Shilajit!? That sounds painful!

If you’re a frequenter of fitness Twitter, you may have heard talk of shilajit. But what is it? And, just as importantly, what does it do?

Here we’ll give the lowdown on this natural substance and its test-boosting properties, as well as a number of other beneficial effects.

Shilajit: what is it and what does it do?

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Shilajit being harvested

For many hundreds of years, healers in the Himalayas and the mountains of the Caucasus and Altai, have collected shilajit. Shilajit is a largely organic substance with a low molecular weight. One of the main components of shilajit is fulvic acid, as well as humic acid.

In local cultures, shilajit is known as ‘blood of the mountain’ or ‘rock sweat’, and various healing properties are attributed to it.

In Ayurvedic medicine shilajit is considered a rasayana, or rejuvenator. In India, it is traded as a substance for enhancing libido and fertility. A number of supplement companies also claim that fulvic acids can clear the body of heavy metals.

Researchers wanted to test whether the libido- and fertility-enhancing properties could be demonstrated scientifically . They took 28 infertile men aged between 30 and 45, all with a low sperm count, and gave them 200 mg of a purified shilajit extract each day for 90 days. The 200 mg dose was divided over two intakes, and the men took the supplement after meals.

In the table below, we can see that during the supplementation period the men’s sperm count rose. Not only that: the sperm cells were also more motile and healthier. In addition, oxidative stress decreased and the testosterone level rose by 23.5 percent.

Shilajit boosts fertility and testosterone level

So how did Shilajit do these things?

The researchers believe that the shilajit helps reduce damage from free radicals in the testes, which in turn boosts the production of testosterone and sperm.

It’s also worth noting that the reduction in numbers of one type of white blood cell (listed under “haematology) in the men suggests that some of them may have been suffering from an infection, and that the shilajit helped fight it off.

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