All About Minerals

Silica (Silicon)
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Why silica is good for you

Silica is a trace mineral, which means the body only needs a very small amount of it to stay healthy.

Silica is found most predominantly in the connective tissues - skin, blood vessels, cartilage, bone, teeth, tendons and hair. Silica is really beneficial for the health of blood vessel walls (the aorta is has really high concentrations of silica).

Silica is used to keep bones, cartilage, tendons, blood vessels and artery walls healthy. It is also required by the nails, hair and skin to stay in good condition and is useful in counteracting the effects of excessive aluminium in the body, which is implicated in the development of Alzheimer's disease.

Silica is also involved in the formation of healthy bone tissue and collagen, the framework which makes the body "stick" together, without which, the body would fall apart.

 

Important silica facts

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Groups at risk of silica deficiency

Nobody has ever been found to be deficient in silica because it is found abundantly in so many foods.

 

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Symptoms of silica deficiency

It is unlikely that a silica deficiency would occur in many people, but if it did, it is thought that it may result in the following deficiency symptoms:

  • Problems with the teeth and bones (decay and softening)
  • Hardening of the arteries

 

Silica and health

People who wish to take a silica supplement should talk to a medical professional BEFORE taking it.

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Silica in food

FOOD AMOUNT Silica (mg)
Beer 1 litre 19.2 - 60
Banana (yellow peeled) 250g 13.6
High bran cereal 100g 10.2
Bread (wholegrain) 200g 8.9
Raisin (California seedless) 100g 8.3
Mineral water (high silica) 500mL 7.2
Green beans (cooked) 250g 6.1
Carrot (raw, peeled) 200g 4.6
Bread (wholemeal) 200g 4.5
Brown rice 200g 4.1
Mineral water (regular) 500mL 3.4
Bread (white) 200g 3.4
Wheat biscuits (Vita Wheats) 100g 2.8
White rice 200g 2.5
Cornflakes 100g 2.4
Lettuce, iceberg (raw) 250g 1.0

 

Silica is also present in the following foods:

 

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Silica recommended daily intake (RDI)

RDA lifestage age amount
  INFANTS 0-12mths n/a**
  CHILDREN 1-8yrs n/a**
  CHILDREN 9-18yrs
n/a**
  ADULTS 19-50yrs
9-14mg
  SENIORS 51+yrs n/a**
  PREGNANT all ages n/a**
  LACTATING all ages n/a**
 
TOLERABLE UPPER LIMIT lifestage age amounT
  INFANTS 0-12mths n/a*
  CHILDREN 1-8yrs n/a*
  CHILDREN 9-18yrs
n/a*
  ADULTS 19-50yrs 20-30mg
  SENIORS 51+yrs
20-30mg
  PREGNANT all ages n/a*
  LACTATING all ages n/a*
 
Toxic Levels May produce toxicity at levels higher than 700mg§ (silicon), whereas horsetail supplements can be taken at higher levels, but should not be taken long term and not at excessive levels and only under medical supervision for a known silica deficiency

The tolerable upper limits should only be taken for short periods and only under medical supervision.


** The recommended daily intake for silica for infants, children and pregnant / lactating women has not yet been determined due to a lack of data about the adverse effects in this age group. The only source of silica intake should be from food.

* The tolerable upper limit for silica for infants, children and pregnant / lactating women has not yet been determined due to a lack of data about the adverse effects in this age group. The only source of silica intake should be from food.

The recommended daily intake and tolerable upper limit are derived from the Nutrient Bible by Henry Osiecki. Studies also show that general human intake from food is between 30-50mg per day

The USDA does not give any values for either recommended daily intake nor for tolerable upper limit of silica and suggests that there is not enough data about safety of supplements and that dietary intake should be adequate.

§ The Food Standards Agency UK suggests that intake of silica supplements less than 700mg per day should not produce harmful side effects in most people, but you should be able to get all your silica requirements from your diet.

 

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Silica works best with

 

 

Overdosage, toxicity and cautions for silica

None known, but not yet thoroughly tested to be be fully known.

It is thought though, that silicon dioxide (silica) supplements are more toxic at lower levels than those from the herb horsetail, which can generally be safely taken at higher levels, but neither supplements should be taken at excessively high levels for long periods as they can cause toxicity symptoms. The type and severity of toxicity symptoms depends on the individual's tolerance levels.

Long-term use or very high doses of horsetail (or silica) supplements have caused irreversible kidney damage, especially in people with existing kidney or heart disease. People with eodema (fluid retention) should also not take silica (or horsetail) supplements.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and children should not take any silica (or horsetail) supplements due to the possible adverse effects and only obtain their silica from food, as the safety of excessive levels of silica has not been tested thoroughly and caution is advised.

Inhaled silica dust can cause silicosis, which is a lung condition that causes fibrosis and cancer of the lungs. Studies show that diatomaceous earth industry workers who were exposed to crystalline silica during the course of the excavation and mining of diatomaceous earth have a higher than expected rate of death from cancers related to silica exposure and inhalation.

There is a lot of conflicting information about this mineral, so people who want to take a silica (or horsetail) supplement should always exercise caution. Seek advice from a doctor before trying any silica (or horsetail) supplements.

 

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Last reviewed: 1 January 2010|| Last updated: 17 January 2010

 

references

 

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NOTE: Mega doses of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, or other supplements cannot cure illnesses and in fact can be very dangerous and produce toxic side effects and interfere with medicine you are taking. Always ensure you consult your doctor before taking any type of nutrient supplement.
Disclaimer: This guide is not intended to be used for diagnostic or prescriptive purposes. For any treatment or diagnosis of illness, please see your doctor.