Zeolite: Its role in detoxification

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Zeolite Infographic

Zeolite is a clay-pyrite mineral that due to its crystalline structure has unique physical and chemical properties [1], for example, it absorbs and excretes water in an amount that reaches 30-50% of its weight. It got its name from the Greek words zeo (boil) and stone because during its heating to a high temperature – when it is hot – it releases steam. It can absorb not only water but also other elements such as alcohol, benzene and chloroform. Because many harmful chemicals can be absorbed by zeolite, it is used in domestic water purifiers.

The types of zeolites

In nature there are many types of zeolites, among which: clinoptilolite, mordenite, havazitis, analkimitis, philipsitis, erionite and elandidite. The creation of natural zeolite is attributed to the reaction of obsidian, a volcanic material, with seawater at a temperature of 50-60 degrees Celsius. The process is slow and takes many years, even millennia, to complete. Aluminum (aluminum) and silicon form the basis of the structure of zeolites but often include other elements such as tin, zinc and titanium.

Bedding is considered one of the best types. It binds bacteria, fungi, organometallic compounds and regulates acidic and alkaline soils to neutral. In agriculture, it acts as a regulator of the amount of water, releasing it according to the needs of the plants. It is used to improve the soil, acting as a source of potassium release while ammonia is added releasing nitrogen.

About 3 million tonnes of zeolite are produced each year, with China leading the way, followed by South Korea and Japan. In Greece there is natural zeolite – in Thrace – which is considered one of the best in the world. It contains 68% silicon, 11% clay, 4% potassium, 1% calcium and to a lesser extent manganese, iron and magnesium. In addition to those found in nature, there are also synthetic zeolites – this market is estimated to reach $ 5.2 billion annually in the United States.

Zeolite and properties

The cubic structure of zeolite A (synthetic), also known as LTA (Linde Type A).

Due to its ability to bind chemicals, zeolite, used as a supplement after proper treatment, facilitates the detoxification of the human body. The strong negative ion charge binds positively charged ions which can be pesticides, heavy metals (lead, mercury, cadmium, aluminum, nickel, tin), free radicals, radioactive metals and even metals such as 90 and cents.

Here are some of the actions of zeolite that scientific research has identified.

Zeolite and detoxification

The ability of zeolite to detoxify from other heavy metals makes it a promising edible supplement. In a clinical trial with 33 volunteers, zeolite boosted the elimination of aluminum, arsenic, lead, mercury and other heavy metals. Participants who received liquid zeolite had significantly higher levels of these metals in their urine samples. Laboratory analysis confirmed that the results were due to detoxification of the body [2].

Studies in mice have shown that zeolite removes lead and protects the brain from oxidative damage to the metal. It reduced lead levels in rodent organs by up to 91% [3, 4]. In rats, clinoptilolite promoted the detoxification of aluminum and prevented the metal from reaching the blood [5]. In pigs with excessive cadmium, zeolite prevented anemia and protected the liver, although it did not affect renal concentration.

Cell studies have confirmed the ability of zeolite to bind and remove heavy metals such as lead, arsenic and mercury [7, 8].

Zeolite and aflatoxins

Through its tiny channels and surface loads, zeolite can trap and remove a wide range of toxins in the human body. In vivo studies show that it absorbs aflatoxins which are mainly produced by the fungus Aspergilus flavus and are more commonly found in cereals and nuts when their production and storage conditions are unsuitable. Aflatoxins endanger human health and especially the liver – they cause hepatotoxicity, cirrhosis and cancer.

Zeolite is a product approved by the European Union as a feed supplement, for use in poultry and pig farms, as a binding of aflatoxins. Because it is harmless, it is added to animal feed to bind toxic substances of low molecular weight to the animal’s body. In test tubes, remove aflatoxin from water (60%) and feed (80%). When given to cows, it reduced the levels of aflatoxin in their milk, an important source of human poisoning. It also protects chickens against another toxin, ochratoxin A [10].

A Greek study in cows showed that zeolite reversed the metabolic damage caused by nitrates [11] – toxins that can disrupt both animal and human health. The fact that some pesticides belong to this group shows the importance of the detoxifying properties of zeolite.

Zeolite and intestinal health

In a condition called leaky gut syndrome, toxins, germs and inflammatory molecules can enter the bloodstream from the gut causing inflammation in the body.

In a clinical trial of 52 endurance athletes, zeolite (1.85 g daily for 12 weeks) made the intestinal wall stronger and prevented leakage. It also had a mild anti-inflammatory effect on the gut [12].

