Is Shilajit safe? Does Shilajit have side effects?

Is Shilajit safe?

This article is intended to expand upon the question posed on the main page of the site. Is Shilajit Safe?

Instead of just assuring you that it is safe like most articles, the information provided in this article relies heavily on clinical research which you can reference at the bottom of this page.

There’s two main elements to the question of Shilajit’s safety. First, is Shilajit, the naturally occurring substance itself, safe? Second, is the Shilajit supplement I’m considering purchasing safe?

Is the Shilajit in nature or raw form safe?

No, Shilajit in its natural form is not necessarily safe! It needs to be processed. Not by machines, but carefully by hand.

Choose traditionally processed Shilajit!

On the homepage we’ve already touched upon how important it is that any Shilajit you choose be properly processed, but we’re going to stress it again here. Besides removing toxic heavy metals, and dangerous organic contaminants, traditional processing of Shilajit has been shown to increase the compound’s safety and effectiveness. So if you’re looking for raw Shilajit you should reconsider. Here’s a research quote:

“Unprocessed shilajit samples collected from India, Nepal, Pakistan, and the Soviet Union were compared to a processed shilajit extract for their respective anti-stress and central nervous system effects. The processed shilajit extract produced consistently better results than the unprocessed Shilajit.” [1]

And a second quote reaffirming the importance of processed Shilajit for safety and effectiveness:

[Properly] processed shilajit, on the other hand, is devoid of any adverse pharmacological effects and toxicity, and, by virtue of its strong antioxidant activity, can be used as an effective agent against muscle damage. [2]

So again, if you’re thinking of buying Shilajit in any form make sure it is properly processed (this doesn’t mean by big pharma).

Is the Shilajit supplement I want to buy safe?

There is a good deal of fake, or counterfeit Shilajit circulating on the Indian market, and many products that are exported, even to the US, can be entirely fake, or cut with other substances like ozokerite or heavy metals. Ozokerite is a humic substance very similar to Shilajit but without any of medicinal qualities, it smells like Shilajit, tastes like Shilajit, but most certainly is not Shilajit! Powdered Shilajit is especially subject to the addition of other substances, so you should avoid it at all costs.

Even large distributors of Shilajit, like Dabur, can be contaminated! The World Health Organization reports on a Health Canada warning that Shilajit capsules sold by Dabur had unsafe levels of lead, mercury, and or arsenic! We already recommend you steer clear of capsules and tablets because they often contain unnecessary fillers instead of the good stuff, but this is another reason to buy only our recommended products.

Possible Contraindications/Drug Interactions/Side Effects of Shilajit:
Currently there are no known drug interactions were with Shilajit.

As always, if you have a serious health issue or complications, consult a physician or other qualified health professional before venturing into self treatment.

Shilajit meets Giurgea’s Nootropic Criteria which says: “the substance must exhibit few side effects and extremely low toxicity.”

It also meets the Adaptogenic Criteria for safety: must have a normalizing effect, i.e., counteracting or preventing disturbances to homeostasis brought about by stressors. Moreover, it must be innocuous with a broad range of therapeutic effects without causing any major side effects.

Ayurvedic manuscripts caution the use of Shilajit when hypoglycemic and to use it with care during pregnancy. These texts also say the remedy should not be used with a “heavy diet”, though they recommend taking it with milk specifically.

Research reveals the only real contraindication and side effects with Shilajit seem to be with problems related to uric acid and iron. Apparently, one side effect is that Shilajit can increase uric acid in the body. Not a major side effect or big deal unless you have crystallized uric kidney stones, gout, or gouty arthritis. If you do, you should avoid supplementing with shilajit. Surprisingly, other forms of arthritis however have seen reductions in inflammation when Shilajit is administered. Shilajit provides plenty of iron, so you may want to avoid additional iron supplementation when safely consuming this remedy. A side effect of iron overuse is stomach pain, nausea and vomiting.

Despite some of these minor effects consider the following:

Common antiulcer drugs include H2 receptor antagonists, proton pump inhibitors or cytoprotective agents such as sucralfate. Patients used these drugs suffering severe side effects like arrythmias, gynaecomastia, enterochromaffin like cell hyperplasia and hematopoietic changes. [5]

Shilajit is not a pharmacological substance… it is natural… yet people are willing to take drugs with ridiculous side effects!

