The deeper you delve into the world of alternative medicine and home remedies, the crazier the concepts seem to become. From soaking your feet in egg whites to break a fever, to administering coffee enemas to cleanse the gallbladder, it can be difficult to discern between old wives tales and truly effective treatments. One of the practices that falls into this category – being both bizarre and questionably useful – is eating clay. Eating clay is publicized as an internal cleansing regimen, helping to clear unwanted toxins from the body system. This led us to the question: Is eating clay a safe and effective way to cleanse and, if so, is it necessary? Fact or fiction – does eating clay improve your health?
Fact or fiction: Fact. When the proper quality and form of internal bentonite clay is taken, it has been proven to bind to toxins preventing and treating various ailments and conditions.
For the Record: Bentonite clay, specifically calcium bentonite, has been studied extensively and has been clinically proven to bind to bacterial toxins, chemotherapy metabolites, aflatoxins, antigens, glyphosates (from GMOs), radiolytic and pro-inflammatory compounds. It works through both adsorptive and absorptive detoxification processes for a deep cleansing of internal waste. Adsorption is a surface-based process where the toxins bind to the clay’s surface, and absorption is where the toxins are drawn into the inner structure of the clay. Once the harmful substances are bound to the clay, they are carried out through the bowel, preventing their absorption through the gut and into the bloodstream. This makes clay one of the most effective and safe ways to detox since it has the ability to trap the largest range of noxious compounds without harming any organs it comes in contact with.
The Damage: Despite our best efforts to eat clean, exercise and to live an overall healthy lifestyle, the world that we live in is toxic. We are exposed to toxins from the air we breathe, the food we eat (yes, even organic!), the products we use and the water we drink. No matter how diligent we are at avoiding them, our contact is inevitable.
Once absorbed or consumed, toxic substances accumulate in the system rapidly. They can build up more quickly than our detoxification organs can process them, during which time they have the opportunity to damage our cell’s DNA. This is what makes detoxing so important, and why eating clay is necessary. Prevention is the key, and the more toxic matter we can clear on an ongoing basis, the better we can avoid the onset of nagging conditions, chronic ailments and disease.
Take Charge: Adding clay into your daily routine is the easiest way to stay ahead of the game. It not only acts as your health insurance policy, but can be a form of treatment as well. Clinical trials have determined its efficacy in alleviating acute, chronic and chemotherapy-induced diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, Buruli ulcer disease, bacterial endotoxemia, aflatoxicosis, and food poisoning. It also reduces inflammation and morning sickness, restores healthy gastrointestinal functioning and minimizes body-wide toxicity, improving related conditions such as allergies, leaky gut and skin disorders including acne, eczema and psoriasis.
How TCM Does it: The first thing to know is that clay must be hydrated in order to activate its ability to bind to toxins. That means it must be added to a liquid like water or, if you’re like us, green juice. We’ve found clay to have a neutral taste with only a slight graininess in texture. This makes it easy to get down, no matter what your poison – smoothie bowl, superfood hot chocolate or green coconut water. The second thing to be aware of is its storage. Avoid allowing the bentonite clay to come in contact with metal substances as this may reduce the effectiveness.
The Skinny: Being such a powerful binding agent, some forms of clay can impede the absorption of nutrients such as calcium, iron, zinc and potassium, leading to deficiencies. That is why choosing the right form of clay is vital. Calcium smectite is a form of bentonite that does not bind to any nutrients, including minerals. It solely binds to unwanted noxious substances, making it our chosen form of internal clay.
Another aspect to consider when purchasing clay is its quality. Since clay has such a strong affinity for toxins, it is common to find commercial forms of internal clay contaminated with harmful levels of chemicals and heavy metals including lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic. Always contact the company prior to consuming. Ask for heavy metal and chemical assays to ensure purity of the product.
TCM Pick: Medi-Clay FX by Premier Research Labs – simply open capsules up into a glass of water or juice, stir thoroughly and drink down.
*Note: Research is inconclusive on clay’s interaction with pharmaceutical medication, so always consult with your practicing physician before taking.