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Silicon (Si), known also as silica, is the second most available element after oxygen found in the earth’s crust. It is present in clay and sand, and rocks like quartz and granite.
Silica is present in the human body in the form of either a derivative of silanate or silicic acid. It is a vital trace mineral required by human body for strong hair, flexible joints, glowing skin, and strong bones. It also increases the overall benefits of vitamin D, glucosamine, and calcium.
In the past it was believed silica was just a trace mineral, and that we only needed a very small amount of it to maintain health. However, with further research, silica is now considered one of the top 12 elements necessary for life.
Silica’s importance in overall optimal health has been recognized for quite some time. As early as 1878, Louis Pasteur predicted that silica should be regarded as an important therapeutic substance for many health problems.
Silica has been proven to benefit the health of our bones, hair, skin and nails. Human hair contains 90 micrograms of silica per every gram. Only our bones contain more of this mineral, and that is the reason why we must make sure we have enough of silica to have healthy bones and hair.
According to one research review, “Orthosilicic acid (silica) is the form predominantly absorbed by humans and is found in numerous tissues including bone, tendons, aorta, liver and kidney. Compelling data suggest that silica is essential for health although no RDI has been established. However, deficiency induces deformities in skull and peripheral bones, poorly formed joints, reduced contents of cartilage, collagen, and disruption of mineral balance in the femur and vertebrae… A few rodent studies have been conducted, which indicate a No Observed Adverse Effects Level of 50,000 ppm (mg/L) for dietary silica. In conclusion, many forms of silica exist in nature and compelling data support myriad beneficial effects of silica in water.” (>)
Western populations (including UK) are deficient in dietary silica in comparison with people living in China or India. For most Western populations dietary intake of Silica is between 20-50 mg per day. Much higher intakes (140-204 mg/day) have been reported in China and India due to higher intake of plant-based unrefined and higher in fibre and silica foods.
UK tap water contains very low levels of dissolved silicon or silicic acid (often referred to as silica), which has a negative impact on nation’s health as this mineral is required to remove toxic aluminium from the brains.
In most developed countries (including UK and US) the average person ingests only between 20 to 60 milligrams of silica per day, depending upon their diet. On the other hand, studies have shown that people who have supplemented with silica at 375 mg per day, had good results in maintaining and regaining their health proving that the intake of 20 to 60 milligrams per day is far from being adequate. it is therefore suggested that daily silica supplementation may be very beneficial.
After 40 silica levels starting to go down, and some sources suggest that with women it’s a far worse than it is with men. On a daily basis we may be losing 10-40 mg of silica every day.
Bamboo extract is the richest known source of silica as it contains 70% organic silica and therefore is significantly higher source of silica than even horsetail herb which contains about 25% of this mineral.
After bamboo, horsetail herb (>) continues to be one of the most abundant sources of silica in the plant kingdom. It is so rich in this mineral, that it was once used to polish metal in the Middle and Medieval ages, when it was nicknamed “scouring rush.” The high silica content made horsetail a popular ingredient in shampoos, skincare products, as well as in nutritional supplements. (>)
In traditional medicine, the horsetail herb concoctions and other extracts has been used to treat fluid retention (including oedema), various inflammations, kidney stones, urinary tract infections, difficulties controlling urination, and other problems. (>)
Apart from bamboo extract, horsetail and clay, much smaller concentrations of silica are found in certain foods including millet, whole oats, barley, quinoa, buckwheat, apples, cherries, almonds, seeds, potatoes (with skin), bananas, or green beans, raw cabbages, carrots, onions, and cucumbers. Refined foods, such as white flour products, are deprived of silica.
According to the research, silica from bamboo extract is not only beneficial for our hair, skin, nails or bones but may also help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by supporting removal of aluminium from the body.
“Over the last 10 years, my team at Keele University has been looking into the effectiveness of drinking water high in silicon to help remove aluminium from the body. Aluminium is a toxin which has been strongly linked to the development of Alzheimer’s as well as other human diseases including Parkinson’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis.”
“What we have found in clinical trials, involving both healthy individuals and individuals with disease, is that drinking around a litre of silicon-rich mineral water every day can speed up the removal of toxic aluminium from the body via the kidneys and ultimately urine. In fact, our studies showed that individuals experienced significant reductions in their body burden of aluminium, including falls of up to 70% in one case, over a 12 week period.”
“Silicon-rich mineral waters help to remove aluminium from the body because they are actually rich in soluble silicon or silicic acid. This form of silicon immediately follows water molecules through the gut wall and into the bloodstream where it forms a complex with aluminium called an hydroxyaluminosilicate. This form of aluminium can be easily filtered from the blood by the kidney. Hence, silicon-rich mineral waters increase the excretion of aluminium in the urine.” (>)
“The women with Alzheimer’s disease were 2.7 times more likely to have daily silica intake considerably lower than those without Alzheimer’s disease, the researchers found. They suggest that silica is a “natural antidote” to aluminium, which has been linked to the formation of so-called senile plaques in the brain.” (>)
In most developed countries (including UK and US) the average person ingests only between 20 to 60 milligrams of silica per day, depending upon their diet. On the other hand, studies have shown that people who have supplemented with silica at 375 mg per day, had good results in maintaining and regaining their health proving that the intake of 20 to 60 milligrams per day is far from being adequate. It is therefore suggested that daily silica supplementation may be very beneficial.
Although silica is the second most prevalent element on earth there is a need to supplement with for the following reasons: First of all, as we age, our body retains less and less silica. Secondly, silica does not seem to occur in sufficient amounts in the foods we consume, especially when we consume mostly refined products and avoid foods such as whole oats, millet, or barley. Refined and processed products have very little or no silica. As we get older, we need more silica to stay healthy, and it looks like we don’t get enough of it from dietary sources and water. For this reason supplementation seems to be a reasonable solution.
Bamboo Extract is the richest known source of silica as it contains 70% organic silica and therefore is significantly more potent source of silica than even horsetail herb, regarded as one of the highest natural sources of this mineral.
Although compelling data suggest that silica is essential for health yet no RDI has been established by now.
The safe upper limit for silica from supplements in EU countries is set at 700mg per day. The US doesn’t seem to have SUL for this mineral.
Supplementing with organic silica from bamboo extract seems to be safe. Studies concluded that oral supplements containing bamboo extract (silica) can be an effective and safe method for significant hair growth (>).
Animal studies indicate levels of 50,000 ppm (mg/L) for dietary silica produced no adverse effects (>).
Written by Slawomir Gromadzki, MPH
Any information or product suggested on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. Consult your primary healthcare physician before using any supplements or making any changes to your regime.