What is Zeolite?
Zeolite is a complex mineral which forms in the contact of volcanic lava and water. This process can take thousands or even millions of years; scientists estimate that the first zeolite minerals formed over 300 million years ago.
“Zeolite” is a common name for over 240 unique structures (or frameworks), of which 40+ occur in nature. The most common types of zeolite include :
Ancient Romans used zeolite B.C. to build bridges. Then it fell into oblivion and found its way back in 1756 when Swedish mineralogist Axel Cronstedt first described and named it.
He merged two Greek words: zéō, meaning “boiling” and líthos, meaning “stone.” Zeolite released plenty of steam when heated and thus reminded Cronstedt of a “boiling stone” .
- Helps you detox
- Supports gut health
- Blocks oxidative damage
- Can Stop Bleeding
- May lower blood lipids
- May protect the brain and the liver
- Cleans and protects your skin
- Can cause lung damage when inhaled
- Can block the absorption of drugs and nutrients
- May be contaminated with heavy metals
- Some types can be carcinogens
Structure and Components
In a clash of scalding lava and cold seawater, zeolite forms a unique cage-like structure and negative surface charge. Aluminum and silicon make the basis of this structure, but it often includes other elements such as oxygen, tin, zinc, and titanium.
Tiny cages enable zeolite to act as a “molecular sieve,” filtering molecules based on their particle size. Negative surface charge loosely binds minerals – such as sodium, potassium, and calcium – and replaces them with large ions and heavy metals .
In other words, zeolite can pick up plenty of “bad stuff” and replace it with “good stuff.”
Fast forward from its re-discovery, miners are now producing around 3 million tons of zeolite each year. China leads the way, followed by South Korea, Japan, and Jordan. Natural zeolites are abundant but often contaminated with other minerals, quartz, metals, etc.
The industry mostly relies on synthetic zeolites, which are pure and have uniform structures. Some of them don’t exist in nature, such as Zeolite A.
- Farming: removes odors and helps manage wastewaters
- Agriculture: controls moisture and provides minerals
- Public health and ecology: purifies water and helps remove nuclear waste
- Household: in deodorizing agents, cleaning products, and personal care
- Chemistry: speeds up chemical reactions
Traditional & Medical Uses
Traditional medicine recognizes clay eating (geophagia) as a natural detox method. Zeolite has similar properties and traditional uses .
- Separation and detection of biomarkers
- Controlled drug delivery
- Imaging methods such as NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance)
- Skin and bone tissue engineering
- Wound treatment and bleeding control
Zeolite can bind and remove a wide range of toxins from the human body, drinking water, and waste materials. Its tiny cages and surface charge trap heavy metals, natural and chemical poisons, radioactive elements, microbes, metabolic products, and more [7, 8, 9, 10].
- Reverse oxidative damage
- Maintain a healthy microbiome
- Kill bacteria and viruses
- Boost the levels of minerals and trace elements
- Repair skin lesions and stop bleeding
For these reasons, it’s often used to detox heavy metals and other toxins from the body.
Zeolite does it all in the gut without being absorbed, which makes it safe for human use with a few notable exceptions (see “Side Effects & Interactions” below).
Health Benefits of Zeolite
Preliminary research on zeolite showed great results, but solid clinical evidence for most conditions is still lacking. The following studies should encourage further investigation before we make any definite conclusions. Remember to speak with a doctor before taking zeolite supplements. They can not replace medical treatment for any health condition.
Note: Clinoptilolite is the most common type of zeolite for medical uses. All potential benefits refer to clinoptilolite unless stated otherwise.
1) Helps Stop Bleeding
Uncontrolled bleeding is the 2nd cause of death in severe injuries and accidents.
The US military uses zeolite-based product (QuickClot) to stop severe bleeding on the battlefield. Backed up by solid clinical evidence and real-life effectiveness, this product has also found application in civil medicine [14, 15, 16, 17].
A mixture containing zeolite and clay (CoolClot) significantly decreased bleeding time in dogs with a life-threatening injury. In human blood samples, it enhanced clotting by 40% .
Clinoptilolite stopped uncontrolled bleeding in almost 70% of treated rats and increased their chance of survival by 60% .
Potential benefits in this section stem from smaller clinical trials, animal, and cell-based studies. They are not researched well enough to recommend zeolite for any of the below conditions.
