What Is Shilajit?

A mineral-rich resin used in Ayurveda

Shilajit pills and ground Shilajit

 Verywell

Shilajit is one of many herb and mineral formulations used in Ayurveda, a healing system that originated thousands of years ago in India. Shilajit has been used in traditional herbal medicine to treat a wide variety of conditions. It contains an important compound known as fulvic acid and is rich in minerals.

Shilajit, a blackish-brownish resin, comes from layers of rock found in several mountain ranges worldwide, including the Himalayan, Tibetan, and Altai mountains.

Shilajit is available as a dietary supplement. This article describes the potential uses of shilajit. It also covers the risk factors and side effects of taking shilajit.

Dietary supplements are not regulated in the United States, meaning the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve them for safety and effectiveness before products are marketed. When possible, choose a supplement that has been tested by a trusted third party, such as USP, ConsumerLabs, or NSF. However, even if supplements are third-party tested, that doesn't mean that they are necessarily safe for all or effective in general. It is important to talk to your healthcare provider about any supplements you plan to take and to check in about any potential interactions with other supplements or medications.

Supplement Facts

  • Active Ingredient(s): Fulvic acids, fusims, carotenoids
  • Alternate Name(s): Mumie, Moomiyo, Mummiyo
  • Legal Status: Not currently recognized as safe by FDA
  • Suggested Dose: No suggested recommended dose.
  • Safety Considerations: Not suggested during pregnancy, lactation, or for children.
Possible Side Effects of Shilajit
Verywell / Alex Dos Diaz

Uses of Shilajit

Supplement use should be individualized and vetted by a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian nutritionist, pharmacist, or doctor. No supplement is intended to treat, cure, or prevent a disease.

Research on the potential health benefits of shilajit is limited. While shilajit has been studied in lab and animal studies for health conditions (e.g., chronic fatigue, anemia, diabetes, chronic pain), there is NOT enough evidence to support its use for any of these conditions due to lack of human research. More research is needed. Very few well‐designed, placebo‐controlled, peer-reviewed human studies have been published.

Alzheimer's Disease

Shilajit contains an antioxidant known as fulvic acid. A 2012 study found that this fulvic acid in shilajit may help block the buildup of tau. Tau is a type of protein that forms twisted clusters of dead and dying nerve cells known as neurofibrillary tangles. Tau is considered a key marker of Alzheimer's disease and similar diseases.

Another research study conducted in 2012 with 16 people with probable Alzheimer's disease showed less cognitive worsening (e.g., confusion, memory loss) over 24 weeks compared with the placebo group. This was measured by mental examination tests. It is important to note that the researchers used a combination formula of both shilajit and B vitamins, not just shilajit.

The researchers of both studies note that more research is needed to determine whether shilajit can play a role in Alzheimer's disease.

Sperm Count

A 2010 study published in the journal Andrologia investigated the effects of shilajit on sperm in 35 infertile men.

The people in the study took 100 milligrams (mg) of processed shilajit in capsule form twice daily for 90 days. At the end of the study period, 28 participants showed significant increases in total sperm count, the amount of healthy sperm, and sperm motility, a measure of how well sperm move.

High Cholesterol

A small study published in 2003 found improvements in cholesterol levels. The study included 30 individuals, ranging in age from 16 to 30 years.

Participants were randomly placed in two groups. One group of 20 participants took 2 grams of shilajit per day for 45 days, and another group of 10 participants took a placebo.

Researchers found significant decreases in cholesterol levels and triglycerides in the shilajit group compared to the placebo group. High cholesterol and high triglycerides increase the risk of developing heart disease.

The shilajit group also had improved antioxidant status, a measure of how well the body protects cells from damage. However, researchers tested for—but did not see—changes in blood pressure, pulse rate, or body weight.

What Are the Side Effects of Shilajit?

Consuming a supplement like shilajit may have potential side effects. These side effects may be common or severe. Due to a lack of research, little is known about the safety of short-term or long-term use of shilajit. However, there are some possible concerns and side effects, including:

  • Shilajit may increase iron levels, as found in animal model studies. People with conditions such as hemochromatosis (an excess of iron in the blood) should avoid it until more research in human studies can be completed.
  • Shilajit may alter the body's hormone levels, including a significant increase in levels of total testosterone.
  • Raw or unprocessed shilajit may be contaminated with heavy metals or fungus that can make you sick.

Precautions

Pregnant or breastfeeding people and children shouldn't take shilajit in any form. As noted above, it is also best to avoid shilajit if you have hemochromatosis or concerns with testosterone.

Dosage: How Much Shilajit Should I Take?

Always speak with a healthcare provider before taking a supplement to ensure that the supplement and dosage is appropriate for your individual needs.

There is not enough scientific evidence to determine a standard or appropriate dose of shilajit. Studies investigating shilajit have used varying amounts, although participants are generally under medical supervision. More research is needed on dosages for specific health needs and populations

What Happens If I Take Too Much Shilajit?

There is not a recommended amount as noted above. As a rule of thumb, never take more than the manufacturer's recommended dosage. If you experience side effects of any sort, stop taking shilajit and call your healthcare provider.

