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11 Powerful Health Benefits of Shilajit

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“There is hardly any curable disease which cannot be controlled or cured with the aid of shilajit.” 

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– Vaidya Charak, famous ancient Indian from the first century A.D

It looks and smells like tar and, in fairness, it tastes a little like tar too. Yet this wondrous, ancient resin-like substance just may be one of the best things you can take to improve your health.

Shilajit has been used in Ayurvedic medicine and by yogis alike for centuries, and for good reason. It’s said that this ancient superfood supports every system in the body.

The Mountains Make It

Made by the compression and biodegradation of plant matter over centuries, this mountain lifeblood can only be found in a few areas of the world — namely the Altai mountains, Himalayas, and Caucuses. This mineral rich superfood delivers nutrients in their most natural and bioavailable form.

It’s said to contain over 85 minerals in ionic form and the added magic comes from the high levels of naturally occurring fulvic acid. Not only does the fulvic acid superboost the nutrients it is consumed with, it also has the ability to transport them directly into the cells — which is exactly where they need to be to support optimal health.

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Fulvic acid has many other proven benefits, from improving gut health to keeping skin healthy, and this ancient herb contains a huge amount of it. Shilajit is one of the most common supplements used to increase intake of this beneficial and potent acid.

So, before you dismiss this black goo for its strange look and bitter taste, read on to learn of the many ways this ancient superfood can superpower your health.

Top 11 Things Shilajit Can Do for Your Health

1. Promotes and supports gut health

You’ll have likely heard the statement by Hippocrates that “All disease begins in the gut.” And it’s true, as a poorly working gut is where many chronic health conditions take shape, which is why gut permeability (when particles are able to escape through the gut lining and enter the bloodstream) is so harmful.

There is some evidence that consuming fulvic acid can help decrease digestive disorders, including SIBO symptoms (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) and inflammatory bowel disorders. (1) For hundreds of years, shilajit, which contains roughly 50-60% fulvic acid, has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine to treat a wide scope of health matters that can be traced back to poor digestive/immune health.

2. Increases energy and stamina

Traditionally called the ‘destroyer of weakness’ and ‘conqueror of mountains,’ shilajit has been used by Ayurvedic practitioners for millennia to rejuvenate the body and boost energy.
Many people complain of feeling tired, despite eating well and getting sufficient sleep, but with over-farmed land and overuse of pesticides, the levels of nutrients found in our food have drastically decreased. It’s no wonder then that our bodies cannot work optimally. Without sufficient nutrients, our cell’s mitochondria cannot work properly and cannot produce ATP (energy) as efficiently.

As shilajit helps increase the production of ATP, it increases overall energy and stamina. In fact, it’s commonly used to enhance athletic performance. (2)

Chronic fatigue syndrome, a disorder classified by at least six months of extreme and debilitating fatigue, has been successfully treated with shilajit supplementation, also evidenced by the way it enhances mitochondrial function. (3)

Furthermore, whilst shilajit activates mitochondrial respiration, it also suppresses activity of succinate-oxidase and NADH-oxidase in Mitochondrion. This means that while increasing production of energy through cellular respiration, the substance simultaneously protects from damage that usually accompanies increased production of energy. (4)

3. Supports healthy aging

Shilajit can even slow the aging process! This mineral pitch is rich in antioxidants, meaning it is very effective in supporting healthy aging of the cells, and therefore the body.

Furthermore, one study (5) found that shilajit upregulates the production of collagen, which in turn supports joint health and skin elasticity.

4. Regulates hormones

Another important function of shilajit is its ability to regulate and balance hormones. Many researchers agree that it impacts so much of the body because of the way it helps this system remain in equilibrium. (6) Known as an adaptogen, shilajit has the ability to increase the half life of cortisol circulating in the bloodstream. What this means is that during times of stress, the adrenal glands are not required to produce as much cortisol to enable the body to function properly. As the adrenal glands and thyroid are so closely linked, when you support one, you support the other.