In cell studies, clinoptilolite inhibited the growth of two viruses (coxsackievirus and echovirus) that can invade the bloodstream through the gut [13].

Zeolite and skin health

In cell studies, zeolite eliminated viruses and volatile odors. He also stopped the development of the HSV-1 virus (Herpes simplex). It forms a protective film on the skin, acting as a natural sunscreen and reverses the oxidative damage caused by a sunscreen ingredient, titanium dioxide.

In a clinical trial of 39 volunteers, the deodorant spray with 10% of a zeolite type showed a strong effect (for 24 hours) on the armpit germs, which cause unpleasant odors while the control spray did not. [15]

These properties make zeolite a central ingredient in various personal care products available on the market.

Zeolite and allergies

In mice, a mixture of natural zeolites trapped histamine and other inflammatory agents, reducing skin swelling by 57%. A cell study confirmed histamine binding and therefore relief from inflammation and allergic reactions [17].

Zeolite and safety

Edible zeolite is available in powder, pill and liquid form. It is best to start with a low-dose supplement to gradually reach 1 gram a day in two weeks. A detoxification program lasting a total of 50 days is considered sufficient and can be applied even twice a year. According to the literature, traces of zeolite are eliminated from the body within 8 hours without any residue – it does not accumulate in the body. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration in the US) has included zeolite in the list of Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS).

Zeolite and side effects

However, tests on humans and animals have found that zeolite can cause inflammation of the lungs and damage when inhaled. In one study, large amounts of zeolite in animal feed caused inflammation of the intestines in chickens.

A side effect is dehydration, so it is recommended to drink at least 10-12 glasses of water a day. About 1% of users report mild muscle pain, headache, rash or discomfort in the early stages of detoxification.

Zeolite binds not only complex toxins but also drugs with similar structures. It can remove the antibiotics in the water as well as the prescribed antibiotics [18]. It can also remove iron from supplements, according to a study in mice. It should not be taken after a transplant or in combination with immunosuppressants, as a rodent study caused the graft to react to the host.

There is no evidence that zeolite is safe during pregnancy and lactation.

At Vita4you.gr you will find a wide variety of zeolite supplements!


  1. Critical Review on Zeolite Clinoptilolite Safety and Medical Applications in vivo
  2. Clinical evidence supporting the use of an activated clinoptilolite suspension as an agent to increase urinary excretion of toxic heavy metals.
  3. Neuroprotective Actions of Clinoptilolite and Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid Against Lead-induced Toxicity in Mice Mus musculus.
  4. Modified Natural Clinoptilolite Detoxifies Small Mammal’s Organism Loaded with Lead I. Lead Disposition and Kinetic Model for Lead Bioaccumulation.
  5. Novel, oxygenated clinoptilolite material efficiently removes aluminium from aluminium chloride-intoxicated rats in vivo.
  6. Protection by Clinoptilolite or Zeolite NaA Against Cadmium-Induced Anemia in Growing Swine.
  7. Removal of Arsenic From Water Using Fe-exchanged Natural Zeolite.
  8. Magnetic Self-Assembled Zeolite Clusters for Sensitive Detection and Rapid Removal of mercury(II).
  9. In-field evaluation of clinoptilolite feeding efficacy on the reduction of milk aflatoxin M1 concentration in dairy cattle.
  10. In Vitro and in Vivo Protective Effects of Three Mycotoxin Adsorbents Against Ochratoxin A in Broiler Chickens.
  11. Effects of Prolonged Consumption of Water With Elevated Nitrate Levels on Certain Metabolic Parameters of Dairy Cattle and Use of Clinoptilolite for Their Amelioration.
  12. Effects of zeolite supplementation on parameters of intestinal barrier integrity, inflammation, redoxbiology and performance in aerobically trained subjects.
  13. Antiviral properties of clinoptilolite.
  14. Zeolite Encapsulation Decreases TiO2-photosensitized ROS Generation in Cultured Human Skin Fibroblasts.
  15. New Antiaxillary Odour Deodorant Made With Antimicrobial Ag-zeolite (Silver-Exchanged Zeolite).
  16. Antiphlogistic effect by zeolite as determined by a murine inflammation model.
  17. Histamine-binding capacities of different natural zeolites: a comparative study.
  18. Removal of Sulfonamide Antibiotics From Water: Evidence of Adsorption Into an Organophilic Zeolite Y by Its Structural Modifications.
  19. Zeolite protects mice from iron‐induced damage in a mouse model trial.
  20. Immunostimulatory Effect of Natural Clinoptilolite as a Possible Mechanism of Its Antimetastatic Ability.

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