Interactions

Currently, there are no known interactions with different medications due to a lack of research.

It is essential to carefully read the ingredient list and nutrition facts panel of a supplement to know which ingredients and how much of each ingredient is included. Please review this supplement label with your healthcare provider to discuss potential interactions with foods, other supplements, and medications.

How To Store Shilajit

Store shilajit according to manufacturer's directions. Discard as indicated on the packaging.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the side effects of shilajit?

    Taking shilajit in any form comes with potential side effects:

    • May worsen certain conditions including hemochromatosis (too much iron in the blood)
    • Can affect hormone levels in the body
    • Could be contaminated by metals or fungus if it is raw or unprocessed, leading to illness
  • Are there benefits to using shilajit?

    Shilajit has been used in Ayurveda medicine. Researchers are currently looking at its role in Alzheimer's disease and high cholesterol, among other uses. More research is needed regarding the benefits of shilajit.

  • Can individuals who are pregnant take shilajit?

    Until more research can be done, it is not recommended that pregnant or lactating individuals take shilajit.

Sources of Shilajit & What to Look For

Shilajit Supplements

Shilajit is sold in several forms, including capsules, powder, and liquid. It can come in various colors (e.g., white or black) and have a strong odor.

It is usually not found as a food source but may be added to beverages.

Some products may be contaminated with dangerous substances, such as heavy metals. Even substances that are labeled "purified" may contain contaminants. No scientific evidence suggests which form is best. Additionally, there are safety concerns when taking this or any supplement. Remember that it is illegal for any company to market a dietary supplement product as a treatment or cure for a specific disease.

Summary

Shilajit is a mineral-rich resin that has long been used in Ayurveda healing. Today, some preliminary studies claim it can aid in treating mild Alzheimer's disease and high cholesterol. However, more clinical trials with humans need to be completed to understand the effects and dosage amounts.

While research is limited, possible side effects include increased iron levels in the blood and altered hormone levels. Like most supplements, shilajit is not regulated by the FDA, so it's important to let your health care provider know if you're considering using shilajit for any health purpose.

13 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Agarwal SP, Khanna R, Karmarkar R, et al. Shilajit: a review. Phytotherapy Research. 2007;21:401-405. doi:10.1002/ptr.2100

  2. Wilson E, Rajamanickam GV, Dubey GP, et al. Review on shilajit used in traditional Indian medicine. J of Ethnopharmacology. 2011;136(1):1-9. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2011.04.033

  3. Food and Drug Administration. Shilajit resin.

  4. Carrasco-Gallardo C, Guzmán L, Maccioni RB. Shilajit: a natural phytocomplex with potential procognitive activity. Int J Alzheimers Dis. 2012;2012:674142. doi:10.1155/2012/674142

  5. Carrasco-Gallardo, C, Farias GA, et al. Can nutraceuticals prevent Alzheimer's disease? Potential therapeutic role of a formulation containing shilajit and complex B vitamins. Archives of Medical Research. 2012;43(8):699-704. doi:10.1016/j.arcmed.2012.10.010

  6. Biswas TK, Pandit S, Mondal S, et al. Clinical evaluation of spermatogenic activity of processed Shilajit in oligospermia. Andrologia. 2010;42(1):48-56. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0272.2009.00956.x

  7. Sharma P, Jha J, Shrinivas V, Dwivedi LK, Suresh P, Sinha M. Shilajit: evalution of its effects on blood chemistry of normal human subjectsAnc Sci Life. 2003;23(2):114–119.

  8. Sharma P, Jha J, Shrinivas V, et al. Shilajit: evalution of its effects on blood chemistry of normal human subjectsAnc Sci Life. 2003;23(2):114–119.

  9. Velmurugan C, Vivek B, Wilson E, Bharathi T, Sundaram T. Evaluation of safety profile of black shilajit after 91 days repeated administration in ratsAsian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine. 2012;2(3):210-214. doi:10.1016/S2221-1691(12)60043-4

  10. Pandit S, Biswas S, Jana U, De RK, et al. Clinical evaluation of purified Shilajit on testosterone levels in healthy volunteers. Andrologia. 2016;48(5):570-5. doi:10.1111/and.12482

  11. Agarwal SP,Khanna R, Karmarkar R, Anwer MK, Khar RK. Shilajit:A review. Phytotherapy Research. 2007;21:401-405. doi:10.1002/ptr.2100

  12. Velmurugan C, Vivek B, Wilson E, et al. Evaluation of safety profile of black shilajit after 91 days repeated administration in ratsAsian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine. 2012;2(3):210-214. doi:10.1016/S2221-1691(12)60043-4

  13. Pandit S, Biswas S, Jana U, De RK, et al. Clinical evaluation of purified Shilajit on testosterone levels in healthy volunteers. Andrologia. 2016;48(5):570-5. doi:10.1111/and.12482

By Alena Clark, PhD
Alena Clark, PhD, is a registered dietitian and experienced nutrition and health educator

Originally written by
Cathy Wong
Cathy Wong

Cathy Wong is a nutritionist and wellness expert. Her work is regularly featured in media such as First For Women, Woman's World, and Natural Health.

Learn about our editorial process