5 Benefits of Diatomaceous Earth


By Dr. Edward F. Group

Guest Writer for Wake Up World

Diatomaceous earth is a naturally-formed sedimentary mineral rock. It’s derived from the remains of diatoms, or oceanic unicellular algae.[1] Diatoms are over 30 million years old and are formed from the cementation of microscopic algae-like plant remains into the earth’s surface. These clay-like, chalky remains are usually found in the form of a thick, white, siliceous powder known as diatomaceous earth.[2] Often used to support body cleansing, some research also suggests it’s a natural tool for promoting normal blood lipids, detoxing toxic metals, and fighting harmful intestinal organisms.

Health Benefits

The use of diatomaceous earth knows no bounds, and has many applications in cosmetic, agricultural, and cleansing realms. It’s been extensively investigated and some interesting benefits have been discovered.

1. Natural Source of Silica

Food-grade diatomaceous earth is composed of approximately 85% silica.[3] This important, trace mineral is required by tendons, cartilage, blood vessels, and bones.[4] The nutrient even contributes to almost every vital organ, including the heart, liver, and lungs. Food was the primary source of naturally-occurring silica before modern farming practices depleted the soil. It is suggested that only 1/3 of the silica we need is available in natural, plant-based foods.

2. Promotes Skin Health

Because diatomaceous earth is a strong abrasive, it is often used as a toothpaste and facial exfoliator. The process of exfoliation is important in skin care as it helps to remove dead skin cells that may give the appearance of tired, worn-out skin. The product’s natural silica content is also necessary for healthy skin, teeth, hair, and nails, and the product is often touted as a potent beauty mineral.

3. Supports Heart Health

Research has also shown that food-grade diatomaceous may offer positive benefits for cholesterol levels and encourage heart health.[5] Nutrients such as silicon, calcium, sodium, magnesium, iron, and other trace minerals are available in diatomaceous earth, giving rise to a practically endless supply of health benefits. Most of these nutrients play a role in building and repairing of muscles and bones.

4. Natural Pesticide

One of the most common uses for diatomaceous earth is as a natural insecticide. Studies indicate that this clay-like powder can kill the harmful insects that threaten crops and home life. [6] Due to the incessant use of pesticides, many insects have become resistant to chemical deterrents. This organic pest control method is helpful for reducing the amount of environmental toxins we’re all exposed to.

5. Internal Cleanser

Diatomaceous earth acts as a mild abrasive topically as well as internally. It can help to remove intestinal invaders and other harmful organisms from the digestive tract. As an internal cleanser, diatomaceous earth may aid cleansing by supporting regularity and assist in removing toxic metals.[7] Some studies have shown diatomaceous earth to be very successful in ridding animals of harmful organisms. Food-grade diatomaceous earth placed in the feed of livestock may help discourage fleas and other harmful bugs.[8] Make sure that all diatomaceous earth is labeled “food grade” and is untreated and unheated!

What are your favorite uses for diatomaceous earth? Leave a comment and share your experience!

-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

Updated October 2014

Article References:

