Ayurvedic healers consider Himalayan shilajit to be an anti-aging substance, which can also help men with hormonal imbalances. Researchers at the J. B. Roy State Ayurvedic Medical College and Hospital in India gave shilajit to infertile men, and observed that their fertility and testosterone levels improved as a result.
In the mountains of the Caucasus and Altai, and in the Himalayas, healers collect shilajit, a largely organic substance containing humic acid and with a low molecular weight. One of the main components of shilajit is fulvic acid, and the structure of the base molecule is shown below.
Locally shilajit is known as 'blood of the mountain' or 'rock sweat', and healing properties are attributed to it. In the Ayurvedic system of medicine shilajit is considered a rasayana, a rejuvenator. In India shilajit is traded as a libido and fertility-enhancing supplement. Supplements companies claim that fulvic acids can clear the body of heavy metals.
The researchers were curious to know whether the latter property could be demonstrated in a scientific study. They gave 28 infertile men aged between 30 and 45, all of whom had a low sperm count, 200 mg of a purified shilajit extract every day for 90 days. The 200 mg dose was divided over two intake moments, and the men took the supplement after meals.
The table shows that during the supplementation period the men's sperm count rose. The cells were also more motile and healthier. Oxidative stress decreased and the testosterone level rose by 23.5 percent.
The researchers suspect that shilajit components reduce damage from free radicals in the testes, and thus boost the production of testosterone and sperm. The reduction in numbers of one type of white blood cell in the men suggests that some at least were suffering from an infection, and that the shilajit helped fight this.
The study was financed by the American company Natreon, which produces standardised Ayurvedic preparations. [natreoninc.com] Natreon produces a number of substances including the shilajit extract PrimaVie.
Andrologia. 2010 Feb;42(1):48-56.