Shungite: The Electropollution Solution Special Report
Public concern about our increasing exposure to electromagnetic radiation is on the rise. Despite claims by government and industry about “no health risks,” proactive consumers are looking for solutions. One that has recently appeared on the scene is a shiny black rock called shungite.
EMF (electromagnetic frequency) protective remedies are a dime-a-dozen on the internet, but what can we believe? How do we separate fact from fiction? Is shungite a healing miracle or fanciful hoopla?
As someone with a background in science, I look there first. I am a health and science writer with a background in both the physical and biological sciences. In addition to many years’ as an RN and then as an advanced practice psychiatric nurse, I have spent the last 15 years in integrative and functional medicine. What many don’t know is that my first degree was in geology—so it’s really no surprise that the healing powers of crystals have captured my heart and soul.
Even with this extensive background in science, experience has taught me that science has its limitations and other bodies of wisdom should not be so quickly discarded. Science—or what we Westerners generally consider “legitimate science”—often lags behind the wisdom of the ancients, and I have seen many well-meaning scientists blinded by their biases.
We live in a sea of radiation and it’s getting worse. Computers, cell phones, cordless phones, smart meters and Wi-Fi—it’s all around us. Research is mounting about the potential health risks of our long-term exposure to this unnatural radiation.
We are electrical beings. Everything in the natural world produces an electromagnetic field, from animals to humans to the earth herself. German studies show that living cells emit something called biophotons—weak electromagnetic fields that help them communicate with one another.
It makes sense that EMFs from manmade devices could not help but interact with our own electromagnetic fields, for better or for worse. But do cell phones cause brain cancer? What about DNA damage? Reproductive problems? We can’t point to definitive data—yet. But as any electrosensitive individual will tell you, the symptoms are real.
Many are beating the drum for shungite. In this article, I will review what we know about this mysterious rock and attempt to sort through the quasi-scientific mumbo jumbo while dispensing with a few untruths. Shungite has some impressive research behind it. Truth be told, I am a fan, but the data needs to be put in perspective. Before I get into shungite, I’ll bring you up to speed on the latest science about the risks of EMFs.
Why You Should Be Concerned About EMFs
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences defines EMFs as “invisible areas of energy, often referred to as radiation, that are associated with the use of electrical power.” A wide range of electronic devices emit EMFs including baby monitors, cell phones, cordless phones, Wi-Fi routers, smart meters, and other wireless devices.
Cell phones... can’t live with ’m, can’t live without ’m. Although many continue to poo-poo the risks, there is plenty of data to make my alarm bells ring.
Cell phones emit microwave radiation in the 2 to 5 Gigahertz range. In 2016, the National Toxicology Program released disturbing preliminary results from the largest ever cell phone study showing a link between cell phone radiation and cancer. Rats exposed to the frequency of radiation emitted by cell phones develop two kinds of cancerous tumors: gliomas in the brain and schwannomas in the heart. Sadly, these results are in alignment with several observational studies finding links to the same types of tumors in humans, plus acoustic neuromas and meningiomas.
After an extensive scientific review, in 2011 the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization) released a report classifying cell phone radiation as a possible human carcinogen. In 2015, 190 independent scientists from 39 countries sounded the alarm for stricter controls on cell phone radiation.
Yet, in spite of all this, the US government continues to insist cell phones are completely safe, and the CDC even deleted cautions from their cell phone fact sheet.
One study found that using a cellphone for just 20 minutes per day increases brain tumor risk by 300 percent over the course of five years.
Whatever risks cell phones and other electronic devices pose to us, they pose an even greater risk to our children. Holding a cellphone to your ear allows between 10 and 80 percent of the EMFs to penetrate two inches into your brain—which is especially concerning for infants and children whose heads are smaller and delicate brains are still developing.
Cell phone radiation may be harming our children even before birth. In a study published in the journal Epidemiology, researchers found a 25 percent increase in emotional problems, 34 percent increase in peer relationship issues, 35 percent increased hyperactivity, and 49 percent more behavioral problems among children whose mothers used cellphones during pregnancy, compared to moms who did not.
