In an age where most people feel they need to detox from time to time, zeolites taken in powder or liquid form are rapidly becoming an essential tool of the process. The negative charge and cage-like structure of the mineral is supposed to capture any heavy metals that may have been ingested and hold onto them until they are evacuated naturally. Zeolites are also being touted as a cure for various ills, including fatigue and cancer. The most common and researched zeolite is called Clinoptilolite.
The name Zeolite comes from two Greek words meaning 'boiling stones' and was first coined by Swedish scientist Cronstedt in 1756. There are 150 different zeolites and they are found widely in industry, for example in animal feeds, petrochemicals, water treatment systems and swimming pool filtration systems. They are effective because of their huge internal area and molecular-sieving properties. When taken orally it is claimed they trap toxins and safely remove them from the body.
While it is claimed that taking a zeolite supplement can remove heavy toxic metals, balance PH levels, lower the risk of colds and flu, support the immune system and improve nutrient absorption, these are only personal testimonials from product users and the FDA does not endorse zeolite supplements as a treatment. There is absolutely no qualified medical research to validate these claims.
Zeolites are often promoted as treatments for cancer and while anyone with this disease is probably willing to try anything. There is no firm evidence to suggest that zeolites have any impact on the progress of the disease whatsoever. Although the FDA has listed zeolites on its GRAS list (Generally Regarded As Safe), Cancer Research U.K. has stated that the real danger is that zeolite supplements might interact and inhibit the effectiveness of a prescribed treatment, for example, chemotherapy.
As Zeolite travels through the body it may cause dehydration so it is important to drink extra water and keep the body properly hydrated. Only zeolites in their purest form should be taken. Naturally mined zeolite contains many toxic minerals and it's important to study the cleaning process and what substances have been added to the final product before purchasing. It's always better to go for a product that has been analyzed by a third party lab.
Health care expert Jonathan Campbell suggests that while powdered zeolite supplement is insoluble so will be naturally evacuated, liquid zeolite, containing aluminum, can enter the bloodstream.
Because there is no research on human reaction to zeolites it is difficult to assess what an ideal dosage might be and whether or not zeolite supplements would be more beneficial than more recognized supplements; advice tends to be vague.
While not necessarily dangerous, taking zeolite supplements , writes Lijec Vjesn of the Institute Ruder Boskovic, may be considered as effective as clay eating, which was an ancient remedy for various illnesses.
Nelly Morrison started writing professionally in 1992 for The Children's Channel. She has since had her own lifestyle and beauty column in "Good Health Magazine" in the UK and has written biographical pieces for "Regency World." She was a producer at ITN Factual and she now reviews restaurants for "The List" in Scotland. Morrison studied writing at Edinburgh University.