Saturday, June 25, 2011

Dietary Clay





I had wondered for some time why certain dirts were not more commonly consumed.  Once again, if you wait long enough the answer will present itself.  Yes it is done.  It is just we do not as we are hardly close to nature anymore.

The secret is that clay is an altered form of volcanic ash which retains a significant level of the original reactivity of the ash.  The key ashes are actually one of several varieties of solid crystalline acids.  These acids, been non soluble are unable to actually do damage but are able to bind any free radicals around in the environment.  They stabilize or at least assist in stabilizing stomach and digestive chemistry.

Certainly they would be an actual aid to digestion and a natural supplier of minerals as needed by the digestive system.

Of course, one boils the clays involved and I sort of think that any organics can be separated nicely through floatation and hydraulic separation.


The dirty diet: Dirt and clay soothes and protects the stomach

By Nadine Bells | Shine – Wed, 8 Jun, 2011 10:49 AM EDT


Geophagy, the practice of eating dirt, is a common craving among pregnant women. Young children often snack on dirt and clay — mud pies, anyone? — when playing outdoors. And in warm, tropical climates, the practice is surprisingly common.

 So if you’re craving dirt, you’re not alone. Nor are you crazy. There may be health benefits to munching on dirt that your body intuitively understands.

 A new study found that people eat dirt even in areas where food is plenty, ruling out the previously assumed hunger-motivation of the practice. As for dirt providing any nutritional benefits, the clay often dug up for consuming proved relatively void of healthy minerals.

Instead, dirt-eating is most common in tropical climates where foodborne pathogens threaten the digestive tract. "We found that it was pregnant women and young children who are eating clay, those who are the most vulnerable to infectious diseases. It was occurring where the pathogen density was higher, in warm, moist climates," Cornell University researcher Sera Young told LiveScience.

"We found that it was pregnant women and young children who are eating clay, those who are the most vulnerable to infectious diseases. It was occurring where the pathogen density was higher, in warm, moist climates," Cornell University researcher Sera Young told LiveScience.

In Tanzania and other areas of Africa, rates of dirt-eating among pregnant woman range from 30 to 60 per cent. In certain areas of the United States, rates vary between 20 and 40 per cent. Dirt protects the vulnerable ­— often women and children — from parasites and pathogens, and soothed irritated intestines.

"This clay can either bind to harmful things, like microbes, pathogens and viruses, that we are eating or can make a barrier, like a mud mask for our gut," said Young, who also authored the book "Craving Earth: Understanding Pica — the Urge to Eat Clay, Starch, Ice, and Chalk."

It should be noted that clay for consumption is typically boiled first and comes from deep in the ground, where it’s cleaner and unaffected by pathogens. Topsoil has the most biological activity and risks being a source of infection. Live Science points out that clay was once an ingredient in the stomach-soothing antidiarrheal medicine Koapectate before lead-contamination concerns dictated its removal.

The study is only the beginning of much-needed research on the topic. Eating dirt poses a unique set of  risks, from infection to constipation to mineral deficiencies. Instead of digging lunch out of the sandbox, it’s best advised that stomach-soothing solutions be sought from real foods like ginger, kefir, cardamom and rooibos tea.

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