What Is Bentonite Clay?
You might be wondering what bentonite clay is. It’s been growing in popularity recently and for good reason; bentonite clay has a number of health benefits. Also called montmorillonite, this natural substance formed by volcanic ash is used to treat an array of conditions.
The health benefits of calcium bentonite clay are primarily associated with its detox and cleansing abilities. It can be taken internally or used externally as a clay mask, mud pack, bath additive or applied to the skin on affected areas to cleanse and pull toxins from the body.
When taken orally and ingested, the health benefits of bentonite clay work to help pull potentially dangerous toxins and heavy metals from your digestive tracts and internal organs. It can help improve gut bacteria, improve immune function and create a safer environment inside your body.
Some say it’s been used for centuries in regions like the South American Andes, Central Africa and Australia, but gained traction in Europe. Currently, the largest deposits of bentonite clay in the world exist in Wyoming.
Detoxifying Effects of Bentonite Clay
Bentonite clay has a number of potential detoxifying health benefits. Some of the potential uses of bentonite clay include face masks to remove toxins and blemishes from skin, heal wounds and potentially pull toxins form the skin in a soak. It can also be taken internally to aid the digestive system, immune function and possibly improve overall organ functionality. Taken orally, it could help:
- Cleanse the liver, colon and skin
- Balance gut bacteria in the digestive tract
- Strengthen the immune system
- Help with nutrient absorption
All of these benefits can translate into treatments for the following conditions:
- Food allergies
- Viral Infection
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Stomach ulcers
Now I’m going to stop short of saying bentonite clay is the fix for all these conditions, but it is something worth looking into if you’re interested in an alternative form of treatment for one. As always, talk to you doctor before trying anything that could have reactions with medications or treatments you’re currently taking.
How Bentonite Clay Works
Bentonite clay’s health benefits are all a result of chemical reactions that occur between it and potentially harmful heavy metals. When it comes into contact with a liquid, bentonite clay produces an electrical charge that bonds to toxins. It is a negative ion that attracts positive ions that ultimately bind together to be pulled away from the affected areas. Because of its negative charge, however, it does not leach away beneficial nutrients, bacteria or chemicals in your boy. Instead it only binds to impurities and other harmful compounds—including heavy metals like mercury and lead—and draws them out of your gut, skin and mouth.
Health Benefits of Bentonite Clay
Here are a handful of bentonite clay uses and health benefits:
- Combats dietary toxins: Dietary toxins are found in a number of foods and are largely unavoidable; however, some of them can damage your health. One of these compounds, in particular, is called aflatoxin. Aflatoxin is a mold-like compound produced by organisms living on a number of food crops, but is most commonly found on peanut butter and cooking oils. It’s possible that aflatoxins can interfere with immune system function, and there is some research that indicates bentonite clay can reduce the damage they may cause.
- Fights toxins in the environment: Virtually no matter where you are or what you’re doing, you’re surrounded by potential toxins—even in your own home. Things like paint, cleaning supplies, office equipment, pesticides, building materials—everyday items—are emitting Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Although you’re likely unaware you’re breathing them in, you are, and it could result in health problems. Bentonite clay may help absorb VOCs and remove them, possibly reducing their impact and your exposure.
- Cleanses body from toxic metals: The most popular use for bentonite clay is cleansing the body of toxic metals. These compounds like mercury, cadmium, lead and benzene may degrade your body over time by slowly providing various stresses. Many of these compounds are found in popular processed foods—especially those with high-fructose corn syrup—drinking water and building materials. Bentonite clay can bind to these compounds and potentially reduce the overall impact on your health.
- Treats eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis: A bentonite clay mask can help pull bacteria and toxins from the skin, act as an antibiotic and potentially heal wounds. It will bind to these toxins and bacteria to help create a clean, healthy surface.
- Helps gut bacteria: When ingested, bentonite clay can have a positive impact on your gut health. It promotes the health and cultivation of helpful gut bacteria while drawing toxins and metals—that can promote bad bacteria—out of the region. The result may be improved nutrient absorption, digestion and a stronger immune system.
- Relief from digestive issues like IBS, constipation and nausea: Because it may neutralize bacteria and promote improved gut bacteria, bentonite clay may help treat digestive problems. There are a number of digestive conditions it might be useful for, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and constipation, while also potentially battling nausea experienced by pregnant women. It’s expected to produce these results by absorbing rotavirus, which is a primary cause of gastrointestinal troubles.
How to Take Bentonite Clay
Bentonite clay may be most effective when taken orally, but a procedure should be followed when doing so. When taking it orally, it’s best to do so it an empty stomach and at least an hour before taking any other supplements or food. Because of the electric charge and negative ions it features, it’s recommended you don’t use metal to mix or prepare it. Nothing terrible will happen, but it can result in some potency being lost as it may bind to positive ions in metal utensils. Instead use wood, glass or plastic.
- Mix one to two teaspoons in an eight-ounce glass of water and drink.
- Repeat this for three days (drink one glass per day)
- On the fourth day, don’t drink it
- Don’t drink any for four consecutive days (including the first)
- On the fifth day, follow the initial procedure, this time drinking the mixture for four straight days
- After the fourth day, don’t use it again for the next three days.
This process will allow your body to adapt; it should take up to four weeks of repeating those steps. Remember to consume eight to 10 glasses of water per day when you’re taking bentonite clay. It can also be purchased in capsule, powder or gel form.
For external use, like in a bath, use about a quarter of a cup. Add it to bath water for a soak, or use it as a rub or mask.
Sources for Today’s Article:
Collins, D., “Bentonite clay benefits detoxify your body and provide energy boosts,” The Underground Health Reporter web site; http://undergroundhealthreporter.com/bentonite-clay-benefits-boost-energy/#axzz3xIj0T79y, last accessed January 21, 2016.
Axe, J., “10 Proven Bentonite Clay Benefits and Uses,” Dr. Axe web site; http://draxe.com/10-bentonite-clay-benefits-uses/, last accessed January 21, 2016.
Group, E., “6 Health Benefits of Bentonite Clay,” Global Healing Center web site, August 23, 2014; http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/6-health-benefits-bentonite-clay/.