What is Silica?
Silica also known as silicon dioxide is the second most abundant element on Earth (Oxygen is the most abundant). It is a natural trace mineral made from both silicon molecules and oxygen that provides strength and flexibility to the connective tissues of the body, inclusive of cartilage, tendons, skin, bone, teeth, hair, and blood vessels.
Silica is essential in the formation of collagen, the most abundant protein found in our bodies.
It is a well-known compound that has countless applications, but it is only recently being explored as something that could benefit human health. So, in this article, we will be talking about the benefits of silica to your health and what you can expect from Silica supplements.
Silica vs. Silicone
Is silica, silicone? Absolutely not. Whilst the names sound similar, Silica, also known as silicon dioxide (a combination of silicon molecules and oxygen) is a naturally occurring chemical element that is used as a nutrient by every cell in our body, whereas silicone is a synthetic, manmade substance, usually used within lubricants, medical products, orthopaedic implants, and electrical insulation.
Where is Silica Found?
Silica is found naturally in many plants, such as leafy greens and whole grains. Within Beautifully Nourished's Hair, Nail and Skin Complex, Silica works alongside synergist ingredient, Vitamin C to improve collagen production.
As well as its importance for optimal collagen synthesis, it also activates hydroxylating enzymes, improving skin strength and elasticity. Studies to date support that woman who take 10 mg of silica daily, improve their skin’s texture.
Silica Rich Foods
- Green Beans
- Brown Rice
The Benefits of Silica
The silica nutrient is used by every single cell and every internal gland within our bodies.
When we are young, our bodies have abundant levels of silica which is why children normally have beautiful silky hair, soft skin, and perfect nails.
The silica health benefits include:
Supporting Bone Formation and Maintenance
Although calcium and vitamin D get most of the attention when it comes to bone health, a 2013 study in International Journal of Endocrinology reported that silica can increase bone mineral density and strength. The researchers think silica is needed to trigger the deposit of bone crystals; a procedure known as bone mineralisation.
We are born with substantial amounts of silica and low amounts of calcium and as we age, we lose silica and our bodies deposit calcium in our glands which leads to what is termed “calcification” of our tissues and the eventual loss of gland functions. Calcium requires vitamin D3 for its absorption, but it also requires silica for the utilisation of calcium into building strong bones and teeth. A calcium deficiency is invariably associated with a deficiency in silica. Several studies have indicated that people with broken bones heal a lot quicker when silica levels are high irrespective of their calcium levels in the bloodstream. In fact, without silica your body could break apart!
Silica and Collagen Formation
A 2016 study by Sao Paulo University, Brazil reported that silica helps form the building blocks of collagen, an important protein found in your skin, blood, cartilage, muscles, and ligaments.
Collagen is needed to keep skin springy and elastic and provide crucial protection and structure to your organs and joints.8,9 In one study of women with sun-damaged skin, those who took 10mg of silica daily for 20 weeks had decreased skin roughness and wrinkling, and stronger, less brittle hair and nails.10
Heart and Immune System Support
Silica energises the immune system, and it is thought that its action on alkalising the body may have a lot to do with this property. The alkalising property of silica is important because an acidic environment within the body, often because of poor dietary choices, results usually in a compromised immune system and illnesses. Silica is also required for the manufacture of antibodies and antigens both of which are essential components of a healthy immune system. Consuming this mineral along with healthy dietary choices and an exercise plan will help to restore healthy pH levels within the body.
Silica may help protect your heart health by reducing the risk of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, while lowering cholesterol, according to a 2018 report by the University of Memphis. The mineral can also support the immune response and help to control inflammation in the body.
Silica has an impact on strengthening the cardiovascular system as well as the central nervous system which relies of calcium and magnesium for the optimal transmission of nerve impulses.
Silica also promotes proper mineral balance between calcium and magnesium within the body. This mineral balance in turn helps with hormonal balance. This hormonal balance in turn is important because it is precisely hormonal imbalances that lead to osteoporosis. By achieving hormonal balance and its ability to enhance bone mineralisation, silica is invaluable in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis and ideally every good calcium supplement should have some silica within the formulation.
Does Silica help our Hair, Skin and Nails?
Silica Benefits for Skin: Silica may be of excellent value when the skin begins to sag which obviously makes us look prematurely aged. One of the biggest components of collagen is silica. Since collagen is the connective tissue that makes up most of our skin, it is not difficult to realise the importance of adequate silica levels within our bodies. Having sufficient and well-toned collagen will make our skin look soft and young which in turn helps with suppleness and an increased capability of being moisturised.
Whenever collagen is damaged in skin, and incidentally this is occurring all the time due to free radical damage, silica is required to take care of this by rebuilding and regenerating this connective tissue. Incidentally, silica is also an excellent supplement in combating mild to moderate acne. It does so by firstly enhancing collagen production which ensures healthy outer cell layers of the skin which are less likely to get inflamed from the hormonal waste that relates to acne. Additionally, silica supplementation is great for the removal of toxins which arise because of digestion. These toxins normally seep into the bloodstream and cause inflammation leading to acne and dull lifeless skin!
