Silicon in a nutshell:
Silicon may be necessary for healthy bones, tendons, skin, connective tissue, arteries and kidneys, though you won’t find a daily recommended amount, as researchers haven’t worked one out.
Best source of silicon for Juicers
We don’t recommend trying to supplement your diet with silicon.
Silicon is a potential ultra trace mineral that most of us consume every day. There is some evidence that getting at least a little silicon is essential for human health.
Alternative names: Silicon; silica.
What is Silicon?
Silicon is in its pure form is a gray metal with a shiny luster. Like ice, silicon contracts as it makes the transition from its liquid form to its solid form. A little less than 30% of the earth's crust is made of silicon. Silicon is the metallic component of silicon dioxide, the predominant crystal found in sand, and in thousands of different kinds of crystals from below the surface of the earth.
Diatoms use silicon to make the hard crystals that surround their single-celled bodies. Sponges incorporate silicon into their bodies to give them resilience. Silicon helps plants resists cold and drought. Animals and humans use a form of silicon known as silicic acid in a few physiological functions.
What Does Silicon Do in the Human Body?
Silicic acid got the attention of Alzheimer's researchers due to the fact that
- aluminum seems to accelerate Alzheimer's disease, and
- silicic acid can bind to aluminum so that it is excreted into the urine.
Silicic acid is found in the bones, the tendons, the linings of aorta, and in the kidneys. It seems to be essential for the formation of healthy collagen in the skin and in connective tissue all over the body.
Researchers have concluded that silicon in the form of silicic acid is essential for human health but they have never determined a daily requirement for silicon. Silicic acid and orthosilicic acid supplements are used to strengthen fine hair and brittle nails, and may be helpful in preventing or treating osteoporosis.
Foods That Contain Silicon
The foods that contain the highest amounts of silicon are the parts of plants that need the greatest protection against cold and drought, the seeds of grains and the tubers of root vegetables. There is a relatively large amount of silicic acid in brown rice, barley, potatoes, carrots, and beets. Rice sprouts are nearly 20% silicic acid. Wheat grass is about 10% silicic acid.
We actually get about twice as much silicon in our diets than iron or zinc, about 50 milligrams per day in the West and 150 milligrams per day in China (where brown rice is a staple of the diet). There is also a lot of silicon in green beans, spinach, minimally processed soy products (such as edamame and tofu), dried fruit, nuts, and mussels. Bananas are high in silicon but only about 2% of the form of silicon in bananas can be absorbed.
What About Silicon Supplements?
The easiest way to make sure you are getting enough silicon in your diet is to drink artesian well water. It only takes about a liter (8 cups) of artesian well water per day for 3 months to bring silicic acids up to their maximum levels.
While we can't recommend it as a nutritional supplement, another abundant source of silicon is beer. Men who drink 1 to 2 beers a day, one European study found, tend to have stronger bones than men who do not.
There are several silicic acid supplements on the market. It's important not to take them at the same time you take a calcium supplement or you eat a calcium-rich food, since the small intestine absorbs silicon compounds and calcium compounds through the same molecular channels. It's also important not to take silicic acid at the same time you take magnesium supplements, since the two compounds can combine in your digestive tract without ever being absorbed. A typical dosage of a silicic acid supplement is 500 to 1000 mg a day. Be especially sure to use “colloidal” silicon on an empty stomach.