Called “The Conqueror of Mountains” and “Destroyer of Weakness”, shilajit is a natural substance that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. Classified as an adaptogen for its ability to help our body handle internal and external stressors, for thousands of years it has been revered for its ability to regenerate the body’s cells and increase overall health.
Shilajit acts at a cellular level, delivering a boost of energy right to your core. It also supports the reproductive and endocrine systems, especially for men, and enhances performance, both cognitive and physical. It supports the heart, the brain, detoxification processes of the body, and supports healthy aging.
The Monkeys Know Best
Shilajit came into human awareness beginning in the villages of the Himalayan mountains. The people living there observed the wild, large white monkeys who traveled up and down the mountains. The ones who ate a black substance out of the rocks near the top of the mountain were robust and full of energy, while those who didn’t were more weak and feeble. When the villagers tried the soft black matter the monkeys were eating, they noticed increases in muscle strength, bone strength, and they started living longer. From that point on, Shilajit became an important part of the Ayurvedic medicine tradition.
The Nutrient Profile of Shilajit
Shilajit is actually a compounded mass of plant and mineral elements that have been slowly compressed under an extreme amount of pressure for centuries between rocks into a sticky, black substance loaded with more than 80 minerals. This “mineral pitch” also contains fulvic acid and humic acid which drive the minerals into your cells for increased absorption and results.
Shilajit contains a plethora of nutrients including but not limited to sterols, triterpenes, amino acids, polyphenols, phenolic lipids, polysaccharides, and more. The over 80 minerals found in shilajit are present in their ionic form, making them easy to bond with water and absorb into the bloodstream.
Shilajit is a natural source of fulvic acid which provides powerful antioxidant benefits, as well as oligoelements which promote healthy aging and nutrient absorption. Shilajit has also been found to contain a special species of polysaccharides and lignins, as well as selenium, phospholipids, and humic and fulvic acids.
The Top 3 Health Benefits of Shilajit
1 – Brain Function
Shilajit contains many powerful components that support brain health and function. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter responsible for brain function, attention span, and memory. Shilajit has been found to block the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine and researchers are looking into how this dark substance may be able to help in the war against Alzheimer’s disease. (1) In addition, studies have shown shilajit to drive oxygen, nutrients, and minerals into the brain tissue which supports the body’s ability to block the beta-amyloid plaque and tau proteins that can build up over time and cause cognitive decline. (2) One more benefit of shilajit is its ability to trigger the release of the pleasure hormone, dopamine. This helps reduce worry and stress while increasing feelings of happiness. (3)
2 – Anti-Aging
Shilajit helps in several ways to support the aging process in our bodies. First, the fulvic acid functions as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent which reduces free radicals and therefore decreases cellular damage which slows down the aging process. Second, it activates and revitalizes CoQ10 in our body which boosts our mitochondrial energy production. As we age, our mitochondrial function largely decreases, so by boosting it back up we empower our cells to rebuild themselves, turning back the hands of time. (4,5) Third, it calms the sympathetic nervous system which allows our body to get out of flight-or-flight mode and rebuild and repair itself.
3 – Energy
The humic acids in shilajit, which speed up the transfer of electrons and energy to the mitochondria, turbocharges your mitochondria, supplying energy to the cells throughout your body. The iron, copper, and nickel within shilajit help carry more oxygen in the blood, enhancing energy production. It also contains vitamin B12, another known energy booster that delivers oxygen directly to the muscle cells and may help reduce the detrimental effects of lactic acid and CO2 build up.
The Journal of Ethnopharmacology published a 2012 study showing how shilajit reduced symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. Shilajit has also been officially used by the USSR military, Olympic, and space teams as an energy enhancer and is a great natural recovery solution after a workout because of its ability to reduce physical weakness and improve stamina.
Other Notable Benefits of Shilajit
- Liver Cancer Killer: Shilajit may be a weapon against liver cancer as it forces the destruction of cancerous cells in the liver. (6)
- Alleviates Altitude Sickness: The effects of altitude sickness can range from low oxygen to the brain to body pain to fatigue. Because Shilajit’s actions within the body it’s used by practitioners to help with these symptoms.
- Cardio-protective: A recent study showed shilajit may protect the heart and improve heart health. (7) It’s also important to note that it has the potential to decrease blood pressure so if you have an active heart issue you should not take shilajit.
- Skeletal Muscle Strength: Researchers have found that shilajit activates genes which help skeletal muscles adapt to working out. They propose that shilajit may be a great supplement for those who exercise to see less muscle fatigue and faster strength gain. (8)
- Increase Male Fertility & Testosterone: Studies have shown shilajit to significantly increase sperm motility, sperm count, and testosterone levels. (9) (10) (11)
- Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention: Researchers are starting to look into shilajit to help prevent or slow Alzheimer’s. The fulvic acid within it helps to prevent the accumulation of tau protein which can damage cells in the brain, and reduce inflammation. (12)
Lower quality shilajit may contain heavy metals, fungus, and other contaminants that will do you more harm than good. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not monitor shilajit, so you should only purchase from retailers you trust.
As mentioned above, shilajit may lower blood pressure and is contraindicated for people on high blood pressure medication or with a known heart condition.
The flavor is very strong. Use it sparingly until you build up a taste for it.