When tested in pilot studies involving rats, it was also associated with ovulation in adult female rats, indicating that shilajit may be an viable agent to consider for those struggling with infertility. (7)

5. Promotes blood sugar balancing

As diabetes rates soar, and many suffer with poor blood sugar balancing, affecting energy levels and restful sleep, it’s worth knowing that shilajit has been shown to help reduce blood glucose levels. Studies have also shown it to reduce lipid profiles, lowering triglycerides. (8, 9)

Shilajit is one of the main ingredients in a supplement known as D-400, Diabecon, or GlucoCare. This supplement is designed to combine the most potent Ayurvedic natural medicines into one pill. D-400 reduces blood glucose levels and shows potential to repair damage to the pancreas caused by diabetes. (10)

Furthermore, in the same study scientists induced diabetes in vivo to animals and when treated with a Shilajit-based formulation, it was shown to effectively repair and regenerate tissue of a pancreas.

6. Balances mood

Shilajit also works as a very effective mood balancer, reducing both anxiety and depression. This has been supported in a study (11) where, when tested against the antidepressant Xanax, shilajit showed similar results but without any of the side effects associated with prescription drugs.

Many people report a feeling of calm, and of being more grounded when taking shilajit.

7. Supports brain health

Shilajit is classified as nootropic, which means it enhances the brain’s ability to learn new things. Many people speak of shilajit bringing about mental clarity and sharpness, but the ways in which shilajit is both supportive and protective of the brain are numerous.

Some studies show that shilajit has a “distinct and marked neuroprotective activity,” (12) highlighting its targeted mechanism for protecting the brain cells in particular. In a 2013 study conducted by the Physiology Research Center at the Kerman University of Medical Sciences on the effects of shilajit on risk factors following a traumatic brain injury, researchers discovered that it has positive effects on the three most indicative factors of death following traumatic brain injury: brain edema, blood-brain barrier permeability, and intracranial pressure. (13)

In addition, shilajit has been shown to exhibit anti-epileptic properties and potentially antipsychotic effects. The action thought to be behind this is that it adjusts GABA levels (a naturally occurring neurotransmitter) back into balance. (14)

Furthermore, this unique superfood has, in one preliminary study, shown to be an exciting consideration for patients suffering with mild Alzheimer’s disease. The presence of fulvic acid and a treatment protocol including the administration of a vitamin B complex showed promising results. (15)

8. Exhibits anti-cancer action

As well as shilajit showing many ways in which it is preventative of cancer, such as improving detoxification pathways, working as an antiinflammatory, and delivering abundant and bioavailable nutrients to the cells, some studies are showing that shilajit also exhibits cancer killing activity as well.

A 2016 study (16) on hepatic cancer cells clearly indicated that cancer cell apoptosis occurred in those treated with a solution of shilajit for 24 hours. While further studies are needed, this is a promising first glimpse at how shilajit can support cancer patients.

In addition to this, one study showed the protective action of shilajit against damage from radiation as a cancer treatment. (17)

9. Strengthens and repairs the skeletal and muscular system

Shilajit has been traditionally used for hundreds of years in Asian herbal medicine both inwardly and outwardly against injuries, bone fractures, dislocations, diseases of skin, and diseases of peripheral nervous system, and also as a soothing and anti-inflammatory agent.

There is initial evidence that it supports in the regeneration of bones, protecting from and slowing the process of osteoporosis. (18)

In a study of obese patients published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, supplementation significantly improved the function and regeneration of skeletal muscles. (19)

In one article it is noted that the resin will regenerate damaged bones approximately two times faster than they normally would. This effect was used by Soviet surgeons consistently for many years. (20)

10. Immune boosting and balancing

Shilajit is a powerful tonic to keep you healthy in general. It is known as a nonspecific immune system stimulator. It proliferates lymphocytes, activates the macrophages (the cells that literally ‘eat’ bacteria and viruses), and it was shown to accelerate regeneration of the immune system (lymphopoietic erythropoiesis). The resin restored more rapidly the number of lymphocytes and peripheral blood, bone marrow and spleen than. (21)

In addition to this, it also has “broad, yet specific” antiviral properties. One Italian lab study found significant antiviral activity against a number of herpes-related viruses and HRSV, a virus that causes respiratory tract infections, most prevalent in children. (22)

11. Improves libido and stamina

Shilajit also works as one of nature’s best aphrodisiacs and is a powerful supplement for low sex drive. For hundreds of years it has been a widely recommended solution for impotency.

