Why is Shilajit called “The Destroyer of Weakness?”

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Shilajit is a natural, tar-like substance found in the upper reaches of the Himalayan mountains. Indian Ayurvedic medicine has used it for thousands of years as an aphrodisiac, a physical performance enhancer, and a potent healing remedy with widespread applications.

Shilajit is known by the locals as the “conqueror of mountains” and the “destroyer of weakness” because of its powerful effects on vitality and its ability to give the local Sherpas the almost supernatural strength and stamina they need to summit the peak.

Various references to the potent effects of Shilajit extend all the way back to ancient Greece. In fact, it’s believed the philosopher, Aristotle, introduced this elixir to Alexander the Great who fed shilajit to his armies to ensure victory on the battlefield.

During the middle ages another great conqueror, the mongul Genghis Khan, added Shilajit to the rations of his generals, personal guards and special units.

More recently, it’s believed to be one of the secret ingredients that helped Russian strongmen dominate powerlifting competitions for decades as well as one of the main fuel sources for Russian cosmonauts during the space race of the 1960’s.

While the legends of shilajit are certainly attractive, it means very little without scientific evidence to back them up.

Digging Deeper into Shilajit

Shilajit is composed of humus soil and organic plant material that has been compressed by layers of rock over thousands of years.

During warmer weather, shilajit leaks out of small cracks in the mountain side where it’s collected and purified into a digestible powder.

Because of the millennia spent compacting in the Himalayas, shilajit is extremely nutrient dense.

It contains 85 different essential minerals in their bio-available forms.

As you’ll see, recent researched performed on shilajit shows this remarkable amount of nutrition in one compound has far reaching health benefits; ones that confirm the ancient lore.

Healthspan Benefits of Shilajit

Fatigue

Shilajit combats chronic fatigue by balancing the stress hormone, cortisol. [1]

Fatigue fighting benefits of shilajit are also credited to its ability to prevent mitochondrial dysfunction. Mitochondria are the “powerplants” for every cell in the body and their health is a key determinant of your energy levels. [1]

Fulvic acid, one of the main compounds in shilajit, actively takes part in the transportation of nutrients into deep tissues of the body to help to overcome tiredness, lethargy, and chronic fatigue. [2]

Fertility

Shilajit is shown to restore sperm production after exposure to fertility damaging chemicals. [3]

In one study, 60 infertile male patients were given 200mgs of Shilajit for 90 days. At the end of the study researchers found improvement in sperm count ( +61.4%), sperm mobility (+17.4%), and serum testosterone levels (+23.5%). There was also an 18.7 % decrease in Malondialdehyde (MDA), a marker for oxidative stress found in sperm. [4]

In healthy volunteers between the age of 45 and 45 years old, after 90 days 500mg of shilajit was shown to increase free testosterone levels by 17% and DHEAs, a precursor to testosterone, by 31%.[5]

Muscle Growth

Shilajit promotes muscle growth by activating genes responsible for muscle elasticity, repair, and regeneration. [6]

Cancer

Shilajit activates pathways in the body that block the formation of cancer cells. [7]

Cognition

Shilajit is shown to enhance the GABAergic system in the brain. GABA is a major neurotransmitter connected to relaxation and calm. [8]

One study published in the Phytotherapy Research Journal found compounds in shilajit significantly augmented learning acquisition and memory retrieval.[9]

Fulvic acid inhibits build up and promotes destruction of proteins in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease. [13]

Healing Properties

Shilajit is proven to be a potent anti-viral compound to combat sickness. [10]

In one study, shilajit decreased stomach inflammation by 76.8%. [11]

Shilajit shows s anti-ulcer activity via a reduction in gastric acid secretion and pepsin levels. [11]

Shilajit provides pain relief by reducing inflammation. [14]

Alcohol Withdrawal

After 21 days, shilajit was shown to decrease alcohol intake via balancing the neurotransmitter dopamine. [12]

Acute treatment with Ashwagandha and Shilajit reversed alcohol withdrawal anxiety [12]

