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The Complete Guide to Shilajit: Benefits, Uses, and Dosage

Shilajit, also known as the “Destroyer of Weakness”, is an ancient herbal remedy that has been used for millennia in Ayurvedic medicine to promote strength, vitality, and overall well-being. Modern research is now confirming many of the legendary benefits of this unique substance.

In this complete guide, we’ll explore what shilajit is, where it comes from, the extensive scientific research on its properties and effects, how to use it safely and effectively, and why it has earned a reputation as one of nature’s most potent rejuvenators.

What is Shilajit?

Shilajit is a thick, sticky, tar-like substance that oozes from between layers of rock in a few mountain ranges across the world, most notably the Himalayas. It is dark brown to black in color and has a rich, earthy scent.

The word “shilajit” comes from the Sanskrit words “shila” meaning rock, and “ajit” meaning conqueror. It has gone by many names in different cultures, such as the “blood of the mountain”, “stone oil”, and “mineral pitch”.

Shilajit takes centuries to form, resulting from the gradual breakdown of plant matter trapped between rock layers. It begins as a pale-colored plant mass that darkens over time and becomes enriched with a complex array of organic compounds and minerals.

The formation process gives shilajit unmatched nutrient density and potent rejuvenating properties, making it a treasured health supplement for thousands of years.

Active Compounds and Health Benefits

Shilajit contains over 80 different minerals, many in ionic form, and an abundance of beneficial organic substances, including fulvic acid, humic acids, and compounds called dibenzo-alpha-pyrones. This rich tapestry of nutrients imbues shilajit with a wide range of potential health benefits:

Antioxidant Effects

Shilajit contains two powerful antioxidants, fulvic acid, and dibenzo-alpha-pyrones. Antioxidants are essential because they help combat cellular damage from free radicals and oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress contributes to chronic disease and aging. By neutralizing free radicals, the antioxidants in shilajit can help protect cells and tissues throughout the body from deterioration over time.

Anti-inflammatory Properties

Research indicates that fulvic acid and other components in shilajit have natural anti-inflammatory capabilities. Inflammation is the root cause of many health conditions. The anti-inflammatory activity of shilajit may help ease joint pain, muscle soreness, and inflammatory conditions like arthritis. The antioxidants in shilajit likely contribute to these anti-inflammatory effects as well.

Immune System Support

Shilajit provides a wealth of minerals and nutrients that can bolster immune health. This enhances the body’s innate defenses against illness and infection. A robust immune system powered by shilajit may help reduce the frequency and severity of colds, flu, and other contagious diseases.

Memory and Cognition

Components of shilajit, especially fulvic acid, appear to protect and nourish brain cells. This can translate to multiple cognitive benefits including improved memory, learning, focus, and processing speed. Shilajit also shows the potential to counteract cognitive decline from aging and neurodegenerative disease. Early research indicates it may help prevent the buildup of tau proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Metabolic Enhancer

By improving energy production at the cellular level, shilajit serves as a natural metabolic booster. It enhances vitality and stamina. Shilajit delivers nutrients that optimize the function of mitochondria, the energy factories within cells. This metabolic-enhancing effect can reduce persistent fatigue.

Heart Health

Some research indicates shilajit may help protect the cardiovascular system and improve heart function. However, those with active heart conditions should avoid shilajit until more research emerges.

Liver Protection

Early studies show the potential for shilajit to fight specific liver cancer cells and prevent their multiplication. More research is needed to confirm shilajit’s protective effects on liver health.

Testosterone, Fertility, and Sexual Function

Multiple human studies have shown that shilajit supplementation can significantly increase testosterone levels and improve male fertility parameters like sperm motility and volume. One study found a over 60% increase in testosterone levels after 90 days of shilajit supplementation in infertile men. The testosterone-boosting effects are also thought to drive increases in muscle mass and energy.

Mitochondrial Function

Shilajit provides metabolically active compounds like fulvic acid that are directly taken up by mitochondria, the energy-producing centers of cells. This improves energy production, reduces fatigue, and enhances the body’s natural healing and rejuvenation processes that rely on mitochondrial function.

Altitude Adaptation

Research shows that at high altitudes, shilajit increases the enzyme heme-oxygenase 1 levels, which helps regulate oxygen utilization and flow in the body. This is one key mechanism behind Shilajit’s benefit for adapting to higher elevations and reducing altitude sickness symptoms.

