Diatomaceous Earth: What is it? How to use it.

Diatomaceous Earth - what it is and how to use it

A Must Have For Your Medicine Cabinet

Note from Cara: This is a guest post by Melanie of Honest Body, she’s a GAPS mom and has a fabulous GAPS class starting later this month! If you’ve been thinking of trying the Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet (GAPS) then you’ll want to check out her class for sure!  Click here to check it out, hurry, the registration for this class ends Wednesday the 19th! 

I’ve also just started using diatomaceous earth for our family too, so I’m happy to share this post for you!  This is the kind that I bought for us.

I’m a fan of simple & authentic solutions. The greater variety of creatures & critters helped, the better. (That’s why I am so drawn to the GAPS™ Protocol)

So, what can be used for removing unwelcome guests from your body? The toxic heavy metals and parasites that pervade? How about the pests that plague your pets? Or the lice, roaches, fleas, stinkbugs, & fly larvae that invade house & barn?!

Diatomaceous earth – natural treatment for parasites and a simple tool for all of these.

What Is It?

Diatomaceous Earth is a fossilized deposit of microscopic shells created by one celled plants called Diatoms. These plants inhabit all the waters of the earth, and serve as the basic food for aquatic life, just as grass is the basic food for land animals.

It’s a single cell fossil that acts as a natural and organic insecticide, killing bugs by breaking down their exoskeletons, which causes them to dehydrate. It’s a little bit like glass to a parasite, but is like harmless powder to us. It is largely made of silica (good for hair and nails) with other trace minerals.

What Is It Commonly Used For?

  • Parasites & worms (+ all the symptoms that accompany…see below)
  • Absorbing heavy metals, viruses, pathogenic bacteria
  • Roaches, ants, bedbugs, lice
  • Lice, ticks, & flea control (natural insecticide)
  • Livestock feed, both for insect control & anti-caking

Sounds pretty good, eh? It gets even better when you start to look at the pain and suffering that parasites can inflict when they get out of control. Parasites have their place, we have cohabited with them and other microbes for thousands of years. But when our bodies (inner ecosystems if you will) get out of balance, then our beneficial organisms aren’t able to keep them in check and they can get out of control, dominating where they are not meant to.


There are three classifications of parasites:

  1. Protozoa (single celled organisms)
  2. Helminths (larger, multi-celled…like flukes, tapeworms, roundworms)
  3. Ectoparasites (those that attach or burrow into the skin…like ticks, fleas, lice, mites)

If you are not grossed out yet…

Symptoms Of Parasites

An infestation of parasites can give you symptoms such as:

  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Aches & pains
  • Anemia
  • Skin rashes
  • Fatigue
  • Allergies
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Nervousness
  • Mood issues
  • Poor intestinal vitamin absorption

How Does DE Work?

Here is a quote from Kaayla T. Daniels, PhD, writing about diatomaceous earth on the Weston Price Foundation website:

Made up of silicone and trace minerals, diatomaceous earth can, according to the scientific literature, absorb methyl mercury, E. coli, endotoxins, viruses (including poliovirus), organophosphate pesticide residues, drug residue, and protein, perhaps even the proteinaceous toxins produced by some intestinal infections. Kaayla T. Daniels, PhD

Diatomaceous earth, acts as a natural and organic insecticide that kills insects by breaking their exoskeletons causing them to dehydrate.

It is important to be eliminating properly while taking DE. Good elimination will help get the absorbed toxins out. Take measures to avoid constipation, like beet kvass, fresh pressed juices, enemas, healthy fats, & probiotics like Prescript Assist.

How To Take It

Important Note: Only consume Food Grade diatomaceous earth, as the kind you get in a hardware store can have added insect killers or heavy metals. See Where To Buy It at the bottom for trusted sources.

Dosing: There are different ways to go about dosing diatomaceous earth, but the general rule of thumb is to start small, 1/8 to 1 tsp at a time, and work up to 4 – 6 teaspoons a day, or 1 tablespoon per 100 lb body weight.

If you are generally sensitive start with 1/8 teaspoon and slowly work up…as DE absorbs toxins & kills parasites, it can cause the symptoms of “die-off” as the dying pathogens release toxins.

Some notes:

  • It is preferable to take it on an empty stomach, first thing in the a.m., or before bed, away from probiotics
  • DE can be taken long term (months or even years) but should be taken for at least a course of 60 days
  • As a 1 – 2x a year parasite treatment, work up to 1 tablespoon in a glass of water or fresh pressed juice, every day for 60 days
  • For Kids: Freshly pressed juice is an especially good way for kids to take DE, as it is nearly tasteless & can be hidden easily
  • Treat the whole family + pets at the same time
  • Follow up with good probiotics to fill the void created by the removal of toxins & parasites

How Does Diatomaceous Earth Fit In With GAPS™?

Generally Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride recommends starting with diet first, to build and strengthen the body before doing serious housecleaning. The digestive tract should go through a period of healing & sealing before diatomaceous earth is tried. I would recommend a period of several months on the GAPS protocol before trying diatomaceous earth as an added measure. Some exceptions to this might be diarrhea that is simply not clearing up, or other symptoms of parasites listed above, that have not gone away.

