Is bentonite clay a beneficial substance? Is it good for detoxing the body, addressing diarrhea, chelating heavy metals? Or does it cause a heavy metal problem?
One of my readers asked this question after reading my research post on Bentonite Clay for gut problems:
“I’m hoping you can clarify whether the statements (see below snippet) made on this endocrinologist’s website are true concerning the body absorbing the metals naturally found in bentonite clay, such as lead, due to one’s stomach acid pulling most of the lead from the clay. Most other research I’ve performed is to the contrary.
Here is the snippet of importance from the website:
When you eat clay, your stomach acid pulls most of the lead out of the clay. Then, it goes right into your body.
Bentonite clay is beneficial when it comes to removing lead, zinc, nickel, and cadmium from different substances, like wastewater, because it can bond with these kinds of heavy metals.
However, in the case of eating bentonite, it has more harmful side effects than expedient ones. Inasmuch, when you consume clay, your stomach acid pulls most of the lead out of the bentonite clay, and it absorbs straight into your system.
Thanks in advance for your opinion and any contrary research you have to offer.” – Scott
I find it interesting that the article he mentions starts off saying:
“Let me introduce you to the fundamental facts supported by research work and consumer experience.”
But then there is zero research given in the article to support any of their claims.
I haven’t seen any research either – it’s not like there’s any big pharma corp or anyone else with money funding research, as bentonite cannot be patented.
All I can tell you is my own experience.
My wild horses will always drink from natural water in the ground, rather than the “clean” water in a trough. When I dug out a 5′ deep pit on the land, all 5 of them went into the pit to scrape the clay and other humic substances off the sheared walls and eat it.
I once saw a sick dog scrape the packed clay off a creekbed and eat it. Most of us humans are not dialled into our body wisdom the way animals are, but we can learn from observing them!
I myself took bentonite clay at a time when I couldn’t get my diarrhea to stop (I later found out I also had mercury poisoning from tooth fillings) and it was the best thing for me at the time.
Would I use bentonite ongoing, long-term? No. Because it will also pull the beneficial bacteria out of your gut, not just the pathogenic species. Can it be very helpful in certain circumstances for short-term use (a few weeks)? Yes. I’ve experienced the benefits myself. And both horses and dogs don’t eat clay every day for months. They only eat it when they need it, to help restore balance.
Chapter 11.1 Clays and Clay Minerals For Pollution Control, GJ Churchman, WP Gates, BKG Theng, G Yuan, Handbook of Clay Science, 2006 Elsevier, edited by F. Bergaya, B.K.G. Theng, G. Lagaly
Chapter 11.6 Clays And Clay Minerals As Drugs, MT Droy-Lefaix, F. Tateo, Handbook of Clay Science, 2006 Elsevier, edited by F. Bergaya, B.K.G. Theng, G. Lagaly, page 743
Robertson, RHS, 1986, Fuller’s Earth: A History of Calcium Montmorillonite. Volturna Press, Hythe, Kent.
Lund, E. and B. Nissen (1986). “Low Technology Water Purification by Bentonite Clay Flocculation as Performed in Sudanese Villages: Virological Examinations.” Water Research 20:37-43.
Olsen, A. (1987). “Low Technology Water Purification by Bentonite Clay and Moringa Oleifera Seed Flocculation as Performed in Sudanese Villages: Effects on Schistosoma mansoni Cercariae.” Water Research 21(5):517-522.
Madsen, M. & Schlundt, J. ‘Low Technology Water Purification by Bentonite Clay Flocculation as performed in Sudanese Villages: Bacterial Examinations’ J. Water Research vol. 23 issue 7 July, 1989.