2) Can Help You Detox
In a clinical trial on 33 volunteers, zeolite enhanced the elimination of aluminum, arsenic, lead, mercury, and other heavy metals. People who took liquid zeolite (30 drops a day) had significantly higher levels of these metals in their urine samples. Lab analysis confirmed that zeolite wasn’t contaminated, attributing the results to heavy metal detox .
In rats, clinoptilolite stimulated aluminum detox and stopped it from reaching the blood .
Cadmium is another heavy metal that can cause anemia and impair different organs. In cadmium-poisoned pigs, zeolite prevented anemia and protected the liver. However, it didn’t impact the cadmium concentration in the kidneys .
Brain Damage & Mood
The ability of zeolite to detox lead, mercury, aluminum, and other heavy metals makes it a promising complementary approach to the above-mentioned mood disorders. However, no studies have investigated the impact of zeolite on mood yet [30, 21, 23, 24].
In 12 healthy drinkers, clinoptilolite (5 g) reduced blood levels of alcohol by up to 43%. It blocked alcohol absorption when combined with a drink .
In another clinical trial, 25 volunteers took zeolite (2.25 g – 4.5 g) the morning after the “night out.” It was too late for alcohol detox, but their hangover symptoms improved by 40-50% .
Aflatoxins may contaminate foods and endanger human health, especially the liver .
Clinoptilolite was able to detox chickens from aflatoxin and protect their liver, bile duct, and kidneys. Immune system organs such as the thymus also suffered less damage .
Given to cows, zeolite lowered levels of aflatoxin in their milk, which is a major source of human poisoning. In test tubes, zeolite could remove aflatoxin from water (60%) and animal feed (80%) [36, 37, 38].
Zeolite porous structure is a perfect trap for large radioactive elements. In rats and sheep, clinoptilolite blocked the absorption of radioactive cesium and reduced its concentration in animals’ organs [41, 42].
Clinoptilolite can bind radioactive atoms in nuclear waste and help solve this burning ecology issue .
Nitrates are toxins that can contaminate drinking water and disturb the health of humans and animals. In cows, zeolite reversed the metabolic damage caused by nitrates .
3) May Repair the Gut
In a clinical trial of 52 endurance athletes, zeolite (1.85 g daily for 12 weeks) tightened the intestinal wall and prevented leaking. It also had a mild anti-inflammatory effect on the gut .
In mice with ulcerative colitis, a type of IBD, clinoptilolite was able to repair gut damage. It proved equally effective as a standard IBD drug (5-aminosalicylic acid). Tests verified that mice didn’t absorb zeolite particles into the bloodstream .
Zeolite showed similar action in a study on pigs with gut inflammation .
The buildup of urea, ammonia, and gases in the gut may lead to ulcerative colitis, IBS, and even colon cancer. High levels of urea in the blood (uremia) can be life-threatening. Zeolite binds both urea and ammonia, potentially offering protection against these gut toxins [50, 51, 52, 53, 54].
4) Helps Restore Gut Microbiome
The positive impact of zeolite on gut bacteria contributes to the above benefits but also helps relieve diarrhea and improves overall health.
Cuban doctors have developed a drug for diarrhea (Enterex) made of clinoptilolite. They proved its safety and efficacy in 4 clinical trials and additional cell experiments. The ability of clinoptilolite to restore healthy gut flora played a crucial role in this effect .
When added to chicken feed, zeolite cut the number of harmful bacteria in their gut without disturbing the good bacteria. Chicken infected with Salmonella, a major cause of food poisonings, recovered faster and suffered less oxidative damage [56, 11, 57].
In cell studies, zeolite inhibited the growth of 2 viral strains (coxsackievirus and echovirus) that invade us through the gut .
5) Combats Oxidative Damage
- Boosted antioxidant enzymes (glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase-SOD)
- Increased total antioxidant capacity
- Protected the organs from injury
6) May Relieve Acid Reflux and Stomach Ulcers
In gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), acid reflux damages the esophagus, causing heartburn and other unpleasant symptoms .
The same protocol protected another 23 patients from stomach ulcers caused by a common NSAID drug, naproxen .
No valid clinical evidence supports the use of grape seed extract for any of the conditions in this section. Below is a summary of up-to-date animal and cell-based studies and low-quality clinical trials. They should spark further investigation, but you shouldn’t interpret them as supportive of any health benefit.
7) Wound Healing
In a Russian clinical trial, zeolite enhanced the cleaning and recovery of burn wounds and improved overall complaints. Important note: patients consumed zeolite and didn’t apply it on the wounds. This study doesn’t reveal essential details such as dosage and sample size .
