benefits of shilajit for blood flow – which provide more nutrients to your reproductive organs – though not much is known about the exact mechanisms of how it can improve fertility.
Based on animal studies, the benefits of shilajit resin may help improve heart health and reduce the symptoms of cardiac injury. However, there aren’t enough studies to confirm these effects on humans, and you shouldn’t take shilajit supplements if you have active heart disease.
As a natural herbal extract, shilajit is widely considered safe, but raw or unprocessed shilajit may contain trace amounts of contaminants like heavy metals, fungus and free radicals. Whether you buy your shilajit online or from a health food store, make sure it is purified and ready for use to enjoy the benefits of shilajit without the risk of contamination.
As shilajit is considered a herbal dietary supplement, the FDA does not monitor it for quality, purity, or strength, so you should carefully research your options to make the most of the potential benefits of shilajit capsules. Additionally, supplementing with shilajit may be dangerous for people with sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, or hemochromatosis (excess iron in your blood).
Shilajit is widely available in liquid or powder form, though one of the main benefits of shilajit resin is that it can be dissolved in any water-based liquid, from juice to herbal teas. However, while shilajit has many names – mumijo, rock sap, mineral pitch, and Barakhshin, to name a few – no one has ever called it delicious.
Shilajit has a distinctive flavor often described as bitter, smoky, and salty, which makes the benefits of shilajit capsules (all of the benefits, none of the taste) very appealing. Furthermore, capsule supplements make it much easier to get a consistent dose, as it can be difficult to measure the tar-like natural form of shilajit.
While there is no officially recommended dosage for shilajit – since it is an unregulated herbal supplement – most human studies used doses of 300-500mg daily, which were safe for users.
Shilajit is a resinous natural extract that has been widely used in traditional medicine for millennia, and modern science has proven that it has many surprising health benefits. Preliminary studies show that the health benefits of shilajit may help treat various health conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, infertility, and heart disease whilst supporting general health.
These results are very promising – and reinforce shilajit’s widespread use in Ayurvedic medicine – but more human studies are needed to confirm these effects. Although herbal supplements like shilajit are widely considered safe, it is known to increase blood iron levels and alter your hormones which can provide health benefits or side effects if used incorrectly.
For these reasons, we strongly recommend asking your doctor if shilajit supplements are right for you, as the benefits of shilajit resin come with potential health risks.