Too ‘down to earth’? -Consuming clay, diatomaceous earth and activated charcoal.


Today I drank my first half glass of water mixed with diatomaceous earth. For many years I have seen numerous people purchase large amounts of clay, including bentonite and others seeking activated charcoal. Why do people indulge in drinking these substances? Is there truly a benefit? Might this be a sign of a mineral deficiency?

I am fascinated at the medical description of pica. This is a term used to describe people who ingest non-food substances usually based on strong urges and cravings. This is a remarkable effect of the body seeking to obtain nutrition at levels beyond learned comprehension. And it can work. People can, indeed, find the required minerals through a variety of non-foods. Of course, taken to extremes or laced with toxic metals and chemicals (some things were never intended for consumption) can be dangerous.

So, the understanding of pica is one matter- what about the drinking of clays, salts, and diatomaceous earth? An online search yields a variety of opinions. Facts list solely the properties and do not expound upon the internal usage of clays. Arrays of unfounded personal claims abound.

Firstly, drinking of clay has a long historical of human and animal consumption, right up to our modern day. In that sense, choosing to drink powdered earths in water has a track record of safety. Certain risks are easy to ascertain in reading about the general properties of clay.

Clay is very absorbent. Specifically, activated charcoal is used for the absorbing of food poisoning. However, this is contraindicated with medications as the charcoal can prevent the proper absorption and utilization of the drugs. Any use of clays, charcoal and earth ought to be discussed with a doctor who will be willing to do the research to ensure they are working together towards the health needs of the client.

How about some of the health claims being toted liberally? Our bodies require high mineral intake. This is often lacking in diets based on processed foods, low stomach acidity and other factors involving diet, lifestyle and personal needs. Earth is the source of elemental mineral intake. Usually we can obtain an adequate amount from vegetables (leafy and root), seeds, grains and even from the type of water that we choose to drink (excluding distilled).

Diatomaceous earth is rich in silica. Our bodies need silica and utilize this element throughout the body. Many products are readily available on the market extolling the benefits of supplementing with silica. So, in this case, diatomaceous earth may provide a more cost effective source.

The colon, too, may benefit from clays when taken with copious amounts of water. Not enough water and it may prove more detrimental than beneficial. Myself, I prefer to work with dietary fibre and work with superfoods such as spirulina though I am not opposed to sensible use of ingesting clays.