Cognitive Performance

Studies point to shilajit’s potent antioxidant activity in the brain playing a pivotal role in its cognitive benefits. Shilajit also heightens levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is essential for memory, learning, and cognition. It shows the potential to fight Alzheimer’s progression.


Some initial research indicates certain isolated compounds from shilajit can fight viruses, including herpes simplex virus-1. However, more expansive clinical research is still needed to determine shilajit’s antiviral potential.

Heavy Metal Removal

Analysis shows shilajit has an affinity for binding to heavy metals like lead, arsenic, and cadmium, allowing it to help remove excess levels of these metals from the body. This offers a purifying effect.

Though shilajit has been used as a general panacea, modern research indicates it may be most effective for enhancing vitality, brainpower, fertility, and adaptation. More clinical studies in humans will shed further light on Shilajit’s capabilities.

Types of Shilajit Supplements

Shilajit Powder

Shilajit in powder form is made by drying and grinding raw shilajit resin into a fine powder. This powder is convenient to mix into smoothies, teas, or food. The standard dosage of shilajit powder is 300-500 mg per day.

It’s important to source high-quality purified shilajit from reputable suppliers when taking shilajit powder to avoid contamination. Raw shilajit powder may contain heavy metals, fungus, and other impurities if not adequately filtered.

Shilajit Capsules

Encapsulated shilajit is also available for those who want a more convenient capsule form. The powdered shilajit is encapsulated in veggie caps or cellulose capsules. Look for capsules that contain 400-500 mg of pure shilajit powder per capsule.

Capsules provide standardized dosing and avoid the taste and texture of the resin. However, capsules are more processed than powder.

Shilajit Resin

Shilajit can also be found in its pure resin form, which is how it seeps naturally from rocks. The resin is a thick, sticky, tar-like substance ranging from light to dark brown in color.

Shilajit resin has a strong earthy, bitter taste. Because measuring dosage can be difficult, resin works best when molded into pills and taken like that.

Dosage and Safety Tips

Shilajit has a very safe toxicity profile, but there are still precautions to take when using it:

  • Source Quality Shilajit: Only use purified shilajit from reputable suppliers to avoid contamination. Raw shilajit may contain heavy metals, fungus and other impurities.
  • Start Low: Begin with 300-500 mg daily and gradually increase the dose to assess tolerance.
  • Cycle Usage: Take shilajit daily for 1-3 months, then take a break before starting again. Cycling is recommended to maintain effectiveness long-term.
  • Avoid Overheating: Do not expose shilajit to high temperatures, which can damage its compounds. Add it to liquids after they have cooled.
  • Interactions: Check for interactions with medications or supplements, especially those with anticoagulant effects.

With responsible usage, shilajit has an extensive history of safe use. It is especially valued in Asia for its rejuvenating and adaptogenic properties. Scientists continue to unlock the secrets of how this unique pitch-like substance from the mountains offers such expansive health benefits.

Shilajit: A Natural Antidote to Fatigue and Decline

In conclusion, shilajit is truly one of nature’s most unique gifts. This tar-like biomass has seeped for eons from stone to acquire a dense matrix of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients that revive the body and mind.

The research continues to affirm Shilajit’s legendary stature, particularly for enhancing energy, cognition, testosterone, fertility, and altitude acclimation. By delivering such a wide spectrum of organically-bound trace minerals and active compounds, shilajit provides a powerful health-optimizing agent.

Yet it does not work as an isolated magic bullet but as a foundational supplement to restore balance and vitality when taken regularly alongside a healthy lifestyle. The wisdom of traditional medicine has rightfully recognized this dark, aromatic substance dripping from the mountains as a natural antidote to fatigue, declining virility, and declining cognition.

With the guidance of modern science, we can now validate and expand on the many benefits of shilajit recognized through centuries of use. As the research continues, shilajit’s status as one of nature’s great gifts to mankind’s vitality becomes increasingly apparent.

About the author

Holden Desalles is a journalist in the new wellness space, covering topics such as CBD, adaptogens, and nootropics. He was formerly a staff writer at the millennial lifestyle website Thought Catalog.

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