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1. Surapaneni, D. K., Adapa, S. R., Preeti, K., Teja, G. R., Veeraragavan, M., & Krishnamurthy, S. (2012). Shilajit attenuates behavioral symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome by modulating the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis and mitochondrial bioenergetics in rats. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 143(1), 91-99. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2012.06.002
2. Meena, H., Pandey, H., Arya, M., & Ahmed, Z. (2010). Shilajit: A panacea for high-altitude problems. International Journal of Ayurveda Research, 1(1), 37. doi:10.4103/0974-7788.59942
3. Mishra, R. K., Jain, A., & Singh, S. K. (2018). Profertility effects of Shilajit on cadmium-induced infertility in male mice. Andrologia, 50(8). doi:10.1111/and.13064
4. Biswas, T. K., Pandit, S., Mondal, S., Biswas, S. K., Jana, U., Ghosh, T., . . . Auddy, B. (2010). Clinical evaluation of spermatogenic activity of processed Shilajit in oligospermia. Andrologia,42(1), 48-56. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0272.2009.00956.x
5. Pandit, S., Biswas, S., Jana, U., De, R. K., Mukhopadhyay, S. C., & Biswas, T. K. (2015). Clinical evaluation of purified Shilajit on testosterone levels in healthy volunteers. Andrologia, 48(5), 570-575. doi:10.1111/and.12482
6. Das, A., Datta, S., Rhea, B., Sinha, M., Veeraragavan, M., Gordillo, G., & Roy, S. (2016). The Human Skeletal Muscle Transcriptome in Response to Oral Shilajit Supplementation. Journal of Medicinal Food, 19(7), 701-709. doi:10.1089/jmf.2016.0010
7. Kececi, M., Akpolat, M., Gulle, K., Gencer, E., & Sahbaz, A. (2015). Evaluation of preventive effect of shilajit on radiation-induced apoptosis on ovaries. Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics,293(6), 1255-1262. doi:10.1007/s00404-015-3924-6
8. Durg, S., Veerapur, V., Thippeswamy, B., & Ahamed, S. (2015). Antiepileptic and antipsychotic activities of standardized Śilājatu (Shilajit) in experimental animals. Ancient Science of Life, 35(2), 110. doi:10.4103/0257-7941.171675
9. S. Ghosal, J. Lal, A. K. Jaiswal, S. K. Bhattacharya. Effects of shilajit and its active constituents on learning and memory in rats. Phytotherapy Research (Feb 1993), Volume 7, Issue 1 , Pages 29 – 34
10. Cagno, V., Donalisio, M., Civra, A., Cagliero, C., Rubiolo, P., & Lembo, D. (2015). In vitro evaluation of the antiviral properties of Shilajit and investigation of its mechanisms of action. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 166, 129-134. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2015.03.019
11. Goel RK, Banerjee RS, Acharya SB. Antiulcerogenic and anti-inflammatory studies with shilajit. J Ethnopharmacol. 1990 Apr; 29(1):95-103.
12. Banerjee, S., & Bansal, P. (2016). Effect of withinia somnifera and shilajit on alcohol addiction in mice. Pharmacognosy Magazine, 12(46), 121. doi:10.4103/0973-1296.182170
13. Cornejo, A., Jiménez, J. M., Caballero, L., Melo, F., & Maccioni, R. B. (2011). Fulvic Acid Inhibits Aggregation and Promotes Disassembly of Tau Fibrils Associated with Alzheimers Disease. Journal of Alzheimers Disease, 27(1), 143-153. doi:10.3233/jad-2011-110623
14. Gadaleta, Raffaella Maria, et al. “Exploration of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Mice: Chemically Induced Murine Models of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).” Current Protocols in Mouse Biology, Feb. 2017, pp. 13–28., doi:10.1002/cpmo.20.

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3. Dumont, M., Kipiani, K., Yu, F., Wille, E., Katz, M., Calingasan, N. Y., … Beal, M. F. (2011). Coenzyme Q10 Decreases Amyloid Pathology and Improves Behavior in a Transgenic Mouse Model of Alzheimers Disease. Journal of Alzheimers Disease, 27(1), 211–223. doi: 10.3233/jad-2011-110209

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6. Crowley D.C., et al. “Bioavailability and Health Effects of CoQ10 in Healthy Human Adults.” May 11, 2006.

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8. Effects of carnitine and coenzyme Q10 on lipid profile and serum levels of lipoprotein(a) in maintenance hemodialysis patients on statin therapy. (2011). Iranian Journal of Kidney Diseases. doi: 21368390

9. Vargiu, R., Littarru, G. P., Faa, G., & Mancinelli, R. (2008). Positive inotropic effect of coenzyme Q10, omega-3 fatty acids and propionyl-L-carnitine on papillary muscle force-frequency responses of BIO TO-2 cardiomyopathic Syrian hamsters. BioFactors, 32(1-4), 135–144. doi: 10.1002/biof.5520320116

10. Johansson, P., Dahlström, Ö., Dahlström, U., & Alehagen, U. (2015). Improved health-related quality of life, and more days out of hospital with supplementation with selenium and coenzyme Q10 combined. Results from a double blind, placebo-controlled prospective study. The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging, 19(9), 870–877. doi: 10.1007/s12603-015-0509-9

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