Sunday, September 22, 2019

Literatus: About Kaolin

I LIKE the name “Kaolin.” It sounds indigenous to my ears. It is actually the white clay used in the manufacture of porcelain tiles, ceramics and insulators.

Chemically, however, it is called “hydrated aluminum silicate.” Physically, it is a white or yellow-white powder with a slightly slippery feel. It dissolves not in water. Light kaolin has finely divided particles that yield a very large overall surface area. That means, if you measure the surface area of each molecule in a pinch, the total represents a very large surface area.

Can you guess now where you find kaolin in “intake forms”? If you do, I am impressed.

That means you are one of the few people who really notice what they put into their mouth. However, if you cannot, I will not tell you right away.

Instead, I will give you more hints. One of its beneficial properties is its capacity to adsorb (not “absorb”) substances from your gastrointestinal tract. When we say, “absorb,” we mean the taking in of an extraneous substance, just like a sponge absorbing water. Adsorption is different. It means attracting extraneous substances like atoms, ions, molecules in a gas, liquid or dissolved solids, towards the adsorber’s surface, causing it to adhere like a magnet drawing metal paper clips.

Kaolin has been tested in the purification of oil field wastewater. In a small study in 2006, it removed the chemical oxygen demand (COD) in wastewater. COD is a test in environmental chemistry, which indirectly measures the amount of organic pollutions in water by measuring the level of oxygen consumption in the water sample. Organic pollutants consume lots of oxygen when undergoing oxygenation (adding oxygen molecule).

It also increases the bulking of feces much like insoluble fibers do. (But, of course, kaolin is not a fiber.) It decreases not the number of stools you pass or reduce fluid loss in overactive bowels. It improves stool consistency within 24 to 48 hours after taking it.

So, you got the correct answer now? If not, then, I have to provide the answer now or this article extends to the margin. Kaolin is found in OTC antidiarrheal drugs. But, of course, I cannot give you any brand name, and you don’t need one.

One last thing, though, if you take this med for diarrhea, avoid eating oily foods (cocoa butter, cod liver oil, or anything with or derived from oil) as these decrease its adsorptive capability.
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