Our next essential micro element exists like sand on the sea. Although science is not completely consistent with it, it is acceptable to see it as essential for now. So, we will have a look at silicon and we are going to find an answer to the question “What are the Benefits of Silicon for Us? – Like Sand on the Sea for Your Skin, Hair and Nails”. And we will also have a look at how much you need of it and what else might be interesting about this micro element.
Why is Silicon like sand on the beach for your skin, hair and nails?
Fortunately, silicon is the second most recurrent element on earth after oxygen. So it not only exists like sand on the sea literally but sand is mostly silicon dioxide.
Although the effect of silicon in our body isn´t understood deeply, we know that silicon can be found in nearly all cells in our body.
In fast dividing cells like your skin, hair and nail cells the amount of silicon is particularly high.
However, the most common form of silicon, namely silicon dioxide, isn´t very good biologically available. And who wants to eat sand by the way.
As silica or in food high in silicon as shown below, the biological availability is much higher.
So now that we know that silicon plays an important and a probably essential role in several processes in our body, we are ready to go further into the world of this micro element.
What is Silicon?
Silicon is a transition metal. As the compound silicon dioxide SiO2 (sand) it is the second most element on earth. Silicon can be found in nearly every cell within our body. The best biological availability can be found for natural silica like orthosilicate or orthosilicic acid.
Silicon is also known for its use as a semiconductor in microelectronics or solar cells.
It is for now seen as an essential micro or trace element, which we have to get through our nutrition, although there may be institutions, which don´t declare it as essential. In many cases, it is also declared as an ultra-trace element because the definite essentiality was only found in the animal model under extreme conditions.
What is the demand for Silicon?
At the moment there is no recommendation for the daily intake of silicon. There are estimations, that about 30 mg/day seem to be good.
Where can you get Silicon from (Top foods)?
Here are the Top foods, which are rich in Silicon:
1. Millet and oat (up to 200 mg/100g),
2. Nuts and cheese (up to 100 mg/100g)
3. Pulses like lentils (up to 70 mg/100g)
4. Grain and eggs (up to 50 mg/100g)
Rich in silicon are also nettles and beer, where it is really good biologically available.
What are the functions and benefits of Silicon?
The most important function of silicon is its effect on the metabolism, predominantly for fast-dividing cells, like skin, hair and nails.
Effect within our metabolism
Silicon can be found in nearly all cells throughout our body. But especially in fast-growing cells like skin, hair and nail cells the amount of it is very high so that we can originate that silicon plays an important role in these areas. So there needs to be some more research to be done.
Moreover, silicon plays a role in developing stable bones, strong connective tissue and healthy blood vessels.
It stimulates the immune system and supports the formation of immune cells.
Finally, silicon is also there to store water in the body and to excrete heavy metals from the body. It is also possible to take it as a detoxifier for light poisoning.
What deficiency symptoms of Silicon exist?
A deficiency of silicon is very seldom, as we can find big amounts of it in food. If your diet is very one-sided or under extreme conditions it may lead to the followed symptoms:
- dry skin, nails and hair
- decreased bone flexibility
What overdose symptoms of Silicon exist?
An overdose of silicon is quite unusual. Just with amounts of significantly more than 1000 mg a hemolysis with a degradation of red blood cells and kidney stones may develop. Breathing in silicon can lead to silicosis and lung disease, which leads to breathing difficulties.
What else may you have to consider about Silicon?
Value in our body
The amount of silicon in our body is about 20 mg/kg bodyweight, which is about 1.4 g on average.
Antagonists and Advice
The less calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and manganese exists in the bones, the less silicon can be integrated into the body. Whereas food high in fiber contains the highest amonts of silicon, the biological availability isn´t high. In this case, organic silicic acid or silica is much more available for us.
Discovery and Use
Silicon is known since the stone age. Since the beginning of the 19th century it was possible to produce it industrially in compounds and in 1854 silicon firstly was discovered in its free form.
The word silicon comes from the Latin words “silicia”, which means silica and “silex”, which means pebble.
Although the research situation is not completely clear for silicon, it can be seen as an essential micro element for us at the moment, as it was found to be essential for animals. We can conclude that silicon plays an important role within our metabolism as we can find it in nearly every cell in our body. The highest concentration of it is located in the fast-dividing cells of our skin, hair and nails. Furthermore, it supports strong bones, connective tissue and our immune system. Lastly, silicon also works as a detoxifier for heavy metals. Food high in fiber like oat and nettles are a good choice for silicon in food. In (non-alcoholic) beer the availability for our body is even higher.
It is your turn now. What was new here for you? Do you want to know something else? Let us know in the comments.