Zeolite loaded with nitric oxide (NO) boosted wound healing in rats. It killed bacteria and fungi while protecting skin cells .
- P. aeruginosa, which can cause hospital-acquired infections
- E. coli, known for causing ulcers and infecting wounds
- S. aureus and MRSA, hard-to-treat strains of bacteria
- Candida albicans
8) May Reduce Cholesterol and Blood Lipids
In a clinical trial on 41 patients, micronized (fine-ground) zeolite lowered blood levels of the “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and blood lipids, while raising the “good” cholesterol (HDL). After 8 weeks (6-9 g daily), these values improved by 20-25% .
The lack of a control group in this study prevents us from drawing reliable conclusions.
9) May Improve Oral Hygiene
In 11 volunteers, a mouth rinse with silver-zeolite (zeolite packed with silver ions) greatly reduced dental plaque formation .
Additionally, zeolite can eliminate volatile odors and thus combat bad breath .
10) Liver Protection
The antioxidant power of zeolite may be crucial for liver protection.
In rats with partially removed liver, clinoptilolite provided antioxidant support by boosting glutathione and protective enzymes. As a result, blood markers of oxidative damage dropped .
As described above (see “Detox”), zeolite also protects against liver-damaging aflatoxins.
11) Anticancer Effects
The findings discussed below stem from animal and cell-based studies. They should guide further investigation but shouldn’t be interpreted as supportive of the anticancer effects in humans until more research is done. Zeolite supplements aren’t approved for cancer prevention or treatment .
- Shrink tumors and prevent their growth
- Improve overall health and prolong the lifespan
- Boost the effects of chemotherapy
Both oral and skin treatment showed the above benefits.
Clinoptilolite cut the number of melanoma (skin cancer) metastases in mice and boosted their immune response .
The ability of zeolite to bind radioactive elements, fungal toxins, and other cancer-causing substances also makes it a promising candidate for future cancer research.
Benefits of Zeolite for the Skin
Due to its detox and antibacterial properties, zeolite may benefit the skin in different ways. Many would-healing and personal care products have zeolite as their main ingredient.
12) Personal care
In a clinical trial on 39 volunteers, deodorant spray with 10% silver-zeolite showed a strong and lasting (24 h) effect against armpit microbes, which produce unpleasant odors. A spray with a control substance failed to achieve this .
Zeolite forms a protective film on the skin, acting as a natural sunscreen. In one cell study, zeolite even reversed oxidative damage triggered by another sunscreen ingredient, titanium-dioxide .
These properties make zeolite a central ingredient in various personal care products, most of which are available on the market (see “Supplements” below).
13) Inflammation and Allergies
One cell study verified the ability of zeolite to bind histamine and thus relieve inflammation and allergic reactions .
Air pollutants may trigger inflammation, allergies, and autoimmune issues. Since zeolite can bind to toxins and heavy metals, it might reduce the detrimental impact of pollution on the skin too.
Limitations and Caveats
A good deal of zeolite research lacks confirmation in humans. Clinical trials point to some potential benefits of zeolite, but the evidence is limited to a small number of patients. Some of these trials come with other notable caveats, such as [72, 79, 55, 88]:
- Lack of control
- Unknown study details
- Conflict of interest
We need more extensive, well-designed clinical studies to verify the medicinal uses of zeolite.
Zeolite Side Effects
The list of side effects below is not a definite one, and you should consult your doctor about other potential side effects, based on your health condition and other factors.
Since zeolite binds heavy metals and other toxins, some people voiced concerns about potential poisoning from contaminated supplements. However, zeolite has a high affinity for those toxins and keeps them trapped under all conditions [91, 92, 4].
No studies have confirmed the safety of zeolite in children, pregnant or breastfeeding women. These groups may want to avoid it just in case.
Food and Drug Interactions
Zeolite’s super-binding properties come with a price. Although it prefers heavy metals and environmental toxins, essential nutrients may also end up trapped inside its tiny cages.
Most other studies didn’t observe nutritional deficits.
Supplement-drug interactions can be dangerous and, in rare cases, even life-threatening. Always consult your doctor before supplementing and let them know about all drugs and supplements you are using or considering.
Zeolite binds complex organic toxins but also drugs with similar structures. For example, it can remove antibiotics, which is great for water purification but dangerous if you’ve been prescribed antibiotics. The same goes for supplements and drugs with iron [98, 99].
Zeolite may change gut pH value (acidity) and thus interfere with different medications, especially with controlled release dosage forms .
