What is silicon?

Silicon is an element that is present in small traces in the body. It is an essential ingredient for strengthening connective tissues, bones, and joints as well as taking care of nails, hair and skin. The human body contains 7 grams of silicon, which is present in various tissues and body fluids. The health benefits of silicon play an important role in the prevention of certain conditions such as atherosclerosis, tuberculosis, sleeping disorders and skin disorders.



What is the function of silicon?

Silicon is necessary for the synthesis of collagen and elastin and it is important for the health of the connective tissues, bones, cartilage, tendons and joints . The collagen acts as a scaffold that provides support to the tissues, whereas elastin gives elasticity to the tissues, skin, hair and blood vessels. Bone is actually a special type of connective tissue. As the bone matures, silicon concentration declines and deposits of calcium and phosphorus are formed at the same time. Therefore, it is concluded that silicon acts as a regulating factor for the deposition of calcium and phosphorus in bone tissue. In addition to connective tissue and bone health, silicon also plays a role in other health benefits such as protection against aluminium toxicity and protection of arterial tissue.

Which foods are rich in silicon?

Silicon is present in oats, beets, barley, soy, grains, as well as roots and herbs such as borage and nettles. Including silicon one’s daily diet may boost the benefits of calcium, glucosomine and vitamin D.



What is the recommended daily requirement of silicon?

The recommended daily requirement for silicon is between 20-50 mg. Plants absorb orthosilicic acid from the soil and convert it into polymerized silicon for mechanical and structural support. This is why foods such as cereals, oats and vegetables have a high silicon concentration and a limited supply of vegetables, cereals and fruits provide low concentration of silicon.



What are the consequences of silicon deficiency?

Silicon deficiency can dehydrate the nails and make them brittle as well as affect the health of the skin and hair.  Also, lower stomach acidity (due to illness or aging) diminishes the ability to metabolize silicon from food sources, in turn resulting in a low silicon diet.  Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take any silicon supplements as they may cause harm to the mothers and their infants.



What are the consequences of excessive silicon intake?

A prolonged excess intake of silicon is associated with silicosis, a lung disease. It was also noted that increased levels of silicon along with aluminium have been found in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer’s. In addition, prolonged use of silicon concentrated substances has also been associated with the formation of kidney stones in some individuals.



It is true that silicon supplements provide health benefits to hair?

The best way to receive an essential amount of silicon is to eat foods rich in the mineral itself. Unfortunately, most often silicon is not absorbed well and in some cases, it may be necessary to take supplements. However, seeking medical advice from a physician is crucial in order to prevent any unwanted complications.