It positively affects reproductive hormone functions, with some even hailing it as ‘Indian Viagra.’ In healthy males, supplementation increases blood testosterone and encourages the production of healthy sperm, with many men seeing an improvement in their endurance and libido in general. (23)

How to Take Shilajit

Shilajit has a very strong flavour, not unlike tar. This is perhaps why it was traditionally dissolved in warm milk to dilute the flavour. You can also add it to herbal teas or plain warm water or, if you’re in a rush and feeling brave, just pop a small pea-sized amount directly under your tongue. Taste aside, the advantage of this method is that sublingual is one of the areas of highest absorption, so you’ll feel the beneficial effects sooner.

How to Know If Your Shilajit Is Genuine

As shilajit becomes more popular and demand increases, fake and inferior products inevitably flood the market. Capsules and powders are often mixed with other ingredients, so how do you know if what you’ve bought is genuine shilajit?

To receive the health benefits mentioned above, it’s crucial that you’re buying and taking genuine shilajit. These original methods of testing shilajit will give you confidence as to whether you have the real thing:

  1. Shilajit becomes harder at cold temperatures and softer and more malleable when warm
  2. Shilajit should dissolve completely in warm water or milk, with no remaining bits
  3. Shilajit should not dissolve in alcohol
  4. Shilajit should have a strong, smoky, tar-like odour
  5. Shilajit should have a strong and smoky tar-like taste
  6. Shilajit will not light on fire or burn like a candle. If heated with a flame, it will bubble and produce an ash. But it will not burn like a candle.

For added reassurance, it’s also worth seeking out a company that independently tests their shilajit for authenticity and heavy metals. Ensure you have the results for ppm (parts per million) or parts/KG, as this will give you a true indication of the levels.

If you have tried Shilajit, tell us what you think of it!

further reading

Please note: Collective Evolution is not affiliated with the brand mentioned in this article.  We do however, think it is fantastic quality and love that they independently test each batch they produce.

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Boy or Girl – Baby Gender Selection Issues

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Some parents have the possibility to opt for gender selection; however, being able to decide whether to have a baby boy or girl is a controversial issue.

Many couples expecting a baby do not think it’s a big issue whether they have a boy or a girl; however there are several medical, social, and personal reasons that could influence parents to recur to some form of gender selection.

Like many other controversial practices, the legality of gender selection, also known as sex selection, varies from country to country.

The Legality of Baby Gender Selection

The United States has perhaps some of the most relaxed laws regarding baby gender selection in the world. Most European countries and Australia, on the other hand, have bans on sex selection and only allow it for medical reasons. For example, if a parent is a carrier of a mutation or gene with more chances of manifesting itself in a certain gender, baby gender selection is valid. However, if parents simply wish to balance the ratio of boys and girls in their family, they are not allowed to recur to sex selection.

This has generated a form of medical tourism in which couples from countries where gender selection is illegal, like the UK, travel to the US in order to be able to choose whether to have a baby boy or girl.

On the other hand, sex selection is illegal in the two most populated countries on Earth, China and India. In these countries, baby gender selection has been performed clandestinely for many years and for reasons other than family balancing or avoiding genetic diseases. In these societies, having a baby boy is preferred mainly for cultural and economic reasons. Parents believe that boys have better chances of earning income and eventually support them when they reach an old age.

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Methods of Baby Gender Selection

There are two major types of gender selection methods: the first one is called sperm sorting, and involves separating X-chromosome sperm from Y-chromosome sperm by flow cytometry, a purification technique in which chromosomes are suspended in a stream of sperm and identified by an electronic detector before being separated. Intra-uterine insemination or in-vitro fertilization can then be performed with the enriched sperm. The success rates for this method vary from 80% to 93%.

The other method, called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, consists in generating several embryos through in-vitro fertilization, which are then genetically tested to determine a baby’s gender. The chosen embryos can then be implanted. This method has a success rate of almost 100%; however, it can be quite expensive, costing up to $15,000.

Issues Regarding Baby Gender Selection

While there are few objections against baby gender selection when it is performed for medical reasons, it has become a highly controversial issue when it is used for balancing the number of boys or girls in families. Some people raise the obvious ethical question of whether people who opt for gender selection are “playing God” by manipulating whether to have a baby boy or girl. Others believe that new parents will raise a baby more appropriately if he or she belongs to their preferred gender.

