Traditionally used in ancient cultures as a natural remedy, bentonite clay provides many benefits for your body. As unbelievable as it may sound, the rich nutritious profile of bentonite clay meant that it was (and still is) often eaten as medicine to help the body dispel toxins and strengthen the immune system.
On top of that, the benefits of bentonite clay also extend externally. From skincare to hair care to oral health, it’s easy to find a DIY recipe on the internet that has bentonite clay in it.
So, should you be eating this healing clay and applying it to your body? To help you be the judge of that, we’ll list out the various health benefits of bentonite clay in this post. Read on to find out more about this natural supplement.
What Is Bentonite Clay?
Bentonite clay is an absorbent aluminum phyllosilicate clay made of volcanic ash that's been dried and filtered. In the United States, most of the bentonite clay is mined in Fort Benton, Wyoming, which led to the name "bentonite." The clay was first discovered in Montmorillon, France, which gave rise to bentonite’s alias — montmorillonite clay.
There are two types of bentonite clay:
- Sodium bentonite clay: A swelling clay that's used as a sealant for industrial purposes.
- Calcium bentonite clay: A non-swelling, absorbent clay that's often used for health purposes.
Bentonite Clay Benefits for Better Health
When applied topically or ingested internally, bentonite clay heals your body from the inside out.
1. Detoxifies Your Body
Bentonite clay can absorb negative charge ions, so it acts as a powerful detoxifying agent. Once ingested, bentonite clay binds to harmful toxins in your body, prompting their removal from your system.
To illustrate, we’ll use the example of bentonite’s effectiveness against aflatoxins. According to the World Health Organization, aflatoxins are "poisonous substances produced by certain kinds of fungi" that can cause liver cancer. Rotting vegetation and improper food storage are two common causes of this cancer-causing chemical.
In certain countries like Ghana, aflatoxin exposure remains a public health issue. But research has shown that montmorillonite clay was found to reduce the toxin by a whopping 55%. This suggests that bentonite clay could be an inexpensive yet highly effective weapon in removing similar toxins from the human body.
2. Removes Heavy Metals
Heavy metals can accumulate in your body and cause negative health impacts over time. For example, lead poisoning affects brain development in children, which can lead to learning difficulties and seizures. In adults, high lead exposure can cause kidney damage and joint pain.
Thankfully, bentonite clay can expel these harmful substances from your body. One study shows that pigs who were fed with montmorillonite for 100 days had much lower lead content in their major organs. While a similar study has yet to be performed in human test subjects, this particular health benefit of bentonite clay can’t be denied.
3. Soothes and Prevent Irritated Skin
Bentonite clay is also known to heal skin irritations. In one study, quaternium-18 bentonite lotion prevented and treated skin rash caused by poison ivy and poison oak. When it comes to diaper rash, bentonite clay was found to be a superior treatment to calendula.
On top of that, bentonite clay also helps to soothe itchy bug bites. Here’s how:
- Mix one part bentonite clay powder to two parts warm water so that it forms a paste-like consistency.
- Apply the paste over the bug bite.
- Repeat the steps as often as needed until the irritation is completely gone.
4. Improves Skin Complexion
Often used in at-home DIY facials, bentonite clay makes for a powerful detoxifying face mask. Being an absorbent clay, bentonite binds to impurities like excess sebum and dead skin cells. For instance, the Char-Glow Face Mask uses bentonite clay and charcoal to deep clean pores and pull out toxins for a radiant, glowing complexion.
And that's not all. Since bentonite clay is known to soothe irritated skin, it can be used to treat acne and lighten blemishes. Our Banished™ Face Mask is infused with a blend of purifying clays (bentonite clay, French green clay, rhassoul clay, and Fuller's earth clay) to banish acne while minimizing redness. It's ideal for oily skin types looking to clear up their complexions.
5. Protects Against Sunburns
On top of face masks, clay minerals have also made their way into sun protection. Mineral sun lotions (made with bentonite and zeolite minerals) were discovered to be far more capable of absorbing high levels of ultraviolet (UV) light compared to commercial sunscreens.
