Shilajit is a natural compound located in the Himalayas. It has been forming for centuries due to the decomposition process that occurs over time in certain plants through the actions of microorganisms. It is a potent and healthy dietary supplement that can restore the balance of energy and possibly capable of preventing various diseases. Recent research suggests an intriguing medical application for the management of cognitive disorders resulting from aging, as well as cognitive stimulation. Therefore, fulvic acid is the principal active ingredient that is able to block tau self-aggregation, providing a path to the study of Alzheimer’s therapies. It is, in essence, a nutraceutical drug with proven positive effects on the health of humans. In light of the potential impact using shilajit in the field of medicine particularly in the neuro sciences, further research at the level of basic biology and clinical trials are needed to better understand the way that organic molecules in the shilajit, and especially fulvic acid as among the most active ingredients and oligoelements work at the molecular as well as cells levels, as well as within the whole body.
Shilajit often referred to in northwestern India as mimie, shilajit, shilajatu mummiyo, is a dark brown powder that can be described as an exudate derived from mountains, especially the Himalayas mountains, which lie between India and Nepal however, it’s also been discovered throughout Russia, Tibet, Afghanistan and, most recently, in northern Chile and is known by the name of Andean Shilajit . Shilajit has been recognized and has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine for its ability to rejuvenate and as an anti-aging substance. There are two key properties of the rasayana compound in the old Indian Ayurvedic medicine: that is, it helps to improve the strength of your body and promotes the overall health of people . Shilajit’s health benefits are known to vary from one region to another depending on the region where it was taken .
2. Origins of Shilajit
In light of its unique structure as a phytocomplex extremely rich in fulvic acid Researchers have proposed that Shilajit is created through the breakdown of plant materials from species like Euphorbia royleana or Trifolium Repens . The process of decomposition is believed to take place over time as a result, and on this basis it is believed to be as a millenary natural product.
3. Molecular Composition of Shilajit
Shilajit is primarily composed of the humic compounds, which include the acid fulvic, which accounts for between 60% and eighty percent of the nutraceutical compound , as well as a few elements, such as selenium with anti-aging properties . Humic substances are the result of the degradation in organic matter, mostly vegetable compounds, which are caused by the actions of a variety of microorganisms. Components are classified functionally in humans, the humic acid and fulvic acids , based on their soluble in water at various pH levels. Humans are not soluble water at any pH. Humic acid dissolves in water when under alkaline conditions. It has a molecular mass between 5 and 10 kDa. Fulvic acid dissolves in water at different pH levels, and due to its small molecular mass (around two kDa) it is easily absorbable by the intestinal tract, and then eliminated in a matter of hours of being eliminated from the body. It is possible that the curative properties attributed to shilajit result from the substantial amounts of fulvic acid that shilajit is a rich source of, as Fulvic acid is recognized for its potent antioxidant effects and may have effects throughout the body as a complement activator . Recent studies of the chemical composition of Andean Shilajit in Chile have revealed an ORAC index of between 50 and 500 Trolox units/g that is significantly more in comparison to Noni as well as blueberries (Quinteros and co. Unpublished research). In this regard it is believed that shilajit is an antioxidant phytocomplex that is highly effective.
Other molecules found in shilajit formulations include ellagic acid, fat acids, resins latex, albumins, gums, triterpenes, sterols aromatic carboxylic acids, 3-benzocoumarin polyphenols, amino acids and phenolic oils . The molecular makeup of shilajit varies across regions. Recent studies based on the high-performance size exclusion technique (HP-SEC) reveal that shilajit has particular molecular varieties of polysaccharides as well as the lignins . Humins, humic acids, as well as fulvic acid are found in all preparations of shilajit with the most notable being fulvic acids, the bioactive compound together with dibenzo-a-pyrones. This serves as a carrier for various compounds.
4. Traditional Uses of Shilajit
Shilajit is a well- recognized ingredient in ayurvedic medicine because of its qualities as rasayana. In this regard the health benefits of the improvement of longevity and rejuvenation and preventing aging have been linked to it . Traditionally it is consumed by people who hail from Nepal along with in the North of India, and youngsters usually consume it along with milk for breakfast. The Sherpas say they have the shilajit in their diet. They are a group of strong men who have very high levels of health longevity. Our lab has discovered evidence for the high activity of the Andean form of shilajit helping to treat cognitive disorders as well as to increase cognition in humans.
