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Silicon is one of the most prevalent elements on earth; it makes up more than a quarter of the earth’s crust, mostly as silicon dioxide. Silicon is hypothesized to play an essential role in the body, but this is uncertain. Silicon supplements are currently marketed for improving the health of bone, skin, hair, and nails. The substance silicone, once used in breast implants, also contains silicon, but in an unusual synthetic form.
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,...
Silicon is thought to be a safe supplement when used at doses similar to the average daily intake. Based on conservative evaluation of data from animal studies, it has been estimated that even a much higher dose of 13 mg per kilogram of body weight should present little to no risk. (For an adult of average weight, this works out to 760 mg daily.) 10 However, maximum safe doses in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or people with severe liver or kidney disease have not been established.