EMFs Damage Mitochondria and Break Apart DNA
Unlike ionizing radiation that produces damage by heating up tissues, low-level radiation in the radiofrequency and microwave part of the spectrum causes biological effects without raising temperatures. According to EMF expert Martin Blank, PhD, these frequencies “stress” cellular proteins in human cells. This may explain many of their harmful effects such as inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. 
EMFs have been shown to cause serious mitochondrial dysfunction from free radical damage. Mitochondria are the little energy powerhouses inside our cells. Free radical damage is linked to anxiety, dementia, autism, ADHD, cardiac arrhythmias, depression, and infertility.
Dr. Martin Pall of Washington State University has published a number of papers about the mechanisms by which EMFs inflict damage to plants, animals and humans. He has concluded that EMFs damage voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCC), allowing calcium to flood into your cells. This triggers a biochemical cascade resulting in massive numbers of free radicals that damage your cell membranes and mitochondria, break your DNA, accelerate aging, and drive up your risk for chronic disease.
Rates of chronic disease are soaring. Since 1990, we have seen an explosion of autoimmune, neurological and metabolic diseases. Alzheimer’s has increased by 299 percent, depression by 280 percent, and chronic fatigue by a staggering 11027 percent. Many experts speculate that mitochondrial damage from EMFs is a major factor.
EMFs are now directly associated with the following:
Reproductive effects (e.g., reduced sperm count and motility, reduced fertility)
DNA damage and oxidative stress
Cognitive problems (impaired reaction time, memory, brain fog)
Fatigue and malaise
To learn more about the health risks of EMF exposure, Ann Louise Gittleman has an excellent and very readable book on the subject, Zapped.
The World’s Oldest and Best Kept Secret
Now that you have an evidence-based understanding of the risks of radiation, let’s take a look at one of the tools that we can use to help shield us from this growing 21st Century threat: shungite.
If you’ve never heard of shungite, you’re not alone. This mystery mineral first came into my awareness when I was researching crystals with EMF-protective properties. Many crystals and minerals are described by energy workers as protective against radiation, but there is little science behind most of these claims. Not to completely discredit the body of what I would call “intuitive knowledge,” but it’s nice when empirical studies actually exist! Shungite is unique in that there is actually a scientific basis for its claims—or at least some of them.
Shungite has wide-ranging health (and industrial) benefits stemming from its extremely unique molecular structure. It is touted as offering everything from radiation protection to treating infections, inflammation, allergies, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, digestive problems, and skin conditions. In Russia, shungite has been studied extensively for the treatment of depression, trauma and all sorts of mental/emotional problems.
Shungite is the world’s oldest hydrocarbon-based rock. It’s not a mineral in the strictest sense of the word, although it’s often referred to as one. Shungite comes from only one place on Earth—an area known as Karelia, which is a geographic area divided between Russia and Finland (just north of Saint Petersburg).
In 1887, shungite was named after the village Shung’a in Russian Karelia, near the shore of Onezhskoe Lake. The Karelian rock formation, known as the Zazhoginsky deposit, contains about 35 million tons of shungite and shungite rock.
Shungite may be new to Westerners, but the Karelians have been using it medicinally for centuries. Shungite lore dates back to the reign of Ivan the Terrible, at which time it was simply referred to as “local slate.”
As the story goes, in the 18th century, Peter the Great noticed shungite’s powerful healing effects and constructed a shungite spa for his soldiers. Many had been poisoned by a type of ore they were processing. Men who drank water from a nearby spring that ran through the shungite deposit recovered in just three days—much faster than normal. This is the origin of “shungite water,” which I’ll be discussing shortly.
