Zeolite refers to any number of absorbent minerals containing traces of both silicon and aluminum. Natural zeolites form as a result of volcanic action, taking anywhere from 50 to 50,000 years to complete formation. Synthetic zeolites can be manufactured with improved speed and uniformity. Zeolites have found application in water filtration, refrigeration, construction, aquariums and alternative medicine. Zeolite supplements are available in pill and liquid forms.
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Zeolite has been purported to have a wide variety of health benefits. According to All Natural Prevention, zeolite has the potential to act as a chelator and remove heavy metals from the body, improve liver function, balance biological pH levels, improve general well-being, control allergies and asthma, improve digestion and act as an antioxidant.
A study published in the journal "Nutrition and Dietary Supplements," tested the chelation potential of liquid clinoptilolite, a type of natural zeolite. The researchers concluded that clinoptilolite "represents a potentially safe and effective way to remove toxic heavy metals from the body through increased urinary excretion without removing clinically detrimental amounts of vital electrolytes."
Bleeding and Anti-Cancer Claims
There are no human studies demonstrating the effectiveness of zeolite in the treatment of cancer. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, "No published studies show that zeolite has an antitumor effect in humans or offers any benefit to persons with cancer." However, zeolite crystals have been known to help the body's blood-clotting process and, therefore, can slow or stop bleeding.
A review of zeolite by the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center warns that inhaled zeolite dust causes mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer. Zeolite can also act as an immunosuppressant, decreasing immune activity. The proven chelator activity of zeolites can remove valuable minerals from the body and decrease the effectiveness of certain medications, including aspirin.