Silica for Hair
Silica’s role for hair health appears to be two-fold. Firstly, as mentioned above, silica helps to achieve hormonal balance. An imbalance in the female sex hormones is one of the biggest single causal factors for hair loss and the thinning of hair. An intake of silica will most definitely help to prevent hair thinning, restore vitality to hair and may even address hair loss without the need for hormone mimicking herbs. This property is particularly suitable for those with cell mutation associated with excess oestrogen.
Secondly, silica bonds with many minerals in the body as mentioned above. Aside from removing aluminium from the body, silica takes many nutrients to the peripherals of the body, namely the hair, skin, and nails, and thus ensures that the hair follicles are supplied with all the vital minerals necessary for hair growth and vitality.
Silica is a vital mineral when you are shedding your hair excessively leading to hair loss and it also helps both women and men for lack lustre and thinning hair. It is important to understand how silica works to achieve healthy looking vitalised hair.
Silica for Hair growth
Silica does not necessary promote hair growth, but it does strengthen hair and prevent thinning. It does this by delivering essential nutrients to your hair follicles. silica has not been found to reverse hair loss, but it will help prevent hair breakage and deliver essential nutrients to your scalp and hair follicles. Up to date studies involving 48 women with fine hair found that their hair strands were strengthened after taking 10 mg of silicon for 9 months.
Silica for Nails
Your nails are one of the hallmarks of beauty in modern culture. If you are not happy with the state of your nails, whether they are brittle, have spots on them, ridges or simply are not happy with the way they look, then silica supplementation may be beneficial. As mentioned above, silica takes all the nutrients to the nails helping not only to impart strength, but also feeds the nail bed with all the vital nutrients for encouraging healthy and strong nails.
Aside from its role in hair, skin and nails, silica’s much wider role throughout the body means that we really must ensure that we do not have a deficiency in this important mineral. Silica is found in numerous vegetables and fruits and very little research has been carried out as to the possible deficiencies that exist in the general population though it is accepted that with silica’s wide role of activity, deficiencies are more than likely.
Silicon is supplements carries tremendous health and beauty benefits to the skin and beyond. The presence of soft and brittle nails can indicate silicon deficiency and supplementing with silica can strengthen both the nails and hair and prevent hair thinning.
If you are not keen to use silica is supplements or on adding a supplement to your daily routine, you can also bolster your intake of silica through your diet by including plenty of dark leafy greens, leeks, green beans, cucumber, celery, and asparagus.
But the only way to get enough of the mineral is via a supplement.
Are Silica Supplements safe?
Yes, Silica is considered safe for healthy people. However, Silica should be avoided by the following people:
- Pregnant women
- People with kidney disease as they may accumulate silica in their bloodstream
How much Silica is Safe to Take?
The upper safe limit has been reported as 700–1,750 mg a day. As silica is water-soluble, excess is simply passed out by the body in your urine, meaning it is unlikely to cause side effects if you take too much.
Silica with Beautifully Nourished
Beautifully Nourished’s Hair, Nail and Skin Complex features synergistic nutrients, such as MSM, Marine Collagen and Silica, which work together to support skin elasticity and hydration.
How it Works
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It is found in the body's bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and skin, supporting, and connecting all these tissues. We want to protect this protein.
As we get older collagen production slows down, which can contribute to:
- Hair thinning
- Thin, brittle nails &
- Skin elasticity loss
Beautifully Nourished's Hair, Nail and Skin, Collagen Complex has been formulated with synergistic ingredients to encourage the biosynthesis of collagen within the body, keeping the skin supple and the hair and nails, strong.
To summarise, the amazing health benefits of silicon include:
Health Benefits of Silicon
- Bone Strengthening: Silicon has been found to play a vital role in assisting calcium for the growth, maintenance, and flexibility of joints and bones. It has been shown to induce flexibility in the bones by increasing the amount of collagen present within the bones. It is necessary for the maintenance of skeletal health. It elevates the deposition of different minerals such as calcium in the bone tissues.
- Hair Growth: Silicon encourages the growth of thick and healthy hair. It also increases the luster and shine of hair.
- Skin Care: Silicon increases the elasticity and strength of the connective tissues of the skin and stops it from ageing. It restores the natural glow of the skin and prevents wrinkles by increasing collagen formation. It also helps in brightening the eyes.
- Prevents Brittle Nails: Silicon plays a significant role in the maintenance of nail health. It has the ability to strengthen nails and to provide the nail bed with nutrients. Furthermore, it prevents the problem of brittle nails and infections
Silica has an enormous array of benefits! It can support bone formation and maintenance, provide heart and immune system support, balance hormones and is perfect for the hair, skin, and nails. Achieving and maintaining beauty through inner health.
If our bodies are producing silica why should we be supplementing it?
The fact is that, just like how collagen production slows from around the age of 25, silica does too. Anyone in their late 20s, early 30s should look to start taking silica. You can use it when you start to see fine lines or even better, preventatively.