Silica and its Wonderful Health Benefits
When it comes to essential vitamins and minerals, we are mostly familiar with the immunity fighting Vitamin C, the skin booster Vitamin E or the muscle metabolizing potassium. But little is known about the trace mineral called silica. And only quite a few people know about its potential health benefits that it can to our body.
Compared to other minerals, it is relatively unknown. But it has slowly gained recognition as a beauty-enhancing mineral for its benefits in maintaining the suppleness of the skin and bringing back luster to the hair. This is the same mineral, also called as silicon, which is commonly used in high-tech devices, fillers in pharmaceuticals and a coagulant in food production.
Silica occurs naturally in our bones, skin and teeth in small amounts. And since it is an often overlooked mineral, silica deficiency is a common condition. It is characterized by dry brittle and thinning hair, brittle nails, poor bone structure and impaired skin qualities. However, it is good to note that silica is actually abundant in nature. It is the second most common mineral on Earth. It can be found in pure quartz and in a number of food sources. These include leeks, green beans, garbanzos, cucumber, celery, strawberry, mango, bamboo and asparagus. But its natural form can be sourced from the horsetail herb.
However, the silicon content in these food sources is difficult for the body to absorb to meet the daily requirements of the body’s fast depleting source. The easiest way for your body to absorb the silica health benefits is consuming it in tablet, powdered and dried form. Finding a good silica supplement is not at all difficult, as it is readily and abundantly available in pharmacies and health stores.
Promotes Healthy Hair, Skin and Nails
Beauty conscious individuals may want to take advantage of silica’s benefits in promoting healthy hair, skin and nails.
One of its main functions is to aid in the formation of collagen, one of the main structural proteins that help keep the skin elastic and firm. It is essentially an anti-aging mineral, as it helps keep the skin smooth and free of fine lines and wrinkles by taking its action skin deep.
This very action also transcends in giving your hair a sheen and strength. It also encourages thick hair growth and prevents hair thinning from occurring. Silica also works at preventing brittle nails and helps protect them from nail infections.
Essential to Bone Growth
Silica plays a very unique role in bone health. It actually helps start the bone growth process but is eventually replaced by calcium as the bones become mineralized. This then decreases the amount of silica in the bones, which results to silica deficiency. However, silica is needed for the utilization of calcium in building strong bones and teeth and helps balance the calcium and magnesium levels in the bones.
Silica supplementation helps to reduce the number of osteoclast or bone destroying cells. This helps to prevent bone resorption or breakdown that leads to bone loss. On the other hand, it stimulates the production of osteoblast or bone building cells that aid in promoting bone strength and density. It also helps speed up healing of bone fractures and prevents the deterioration of the bones in osteoporosis.
Supports Healthy Joints
When you have strong bones, you would also need healthy joints to support it. It works the same way as it promotes elasticity in the skin by strengthening the connective tissues in the joints. It helps to reduce the swelling of the joints and allows them to heal more quickly. In turn, it fosters improved mobility and healthy joint function.
Healthy Heart Function
Silica supplements help to reduce arterial plaque that blocks blood flow and inhibits blood circulation. It stabilizes and keeps the arterial walls flexible and reduces the occurrence of arteriosclerotic lesions in the blood vessels. This can reduce the risks of arteriosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes.
Healthy Digestive Tract
It helps to normalize over-acidic stomach, decreases intestinal inflammation and eliminates diarrhea, constipation and ulcers. This is done because it helps maintain the tissues that are found along the digestive system. It also works as a body cleanser and detoxifier, as it binds pathogenic agents that are the cause of sickness and activates cells in our body called phagocytes that destroy toxic materials and viruses.
It also reduces the absorption of aluminum in the gastrointestinal tract and reduces the symptoms of aluminum toxicity, as well as in the brain tissues. So technically, this function hits two health benefits in one by promoting healthy digestive function and preventing the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Restores Mucus Membrane
It helps to restore the mucus membrane in the respiratory tract. We often fail the importance of mucosa in our body, neglecting it simply as a slimy secretion in the nostrils. But this is actually vital in lubricating the area of the body where it is located and lessens the restriction of substances from moving one place to another. It basically works as a protective shield from harmful agents.
However, despite the amazing silica health benefits, there are quite a few serious side effects that are associated with it.
There are researches that have found that silica supplements can cause the loss of some vital vitamins, such as thiamin or Vitamin B6. This is because it contains an enzyme that destroys the vitamin, which can lead to loss of muscle control or paralysis. It also causes low levels of potassium, as it promotes excessive urination that easily flushes away the nutrient. Lastly, it has also been linked to have an effect in kidney function.
As a guide, limit your silica intake to 55 micrograms of the supplement every day. Now you know that silica is not just for electronic devices and as a drug preservative, but it can also actually do wonders to your body.