Gender Imbalance Caused by Baby Gender Selection

Gender selection has caused demographic concern in China and India since it has contributed to generate a gender imbalance in the populations of those countries. In some regions of China, for example, the sex ratio for newborns is 118:100, boys to girls. This phenomenon has in turn been associated with social problems such as an increase in violence and prostitution.

It seems like a logical solution for governments around the globe to legalize baby gender selection but to analyze the personal reasons why each couple intends to select a baby boy or girl. Gender selection for medical reasons should even be encouraged, since it could prevent serious genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s disease, and Haemophilia A. Balancing the gender ratio of a family should be accepted if by doing this, a healthy family environment is created. On the other hand, China and India have shown that baby gender selection as a result of a bias towards a particular gender can not only create a gender imbalance in the population, but contribute to social problems as well.

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Organic Certification: What the USDA Organic Label Means

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Organic and natural labels mean different things, and various types of labels tells you what percentage of ingredients are actually organic. We'll explore what to look for.

  • Reflect On:

    Do you sometimes buy products thinking they are organic or fully natural based on their wording? Have you later found out that those products aren't natural or organic at all? Read labels more closely at grocery stores to be aware.

Don’t get conned by fraudulent claims of “natural” or “organic.” Learn what to look for, and why it’s important, to ensure you’re getting the quality you are paying for.

The industrial age of the 20th century brought about changing agricultural practices that have generated increasing alarm about the effects of these practices on the environment and health. The use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, irradiated and genetically altered food and fiber products has created a groundswell of rightful concern. It has led to the growing demand for non-toxic, organic products that many are willing to pay a higher price for to ensure the healthful purity of food and clothing provided for their families.

With such profit opportunities, it’s little wonder that the lucrative organic product market has suffered abuse with so-called “organic” labels being fraudulently placed on products that have not earned the right. As a result of pressure from farming and consumer groups, legislation for the standardization of organic certification was introduced in the 1980s. It has been updated to include more vigorous enforcement and control methods since, with the current standards established in 2002 by the USDA.

The Standards of USDA Organic Certification

Specific standards must be met in order to legally claim a product as USDA certified organic. Organic producers must utilize methods that conserve water, maximize soil health, and reduce air pollution. The specific standards to earn USDA organic certification include:

Free of synthetic chemicals such as insecticides, herbicides, fertilizers, hormones, antibiotics, and additives

Free from irradiation and genetically modified organisms

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Agricultural products grown on land that has been free of prohibited substances for a period of three years

Animals used for meat, eggs, milk or other animal products must be exclusively fed foods that are organically grown, may not be given antibiotics or hormones, and must have access to outdoors.

Clean and sanitized harvesting and processing equipment throughout the process from harvest to finished, packaged product

Detailed chain-of-handling records from the field through final sales

Physical separation of certified organic products from non-organic products throughout the process of production

Regular on-site inspections from USDA-approved inspectors to ensure compliance

Understanding the Certified Organic Label

Once the rigorous process of certification has been completed, organic producers may place the USDA certified organic seal on their products. Currently, there are four levels of certified organic products, with a specific definition of the percentage of organic ingredients the final products contains. They are as follows:

• 100% organic: all production methods and ingredients are USDA certified organic.

• Organic: at least 95% of the production methods and ingredients are USDA certified organic with remaining ingredients included on the National List of allowed ingredients.

• Made With Organic Ingredients: at least 70% of the ingredients are USDA certified organic with remaining ingredients included on the National List of allowed ingredients.

• No organic wording or seal: less than 70% of the ingredients are USDA certified organic and no claims may be made on the front or back of the product.

Manufacturers or producers who knowingly label a product “organic” when it does not meet the USDA standards are subject to fines up to $11,000 per violation.

Why Organic Certification is Important

When you see the official USDA organic certification seal on food, clothing, and bedding products, you can be assured that these products have met the meticulous standards required and are free of chemicals, toxins, antibiotics, and hormones. When you see the USDA certified organic label, you will understand the value of the higher priced organic products as compared to non-organically produced products.

With the current stringent organic certification requirements enforced by regular inspections from USDA accredited agents, the USDA certified organic label has great meaning and importance to the consumer. Look for the label to know that you are getting the quality you are paying for.

