What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

Silicon Usage

Written by FoundHealth.

Therapeutic Uses

Silicon is a constituent of the enzyme prolylhydrolase, which helps the body produce collagen and glycosaminoglycans . In addition, silicon is directly found in protein complexes that include glycosaminoglycans. These substances are essential for healthy bone, nails, hair, and skin.

Animal studies hint that silicon deprivation causes bone weakness as well as slowed wound healing. 1 2 3 4 Artificial bone grafts containing silicon have been used successfully in surgical repair of damaged bones. 5 6 7 8 Furthermore, in a major observational study , higher intake of silicon was associated with stronger bones. 9 Based on these findings, silicon has been proposed as a bone-strengthening substance for preventing or treating osteoporosis . However, only double-blind , placebo-controlled studies can prove a treatment effective. (For information on why such studies are essential, see Why Does This Database Rely on Double-blind Studies? ) Only one such study has been performed on silicon as a treatment for osteoporosis, and it found equivocal results at best. 10 One double-blind, placebo-controlled study did find potential benefits with a proprietary silicon supplement for aging skin , brittle nails , and brittle hair. 11 Fifty women with sun-damaged skin were give either 10 mg silicon daily (as “choline stabilized orthosilicic acid”) or placebo for 20 weeks. Measurements of skin roughness and elasticity showed improvement in the silicon group as compared to the placebo group. Brittleness of hair and nails also improved. However, this study, performed by the manufacturer of the product, did not meet the highest standards of design and reporting. Another study of the same product demonstrated stronger and thicker hair over a nine month period in women with fine hair compared to placebo. 12 Silicon has also been claimed to help prevent atherosclerosis , but there is no meaningful evidence to support this claim.

Another potential use of silicon relates to the aluminum hypothesis of Alzheimer’s disease , the theory that aluminum toxicity is prominent contributor to the development of this condition. On some websites promoting silicon supplements, it is said that increased dietary silicon decreases aluminum absorption. However, whether or not silicon actually has this effect remains unclear. 13 14 15 16 Furthermore, the hypothesis that aluminum is a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease has lost ground in recent years.


  1. Seaborn CD, Nielsen FH. Silicon deprivation decreases collagen formation in wounds and bone, and ornithine transaminase enzyme activity in liver. Biol Trace Elem Res. 89(3):251-61.
  2. Rico H, Gallego-Lago JL, Hernández ER, Villa LF, Sanchez-Atrio A, Seco C, Gérvas JJ. Effect of silicon supplement on osteopenia induced by ovariectomy in rats. Calcif Tissue Int. 66(1):53-5.
  3. Carlisle EM. Silicon as a trace nutrient. Sci Total Environ. 73(1-2):95-106.
  4. Barel A, Calomme M, Timchenko A, De Paepe K, Demeester N, Rogiers V, Clarys P, Vanden Berghe D. Effect of oral intake of choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid on skin, nails and hair in women with photodamaged skin. Arch Dermatol Res. 297(4):147-53.
  5. Yin X, Stott MJ. Theoretical insights into bone grafting silicon-stabilized alpha-tricalcium phosphate. J Chem Phys. 122(2):024709.
  6. Ito M, Abumi K, Moridaira H, Shono Y, Kotani Y, Minami A, Kaneda K. Iliac crest reconstruction with a bioactive ceramic spacer. Eur Spine J. 14(1):99-102.
  7. Wheeler DL, Eschbach EJ, Hoellrich RG, Montfort MJ, Chamberland DL. Assessment of resorbable bioactive material for grafting of critical-size cancellous defects. J Orthop Res. 18(1):140-8.
  8. Radin S, Reilly G, Bhargave G, et al. Osteogenic effects of bioactive glass on bone marrow stromal cells. JBiomed Mater Res A. 2005;73A:21–9.
  9. Jugdaohsingh R, Tucker KL, Qiao N, Cupples LA, Kiel DP, Powell JJ. Dietary silicon intake is positively associated with bone mineral density in men and premenopausal women of the Framingham Offspring cohort. J Bone Miner Res. 19(2):297-307.
  10. Spector T, Calomme M, Anderson S, et al. Effect on bone turnover and BMD of low dose oral silicon as an adjunct to calcium/vitamin D3 in a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Poster presentation, ASBMR 27th Annual Meeting, Nashville, Tennessee, September 2005.
  11. Yin X, Stott MJ. Theoretical insights into bone grafting silicon-stabilized alpha-tricalcium phosphate. J Chem Phys. 122(2):024709.
  12. Wickett RR, Kossmann E, Barel A, Demeester N, Clarys P, Vanden Berghe D, Calomme M. Effect of oral intake of choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid on hair tensile strength and morphology in women with fine hair. Arch Dermatol Res. 299(10):499-505.
  13. Drüeke TB, Jouhanneau P, Banide H, Lacour B, Yiou F, Raisbeck G. Effects of silicon, citrate and the fasting state on the intestinal absorption of aluminium in rats. Clin Sci (Lond). 92(1):63-7.
  14. Jugdaohsingh R, Reffitt DM, Oldham C, et al. Oligomeric but not monomeric silica prevents aluminum absorption in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;71:944–9.
  15. Reffitt DM, Jugdaohsingh R, Thompson RP, Powell JJ. Silicic acid: its gastrointestinal uptake and urinary excretion in man and effects on aluminium excretion. J Inorg Biochem. 76(2):141-7.
  16. Bellés M, Albina ML, Sánchez DJ, Domingo JL. Lack of protective effects of dietary silicon on aluminium-induced maternal and developmental toxicity in mice. Pharmacol Toxicol. 85(1):1-6.


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