Food Clay

Who knew there were so many reasons to eat dirt. Apparently it is nearly universal around the world in the tribal and traditional rural societies, and extremely widespread in the animal kingdom. Many cultures mix clay with water and dip their food into this mixture while eating. Like a little dirt gravy anyone? So what did they know, that we don’t?

When mixed with water, clay forms a temporary colloidal system in which fine particles are dispersed throughout the water. Eventually the particles settle to the bottom of the container, but a variety of mineral ions will remain in the water. These mineral ions are available for absorption, while other minerals that form an integral part of the clay particles may be available for absorption through ionic exchange at the point of contact with the intestinal villi. Highly adsorbent families of clays have been demonstrated to cause the lining of the gut to change both on a cellular and acellular level, protecting the gut from chemical insults as well as alleviating ailments such as esophagitis, gastritis, and colitis.

Clay particles, defined as having a size less than 1-2 microns, have a very large surface area relative to their size. They carry a negative electric charge and can attract positively charged pathogenic organisms along with their toxins and carry them out of the body, Thus, clay compounds not only provide minerals but also can be used as detoxifying agents. As such, they facilitate assimilation and can help prevent intestinal complaints, such as food poisoning and diarrhea. They also will bind with antinutrients found in plant foods, such as bitter tannins, and prevent their absorption.