Shilajit Safety Concerns: How Safe Is Shilajit?
Shilajit should always be taken in pure form.
According to Ayurveda, impure shilajit can cause burning sensation, fatigue, aggravation of Pitta dosha, blood disorders, derangement of the metabolic fire known as agni, fainting episodes and constipation.1
A Natural, Ayurvedic Antidote To Impure Shilajit
According to the Ayurveda, disorders caused by the use of impure shilajit may be remedied by taking black pepper powder in doses of 2.5 gms mixed with a tablespoon of ghee for seven days.2
Research Studies On Shilajit Safety
Modern research has shown that purified shilajit is safe for everyone.
The effect of shilajit on blood chemistry was studied in normal human volunteers. Administration of two grams of shilajit for 45 days did not produce any significant change in physical parameters like blood pressure, pulse rate and body weight. Similarly no change was observed in hematological parameters. A significant reduction in serum triglycerides and serum cholesterol with simultaneous improvement in HDL cholesterol was observed. It was also noted that shilajit improved antioxidant status of volunteers. Results of this study suggest hypolipidemic and strong antioxidant activity of shilajit.3
In a study to evaluate shilajit’s safety rats were administrated shilajit in different dose levels over a period of 91 days. It was found that there was not any significant histopathological changes in the vital organs of the rats, even after administering the shilajit in a dose as high as 5000mg/kg. The study concluded that black shilajit, an Ayurvedic formulation, is safe for long term use as a dietary supplement for a number of disorders like iron deficiency anemia.4
However it was found that raw and unprocessed shilajit contains a significant amount of damaging free radicals and has been found to be contaminated with different fungal organisms such as Aspergillus niger, A. ochraceous, and Trichothecium roseum. Raw and unprocessed shilajit should not be used.5
Shilajit Safety: Contraindications, Precautions + Drug Interactions
According to the Charaka Samhita, the ancient text of Ayurvedic medicine, shilajit should not be used with horse gram, the meat of a pigeon and with the shrub Solanum nigrum, or black nightshade.6
Studies indicate that Shilajit consumption without preliminary purification may lead to risks of intoxication given the presence of mycotoxins, heavy metal ions, polymeric quinones (oxidant agents) and free radicals, among others. A purified, ready-for-use preparation for human consumption must only be used. Please note that lab tested samples of purified shilajit usually have metal ions in permissible limits.
Shilajit may lower blood glucose levels, so diabetics and those who are taking other anti-diabetic medications must be aware that consumption may cause a fall in blood glucose levels. A close check on blood glucose levels is necessary.
Shilajit has been found to lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglyceride levels so consumption of shilajit may have an interaction with statin drugs. Talk to your doctor if you are on statins and wish to take shilajit as well.
Shilajit also affects testosterone levels in men and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels. If you are taking hormones, seek the advice of your doctor before taking shilajit.
While shilajit may be safely used by individuals in many cases, it may lower blood pressure in some individuals. Dr. Michael Hartman of the Sabinsa Corporation in Bangalore, India suggests that individuals with any type of suspected or diagnosed heart conditions should talk to their doctor about taking shilajit to prevent a drop in blood pressure that may cause fainting, dizziness or falls.
No matter how pure, organic or natural a product may be, one should always seek immediate medical help if symptoms of an allergic reaction like a rash, swelling, difficulty breathing or a sudden fall in blood pressure occur.
Shilajit Safety + Uric Acid
You may find that some articles on the internet claim that shilajit increases uric acid.7 Please check if these are individual opinions or are backed by research.
Herbal preparations containing shilajit are advocated in Ayurvedic texts in a condition called Vata Rakta which closely resembles gout. In Ayurvedic literature it is mentioned to take shilajit with juice of Tinospora cordifolia to manage gout.8 Hence it is highly unlikely that shilajit would cause a rise in uric acid.
As a precaution however, it is advised that people with a tendency towards uric acid stones or high uric acid in their blood should talk to their doctor before taking shilajit and keep a close watch on serum uric acid levels.
Shilajit Safety With Pregnancy And Nursing
While shilajit has been used for many years in traditional medicine, few modern research studies of its effects on the body exist. To date, there are no safety studies involving shilajit use in pregnant and/or lactating women. As such, shilajit should be avoided by pregnant or nursing women.
Purified shilajit being a natural substance which is in use traditionally for many thousand years seems to be safe for use as an energizer and possibly as a rejuvenator. Preliminary studies done on human volunteers and animals have shown Shilajit to be a safe and effective supplement that can be used in various health conditions. It is likely that more and more research will emerge regarding its safety and benefits.
1 Upadhyay Madhav, Ayurveda Prakash, edited by Gulraj Sharma, second edition, Chaukhambha Bharati Academy, Varanasi, 4/105(2007).
2 Rasachikitsa by Prabhakar Chatterjee, Chaukhambha Vidy a Bhawan, Varanasi, India.
3 Sharma P, et al Shilajit: evalution of its effects on blood chemistry of normal human subjects . Anc Sci Life. (2003) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22557121
Biswas TK, et al Clinical evaluation of spermatogenic activity of processed Shilajit in oligospermia . Andrologia. (2010)
4 Velmurugan, C et al. “Evaluation Of Safety Profile Of Black Shilajit After 91 Days Repeated Administration In Rats”. N.p., 2017. Print.
5 Meena, Harsahay et al. “Shilajit: A Panacea For High-Altitude Problems”. N.p., 2017. Print.
6 Sharma RK, Bhagwan Dash Trans. Caraka Samhita. Varanasi, India: Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, Varansi-1; 2000. pp. 50–4. Chap I: 3.
7 Wolfe, Marni, and Marni Wolfe. “Contraindications For Shilajit Extract”. LIVESTRONG.COM. N.p., 2017. Web. 12 May 2017.
8 Tinospora Cordifolia Linn- A Remedy for All Disease.” Google Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2017.