Silicon is found in the deep structures of the body, where specific cells form bone or connective tissue. A good contribution can be important to prevent musculoskeletal diseases such as osteoporosis, inflammatory processes or premature aging.
A few decades ago it was stated that its presence in the body was just a vestige of our geochemical origin (it is the most abundant mineral in the earth's crust) or a contaminant that seeped into the body. Science no longer speaks with such contempt, but at the moment it catalogs it only as a "potentially essential trace element".
The fact is that it is found in cells and tissues, although its exact role in metabolic processes is unknown. And, although conventional medicine does not worry about its deficit, if a mouse is totally deprived of it, it suffers terrible musculoskeletal abnormalities.
Silicon, a key mineral for health
A body without silicon would probably be a mess, because it is a constituent of osteoblasts, the cells that form and repair cartilage and bones; of collagen, which affects the state of the skin, especially its elasticity; and connective tissue, which protects and communicates organs and body structures.
Silicon is an essential mineral that plays a very important role for the proper functioning of the organism. Here are 7 keys to understand exactly why it is so important for your health and how to incorporate it into your diet.
1. Symptoms of silicon deficiency
A slight lack of silicon produces brittle nails and hair, stretch marks on the skin, inflammation at the musculoskeletal level and premature aging. Severe symptoms of this deficiency have only been observed in the laboratory.
2. Recommended daily dose of silicon
The recommended daily dose of silicon has been placed between 15 and 35 mg, of which half is absorbed. In the US, women get an average of 25 mg and men, of 32. However, in populations with a plant-based diet the average intake is 170 mg.
3. What foods contribute more silicon?
We can obtain silicon from many vegetable sources. Highlights include whole grains (rice, oats, barley, rye, wheat), green beans, cucumbers (with skin), celery, radishes, bananas, mushrooms, red lentils, nuts, carrots, spinach, grape (with skin), mango, pineapple, seeds and spices like coriander.
The millet is the food with more silicon. It contains more than 500 mg per 100 g and is therefore becoming popular in Europe and the US. As a remedy, they usually take 20-40 g in the form of whole flour, raw and diluted in water or juice. It is also rich in magnesium, zinc and iron.
Beer is also a good source of silicon, for many men the main one. In fact, it is probably the cause of statistics obtaining more silicon than women. In 300 ml of beer there is about 6 mg of orthosalicylic acid, of which 55% is absorbed. The contribution does not vary much neither by the type nor by the origin of the beer.
4. Do you need to take a supplement?
Studies on the effects of supplementation have been carried out with 6 to 60 mg daily for a certain period of time. The most frequent is a supplementation – under medical supervision – of 25-30 mg with orthosilicic acid, which is sometimes stabilized with choline for better absorption.
5. Plants rich in silicon
It is found in horsetail (Equisetum arvense) in the form of monosalicylic acid. This plant is indicated as diuretic and for all types of skin problems. Due to its richness in silicon it is recommended to favor the repair and strengthening of any tissue (after surgery, fractures, etc).
6. Can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's
This is suggested by a study by the Rovira i Virgili University in Reus (Tarragona). Silicon reduces the absorption and retention of aluminum, concentrated in the brain of patients. It could be preventive or therapeutic, but it is not yet clear whether the presence of aluminum is a cause or consequence of Alzheimer's.
7. It prevents osteoporosis
Previously it was believed that it did not produce any effect; however, recent studies confirm that women of childbearing age who take more silicon have higher bone density and, therefore, a lower risk of osteoporosis. Supplementation can be effective when the disease has been diagnosed.
8. Silicon in coronary alterations
The elasticity and resistance of the blood vessels – and of the skin and ligaments – depends on the elastin, of which silicon is a constituent. In the body, one of the places with more silicon is the inner "lining" of the aorta. A deficiency of silicon could be related to coronary alterations.