Naturally present in human bones, skin and teeth, silica—also known as silicon, and not to be confused with silicone—is an often-overlooked health superstar. For example, in her book Revitalize Your Hormones, Dr. Theresa Dale points out that silica acts as a stabilizer in the body, restoring the balance between calcium and magnesium, which also helps to balance hormones. Additionally, silica is a stabilizer for body tissues and membranes.
What’s more is that the body requires silica to form collagen, which, of course, is the protein noted for keeping your skin smooth and supple. Collagen gives that youthful appearance to your skin and nails. That’s important, too, since, as we age, our bodies can come up short on silica, resulting in wrinkles, dry skin, lifeless locks, and brittle bones and nails. However, maintaining collagen underneath the skin supports elasticity—and is in no small part attributed to the role of silica. In fact, silica is regarded as nature’s building block and supports healthier, younger-looking skin, hair and nails.
And as far as bone health, we’d be sunk without silica. Without it, your body can’t properly absorb and utilize calcium, which greatly helps to support strong, healthy bones. Speaking of bones. . . silica’s impact on bone health alone makes it a superstar. As mentioned, silica helps to deposit necessary bone-healthy minerals, especially calcium, into the bones. It also hastens the healing of fractures, while diminishing scarring where a fracture has occurred. Likewise, silica can be turned into calcium when it’s low or needed, which is why many scientists consider silica a precursor to calcium.
What’s more is that silica appears to play a unique role in how our bones are formed—being highly important from the get-go for bone formation. It helps the bone growth process get started, and as bone mineralization continues, silica is replaced in the bones by calcium. Likewise, animal studies indicate that supplementing with silica reduces the number of osteoblast (bone-destroying) cells, partially preventing bone resorption and bone loss. Silica also stimulates DNA synthesis in osteoblast (bone-building) cells.
Add that to the fact that human testing shows that silica is positively associated with bone mineral density in men and pre-menopausal women, and you have additional bone benefits. In a clinical study on 53 women with osteoporosis, supplementing with silica was associated with a significant increase in mineral bone density of the femur.
Silica's handiwork is found in other areas, too. It can support a healthy immune system—particularly in the manufacturing of antibodies and antigens as well as the conversion of lymphocytes—and keeps your artery walls flexible, which supports heart and vascular health.
Additional benefits of silica include its participation in metabolic processes essential for life as well as supporting brain, lung, kidney, urinary, muscle, tendon and digestive health. For instance, silica helps to flush out aluminum from tissues and is thought to inhibit absorption of aluminum in the body, including the bones, liver, spleen, kidneys and brain.
Now, that’s one impressive silica superstar!