In one study on mice, immunostimulatory effects of zeolite provoked a graft-vs-host reaction, which can be detrimental after organ transplantation. Hence, zeolite shouldn’t be used after transplantation or combined with immunosuppressants .
To stay on the safe side, make sure not to combine zeolite with any drugs or supplements.
Despite the promising clinical and preclinical research, zeolite supplements have not been approved by the FDA for oral consumption. In general, regulatory bodies aren’t assuring the quality, safety, and efficacy of supplements. Speak with your doctor before supplementing.
- Source: check if the manufacturers source their zeolite from reputable, clean regions
- Handling: look for a purified product, tested for heavy metals and other contaminants
- Physical properties: look for activated and micronized (fine-ground) zeolite
The most common form on the market is zeolite powder, containing 90-97% of clinoptilolite. Micronized products have a particle size <20 µm. Other available forms include:
- Pills with 700-800 mg of powder (mostly clinoptilolite)
- Liquid zeolite (suspension in water)
- Zeolite wound patches (usually loaded with silver)
Some websites claim that activated liquid zeolite is more potent and cleansed from toxins during the so-called liquid purification process. However, no evidence is available to back up these claims. What’s more, “activation” only implies mechanically reducing the size of zeolite particles.
Liquid zeolite is sometimes enriched with an antioxidant, dihydroquercetin (DHQ) .
As mentioned, zeolite is a common ingredient in personal care products, such as:
- Face masks
- Body scrubs
The below doses used in clinical trials may not apply to you personally. If your doctor suggests using zeolite, work with them to find the optimal dosage according to your health condition.
The following doses of zeolite proved effective in clinical trials:
- Relieving hangover symptoms: 2.25 g – 4.5 g, the morning after a ‘night out’ 
- Inhibiting alcohol absorption: 5 g with a drink 
- Strengthening the gut lining: 1.85 g daily for 3 months 
- Soothing GERD and stomach ulcers: 1.5 g daily for 2 weeks 
- Reducing cholesterol and blood lipids: 6 – 9 g daily for 2 months 
- Boosting antioxidant support: 5.5 – 6 g daily for 1 month [12, 60]
The opinions expressed in this section are solely from the users who may or may not have medical background. Their reviews do not represent the opinions of SelfHacked. SelfHacked does not endorse any specific product, service, or treatment.
Do not consider user experiences as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or another qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on SelfHacked.
Powdered clinoptilolite is the most popular supplement, followed by liquid forms. Many users have reported positive experiences with zeolite. They were able to stop diarrhea, relieve digestive issues, detox, improve general wellbeing, and save pets from poisoning.
Interestingly enough, many parents report symptom improvement in their children with developmental disorders. The mentioned role of heavy metals in brain damage and strong detox action of zeolite may explain this phenomenon.
On the other hand, some users complained about constipation, dehydration, stomach discomfort, and the lack of desired effects.
When it comes to cosmetics, users seem to love face masks and toothpaste with zeolite. Some complain about its drying and staining effects.
DIY Recipes With Zeolite
Mix 1 tbsp. of zeolite and just enough water to make a paste (around 2 tbsp.).
Apply to your face and leave 15+ mins (less for dry skin).
Rinse and proceed with your usual skin care.
For a daily cleanse, rinse the mask as soon as it dries.
Use your palm or a body brush to apply 1-2 tbsp. of zeolite on your skin before you take a shower.
Be careful around sensitive areas.
Optional ingredients: bentonite clay, sugar, coffee.
- 2 tbsp. zeolite powder
- A pinch of Himalayan salt and/or baking soda
- A pinch of cinnamon and dried herbs (cloves, sage, peppermint, etc.)
- 5-10 drops of essential oils of your choice
“Zeolite” stands for volcanic minerals that form in the contact of molten lava and (sea)water. Thanks to their structures, these minerals can bind a wide range of environmental toxins and metabolic products.
Clinoptilolite is the most common natural zeolite with potential health benefits. It may help you detox, boost your gut health, stop bleedings, and combat free radicals. The evidence is insufficient when it comes to liver protection, anticancer effects, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Zeolite is safe for human consumption but can damage the lungs if inhaled for a longer time. Children and pregnant women may want to avoid it. Don’t combine zeolite with any drugs or supplements, and make sure to consult your doctor first.
Antibacterial and detox properties of zeolite can benefit the skin, too. Available products include wound dressings, deodorants, soaps, toothpaste, face masks, and more.