Shilajit is an exudation from rock crevices collected in the Himalayas, though it occurs elsewhere. The makeup of this tarry substance can vary, and the origin of its constituents remains something of a mystery, though it has been shown to contain minerals in ionic form as well as triterpenes and humic acid. The most prevalent constituent is fulvic acid. Sources indicate that the substance, though collected in a geologic setting, is mostly botanical in origin. How these botanical compounds collect in the rock crevices where they decompose and congeal into the tarry exudate is unknown, as is the length of time it takes for the substance to form. Researchers who have worked with the material are also somewhat at sea as to how to describe it. Some examples of descriptions are “a multi-component natural mineral substance,” a “mineral pitch” and “a herbomineral substance.” According to one set of researchers, the name, which comes from Sanskrit, means “Conqueror of mountains and destroyer of weakness.”
Shilajit has been used for many hundreds of years as an ingredient in Ayurvedic preparations, where it has been a mainstay in ancient formulation categories known as rasayanas. Modern researchers have looked it in connection with its use in aquaculture to promote bacterial resistance in prawns, as well as its use as an antiviral agent and its effect on skeletal muscle adaptation in obese subjects.
“Shilajit needs to be processed in a very specific way for use in the human body,” Nick Bitz, ND, chief scientific officer of Nutrawise (holder of the Youtheory brand), told NutraIngredients-USA. “It has rasayana properties, which is all about rejuvenating the aging body.”
The Youtheory product, which was launched at last week’s Expo West trade show, uses Primavie, a proprietary purified form of the ingredient supplied by Natreon, who says it contains “dibenzo-α-pyrones (DBPs), DBP-Chromoproteins (DCP), Fulvic Acid and over 40 different minerals.” Natreon claims the ingredient is meant for male sexual health, for use as a mitchondria booster, for use in sports performance products. The company also claims to have filed patents on its ability to upregulate genes for steroidogenisis and endogenous collagen production.
Supply chain confidence
Bitz said the benefit of using the Natreon ingredient is that there is more confidence in the supply chain. As there is no apparent monograph on what shilajit should contain, counterfeiting the material would seem to be easy.
“The good thing about using the Natreon Primavie is that it is 100% verified authentic,” Bitz said.
A study conducted in India in 2015 supports the Youtheory claims for testosterone support. Using a twice daily 250 mg dose (the dose that’s in the Youtheory product), the researchers maintained that “treatment with Shilajit for consecutive 90 days revealed that it has significantly (P < 0.05) increased total testosterone, free testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEAS) compared with placebo.”