Silica is a form of silicon dioxide, a mineral that occurs naturally in the Earth’s crust. Silicon is among the most abundant elements on earth; it makes up more than 25% of the planet’s upper crust. The mineral is found in a number of foods, including seafood, beer, whole grains, root vegetables and leafy greens. Bamboo, algae and horsetail also supply high amounts of the mineral.
In supplement form, silica is widely valued for its support of bone strength and connective tissue; in fact, deficiency of this mineral has been linked to problems with skeletal strength and connective tissue integrity. Research suggests that the mineral promotes bone density by aiding in the body’s absorption of calcium. The mineral has also been found to be concentrated where new bone is growing. It is believed to help link enzymes, polysaccharides and proteins during the bone formation process. These biological activities combine to support bone health, skeletal strength and healthy posture.**
The mineral’s connective tissue support has been attributed to its ability to promote production of collagen, a fibrous protein that lends flexibility and durability to bones, connective tissues, joints and cartilage. Its nourishing, strengthening properties help to support joint mobility and comfortable movement. In addition to encouraging collagen production, silica helps the body produce glycosaminoglycans, which are polysaccharide proteins that support healthy hair, strong nails and supple skin. The mineral’s support of collagen and structural proteins has led to its use in various natural beauty applications.**
Along with its well-documented roles in supporting healthy bones and connective tissues, some very early investigations indicate that silica may hold the potential to assist with cognitive function. The mineral blocks the body’s ability to absorb aluminum, a substance that’s thought to play a role in cognitive decline and impaired neurological function.**
This mineral may decline in the body with age. Supplements can reverse this decline. These supplements are sourced from naturally occurring silicon in the Earth, as well as from plant sources such as bamboo, horsetail or algae. The supplement comes in capsules, tablets, liquids and gels for topical use. The mineral is sometimes combined with calcium, potassium, gelatin or other nutrients in bone, joint and beauty formulas.**
Silica Directions for Use
Seek advice from a health care provider before adding the mineral to your supplement regimen. There is no standard recommended amount; doses typically range from 500 mg to 150 mg of the mineral per serving.**