Shilajit: Inhibits Formation of and Untangles Tau Filaments

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Shilajit is a natural mineral rich substance that is thick and tar-like with usually a brown to black color, but sometimes lighter colored and even white.  The sticky substance is excreted from rock formations in mountain sides.

The composition of Shilajit is quite unique and is considered a phytocomplex rich in fulvic acid.  It is hypothesized that Shilajit is produced by the decomposition of plant material from a combination of the following species:  1  2

  • Asterella
  • Barbula
  • Dumortiera
  • Euphorbia royleana
  • Fissidens
  • Marchantia
  • Minium
  • Pellia
  • Plagiochasma
  • Stephenrencella-Anthoceros
  • Thuidium
  • Trifolium repens

Shilajit is found in the following regions of the world:

  • Afghanistan
  • Altai Mountains, a mountain range in Central Asia, where Russia, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan come together
  • Caucasus mountains
  • Chile Andean Mountains
  • Gilgit Baltistan Mountains in Pakistan
  • Himalayans mountains between India and Nepal
  • Russia
shilajitmountain

Shilajit (mineral pitch) excreted from the mountain side

The are a variety of translations of Shilajit, which is originally from Sanskirt:

  • Chinese: 五灵脂
  • English:  mineral pitch or mineral wax
  • Farsi:  مملایی, brag zhun
  • Hindi: शिलाजीत and salajeet
  • Latin:  black asphaltum, Asphaltum punjabianum
  • Mongolian:  Барагшун
  • Persian:  (مومیا), mūmiyā
  • Russian:  мумиё, variably transliterated as mumijo, mumio, momia, and moomiyo, mumiyo
  • Sanskrit:  शिलाजतु, śilājatu
  • Tibetan:  བྲག་ཞུན་, chao-tong, wu ling zhi
  • Urdu:  سلاجیت‎

Shilajit has a long tradition of consumption by local peoples in these regions, especially in Nepal and the North of India.  In these particular regions, children are known to take it with milk in their breakfast.

The Sherpa are an ethnic group from the Himalayas, the most mountainous region of Nepal.  They are claimed to consume Shilajit as part of their diet.  Sherpas are internationally known for their mountain climbing abilities and for their hardiness, expertise, and experience at very high altitudes.   They are also known for being very strong men with very high levels of a healthy longevity.

The primary active ingredients of Shilajit are complex and is composed mainly of humic substances, including fulvic acid that accounts for about 60% to 80% of the total.  Researchers have discovered the following substances in Shilajit:

3,4-benzocoumarins

aromatic carboxylic acids

benzoic acid

chrome

citrines

cobalt

copper

dibenzo–alpha–pyrones (DBP)

fulvic Acid

hippuric acid

humic Acid

humins

ichthyol

iron

magnesium

manganese

nickel

phospholipids

polyphenol

selenium

terpenoids

trace minerals

vitamins A, B, C and P

zinc

Neuroprotective properties of Shilajit

Researchers have determined that Shilajit’s significant levels of fulvic acid (60%-80%) lend to its healing properties, since fulvic acid has known strong antioxidant properties.  3  4 

There appears to be scientific evidence that Shilajit has the potential to reverse certain neurological changes, especially Alzheimer’s disease. 

A number of studies demonstrate how Shilajit can tackle Alzheimer’s disease:


Study 1- Acetylcholinerase Inhibitor


Shilajit has been shown to increase acetylcholine in the brain by reducing the levels of acetylcholinerase, the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine. 
5 


Study 2 – Inhibits Formation of Tau Filaments and Untangles Tau Filaments

In a study from October 2013, researchers demonstrate that fulvic acid, the main constituent on Shilajit, inhibits the buildup of tau proteins.  Tau protein is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease and is the abnormal buildup of hyperphosphorylated Tau proteins creating tangles of paired helical filaments and straight filaments within brain cells.  Fulvic acid strongly interferes with tau aggregation, and interestingly an increase in neurite outgrowth has been observed in neural cell cultures exposed to this natural compound.   6

In addition to Shilajit’s (fulvic acid) ability to inhibit the formation of tau filaments, researchers also found that it can disaggregate them, in other words, break the tau filaments apart or untangle the filaments.  7  8

The blocking of tau self-aggregation opens the door to a new path towards Alzheimer’s therapy.

It is important for consumers to be aware of the quality of the Shilajit that they consume.  Only consume properly (highly) processed Shilajit, as unprocessed crude Shilajit may contain undesirable contaminants. Consuming unpure and unprocessed Shilajit may lead to risks of intoxication given the presence of mycotoxin, heavy metal ions, polymeric quinones (oxidant agents), and free radicals.

Studies have been conducted that certain ayurvedic products including Shilajit may contain detectable heavy metals levels such as lead, mercury, and arsenic.  9 


Informational References:

Shilajit:  Unraveling the Mystery (Sabinsa Corporation) 

PRIMAVIE® (High Quality Purified Shilajit)


Resources:

Jarrow – Shilajit Fulvic Acid Complex

Swanson Superior Herbs – Extra Strength Shilajit Extract (standardized to minimum 70% Fulvic acid)


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