Shilajit: Health Benefits, Uses And Dosage (2024)

Table of Contents

  • What Is Shilajit?
  • Potential Health Benefits of Shilajit
  • How Is Shilajit Used?
  • Safe Shilajit Dosage
  • What to Consider Before Purchasing Shilajit

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Shilajit, a natural substance found primarily in the rocks of the Himalayas and other mountain ranges, has been used for thousands of years in various traditional medicine systems, including Tibetan medicine and Ayurvedic medicine, the ancient holistic Indian medical system that takes a natural approach to physical and mental health.

Today, shilajit is gaining popularity in the U.S. due to its numerous purported health benefits. However, research into the efficacy of these health claims is still ongoing.

Read on to learn more about shilajit, including its potential health benefits, uses, safe dosage and more.

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What Is Shilajit?

“Shilajit is a sticky, tar-like substance found primarily in the rocks of mountain ranges around the world but most commonly in the Himalayas,” says Jenelle Kim, a doctor of acupuncture and Chinese medicine and master herbalist based in San Diego. Shilajit is used in traditional Ayurvedic, Siddha and Tibetan medicine systems due to its rich mineral content and 15% to 20% concentration of fulvic acid, a natural byproduct of the breakdown of organic materials that’s believed to have positive effects on the immune system (including both anti-inflammatory and proinflammatory), oxidative stress linked to chronic inflammatory conditions and more.

Shilajit is formed from the decomposition of organic plant material that’s been compressed under layers of rocks for thousands of years. During warm summer months, shilajit becomes less sticky and thick, flowing out between layers of rocks, explains Mark Toomey, Ph.D., director of Maharishi Ayurveda at The Raj, a healing facility focused on Ayurvedic treatments in Fairfield, Iowa.

Potential Health Benefits of Shilajit

Shilajit is believed to have numerous potential health benefits, mainly due to its high concentration of fulvic acid and other minerals, explains Dr. Toomey. However, clinical research surrounding the effects of shilajit is limited.

Potential health benefits of shilajit include:

  • Bone strengthening properties. Research indicates that shilajit may promote collagen production, improve bone formation and help in the healing of bone fractures.
  • Anti-inflammatory effects. In limited studies, fulvic acid is shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body by reducing the release of proinflammatory markers. However, additional research is needed to confirm these effects.
  • Improved exercise performance. Research suggests shilajit supplementation can improve maximal muscular strength retention following a physically fatiguing task.
  • Cognitive health. Shilajit’s main component of fulvic acid has antioxidant properties that may enhance memory, potentially inhibiting the accumulation of excessive tau protein, a factor associated with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Shilajit is also often prescribed by holistic practitioners to treat anemia, cognitive decline associated with aging, diabetes, pain and more, adds Dr. Toomey.

How Is Shilajit Used?

Shilajit is predominantly taken orally, according to Dr. Kim, who adds that there are four main forms of shilajit available, which may vary in color and taste:

  • Raw shilajit, which is shilajit in its purest, unprocessed form
  • Shilajit powder, which is often found in capsules or can be mixed into drinks
  • Shilajit resin, which is a semi-liquid form commonly considered the most authentic and potent
  • Shilajit extract, which is available in powder, capsule or liquid forms and is often standardized to certain levels of fulvic acid

“The resin form might be more common in traditional settings while powders and capsules may be more widely available commercially,” adds Dr. Kim.

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Safe Shilajit Dosage

There’s currently not enough research to determine standard dosage amounts of shilajit without proper medical guidance.

“Dosage is dependent on many factors, such as body type, strength of disease or health concern, strength of patient and age,” says Dr. Toomey. Working closely with an expert helps ensure the dosage is safe based on your health concerns and specific needs, he adds.

In most cases, holistic practitioners recommend starting with a smaller amount of shilajit and gradually increasing the dose while monitoring for any adverse effects, such as diarrhea or vomiting. For example, if the product labeling directs consumers to take one to two tablets, once or twice daily, with each tablet containing 300 milligrams Shilajit, Dr. Toomey recommends starting with one tablet one time per day and working up to two tablets twice per day, as needed. However, specific amounts needed vary, he adds.

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What to Consider Before Purchasing Shilajit

Before purchasing shilajit, first consider what you hope to gain from shilajit supplementation. Then work with a practitioner experienced with shilajit to ensure the natural medicine is the right option for your situation, says Dr. Toomey.

According to Dr. Kim, additional considerations before purchasing shilajit include:

  • Quality and purity. Ensure that the shilajit is sourced from reputable suppliers and free from contaminants. Check products for third-party testing as well.
  • Type. Consider whether you prefer resin, powder or another form based on ease of use and potency.
  • Fulvic acid content. Look for products that specify the fulvic acid content, one of the key active compounds in shilajit. “The fulvic acid content is a marker of its quality and potency. A higher percentage (often around 40 to 60%) indicates a more potent extract,” explains Dr. Kim.
  • Contraindications. Talk to your health care provider about any potential medication interactions or health conditions. For example, fulvic acid in shilajit might interact with medications that slow blood clotting, such as Warfarin or aspirin.

Is Shilajit Safe?

Although shilajit is generally considered safe, Dr. Kim shares that shilajit may have potential side effects, including:

  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Allergic reaction, most commonly topical reactions, such as skin rashes or itchiness, however, severe allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis can occur, according to Dr. Kim. As a precaution, look for quality shilajit products that have undergone preliminary purification and were tested by a third-party laboratory to avoid risk of intoxication due to the presence of mycotoxin, heavy metal ions and free radicals.
  • Gastrointestinal concerns, such as diarrhea or vomiting

Additional research on shilajit’s safety and side effects is needed. Working with a medical practitioner trained in shilajit can help reduce your risk for potential side effects, advises Dr. Toomey.

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