Silica, chemically known as silicon dioxide is known to have some great health benefits as well as some serious side effects. Before talking about the health benefits or side effects; we must know what silica and what it is made up of. So let us see below:
What is Silica?
Silica is an active form and is generally considered as a macro mineral. Silica is considered as one of the most crucial minerals in a human diet that is required for various proper structural physiology. Studies done on rats found that a silicon-deficient diet had a strong correlation with retarded growth and also poor bone developments. One more study of such kind found a link between silicon and accumulation of plaque in arteries which lead to hypertension.
What is Silica Made up of?
Silica is made of silicon and 2 oxygen atoms; which forms silicon dioxide. You can find silica in high amounts in the mineral quartz (which is the most abundant mineral in Earth and is used to manufacture glass).
7 Health Benefits of Silica:
Health Benefits of Silica on Joints:
Silica is known to be essential for our joints. Our joints require to be flexible and thus requires to be free of wear and tear that might be associated with our daily movements including twisting and stretching. Joints also must heal faster upon injury. And this becomes possible when the joints can revitalize the cartilage, ligament and collagen. Silica is crucial enough for maintaining the strength of these components of the joint. Thus silica supplements can be useful in patients suffering from arthritis.
Hair, Skin and Nails Benefits of Silica:
Silica has a lot of hair, skin and nail benefits. Silica flattens the scales of our hair follicles and thus aids in beautifying and restoring the glow in the hair. Moreover, it is also known that silica helps in keeping the skin elastic, aids in restoring the natural skin glow, and also prevents cellulite and strengthens the nails. Silica is also known to be used along other medications or alternative therapy in treating and managing hair-related conditions like alopecia.
Bone Health Benefits of Silica:
Silica is known to be beneficial for the bones. Silica is known to be useful in the calcium utilization by the body. It is also known that deficiency of silica or malnutrition of silica puts you at a higher risk of getting fractures easily. It also been shown that silica aids in enhancing the healing process of bone fracture and dislocation of joints, helps in improving the flexibility of healthy bones and also in maintaining the integrity of connective tissue. Apart from the bones, our teeth also require silica, especially in the calcium utilization which is required for development of strong and healthy teeth.
Benefits of Silica on Detoxification:
One more health benefits of Silica is that it can act as a detox for toxins and heavy metals in the body. One such example is aluminum and aluminum toxicity. Silica has ability to bond aluminium, which prevents the absorption of this metal in the gut. This in turn prevents the occurrence of toxicity and sequelae. Such sequelae may include the relation between high amount of aluminum and Alzheimer's disease and associated dementia.
Immune System Benefits of Silica:
There are immune system benefits of silica which must be noted down. Silica induces an alkaline environment that neutralizes extra acidity that affects the body's immune system. Moreover, by maintaining the integrity of the nails, skin and enhancing faster healing process of wounds, silica allows the skin to play its most crucial role as a barrier to pathogens.
Benefits of Silica on Blood Flow and Atherosclerosis:
The plaque accumulation in arteries is prevented by silica. Thus, it prevents clog-up of the vessels and subsequently prevents hypertension. It has been found that the silica level is higher in healthy hearts than the pathologic ones. Silica enhances the utilization of calcium and thus prevents calcification or calcium build-up in arteries. Silica also does this in other tissues, especially surrounding the blood vessels. Thus, this way arterial plaque caused by calcification is prevented.
Silica Helps in Restoration of the Respiratory Tract Mucosa:
Dehydration causes destruction and breach of mucosa. Consuming silica allows the mucosa to restore and play its role in preventing the further entry of infection in to the lower respiratory tract which may be more adverse.
Side Effects of Silica:
The Food and Drug Administration considers silica as a safe substance. It is a natural substance found in the earth's crust as well as in plant life, water and in animals. Silica is found in some vegetables, beer, grains etc. There are a lot of health benefits of silica as we have seen earlier. However, excess of anything can be harmful. So, there may also be some side effects associated with excessive intake of silica. The typical dose for silica when utilized as a supplement is recommended to be 10 to 30 milligrams per day.
Below we will talk about some of the possible side effects cause by silica when taken in excess or when taken in normal amount but for longer period of time.
Vitamin Deficiency Can be a Side Effect of Silica:
Silica supplement contain Thiaminese enzyme which destroys vitamin B1 in the body and thus leads to vitamin deficiency which is known to be associated with loss of muscle control and also paralysis if not treated well.
There may be Kidney Deterioration:
Taking silicon containing antacids for a long time can result in side effects like kidney stone formation. As per The University of Maryland medical Center, there may be kidney damage and general kidney deterioration with long term use of silica.
Consuming excess of silica, with plenty of water may cause excessive urination. Take 8 glasses of water in a day and do not over hydrate and end up losing potassium out of your body
Silica Can Lower Blood Sugar:
Silica can also have one more side effect and that is, it can lower your blood sugar levels which can particularly be dangerous, especially if you have diabetes. If you are diabetic, talk to your doctor before taking silica and know about the safe dosage and form. Make a note, not to use silica if you are pregnant or breastfeeding so as to reduce any potential risks to your baby
Side Effects Due to Interaction:
It must be informed that silica supplements can enhance some medication reaction and thus it is important for you to tell your doctor about any medications you take before using silica supplements.
Moreover it must be noted that silica acts as a diuretic and thus you should not take it if you are taking water pills. Combining silica with other diuretics may lead to dehydration and seriously low levels of potassium in the body.
Taking silica with chromium supplements or herb containing chromium like brewer's yeast, can increase the risk of chromium poisoning.