Two Billion Years in the Oven
Shungite dates back two billion years to the Precambrian era. Yes, that’s billion with a B!This was a time when life on our planet was limited to primitive single-celled organisms. For reference, our solar system is about 4.6 billion years old. Shungite formed when organisms accumulated and mixed with mud and silt on the bottom of a brackish water body. Geothermal heat and compression transformed these organic materials into liquid hydrocarbons—probably much like oil—which slowwwwly became petrified into rock. Karelia By Jniemenmaa (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
Shungite has unique physical and chemical properties due to its microstructure (atomic structure, conductivity, and magnetic properties). It consists of unusually large, hollow, and stable carbon structures with a high oxidative and reductive capacity, which is where shungite derives its antioxidant properties. The mineral’s conductivity is one way you can distinguish between real shungite and a fake, which I’ll talk more about later.
Shungite contains carbon, silicate minerals, iron, titanium, magnesium, potassium, calcium, sulfur, aluminum, and a significant list of other elements. Some are claiming that shungite contains “all the elements in the periodic table,” but this really appears to be an exaggeration.18
Grades of Shungite
There are different grades or classes of shungite, based on its carbon content. In the literature, I noted three-grade and five-grade classification schemes, but the three-grade is most widely used. Originally, the term “shungite” indicated only those specimens that were 98 percent pure carbon, but now it is now used more broadly to indicate any rock that contains some shungite.
The box that follows is the classification scheme used by Regina Martino in her book Shungite: Protection, Healing and Detoxification.
"Type I Shungite (aka Elite or Noble Shungite): Purest form of shungite with carbon content at least 98 percent; shiny silvery semimetallic luster; does not lend itself to cutting and shaping; accounts for only one percent of all available shungite
Type II (aka Black Shungite): 50-70 percent carbon; because it's easily shaped and polised, this is the type typically used for scultpures and jewelry; black in color with semi-dull luser (unless polished)
Type III (aka Gray Shungite or Shungite Rock): 30-50 percent carbon; gray in color with dull or matte luster"
This scheme begs the question, what about 70 to 98 percent carbon, and zero to 30 percent carbon?
Another classification scheme divides shungite into low carbon (5 percent), medium carbon (5-25 percent), and high carbon (25-80 percent) varieties. The problem with this is, it leaves out the most valuable type of shungite—the 98 percent carbon variety.
Why does carbon matter? The more carbon your sample has, the stronger its wonderful properties. The reason for this is a molecule called a fullerene. What on Earth is a fullerene, you might ask?
Fullerenes & Buckeyballs
In 1985, laboratory chemists synthesized unique, hollow, carbon-rich molecules shaped like soccer balls. They named these new molecules “fullerenes” (or “buckeyballs”) after the late Buckminster Fuller, famous for his geodesic dome architectural structures.
Fullerenes were basically molecular hexagons and pentagons bound together into hollow cages. Each carbon atom served not only to hold the molecule together, but also as a point of attachment for an external atom or molecule. This structure gave rise to a staggering number of chemical combinations. Fullerenes became the “tinker toys” of nanotube technology, giving rise to all sorts of innovations from drug delivery systems to solar cells to bulletproof vests.
In 1991, Science magazine distinguished fullerenes as the “molecule of the year,” and in 1996, the scientists who originated them were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
When synthesized in the lab, fullerenes were considered nonexistent in nature. But in 1992, they were discovered in shungite! To this day, scientists remain mystified about how these unique molecules were able to form. They require very high temperatures and pressures; therefore, the top two theories of origin involve lightning strikes and meteorites.
Fullerenes are not abundant in shungite, despite what you might read. In fact, they’ve only been found in elite (noble) shungite and black shungite, with a greater proportion in the elite.     One analysis estimated fullerenes to represent only 0.0001 to 0.0001 percent by weight.
Shungite contains seven types of fullerenes, containing between 24 and 70 carbon atoms, but from what I understand, only the larger fullerenes (60 and 70 carbons) have the desired stability.
Naturally occurring-fullerenes have the additional property of encapsulating water and gases (helium for one) inside their hollow carbon vaults.