With regard to the functions of the fulvic acid in stopping self-aggregation of tau into pathological filaments, this substance is thought to be beneficial in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s . Other typical uses are its role in disorders of the genitourinary tract, jaundice, digestive disorders, an enlarged lymph nodes, epilepsy, neurological disorders, chronic bronchitis and anemia . Shilajit is also effective in the treatment of kidney stones, edema and hemorrhoids as an antiseptic for the internal organs as well as to decrease anorexia. It is also believed by India to be utilized as yogavaha or as a synergistic enhancer for other medications. Shilajit’s organic components contribute to the transport of various mineral compounds to their cell target.
5. Novel Investigations
Shilajit’s preclinical studies show the possibility of its application for certain illnesses and a variety of properties have been identified to it, including (1) antiulcerogenic properties; (2) antioxidant qualities (3) mental and memory enhancement (4) antidiabetic properties (5) anxiolytic properties; (6) antiallergic properties and immunomodulator; (7) anti-inflammatory; (8) analgesic; antifungal property (9) the ability to interact positively with medications ; (10) protective properties at the high elevations (11) neuroprotective drug against cognitive disorders, and Farias and colleagues. Unpublished clinical studies[. Unfortunately, there is no systematic documentation of shilajit as well as clinical studies that are established regarding its immunomodulatory and antioxidative effects in humans. It is expected that the positive results reported by trials , more will be discovered within the next few years .
A few patents already exist that protect the use of shilajit in India and Nepal, such as US Patent 5,405,613–vitamin/mineral composition US Patent application number 20030198695–Herbo-mineral composition ; US Patent number 6,440,436–Process for preparing purified shilajit composition from native shilajit ; US Patent number 6,558,712–Delivery system for pharmaceutical, nutritional and cosmetic ingredients . Another patent that is recent about phyto complexes with vitamins is WO 2011/041920 .
7. Potential Risks
Research suggests that consuming shilajit without purification prior to consumption could cause intoxication because of that it contains mycotoxin heavy metal Ions, polymeric quinones (oxidant agents) and free radicals, to name a few . Thus, a cleanse prepared for human consumption should be utilized. Recent research suggests that a variety of ayurvedic products like shilajit as well as other Indian manufactured products sold on the Internet could contain levels of heavy metals that are detectable such as mercury, lead arsenic, and lead . The findings of this study show that high levels of these heavy metals as well as other minerals, like gems, are linked with the notion that when they mix with the herbal remedies shilajit and others, they trigger a stronger reaction by the body, in a synergic fashion. This is known as rasa-shastra within ayurvedic medicine. Rasashastra experts say that when this preparation is and consumed correctly the product is safe, and offers therapeutic benefits . It is important to note the recent reports of clinical instances of lead poisoning in patients who have taken Ayurvedic remedies to combat weakening
8. Commentary and Discussion
Shilajit enjoys a privileged place in the rasayana due to its quality and popularity in Eastern culture, and is now being utilized with great enthusiasm throughout the world. The majority of the published research papers on this subject originated from India which leaves this region of the world as a specialist in their field since it is a product that is manufactured, sold and researched at these altitudes. But, this leads to the perception of shilajit as a separate entity, leaving it in the same category as it has been considered to be an organic product that is part of natural alternative medicine, not the consequence of biotechnology or medical advancements across the globe. This can be seen by examining the current literature and observing that the journals where research studies on shilajit appear (jobs are abundant) are mostly examined by people from the East. In light of this, it is essential to break out of the traditional tradition and move into the world at the power of rigorous study at the molecular as well as cell levels. This could help to understand the interactions between the active ingredients of various shilajit preparations with biomolecules. This will help us understand their actions.
Shilajit is an extremely potent and safe nutritional supplement that could be capable of preventing a variety of illnesses, however its primary medicinal use is believed to stem from its activities in the direction of improving cognition and as a possible dietary supplement to fight Alzheimer’s disease. It is, in essence, the product of nutraceuticals. In light of the potential impact applications of shilajit in the field of medicine and especially in neurosciences further research at the cellular level are required and definitely well-developed clinical trials in order to determine how the active components of the drug work on a molecular and cellular level.