6 Bentonite Clay Benefits And Its Side Effects

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6 Bentonite Clay Benefits And Side Effects

Bentonite Clay is among those clays you're likely to see in popular cosmetics, from a foundation to a face mask or something you could use for a cleansing or detox ritual. The antibacterial action of the clay makes it a good skincare ingredient, and its ability to bind with heavy metals and even help with defluoridation of water have opened up more possibilities.

Bentonite clay with its volcanic origins is suggested for a range of health benefits, from skin problems to digestive trouble. But for which of these intents is it truly effective? And for which ones is it actually safe to use? Find out just how much you can rely on this clay for its possible medicinal benefits.

6 Bentonite Clay Benefits For Your Body

1. Antibacterial Effect On Skin Infections

Bentonite and other clays’ antibacterial actions have made them one line of treatment for skin infections, even for those that are caused by antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria. The clay nanomaterials are also believed to have therapeutic effects on those with the notorious necrotic mycobacterial skin infection better known as Buruli Ulcers.1

This property of bentonite clay is used in creams to help treat dermatitis of many forms. One cream was tested for helping individuals who suffered from uncontrolled dermatitis of the hands, due to workplace or occupational exposure. Researchers found that it had immense potential, significantly improving chronic hand dermatitis symptoms.2

It has even been tested for diaper dermatitis in infants. This acute inflammatory reaction was calmed by the use of bentonite cream in a test on infants with diaper dermatitis. The bentonite cream worked better than calendula, the alternative tested. As many as 88 percent of all lesions began to show improvement within just six hours of being applied, compared to improvement in 54 percent of all lesions for those who were given calendula cream.3 However, because baby skin can be very sensitive, do check with your pediatrician first before using such creams for diaper dermatitis.

2. Wound Healing

Bentonite clay is also being explored for wound healing. Animal studies have found that bentonite can be used externally to heal wounds with test animals treated with bentonite healing better than the control group. It binds to toxins that could slow down healing, but its anti-inflammatory actions were not found to be significant and may need further study.4

3. External Trauma

For those who have experienced major external trauma, a clay pack could help limit swelling linked tissue damage. The bentonite could help improve skin barrier function and also absorb allergens responsible for swelling and damage. Due to improved barrier function, the percutaneous penetration of allergens is also reduced significantly.5

4. Removal Of Fluoride

For those concerned about consuming too much fluoride through water supply, bentonite clay can help. The clay particles enhanced with magnesium help with removal of loaded fluoride from synthetic or treated water supply. As much as 97 percent was desorbed in one study on the defluoridation properties of bentonite clay.6

5. Reduce Effects Of Aflatoxins

The clay when added to feed could help combat the effects of Aflatoxins. These toxins tend to be present in corn, peanuts, and tree nuts, especially when conditions are damp or humid and the fungi responsible for producing them can thrive. When consumed by humans, these toxins can interfere with normal immune system function.7 Adding it to the feed given to animals bred for meat, like pigs may help counter these toxins. One study on piglets found that bentonite added to their feed was able to reduce the adverse effects of aflatoxins in the food.8

6. Cleanse Your Skin

If you need to detox your body, bentonite clay may help. To get your skin looking and feeling great, some people swear by this clay. To use, just add some (a quarter cup should be ample for a bath) to your bathwater and soak in it. The toxins on your skin should bind to the clay and be removed. The result? Skin that should feel hydrated and smooth with less inflammation. The effects aren’t backed by specific studies, so it’s something you could try if you aren’t otherwise advised against taking hot baths.

