Saturday, December 22, 2007

Eat Dirt!


I was in the office of a naturopath yesterday and heard her recommend Terramin for rebuilding injured bone. I'm having some trouble locating a really good reference for this, but the rumor is that NASA funded a study back in the 1960s showing that Terramin (calcium montmorillonite) might help astronauts avoid bone loss in weightlessness, whereas calcium alone did not seem to help. I've located a reference to animal studies which seem to demonstrate the point.

I have no injured bones, but the absolute density of the bone in my femurs has declined from about 0.96 to about 0.89 grams per square cm in the three years from 2004 to 2007. Technically I'm in osteopenia, the stage before osteoporosis. Neither my oncologist nor my primary physician is particularly concerned about this decline, however, and neither wants to prescribe a bisphosphonate (e.g. Fosamax). Nevertheless I would like to halt the decline if possible. I have been taking 1200 mg of calcium in the form of calcium citrate fairly regularly during those years, so something different is required.

Thus I bought some Terramin. It's dirt that you can eat, from the desert of California. The claims are many: Body cleansing, trace minerals, bio-available calcium, on and on. There's plenty of hype here. I'm a skeptic, but in the spirit of doing all that I can, I'm actually eating a heaping teaspoon of dirt every day. Well, for the last two days, but I expect to continue this until the next bone density measurement, unless persuaded otherwise.

So far I have taken the dirt in juice. I put several ounces of pomegranite juice in an eight-ounce glass, mix in a heaping teaspoon of Terramin, then fill to the top with sparkling water. The dirt is a very fine powder which mixes well in water, but is nonetheless gritty in the teeth. I need to swish with water (beer is better) after taking this stuff, or eat something. It says take it on an empty stomach, but I can't imagine what difference that would make so I'll take it in whatever manner is least objectionable.

So that's the dirt from Lake Woebegone.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!


  1. Getting started on eating your pound of dirt, eh? What a fascinating post (about the beneficial dirt, sorry about your benerally, one-density loss). Good to know that beer is good to wash the powder down with and get rid of the gritiness in your teeth!

    Have a good running year, and a good year generally in '08.

  2. Almost enough to think of starting to drink beer?!

  3. What's this about beer? Thought you were going gluten free? GF beer is not the same stuff - but I guess it's not as bad as eating dirt :-)
    Happy New Year

  4. Just when I thought I had seen it all...! Seriously, though, please let us know how the dirt experiment turns out...very very interesting.
    Happy New Year to you and yours!
    Florence, Italy