Diatomaceous Earth also known as D.E., diatomite, or kieselgur/kieselguhr, is a naturally occurring, soft, siliceous sedimentary rock that is easily crumbled into a fine white to off-white powder. It has a particle size ranging from less than 3 micrometres to more than 1 millimetre, but typically 10 to 200 micrometres. Depending on the granularity, this powder can have an abrasive feel, similar to pumice powder, and has a low density as a result of its high porosity. The typical chemical composition of oven-dried diatomaceous earth is 80 to 90% silica, with 2 to 4% alumina (attributed mostly to clay minerals) and 0.5 to 2% iron oxide
Diatomaceous earth consists of fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled protist (chrysophytes). It is used as a filtration aid, mild abrasive in products including metal polishes and toothpaste, mechanical insecticide, absorbent for liquids, matting agent for coatings, reinforcing filler in plastics and rubber, anti-block in plastic films, porous support for chemical catalysts, cat litter, activator in blood clotting studies, a stabilizing component of dynamite, and a thermal insulator.
Inhalation of crystalline silica is harmful to the lungs, causing silicosis. Amorphous silica is considered to have low toxicity, but prolonged inhalation causes changes to the lungs.
Diatomaceous earth is mostly amorphous silica, but contains some crystalline silica, especially in the saltwater forms. In a study of workers, those exposed to natural D.E. for over 5 years had no significant lung changes, while 40% of those exposed to the calcined form had developed pneumoconiosis. Today’s common D.E. formulations are safer to use as they are predominantly made up of amorphous silica and contain little or no crystalline silica
Now that we have covered the scary part, we’ll talk about the good part.
There are 3 types of DE:
Pool grade; to filter impurities in water.
Feed grade; not fit for human consumption/use (contain more than 10mg/kg of arsenic and more than 10mg/kg of lead).
Food grade; This is a multipurpose product and the best to use in your home, garden and with your pets. It’s a non toxic powder (a bit like flour), made from crushed fossils of freshwater organisms/marine life (To be considered food grade it must contain less than 10mg/kg of arsenic and no more than 10mg/kg of lead. It is deadly to all insects yet completely harmless to animals (unless inhaled).
It’s the Food grade DE which matters
Untreated, Food Grade DE (85%+ primarily composed of amorphous (non-crystalline) silicon dioxide is quickly becoming known for an impressive list of health benefits and non-toxic, (no-known side effect) origins. Nicknamed the ‘grass of the sea’ for all aquatic life forms and an ancient treasure in the health world, many enthusiastic- silica-advocates are calling it Mother Nature’s best kept secret.
Why Are Silica & Diatomaceous Earth So Healthy? (in humans)
In 1939, the Nobel Prize winner for chemistry, Professor Adolf Butenant, demonstrated that existence is not possible without the presence of Silica.
Based on his research carried out at Columbia College in 1972, silica is a vital nutrient that should be provided continuously from food sources.
Silica plays a huge role in lots of body functions and it has an immediate relationship with mineral absorption.
The typical human body holds roughly seven grams of silica, a sum far exceeding the figures for other important minerals, for example iron.
Both iron and silica are essential for the human body, meaning they’re required for undertaking ongoing metabolic work that’s vital to existence. Both elements should be continuously provided.
Many studies prove the favourable influence of vegetal silica taking place on the development of animals and humans. Silica is important to the skeleton and mineralization. Hence, silica’s absence leads to skeletal and penile deformation.
Hormonal disturbances within the human organism are frequently because of a calcium- magnesium discrepancy.
Several researches have proven that silica can restore this delicate balance.
Some benefits in humans
Silica also benefits the assimilation of phosphorous. As a result it may be described as a catalyst in using additional factors.
Taking merely calcium mineral cannot correct or stop this threatening and crippling disease since the human body cannot assimilate and take advantage from the calcium, without the existence of silica. Evidence indicates that, rather than affecting healing, supplemental mineral calcium, on the other hand, speeds up the draining away of bone calcium and thus hastens the degenerative procedure for brittle bones and other alike illnesses affecting the encouraging and connective tissue in the body.
For brittle bones, silica can help stop the discomfort, as well as restore your body’s self-repair process.
Teeth, Gums and Nails
By solidifying the enamel, silica prevents tooth decay and preserves healthy teeth. Silica also prevents bleeding gums, gum atrophy, and recession that trigger loss of teeth. Silica effectively fights caries (ulceration and also the decay of the bone or of the tooth) and inflammation.
Your nail plates are complex protein structures that grow 4 to 5 millimetres monthly.
Just in case of deficiency, the speed of growth slows.
In conclusion, your fingernails could possibly be the first indications of silica deficiency.
Demineralization of the nails precedes undoubtedly the decalcification of bones.
You’ll be able to start a silica supplementation over time, in order to prevent bone loss.
With silica supplementation, fragile nails become normal in only a short time.
Silica will enhance the look of your nails and increase their hardness, which makes them shinier and no longer vulnerable to breaking.
The restorative results of silica are going to be most noticeable in your hair, skin, nails and teeth.
Our hair and skin require silica for similar purpose just like other tissues. As you may know, the supporting collagen underneath skin improves elasticity and looks.
Collagen owes that quality to silica, which supplies an attractive complexion that’s a lot more than skin deep.
What are the uses of DE for pets?
Most commonly DE is used as a natural way to control internal and external parasites in pets.
DE is deadly to any insect yet completely harmless to animals. DE’s mode of action for insect and parasite control is strictly mechanical. The microscopically sharp edges contact the insect or parasite, and pierce their protective coating, so they soon dehydrate and die. The larvae are affected in the same way.
DE can eliminate roundworms, whipworms, pinworms, and hookworms within seven days of being fed daily.
DE has also been reported to absorb methyl mercury, e-coli, endotoxins, viruses, organophosphate pesticide residues, drug resides, and protein, perhaps even the proteinaceous toxins produced by some intestinal infections. Given this, DE is very useful as a detox solution, digestive aid and colon cleanser.
To be most effective, DE should be fed for at least 30 days, to catch all newly hatching eggs or the cycling of the worms through the lungs and back to the stomach. Simply mix it with water, or through their food
Small Dogs and puppies ½ tsp of food grade DE
Dogs under 22.5kg 1 tsp of food grade DE
Dogs between 22.5kg – 45kg 1 tbsp of food grade DE
Dogs over 45kg 2 tbsp of food grade
Kittens and ferrets ½ teaspoon
Adult cats 1 teaspoon
Large cats 2 teaspoons
If your pet is not cleared from worms after 30 days, you can increase the dose by ½ a teaspoon a day.
Another use for DE is the control of external parasites and flies. This is achieved by dusting your pet with DE, along with their bedding and surrounding (carpeted) areas, but also in the garden.
Precautions must be taken when dusting your dog, cat or house as the dust will travel to the lungs and can cause breathing problems for you and your pet.
DE as flea or tick repellent
Use this safe and effective recipe to protect your pet from fleas and ticks:
- Neem (dry form)
- Yarrow (dry form)
Simply mix the three together in equal parts and rub the dust mixture into yourpet’s coat.
Make sure you use food grade DE only.
Use caution around the eyes and mouth of your pet and make sure neither you nor your pet inhale it.
DE can irritate the mucosa and can cause irritation on the lungs.
Once the dust settles however, there is no harm.