Safety of Clinoptilolite Zeolite Nanoparticles
Drinking OSA rich silica water has been shown in scientific studies to facilitate the elimination of aluminum from the body and brain1-3. Oral administration of nanoparticles of clinoptilolite zeolite has not been shown to facilitate elimination of aluminum in fact it has been shown that there is a net release of dissolved aluminum in simulated human gastric fluid4.
Simulated ingestion of larger particles of clinoptilolite zeolite has been shown to result in a net release of dissolved aluminum4 in spite of the proven ability of clinoptilolite zeolite to absorb aluminum5. Dissolved aluminum causes the accumulation of aluminum in the brain6. This results in damage to neurons, since aluminum is neurotoxic and has been found to be a causal factor in autism, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease 7. A higher than normal level of aluminum has been found in the brains of people with all of these conditions and diseases8-13.
It is known that zeolites in acid, such as hydrochloric that is found in the stomach, slowly dissolve releasing aluminum ions into solution14. It is also known that in the presence of dicarboxylic acids (i.e. oxalic) or tricarboxylic acids (i.e. citric) that can be found in the stomach and upper GI tract, aluminum dissolution from zeolites is enhanced14. In addition, the smaller the size of the zeolite particle (i.e. nanoparticles) the faster aluminum is dissolved from the zeolite14. This is due to the very high surface area to weight ratio of nanoparticles and the short diffusion path within nanoparticles. Finally any free aluminum dissolved from zeolite can be absorbed in the upper GI tract and go into the blood and accumulate in the body and brain.
Large particles (45-75 micometer) of clinoptilolite zeolite were subjected to simulated gastric fluid made from 0.1M hydrochloric acid and 3.2 mg per milliliter of pepsin with pH adjustment with 0.1N sodium hydroxide to pH 2.0. The concentration of zeolite was 3 grams per 100 milliliters. Controls were untreated clinoptilolite zeolite. After 1 hour at 37oC the zeolite in each “gastric digested sample” and control was collected by centrifugation and freeze-dried. Elemental analysis of the control and gastric digested zeolites revealed on average a 3.8% decrease in aluminum and a 1.3% decrease in silicon per gram of zeolite. The researchers pointed out that this loss of material during gastric digestion “might be related to the possible dissolution process of aluminosilicates at the surface layer …”4. This is disturbing because a 1 nanometer sized particle has over 10,000 times more surface area than the large particles used in this study. Therefore it can be predicted that even more aluminum will be dissolved in the stomach after ingestion of nanoparticles. In addition, even though clinoptilolite zeolites do remove some aluminum ions from solution5 there was a net release of dissolved aluminum during gastric digestion4.
Studies like this have recently convinced the FDA that clinoptilolite zeolites should not be generally regarded as safe (GRAS) when ingested in animal feed. In a May 4th 2018 letter from Dr. David Edwards, the Director of the Division of Animal Feeds for the FDA, to a producer of animal feed containing clinoptilolite zeolites, Dr. Edwards said their animal feeds are not GRAS because the use of clinoptilolite zeolites in animal feed “… could cause potential excess levels of aluminum … in some species”15.
Before anyone can say that zeolites are safe for human ingestion they must test the zeolite for release of dissolved aluminum at the pH of the stomach and upper GI tract for a time period that reflects the zeolite’s residence time in these regions of the body. This work should include added acidification with di and tri carboxylic acids occasionally found in the stomach and upper GI tract. Until this work is peer reviewed and published in a scientific journal, use of zeolites, such as clinoptilolite zeolite nanoparticles, should not be recommended.
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