How much Shilajit is safe?/ How much Shilajit should you take?

Let’s start this section with a blast of research quotes.

A study on processed Shilajit states: There were … no perceptible toxic effects with dosages ranging from 100 mg/kg to 500 mg/kg, equivalent to approximately 68 grams for a 150-pound person. [4]

Shilajit may be utilized safely in clinical practice because shilajit is reported to be quite safe up to a dose of 3 g/kg in mice.[3].

No acute toxicity or macroscopic changes in daily body or organ weights were observed using shilajit at dose 600 mg kg-1 (in mice). [6]

Investigations on safety study of PS(pure shilajit) with a dose of 100 mg BID(twice per day) revealed that there was no alteration in any of the objective features related to any systemic toxicities like serum urea (-0.9%), uric acid (-7.5%), serum bilirubin (9.6%), total protein (-1.3%), serum globulin (-6.7%), SGPT (7.5%), SGOT (-3.5%) and alkaline phsophatase (-6.7%). Significant lowering (p<0.05) of fasting blood sugar (-6.8%) supports the hypoglycemic effect of Shilajit (Trivedi et al., 2004) and serum creatinine (-7.8%) indicates that the drug does not show any adverse effect in renal profile even in normal state … No treatment emergent adverse events were reported to the doctors by any patients during treatment period.(Human Study).[7]

Okay, gratuitous science blast aside, these papers speculate that humans can take a TON of Shilajit without perceptible toxic effects. We do NOT recommend eating Shilajit by the spoonful, not only would you be breaking the bank, you’d be putting a lot of it to waste.

How to use Shilajit/How Shilajit should be taken/How much Shilajit should you take?

The average recommended dosage for Shilajit is 250-500mg/day. We recommend taking it the traditional way in the morning with warm milk or hot water at least 20 minutes before eating.

If you’re taking one of our recommended products, you don’t need much. A dose of the pure material is a crumb the size of a sunflower seed (approximately 350mg). If you’re taking the tonic, you only need 1-2 droppers full per dose.

To start, take 1 crumb or dropper full, once or twice daily for normal health maintenance. You may increase this amount for further benefits

To detox take 2 crumbs or 3 droppers of Shilajit at bedtime.

Shilajit increases the bio-availability of many other herbs and natural compounds so feel the benefits!

Research into infertility saw significant benefits, and no adverse effects, with doses of 100mg twice per day.[7]

References: some of the following studies can be viewed in full pdf form in our “Does Shilajit work?” article.

  1. Ghosal, S., et al, “The Need for Formulation of Shilajit by Its Isolated Active Constants,” Phytotherapy Research, 5: 211-216, 1991.
  2. Bhattacharyya et al. “BENEFICIAL EFFECT OF PROCESSED SHILAJIT ON SWIMMING EXERCISE INDUCED IMPAIRED ENERGY STATUS OF MICE” Pharmacologyonline 1: 817-825, 2009.
  3. Talbert, R., “SHILAJIT A MATERIA MEDICA MONOGRAPH”, California College of Ayurveda, 2004.
  4. Ghosal, S., et al, “Mast Cell Protecting Effects of Shilajit and Its Constituents,” Phytotherapy Research, 3 (6): 249-252, 1989.
  5. Akhtar, M.S., A.H. Akhtar and M.A. Khan. “Antiulcerogenic effects of Ocimum basilicum extracts, volatile oils and flavonoid glycosides in albino rats.” Int. J. Pharmacognosy, 30: 97-104. , 1992.
  6. Mohamed-I. Kotb El-Sayed, Hatem-K. Amin and Ali-G. Al-Kaf “Anti-Microbial, Anti-Oxidant and Anti-Ulcerogenic Effects of Shilajit on Gastric Ulcer in Rats.” American Journal of Biochemistry and Biotechnology 8 (1): 26-39, 2012.
  7. Biswas TK, et al, “Clinical evaluation of spermatogenic activity of processed Shilajit in oligospermia”, Andrologia. 2010 Feb;42(1):48-56.
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