6. Aids With Hair Issues
In certain cultures like Iran, bentonite clay has also been used as a hair cleanser since ancient times. You can combine bentonite clay powder with water and apple cider vinegar to create a bentonite clay hair mask that addresses scalp dryness, hair frizziness, and lack of shine.
7. A Natural Deodorant
Did you know that bentonite clay also makes for a natural deodorant? Due to its impressively absorbent properties, bentonite clay is great at soaking up moisture and odor. Unlike baking soda (often used in DIY deodorants) that can be irritating to the skin, bentonite clay does not cause such a problem.
If you'd like a deodorant that isn’t irritating and keeps your armpits dry and odor-free, give bentonite clay a shot the next time you DIY your own deodorant.
8. Boosts Oral Health
Besides being used in deodorants, bentonite clay is also a common ingredient in natural tooth products to help improve your oral health. For instance, our Dirty Mouth® Toothpowder and Dirty Mouth® Toothpaste are made with bentonite clay. Unlike fluoride toothpaste that can be toxic to your body, our bentonite clay products safely remineralize teeth, cleanse gums, and banish bad breath for a healthier mouth.
9. Strengthens Immune System
Drug-resistant bacteria and viruses are a rising health concern for us. But research has shown that bentonite clay's antibacterial properties make it a natural remedy against hard-to-kill pathogens like Escherichia coli (E.coli).
It’s also interesting to note that when montmorillonite clay was combined with colloidal silver, the resulting compound enhanced the potency of antibiotics against certain bacteria strains (Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa).
10. Heals Skin Infections
Due to its antibacterial nature, it comes as no surprise that montmorillonite clay is also great at healing skin infections. In fact, green montmorillonite clay was found to heal Buruli ulcer, a chronic skin infection that’s caused by Mycobacterium ulcerans. As such, clay minerals found in montmorillonite may be effective against other types of bacteria-based skin infections.
11. Protects the Gut
Besides fighting off harmful bacteria, bentonite clay also does wonders for your gut health. The oral consumption of clay minerals has been known to:
- Treat and prevent diarrhea
- Alleviate the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Kill viruses and bad bacteria in the gut
- Treat gastric ulcers and gastritis
- Protect your gut against pesticide damage
- Strengthen the gut’s mucosal barrier
By treating gastrointestinal problems and improving your gut flora, bentonite clay helps your digestive system to get stronger and healthier. This, in turn, boosts your immune system too.
12. Fights Obesity
The ability of bentonite clay to improve gut bacteria also has an unexpected benefit in improving weight loss. Research has shown that when mice were fed with montmorillonite, it resulted in lower levels of obesity and inflammation. While the exact trial has not yet been replicated in humans, the research findings show much potential for bentonite clay as a natural remedy for losing weight.
Is It Safe to Ingest Bentonite Clay?
As mentioned in countless scientific trials and research studies, ingesting bentonite clay was proven to help heal the human body. This shows that it's safe to ingest bentonite clay in small amounts as a form of natural remedy.
Side Effects of Bentonite Clay
Of course, as with any natural remedy, side effects are possible. This applies to bentonite clay too.
Consuming excessive amounts of bentonite clay can cause you to become sick. To prevent this from happening, follow the instructions on the package, and avoid the continual ingestion of bentonite clay for more than four weeks. We also recommend that you check with your primary doctor first before including bentonite clay as a supplement in your diet.
Similarly, when using bentonite clay in skincare, it's recommended to patch-test the clay by applying it on a small area of your skin first. This way, you can determine whether you're sensitive to bentonite clay or not before applying it to your face.
Try Bentonite Clay Today
A wide array of scientific studies has taught us the broad range of health benefits that bentonite clay has to offer. It seems like our ancestors from primitive times actually do know their stuff when it comes to using mineral-rich clays for medicinal and healing purposes.
The popularity of bentonite clay will only rise higher as more people become educated on its health benefits. There's no better time than now to try bentonite clay products and witness its healing properties for yourself.