The Differences Between Bentonite & Zeolite

By Sarah Clark

Bentonite and zeolite are two materials that are used in alternative medicine. Although both bentonite and zeolite are used to cleanse the body, the two purported healing agents come from different sources. Bentonite is a clay whereas zeolite is a crystallized mineral created by lava and water. Bentonite can be purchased in multiple forms whereas zeolite is mostly available as a liquid.

Clays and minerals like bentonite and zeolite may have medicinal properties.

Properties of Bentonite

Bentonite is a clay substance that is also know as montmorillonite. It is named for the clay deposits around Fort Benton, Wyoming. Bentonite deposits can be found worldwide but are most prevalent in the Great Plains region of North America. It has a creamy gray color, no odor and a velvety feel. Its molecular components become electrically charged and the clay swells when bentonite is mixed with water. Proponents of bentonite use claim this process allows bentonite to absorb and hold toxins, heavy metals and other impurities.

Properties of Zeolite

Zeolite comes from crystallized aluminosilicate minerals found in rock deposits worldwide. It is formed when lava is naturally mixed with fresh or salt water. The volcanic ash becomes crystalline over the course of millions of years. Zeolite crystals emit steam when they are heated. The word "zeolite" comes from the Greek words for "boiling stones." The molecular composition of zeolite is a honeycomb structure made of silicon and aluminum oxides. The negative electric charge created by these honeycombs supposedly attracts positively-charged particles.

Medicinal Uses of Bentonite

People who believe that bentonite has healing qualities use the clay for cleansing and healing the body. Bentonite is used to absorb toxins in the body and to cleanse the digestive tract. It is also used to alleviate diarrhea and remedy heavy metal poisoning. Bentonite can be found in mud packs, facial creams and balms for sunburns. It is available in powder, gel and capsule forms. One popular use of bentonite is to mix 1 tbsp. of the powder with water to drink as a colon-cleansing regimen.

Medicinal Uses of Zeolite

People who believe zeolite is medicinal use the mineral to remove heavy metals and other free radicals from the body. It is also used to relieve acid reflux and to balance and establish optimal pH levels. It is also believed to help lower blood sugar in patients with serious cases of diabetes. Zeolite is typically available in liquid form. People taking zeolite mix and drink between three and 15 drops of the liquid with water three times a day, depending on their cleansing regimen.


Taking bentonite internally as a dietary supplement has been known to cause constipation in some users. Supporters of bentonite use attribute this problem to issues found within the digestive track rather than the clay itself. Mesothelioma, a highly lethal form of lung cancer, is known to be caused by zeolites, according to WebMD. These minerals have a chemical composition that is similar to asbestos, another carcinogen. You should consult a doctor before introducing bentonite or zeolite into your regular dietary regimen.