  1. Armbrust EV, Berges JA, Bowler C, Green BR, Martinez D, Putnam NH, Zhou S, Allen AE, Apt KE, Bechner M, Brzezinski MA, Chaal BK, Chiovitti A, Davis AK, Demarest MS, Detter JC, Glavina T, Goodstein D, Hadi MZ, Hellsten U, Hildebrand M, Jenkins BD, Jurka J, Kapitonov VV, Kroger N, Lau WW, Lane TW, Larimer FW, Lippmeier JC, Lucas S, Medina M, Montsant A, Obornik M, Parker MS, Palenik B, Pazour GJ, Richardson PM, Rynearson TA, Saito MA, Schwartz DC, Thamatrakoln K, Valentin K, Vardi A, Wilkerson FP, Rokhsar DS. The genome of the diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana: ecology, evolution, and metabolism. Science. 2004 October 1;306(5693):79-86.
  2. Enrico C. Vigliani and Giacomo Mottura. Diatomaceous Earth Silicosis. British Journal of Industrial Medicine. July 1948; 5(3): 148-160.
  3. Lloyd E. Antonides. Diatomite. USGS Mineral Resources Program.
  4. Martin KR. The chemistry of silica and its potential health benefits. The Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging. 2007 March-April;11(2):94-7.
  5. Wachter H, Lechleitner M, Artner-Dworzak E, Hausen A, Jarosch E, Widner B, Patsch J, Pfeiffer K, Fuchs D. Diatomaceous earth lowers blood cholesterol concentrations. European Journal of Medical Research. 1998 April 8;3(4):211-5.
  6. Korunic Z, Mackay A. Grain surface-layer treatment of diatomaceous earth for insect control. Archives of Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology. 2000 March;51(1):1-11.
  7. Danil de Namor AF, El Gamouz A, Frangie S, Martinez V, Valiente L, Webb OA. Turning the volume down on heavy metals using tuned diatomite. A review of diatomite and modified diatomite for the extraction of heavy metals from water. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 2012 November 30;241-242:14-31. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2012.09.030.
  8. Bennett DC, Yee A, Rhee YJ, Cheng KM. Effect of diatomaceous earth on parasite load, egg production, and egg quality of free-range organic laying hens. Poultry Science. 2011 July;90(7):1416-26. doi: 10.3382/ps.2010-01256.

Previous articles by Dr. Group:

About the author:

dr-edward-group-iiiDr. Edward F. Group (DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM) founded Global Healing Center in 1998 and is currently the Chief Executive Officer. Heading up the research and development team, Dr. Group assumes a hands-on approach in producing new and advanced degenerative disease products and information.

Dr. Group has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the internet.


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  • Can you, please elaborate how to use diatomaceous? Should I add it to my smoothie? Can it be heated? Should it be consumed alone, or I can mix it with other ingredients, and if yes, what would you recommend to combine it with?

    • Dan

      Mix 1/2 teaspoon full with a tall glass of water, and drink. It can be mixed with other drinks as well. It is generally not recommended to heat the mix. Do this once a day for 2 to 3 days then increase to 1 teaspoon then 1 tablespoon and finally 2 tbsp. Doing it in increments can help avoid your body flushing out the bad stuff too fast and make you feel sick. This works for general use or parasite removal.

  • Jenny

    How do you use this internally for detox please?

  • Ralph Schulke

    Is this similar to Fulvic acid derived from pre-historic sea Algae?

  • Diane

    My cat is an indoor/outdoor cat and has been her whole life. Living in the country she has become a great hunter. Lots of various rodents. I noticed some odd ‘things’ in and around her anal area. Being determined to take care of it organically my research came up with DE. So I gave it a go and within a few weeks the problem was solved!. She has not had a problem since. I give her DE occasionally to keep her clean.

  • wanda

    I used DE to get rid of bed bugs. I got relief within a few hours. It is also good for fleas on your cat or dog. I also use it for roaches. This was the best purchase I ever made.

  • Robert

    DE is a GREAT Flea powder for your cats / dogs. The fine DE particles actually scratch the waxy coating on the fleas (and other insects). This causes the flea to dehydrate and die. The DE is completely nontoxic, however it may dry out the pets skin but a good pet shampoo will correct that. If you live in an area of country that provides you with an ample supply of fleas and ticks in your backyard, you can use a blower to spread / broadcast the DE over your backyard to eradicate the parasite problem. It’s Great Stuff!

  • tom

    I second the DE being great for fleas. I had a bad infestation 10 years ago due to a neighbor with dogs moving out of the trailer next to me. I bombed 3 times 3 days apart, used a carpet shampooer, put spot drops on the cats and still had problems. I put DE outside in a foot wide band and left it for 3 days until it rained. Fleas were gone and went back next door.
    Highly recommended. I have read you can use food grade de inside with no ill effects to you or pets, but haven’t tried it.

  • diana

    USE CAUTION between Food Grade DE and DE that can be bought from the garden center of stores. Yes it’s great for ridding bugs, including bed bugs but the garden center bag states the bag is only 77% DE with 23% other ingredients. We the consumer aren’t told what the 23% is ~ I certainly wouldn’t want to ingest it nor wash my face with it.