Even silicon, a trace mineral that is abundant in nature, can produce tremendous results far beyond the commonly known benefits for hair, nails and skin, when taken as a supplement. Here are some of the latest studies on this unsung hero.
Silicon has an important role in preventing osteoporosis. Bone loss occurs generally with aging, but accelerates during menopause and its resultant estrogen deficiency. Studies with animals indicate that silicon supplementation reduces the number of osteoclast cells, partially preventing bone resorption and bone loss1. On the other hand, Keeting et al, demonstrated that silicon stimulates DNA synthesis in osteoblast-like cells2. Animal models for osteoporosis using estrogen deficient rats show silicon supplementation preventing bone loss3. In a 1993 Study of 53 osteoporotic women, silicon supplementation was associated with a significant increase in mineral bone density of the femur4.
In addition to connective tissue and silicone stacker bone health, several other health benefits such as protection of arterial tissue and defense against aluminum toxicity derive from silicon.
It is believed that silicon bonds with aluminum in food, and in so doing reduces gastrointestinal absorption of aluminum. In rat studies, silicon was found to prevent the accumulation of aluminum in the brain5. The protective role of silicon on aluminum was confirmed in a French study of elderly subjects. High levels of aluminum in drinking water had a deleterious effect upon cognitive function when the silicon concentration level was low. When the silicon concentration was high, exposure to aluminum appeared less likely to impair cognitive function6.
Experiments with rabbits eating a high cholesterol diet demonstrate silicon’s benefit as a defense against atherosclerosis7.
Silicon in your diet
Silicon is used by plants for structural support; hence fiber rich foods such as cereals, oats, wheat bran and vegetables have high silicon concentration. Another source of organic silicon available only through medical professionals is coral from Brazil. On average it contains 1320 ppm, along with 72 other trace minerals. There are currently no established guidelines for silicon intake in humans, but there is evidence that supplementation is valuable.