Where Can I Buy Diatomaceous Earth?

Here are some reputable sources of food grade diatomaceous earth.


Bulk Herb Store


What Is Your Experience?

Now it’s your turn! I would love to hear from you…have you ever tried diatomaceous earth? What were your results? Leave a comment and tell us :)

With love and warmth,






 Note from Cara: This is a guest post by Melanie of Honest Body, she’s a GAPS mom and has a fabulous GAPS class starting later this month! If you’ve been thinking of trying the Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet (GAPS) then you’ll want to check out her class for sure!  Click here to check it out. 



PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.
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  1. I started our family on food grade DE about a year ago. I give it to our two kids too (7 & 5) in juice with no problem. We noticed positive results right away. All of our nails are much stronger, hair and skin healthier as well. We’ve also stayed pretty healthy with no major illnesses or much shorter duration. I would highly recommend it for all ages!

  2. So is it ok to take while pregnant?

  3. My husband just had me order this the other day. Thanks for the timely post, now I can feel more confident about what it is and how to use it!

  4. Is it ok to take while nursing a little one?

  5. Tricia Lee says:

    Although all your sources are “food-grade” I think, given our country’s loose interpretation of the word “food”, that this warrants a bit more thought. I believe that the best source from those you cite is the perma-guard. I actually work with diatoms and I know that if they are harvested from a wild source contamination is rife (unknown water source on Amazon and from a “freshwater” source on Bulk Herb Store). There are heavy metals they may be exposed to in freshwater systems (especially if mining has ever occurred upstream in the last few hundred years), and there are some diatoms (Pseudo nitzschia, etc) that, under certain environmental pressures (having their frustule broken, etc) will secrete toxic compounds that will degrade memory and cause seizures. However, if the type of diatom is known and reared in a culture, you can avoid all of these problems. Although perma-guard does not do that, they get their DE from ancient beds where the major diatom species is known and contamination from anthropogenic pollutants is null (there were no humans in the Miocene).
    Just some thoughts you might want to know!

  6. Hi!
    I have been taking DE for awhile (love it!).
    My periods usually last 7 days, when I take DE my period lasts 4/5 days.
    ive tried to research a link between cycles and silica but havevyet to find any info. Anyone else have happen?

    • Kristin Roy says:

      Oh wow! I think I experienced that too when i was taking it regularly…thanks for reminding me- i’m going to start again…didn’t stop taking for any particular reason – just forgetting more often than not! I have the perm-gard too, glad to know its a good source!

  7. I’m currently treating parasites with a prescription anti-parasitic. Thinking maybe this would be good in between or afterwards to help detox and/or increase chances of success? I already have Edible Earth at home. Is that the same type of product? http://www.magneticclay.com/store/edible-earth-clay-supplement-12.aspx

    • I don’t think it’s the same – we’ve taken clay too, and it adds minerals, but doesn’t have the exact same properties as DE

  8. I use it for my puppies, dogs, chickens, turkeys, etc…I think it is the reason we didn’t lose very many birds last summer when we were raising them. Love this stuff!

    I am a holistic dog breeder, no vaccinations for children or our pet’s. So many tell me they never think about this.

    Take a look at my website, there are many natural topics pertaining to dogs/cats. I also have a DE Page and do sell it. I like Perma Guard. My prices are purposely lower than anyone elses.

    Let me know if I can help anyone with anything!

    Love the article!

  9. I bought a large amount of food grade for our Maltese and household but was later told once it gets wet it is ineffective…Now I’m not sure what to think! Does dew and saliva dissolve the useful properties of DE? I’d love to know this order wasn’t a waste!

    • That might be true if you’re using it for bugs in the garden, but it’s been effective for us, and we take it internally :)

  10. Tammy Brandner says:
  11. Just a quick question…if it helps rid the body of metals, how does it affect things like calcium? I’d hate to be stripping my body of the useful nutrients that my body needs.

  12. Sorry…another question… I’m curious. One of the things I read about it was that it’s made up of REALLY sharp pieces that “scrub” the large intestine of all things gross. If one has a really inflamed intestinal system, would the sharp edges exacerbate the situation?


  13. This article is interesting but I think that the dose recommended is not sufficient for parasites irradication. I’ve read many other places that an effective dose would be 3Tbsp/day for an adult and some are even talking about 6Tbsp/day. There is no harm at taking larger amount of DE the only important thing is to check for constipation. You have to reach the right dose for you who will give you results and not constipate you. The dose of 1Tbsp/100lb of weight is a maintenance dose.

  14. I’ve never eaten DE, but I’ve used it on my garden for years. It kills infestations of aphids and whatever else may bother your vegetables–without poison. I also use it in my chicken bedding.
    I buy mine from Azure Standard too.

  15. I have the same questions as Susan P. I have inflamed intestines too. I also take homeopathic remedies and I read in Our Earth Our Cure that you shouldn’t drink clay or you could strip the remedies from your system. I know it’s kind of technical, but it would be helpful to know where we could learn more about this. I bought a big container of DE but I’m afraid to start taking it until I know more about these things.

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