So, what is bentonite clay? It’s actually composed of ash made from volcanos. The largest known source of bentonite clay is found in Fort Benton, Wyoming, where numerous volcanos are present. The name of the clay stems from the town where today much of the supply is still harvested.
1. Used on the Skin to Help Heal Poison Ivy, Dermatitis and Wounds
When combined with water and left to dry on the skin as a clay mask, the clay is able to bind to bacteria and toxins living on the surface of the skin and within pores to extract these from the pores. This helps to reduce the outbreak of blemishes, alleviate redness, and also to fight allergic reactions from irritating lotions or face washes, and even helps heal poison ivy.
Thanks to the clay’s special ability to act as an antibiotic treatment when applied topically to the skin, the clay can help to calm skin infections, like contact dermatitis, and speed up healing time of wounds, even when prescription antibiotics were not able to help solve the problem.
2. Supports Healthy Digestion
By removing toxins, digestive-distress causing chemicals and heavy metals from the gut, bentonite clay helps to promote digestion. Research has also shown that, in animals, bentonite clay can bind to particular toxins like “aflatoxins” that are common in the standard diet, found usually on improperly stored food products. When left unattended, an influx of aflatoxins can contribute to liver damage and potentially even the onset of certain cancers.
In a study using cows, scientists found that bentonite clay molecules bound to bovine rotavirus and bovine coronavirus, two major viruses that contribute to gastroenteritis (referred to as stomach flu in people). (Variations of both of these viruses can also be present in human beings.
Thanks to its ability to neutralize bacteria in the gut and kill viruses, bentonite clay helps to alleviate many digestive problems. Some people use bentonite clay as relief for nausea and vomiting by pregnant women, as a safe way to remedy constipation, and to help with IBS.
3. May Promote Weight Loss
As part of a healthy diet containing plenty of alkaline foods, natural detox drinks and probiotics/prebiotics, bentonite clay was found to contribute to weight loss in healthy men over a 21-day period. The participants, overall, also saw improvement in total cholesterol.
Because of the uncontrolled nature of this study, it is not possible to determine how influential bentonite clay, as a single element, was on the observed weight loss, so these results should be approached with caution. To date, no controlled, human studies exist to reflect this benefit.
4. Helps with Thyroid Function
In rats and mice, bentonite clay helps to absorb certain thyroid hormones (T3 and T4), resulting in the alleviation of hyperthyroidism. This result suggests bentonite might potentially help people keep thyroid levels down, although the test has not been duplicated in humans as of yet.
5. Stops Growth of Two Cancer Cell Lines in a Lab
A lab study conducted in 2016 discovered that bentonite clay stopped the growth of cancer cell line U251, a human cancer cell found in a central nervous cancer called glioblastoma. However, another cell line was grown larger when exposed to the substance. The researchers explained that the cell formations and swelling of bentonite clay is the reason for this, and that it could potentially be effective against specific types of cancers (like glioblastomas), but not others.