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WHO Finds Global Lack Of Inactivity Rising Especially In Wealthier Countries — What You Can Do

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Inactivity is on the rise and it's the cause of a wide range of health concerns. Our population is only becoming more inactive, not less, and it's time to change that.

  • Reflect On:

    There are many factors of our modern world that make us less active. Our jobs, driving rather than walking/biking, too much screen time. What can you do differently to bring more activity into your life? What story stops you from starting?

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than a quarter of the entire population on this planet are not getting enough physical exercise, this number has barely improved since 2001. There are many factors that contribute to this, but just how much damage are we doing by failing to be active?

The lack of physical exercise raises the risk of many health problems, such as heart disease, type-2 diabetes and various types of cancers.

Interestingly, according to their study published in The Lancet Global Health, higher income countries, such as the UK, were among the least active population. Women were also found to be more sedentary throughout the world, excluding two regions in Asia.

The study looked at self-reported data on activity levels from 358 population based surveys covering 168 countries and included 1.9 million people.

The populations of higher income countries, which include the UK and USA showed an increase in the proportion of inactive people and had actually risen from 32% in 2001 to 37% in 2016, in the lower income countries it remained at 16%.

Those who were classified as inactive did less than 150 minutes of moderate exercise and around 75 minutes of intense activity per week.

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It was found that women were less active than men overall, except for in South and Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and higher-income Western countries. The authors believe that this was caused by a few different factors including extra childcare duties and cultural perspectives that may have made it more difficult for them to exercise.

Why More Inactivity In Wealthier Countries?

According to the researchers, in the wealthier countries, many of the jobs have transitioned to more office or desk jobs, meaning a more sedentary type of lifestyle. On top of that much of the population of these countries drive automobiles or take public transit to and from work which in many cases accounts for a lot of their time.

In the lower income countries, many of the jobs require the people to be more active, are physically demanding and people often have to walk to and from their jobs.

The WHO has had a goal to reduce the global levels of inactivity by 10% by 2025, the authors of the study feel that at the rate we are currently going, this target will be missed.

Lead author of the study, Dr. Regina Guthold said, “Unlike other major global health risks, levels of insufficient physical activity are not falling worldwide, on average, and over a quarter of all adults are not reaching the recommended levels of physical activity for good health.”

Regions with increasing levels of insufficient physical activity are a major concern for public health and the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases.”

Co-author, Dr. Fiona Bull added, “Addressing these inequalities in physical activity levels between men and women will be critical to achieving global activity targets and will require interventions to promote and improve women’s access to opportunities that are safe, affordable and culturally acceptable.”

According to the WHO,

Exercise guidelines for 19- to 64-year-olds

How much?

  • at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity every week
  • strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles
  • break up long periods of sitting with light activity

What is moderate aerobic activity?

  • Walking fast, water aerobics, riding a bike on level ground or with a few hills, doubles tennis, pushing a lawn mower, hiking, skateboarding, rollerblading, volleyball, basketball

What counts as vigorous activity?

  • Jogging or running, swimming fast, riding a bike fast or on hills, singles tennis, football, rugby, skipping rope, hockey, aerobics, gymnastics, martial arts

What activities strengthen muscles?

  • lifting weights, working with resistance bands, doing exercises that use your own body weight, such as push-ups and sit-ups, heavy gardening, such as digging and shovelling, yoga

What activities are both aerobic and muscle-strengthening?

  • circuit training, aerobics, running, football, rugby, netball, hockey

Final Thoughts

I was surprised to see that the WHO didn’t touch on inactivity due to too much screen time — watching television, Netflix, Facebook scrolling, messaging, texting, browsing etc. Certainly, the increase in screen time plays a roll with the amount of inactivity, especially in the higher income countries. If you are someone who spends too much time staring at a screen, then it is important to consider the above information. Can you limit your screen time and replace it with something active? Or would you consider jumping rope, or rebounding while watching the television? Our health is our greatest wealth and having awareness about an issue is the first way to create change and take responsibility for our lives.

Could you walk or bike to work instead of drive? What about trying a new sport? Could you commit to adding a few hours each week of physical activity? These small decisions could have a profound impact on your health, longevity and overall well-being.

Much Love

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

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