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Do you need zolites, a diverse group of minerals, to remove a build-up of heavy metals from your body, or is that just another outrageous claim made by people who don't value scientific accuracy?

I first found out about zeolites about six years ago, when a friend of mine told me that he had started using it on a daily basis in order to extract heavy metals from his body, and strongly encouraged me to do the same. He had heard about zeolite at his yoga class, and told me it could strengthen the immune system and prevent cancer by removing the toxins that invade our bodies on a daily basis. 

That friend still uses zeolite today, in its powdered form, and believes it is to thank for his good health. He isn't alone: zeolite has become quite the hit among people who are interested in natural remedies, and if you read what it is supposed to do for your body, that's not surprising. But what are zeolites, actually, and will they really aid your health?

What Are Zeolites?

Zeolites are a group of microporous minerals consisting mainly of sodium, potassium, calcium, and barium. Over 40 different naturally-occurring forms of zeolite exist, along with many synthetically created ones. Zeolites are used as water softeners, in cat litter, in laundry detergents, and even as catalysts.

Zeolite: What Are The Claims?

According to Zeolite dot com, a website attempting to market zeolite as "the original detox product", this group of minerals is excellent at removing heavy metals from the body. The website claims:

"Micronized zeolite has the perfect molecular structure for capturing and removing heavy metals from the body without removing healthy ions and minerals. Many people report feeling increased energy, clarity and vitality after removing heavy metal build-up."

It then goes on to assure people that zeolite is "100 percent" safe and non-toxic at any level, and that the toxins and heavy metals removed from the body by zeolite are "trapped in the zeolite cage and you [sic] body is not re-exposed to them". 

Further claims made by advocates of zeolite use include that this group of minerals has the potential to:

  • Strengthen the immune system, reducing the risk of colds and flu
  • Improve the absorption of nutrients
  • Prevent and even cure cancer
  • Prevent hangovers
  • Aid digestion and cure diarrhea

If all that were true, that would be awesome. But is it?

'Natural Enemies'

NaturalNews, a site founded by Mike Adams and notorious for its anti-science conspiracy theories, vaccine-rejectionism, writings about quack cancer treatments, and HIV denialism among other oddities, is so out there that even many proponents of unproven alternative treatments believe they go too far. You may be incredibly surprised to hear, then, that even NaturalNews isn't on-board with zeolite as a detox treatment, saying that zeolites do a good job binding to cesium but actually increased aluminium, lead, and cadmium levels! OK... I'm not saying you should trust NaturalNews, but the fact that there's a "snake oil" that even they believe to be a scam should certainly give anyone who is usually interested in natural, non-evidence based treatments pause.

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