We answer these questions many times, over the phone and email. And recently, We saw the consumer warning for Ayurvedic shilajit, which was made by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger. Although our brand is listed as “far more appropriate,” many people are fearful of the hidden danger of heavy metals.
Here is our Certificate of Analyses for Solid Himalayan Shilajit. Based on these numbers we would like to compare the amount of Heavy Metals with other foods.
Shilajit is rich with trace metals and minerals, just like a fruit that is rich with vitamins. It has a full load of trace elements, including the metals, with regulated limits for daily intake. Let’s pay attention to to these particular metals: Cadmium, Lead, Arsenic, Aluminum and Mercury.
All metals, except Mercury, naturally exist in our body. Organic plants do contain small amount of heavy metals because they exist in the earth’s crust. Industrial pollution is the most common way that food contamination occurs. The excessive quantities of heavy metals can be toxic and may disrupt cell function, leading to cancer or other serious diseases.
Trace metals are not the same as metallic ore or industrial metals. Trace means a small, but measurable amount of element, which is likely less than 0.1% or 1000ppm (parts per million).
We also call it organic metals because it is formed in plant cells and tissues as a necessary part of their nutrition and physiology. 1 Organic metals are always covalently bonded with carbon, while most inorganic metals occur in their pure, metallic form, or in compounds, where they are bonded to other non-carbon elements.
The EPA regulations are based on inorganic metals. The toxicity of the atom depends on how it disrupts the complex sequence of metabolic reactions in the body. However, when the metal atom is already bonded to other functional groups, in fact with carbon, it cannot react in the same way. For that reason, most organic metal compounds are far from being as toxic as the pure metal and consequently, may leave the body with the urine and feces. 12 13
PPB – stands for the range of parts per billion. It is equal to the value of one penny compared to that of 10 million dollars.
UG – Microgram, 1000 UG = 1 MG, 1000 MG = 1 GM, 28.3 GM = 1 OZ
USP – The US Pharmacopeia organization that determines elemental impurities in pharmaceutical products.
ATSDR – Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry that determines the minimal risk level of metal for food intake.
California Prop 65 – the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 by the state of California.
The effects of exposure to any hazardous substance depend on the type, the amount or dose and duration or frequency of intake. (Dept. of Health)
Before viewing the actual numbers, we would like to show how we made the calculations.
Firstly, we did the research of any articles, that reviewed the amount of heavy metal contamination in different products. It is far from ideal and some of the articles is old. Please, please let me know if you can update the data with better accuracy. You can always double-check the results by using the heavy metal calculator.
About 99% of the amount of lead taken into the body of an adult will dwell in the waste within a couple of weeks. (ATSDR)
Most mercury poisoning comes from air, water vapors (80%), and then, through the food. Most of the metallic mercury absorbed into the body and leaves when you defecate, while smaller amounts leave the body in the exhaled breath.
A small amount of the aluminum you breathe will enter your body through your lungs, while a very small amount of the aluminum in food or water will enter your body through the digestive tract. An extremely small amount of the aluminum found in antacids will be absorbed. A very small amount may enter through your skin when you come into contact with aluminum. Most aluminum in food, water, and medicines leaves your body quickly in the feces. Much of the small amount of aluminum that enter the bloodstream will quickly leave your body when you urinate.
Both inorganic and organic forms leave your body in your urine. Most of the inorganic arsenic will be gone within several days, although some will remain in your body for several months or even longer. If you exposed to organic arsenic, most of it will leave your body within several days.
About 5-50% of the cadmium you breathe will enter your body through your lungs. However, a small amount of the cadmium in food and water (about 1-10%) will enter your body through the digestive tract. Your body can change most cadmium to a form that is not harmful, but too much cadmium can overload the ability of your liver and kidney to change the cadmium to a harmless form.
* calculated based on average body weight of 180 lbs
** according to the daily average consumption
*** “Action Level” or maximum allowed level enforced by the government, EPA (likely to exceed the average contamination)
Even though our shilajit is way below the warning flag, you may still take the following steps to be super safe:
You have to revise the entire shopping list when it comes down to food, including shilajit. First of all, we would need to get the COA from all vendors and this would not be an easy task. In my personal experience, most of the companies in the USA do not test their products for heavy metal contamination. You would either have to spend $150 you’re your own laboratory analyses or wait for them to follow your request to do that.
You may be surprised to realize that some products your family has utilized for many years contain a high level of metals. You should, however, avoid that where possible. Nonetheless, trying to do away with foods that contain heavy metals would be a challenge that might not benefit your health at all... you would need to avoid a lot of organic supplements, including shilajit and would potentially miss out on their many advantages.
Damaging yourself with Pure Himalayan Shilajit is a very unlikely thing. Just by consuming food and water every day, you have greater amount of heavy metals within your body than you would get from shilajit.