Side Effects And Problems With Bentonite Clay

One of the areas that bentonite is suggested for is digestive problems like stomach ulcers and also for an intestinal detox. This treatment requires the patient to actually consume the clay in the form of a supplement or drink or some other ingestible form. While bentonite clay may be okay to use on some topical applications under the guidance of a doctor, consuming supplements or drinks or directly ingesting the clay in various products could be dangerous. The Food Standards Agency in the UK actually issued a directive that warned consumers against the possible dangers. Pregnant women in particular are especially vulnerable. Many of these products being retailed had very high levels of arsenic and lead, both of which are toxic to the body. Arsenic increases the risk of developing skin, bladder, and lung cancers. The lead can adversely affect your kidneys and cardiovascular system, and can harm the central nervous system of a young child. A pregnant woman consuming the clay therefore potentially puts her inborn child at risk.9

Other issues with consuming clay is that it could in a worst case scenario clog up your lower intestine, a situation that might even need surgical intervention if it gets out of hand. Others point out possible nutrient deficiencies that could arise from clay consumption. Your gums, teeth, and digestive system too could take a hit.10

The WHO also warns of long-term occupational exposure to bentonite dust which could cause functional and structural damage to your lungs. Unfortunately, information remains limited and is complicated by factors like simultaneous exposure to tobacco smoke or silica that cloud clarity. The silica and quartz that may sometimes be found mixed in with the bentonite, pose the risk of increasing risk of lung cancer.11

No adverse effects are reported for using bentonite clay based cosmetics and creams. Which is why the US FDA approved it as an ingredient “Generally regarded as safe”. It is used widely in foundations, face cleansers, paste masks, and other skin care preparations.12

References   [ + ]

1. Haydel, Shelley E., Christine M. Remenih, and Lynda B. Williams. “Broad-spectrum in vitro antibacterial activities of clay minerals against antibiotic-susceptible and antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens.” Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 61, no. 2 (2008): 353-361.
2. Fowler Jr, Joseph F. “A skin moisturizing cream containing Quaternium-18-Bentonite effectively improves chronic hand dermatitis.” Journal of cutaneous medicine and surgery 5, no. 3 (2001): 201-205.
3. Mahmoudi, Mansoreh, Mohsen Adib-Hajbaghery, and Mahdi Mashaiekhi. “Comparing the effects of Bentonite & Calendula on the improvement of infantile diaper dermatitis: A randomized controlled trial.” The Indian journal of medical research 142, no. 6 (2015): 742.
4, 5. Emami-Razavi, S. H., N. Esmaeili, S. K. Forouzannia, S. Amanpour, S. Rabbani, and AM Alizadeh MA Mohagheghi. “Effect of bentonite on skin wound healing: experimental study in the rat model.” Acta Medica Iranica 44, no. 4 (2006): 235-240.
6. Thakre, Dilip, Sadhana Rayalu, Raju Kawade, Siddharth Meshram, J. Subrt, and Nitin Labhsetwar. “Magnesium incorporated bentonite clay for defluoridation of drinking water.” Journal of Hazardous Materials 180, no. 1 (2010): 122-130.
7. Cusumano, V., F. Rossano, R. A. Merendino, A. Arena, G. B. Costa, G. Mancuso, A. Baroni, and E. Losi. “Immunobiological activities of mould products: functional impairment of human monocytes exposed to aflatoxin B1.” Research in microbiology 147, no. 5 (1996): 385-391.
8. Thieu, Nguyen Quang, Brian Ogle, and Hans Pettersson. “Efficacy of bentonite clay in ameliorating aflatoxicosis in piglets fed aflatoxin contaminated diets.” Tropical animal health and production 40, no. 8 (2008): 649-656.
9. Consumer warning on clay reissued. Food Standards Agency.
10. Williams, Lynda B., Shelley E. Haydel, and Ray E. Ferrell Jr. “Bentonite, bandaids, and borborygmi.” Elements (Quebec, Quebec) 5, no. 2 (2009): 99.
CureJoy Editorial

The CureJoy Editorial team digs up credible information from multiple sources, both academic and experiential, to stitch a holistic health perspective on topics that pique our readers' interest.

CureJoy Editorial

The CureJoy Editorial team digs up credible information from multiple sources, both academic and experiential, to stitch a holistic health perspective on topics that pique our readers' interest.