Bentonite clay is a component in detoxification diets that focus primarily on absorbing toxins in the body and cleansing the colon, according to Dr. James F. Balch, author of “Prescription for Natural Cures.” A side effect of following a clay-detoxification diet may be weight loss, but clinical studies confirming the safety of detoxification diets are lacking. Talk to your doctor before using bentonite clay as a weight loss aid or before embarking on a detoxification diet.
Potential Weight Loss
“Eating clay promotes weight loss,” claims the website Weight-Loss-Center.net. The site explains that consuming bentonite clay before meals with juice or applesauce will fill you up, as the clay swells in your stomach, reducing your hunger, so you eat less.
Dosage and Method
Balch suggests taking no more than 1 tsp. of bentonite clay per day for detoxification purposes, unless you're under a doctor’s supervision. Since bentonite clay absorbs liquids in the stomach, Balch advises drinking 1 or 2 cups of water with each teaspoonful to prevent constipation and bowel obstruction. Balch does not offer a specific dosage for weight loss.
Gastrointestinal symptoms appear to be the main side effects of taking bentonite clay. A 2005 study, conducted at the Department of Environmental Toxicology and The Institute of Environmental and Human Health at Texas Tech University, documented the short-term safety of a name brand of calcium montmorillonite clay, which is synonymous for bentonite. Participants took varying amounts of the clay for two weeks. Noted side effects included abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea and flatulence. Further testing is necessary to confirm the results and to verify long-term side effects.
MayoClinic.com reports that most detoxification diets last somewhere between seven and 10 days, but notes that evidence of the diets’ success in removing toxins is not scientifically proven. Using a detox diet to lose weight is not the healthiest way to shed a few pounds. MayoClinic.com reminds dieters that the healthiest diets include a combination of lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Talk to your doctor to determine if taking bentonite clay is safe for you.
- “Prescription for Natural Cures”; James F. Balch, M.D., 2004
- MayoClinic.com: Do Detox Diets Offer Any Health Benefits?
- “Food Additives and Contaminants”; Short-Term Safety Evaluation of Processed Calcium Montmorillonite Clay (NovaSil) in Humans, Wang, J.S. et. al., March 2005
- Weight-Loss-Center.net: Eating Clay Promotes Weight Loss