Diatomaceous earth

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Diatomaceous earth is made from the fossilized remains of tiny, aquatic organisms called diatoms. Diatomaceous earth is used as:

  • A source of silica
  • Hypercholesterolemia
  • Constipation
  • The health of skin, nails, teeth, bones, and hair
  • To brush teeth
  • Exfoliate skin

Diatomaceous earth is also used in industrial applications such as:

  • Filtration of water
  • Food ingredients 
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Chemicals
  • Filler in paints
  • Plastics
  • Chemicals
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Pet litter

Also known as:  Amorphous Silica, Diatomite, Kieselgur, Kieselguhr, Moler, Tripolite

Diseases and Conditions

There is insufficient reliable information available about the effectiveness of diatomaceous earth.


There is insufficient information on the safety of diatomaceous earth for adults, children, pregnant and breastfeeding women; best to avoid. Possible side effects associated with diatomaceous earth include:

  • Increased risk for lung cancer and non-malignant lung disease
  • Erosions and ulcerations on skin after topical use
  • Development of systemic sclerosis

Medication Interactions

There are no known medication interactions for diatomaceous earth.

Supplement and Food Interactions

There are no known supplement, herb, or food interactions for diatomaceous earth.


For hyperlipidemia, the recommended dosage is two hundred fifty milligrams of diatomaceous earth three times daily for eight weeks. There is insufficient reliable evidence available to determine a dosage for other uses.


There is insufficient evidence to determine if diatomaceous earth can be found in foods.

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  1. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/databases/food,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=1531
  2. http://naturaldatabase.therapeuticresearch.com/nd/Search.aspx?cs=&s=ND&pt=100&id=1531&fs=ND&searchid=61465981
  3. http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/degen.html

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