What you really Need to Know about Diatomaceous Earth by Patricia Byrne
Published in Living Natural First Magazine
I was once having a conversation with a friend about different types of Diatomaceous Earth deposits. My friend was wondering how deposits of fossilized diatoms, which were formed thousands of years ago, could be only fresh water since the planet was once covered by the seas. It was a good question. The diatoms may have originated in salt water, but the growth and layers were formed in fresh water from rain. According to geologists, these large deposits of fresh water diatomaceous earth are formed under very specific conditions. Each layer of these deposits contains some amount of volcanic ash. There is evidence of growth explosions of fresh water diatoms that follow volcanic eruptions. These eruptions created the exact conditions of pH, temperature, and the presence of other minerals to cause an accelerated rate of growth. Some fresh water deposits have layers hundreds of feet deep between thin layers of volcanic ash. This would indicate the fresh water deposits in the western United States were formed at a time when the volcanoes were very active. The purest of these deposits would appear to be in a lake, not open rivers or the sea, and formed in a very active volcanic time period. This accounts for the high mineral content and low amount of unwanted sediment. This also explains why there is only one diatom species present in these deposits. Diatoms in this environment form very hard fossils, not fragile ones like those formed in salt water deposits where the conditions are so variable and there are multitudes of shapes and species of diatoms.
There are very few people who realize that not all mining operations use the same methods of extracting and milling the diatomaceous earth. The mill size and number of diatom fossils that remain intact during the mining process have a lot to do with the effectiveness that diatomaceous earth has for its many uses. Diatomaceous Earth from the same deposit mined and milled in a way that smashes the diatom fossils, renders it less absorbent or abrasive. Diatomaceous Earth used in swimming pool filtration is a larger mill size and contains large amounts of crystalline silica naturally or created artificially by extreme heat and pressure. This type is not suitable to be used in insecticides or as a feed additive. The pre-crystalline state of silica, amorphous, is the type in the diatomaceous earth used as a feed additive. All soils have some amount of crystalline silica naturally occurring. The FDA has limits for harmful elements that Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth must meet. Perma-Guard Diatomaceous Earth products are always well below those limits.
Diatoms are crucial to the food chain on this planet. While alive they are food for all aquatic life. They produce most of the oxygen on the planet. They are the richest source of silica. Silica is a trace mineral that is critical to cellular function. Mammals, in the wild, drink from natural water sources, which all contain diatoms. Most water we drink is filtered and filled with chemicals containing very few, if any, diatoms. We no longer have the natural source of silica our ancestors had. We still have some in the plants we eat, but is it enough?
Shiny, healthy hair and strong nails or hooves are obvious outward signs of adequate silica intake. Improved cellular functions and healthy tendons and joints are some of the not so obvious. General health improves when this trace mineral is present in adequate levels and is being utilized. As mammals age, the utilization of many minerals lessens and more intake is required. Most minerals have other minerals with which they need to be in balance. Not enough of a mineral can cause a host of dysfunctions. Too much of some, if not in balance with others, can do the same. Silica is one I have never heard of having ill effects, but is known to have many benefits to all life on this planet.
Perma-Guard [and Soil Mender] are the purest Food Grade DE on the market. When you use this anti-caking agent in your feeds, you are assured you are adding a product that is 89% silica, and safe. It should be added at a rate not to exceed 2% of the rations fed. We have found in chickens that .75% is adequate in chicken feed. The same would be true for all bird seed. Two percent is the advisable rate for all other mammals.