Top 5 Reasons to take Silica – Silica (or silicon dioxide) is a compound made from silicon molecules and oxygen, is the second most abundant element on earth and the third most abundant trace element inside the body, second only to iron and zinc. While only required in trace amounts, silica does big things for our health, participates in the development of strong bones and connective tissue, and supports skin, hair, teeth, and nail health. Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits silica offers.
Healthy, Bright, Youthful-Looking Skin
Silica is naturally found in hair, skin, and nails and has long been a go-to supplement for the support of these tissues. Silica also enhances collagen formation – the most abundant protein in the body – which not only serves to improve skin strength and elasticity, but also helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This is key because when we’re young, we naturally synthesize and retain more collagen and silica but as we age, both our collagen and our silica levels start to decline, directly impacting our connective tissue including our bones, hair, nails, and skin.
Just as interestingly, silica is implicated in the formation of elastin, a connective tissue that is responsible for the elasticity of tissues found in our skin, lungs, and blood vessels. As a result, much of the deterioration we see in skin, blood vessels, and bones in the elderly can, at least in part, be attributed to low silica levels. A silica supplement can thus go a long way to mitigating these effects and promoting optimal skin health and a youthful appearance.
If you’re dealing with hair loss or you’ve noticed a change in the fullness, and quality of your hair (coarse, dry, brittle, and lacking luster), silica might just be the missing link. Indeed, if you aren’t familiar with silica’s benefits for the hair, this trace element is a game-changer.
First of all, research has shown that silica nourishes hair by delivering essential nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles. This not only helps strengthen follicles but also helps you grow thicker and stronger hair that is more resistant to breakage. In fact, a study on silica supplementation published in the journal Archives of Dermatological Research reports that women with fine hair were given either a placebo or an orthosilicic acid (stabilized, bioavailable form of silica). After nine months of use, the women in the silica group had grown thick, lustrous hair that had also improved in hair strength and elasticity.
As previously mentioned, silica is required for the production of collagen, which provides strength, flexibility, and resilience to our connective tissues. Collagen is present in all parts of our body but is especially concentrated in our joints. Therefore, our body’s collagen levels affect the way our joints perform. Healthy, youthful, well-nourished collagen is flexible, strong, and rich in silica. Unfortunately, as we age, our silica levels drop. This not only hinders our ability to maintain adequate production of collagen but also causes our collagen to deteriorate. This can lead to joint weakness, sore and inflamed joints, tendonitis, limited mobility, and a range of other joint problems. Supplementing with silica can help offset the natural decline in collagen and promote healthy cartilage throughout life.
In addition, silica has been shown to help stabilize and lubricate joints while reducing inflammation in joint tissues. Because of this, silica supplements are often recommended to improve the rate and quality of recovery in those with tendon and ligament damage.
Silica supplements have long been recommended to support the skeletal system, and help protect against osteoporosis thanks to its unique bone-strengthening qualities. Silica also has the unique ability to boost the production of bone-building cells (osteoblasts) while reducing the number of cells that break down bones (osteoclasts). Further, because silica forms structural components of bone and connective tissue, such as collagen, it is especially essential during the early phase of bone mineralization, which explains why it is found in particularly high concentrations in the body’s bony growth plates.
One of the reasons why silica is so essential to bone health is that it is tasked with controlling the flow of calcium in and out of our bones. This unsurprisingly has the effect of boosting bone density and bone integrity while reducing bone fragility. Studies support silica’s benefits for bone health and have shown that a higher intake of silica in both men and pre-menopausal women has a beneficial impact on skeletal health and especially on cortical bone health.
Silica is required for both building and then absorbing collagen, plus helping to glue collagen together. While collagen provides the framework for our bones and other tissues in the body, silica strengthens these bonds and makes them more mobile. Unfortunately, as we age (as early as the age of 20 actually), our levels of collagen and silica decline. Several factors influence the rate of decline, including the health of our microbiome, diet, stress, inflammation, sleep quality, and sun exposure.
Fortunately, studies have shown that silica supplementation promotes optimal collagen synthesis and activates enzymes necessary for the collagen network, which, in turn, helps support the optimal health of the skin, cartilage, bone, muscles, ligaments, and more.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended for educational and informational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your practitioner prior to taking herbs or nutritional supplements.
Roos Jonsin is a Canadian naturopath and researcher dedicated to helping people live healthier lives through education about vitamins, herbs, and nutritional supplements. Roos also consults with suppliers and manufacturers with product development and marketing. National Nutrition is Canada’s leading health & nutritional supplements store, also voted as the Best Health Food Store in Canada by the experts at Canadian Health Food Association.