Natural fullerenes are members of a highly exclusive club. Since their discovery in shungite, they have been found in fulgurites (glassy rocks produced by lightning strikes), meteorite impact craters, lava flows, coal, fossilized dinosaur eggs, and cosmic dust from planetary nebulae. Personally, I vote for the meteorite impact theory.
C60 Fullerene, image by Rob Hooft Wikimedia Commons contributors, "File: C60-rods.png," Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository
Shungite for Inflammation, Immune Function & Detoxification
The Karelians have utilized fullerenes for centuries without knowing what they were. It’s believed the healing properties of the spring water that flows through shungite outcrops is a result of the fullerenes. Shungite is one of nature’s gifts for cleansing the environment, but it may have equally impressive effects for cleansing our bodies. Shungite can be consumed orally or applied topically via shungite water, or the stones can be worn on or close to the body.
Thanks to shungite’s unique structure, it grabs onto many different things including chemicals, volatile organic compounds, drugs, chlorine, fluoride, and radioactive particles. It also kills a wide variety of bacteria, viruses, phages and other pathogens.Shungite can neutralize a significant number of toxins because it holds a massive quantity of hydrogen, making it very effective for water purification.
Shungite studies, as well as anecdotal evidence, point to a long list of potential health benefits, listed in the following box.13 Some of these are backed up by studies. Others are simply mentioned in articles. Often a study is described but no citation is provided, making the validity difficult to ascertain. I think a good deal of literature probably exists in Russia, which is difficult to access. Adding to the struggle, many of the studies are in Russian!
Elimination of free radicals (antioxidant effects, reduced cellular damage)
Antibacterial and antiviral
Antihistamine (suppressing allergies)
Anticancer (slowing cancer cell growth)
Immune booster, faster healing and tissue regeneration
Protection from ionizing radiation, non-ionizing radiation (including EMFs), geopathic stress
Benefits reported for high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, respiratory tract infections, diabetes, gastrointestinal conditions, skin conditions such as psoriasis, and faster recovery for cancer patients following radiation therapy
Shungite’s healing properties were first examined by Ukrainian scientist Grigory Andievsky. He arrived at the conclusion that fullerenes act as adaptogens in the body, working at a cellular level but also systemically. According to Martino:9
"Thanks to its soccer ball shape, a natural fullerene attracts free radicals that end up stuck to it, covering its entire surface. Having numerous free radicals side-by-side on a fullerene leads to their transformation into a neutral compound. A fullerene does not lose its molecular composition and continues to attract more free radicals.”
A natural healthcare clinic in the UK cites a study at National University Pharmacy in the Ukraine that found a significant drop in liver inflammation among hepatitis patients drinking fullerene water, although the author did not provide a citation and I was unable to find the study.
In 2006, research was presented at a scientific congress in Russia, entitled “Shungite and the Protection of Human Life.” At this meeting, a large volume of scientific data was presented covering most of the health benefits summarized above. Now let’s take a look at one particularly special application of shungite: radiation protection.
How Shungite Protects Against Ionizing and Non-Ionizing Radiation
Shungite offers protection against both ionizing and non-ionizing EMFs. It’s not clear what the full range of frequencies might be that it affects. Several studies suggest shungite offers protection from ionizing radiation, such as ultraviolet and X-rays. A 2017 rodent study discovered a topical shungite preparation imparted significant protection to hairless mice exposed to UVB radiation due to antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
In her book, Regina Martino describes a study at the Ukrainian Academy of Medical Sciences involving volunteer cancer patients. The group drinking water exposed to shungite had their blood panels return to normal within two to three weeks of radiation therapy, whereas the control group took three to four months.
The Grigoriev Institute for Medical Radiology at the national Academy of Medical Science of Ukraine exposed rats to radiation. The rats given shungite water for 15 days showed a 95 percent survival rate, compared to 63 percent for the control group not given shungite water.
What about shungite and non-ionizing electromagnetic fields—the kind emitted by computers, TV and radio, power lines, cell phones,