With the chemical symbol Si, silicon has the atomic number 14 in the periodic table. Representing around 26% of the Earth’s crust, it is the planet’s second most abundant element after oxygen (1). It does not, however, exist in a free state in nature but in a compound form, combined with other atoms.
The adult human body contains around 7g of silicon. Concentrated in various tissues (the skin, arteries, thymus …), it is also a trace element that’s important for health. As silicon cannot be produced by the body, it is essentially obtained from the diet, from sources such as mineral water, whole grains, pulses, lettuce, and almonds … (2)
Two main forms of silicon are present in our environment (3):
Organic silicon preserves the skin’s youthfulness and radiance by reducing wrinkles and maintaining hydration. It also plays a role in ensuring beautiful nails and hair (4). As our silicon reserves unfortunately diminish over time, it constitutes an invaluable aid to mature skin.
By way of example, one study of 50 women with sun-damaged skin showed a clear improvement in skin texture following supplementation with a particular form of organic silicon called orthosilicic acid (5).
A key component of bone and connective tissue, organic silicon supports calcium binding. It is found in the osteoid border, where bone is built (6).
Several studies have also examined the effects of increased intake of dietary silicon on bone mineral density in perimenopausal women (7). A number of tests on laboratory animals are also investigating the effects of a lack of silicon on skeleton formation (8).
A key immune system organ, the thymus contains a significant level of silicon. Located in the upper chest area between the lungs, the thymus gland is involved, in particular, in the maturation of T-lymphocytes (9-10).
Did you know that one of the highest concentrations of organic silicon is found in the aorta? As the body’s main artery, this complex structure distributes oxygenated blood from the heart to the organs.
Closely linked to the production of elastin, silicon is believed to modulate the elasticity of blood vessels (11). And as we know, rigidity of artery walls is a key risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
A number of studies have looked at the interactions between aluminium and silicon, and the potential ‘buffer’ effect of the latter on the former (12).
Part of the family of heavy metals, aluminium has a tendency to accumulate in tissues such as the bones, liver, lungs and brain. Known to be toxic at high doses, it may play a role in the development of certain neurological disorders, particularly in people with kidney failure (13).
Keen to start supplementing with organic silicon but unsure as to which form to choose?
Three forms are generally used in the production of dietary supplements : solid silicon (silicon dioxide), silicic acid gel and liquid silicon (stabilised orthosilicic acid). However, they do not all offer the same degree of bioavailability.
Stabilised orthosilicic acid is to date the most beneficial form for health because of its high qualitycholine, which itself already serves as a nutrient for cells, but which acts here as a stabiliser, preventing the polymerisation of the orthosilicic acid (in other words, its conversion into substances with a higher molecular mass) (15).
Without choline, the unstable orthosilicic acid would be partly converted into silica gel. This stabilisation thus ensures better absorption in the gut for maximum efficacy.
Stabilised by the addition of choline, the liquid silicon supplement Orthosilicic Acid benefits from a synergy of vitamins and minerals which boosts its effects in the body. It contains, in particular, vitamin B12, boron, manganese, zinc (which supports healthy skin and nails) and selenium (which helps to maintain healthy hair and nails) (16-17).
It is also notable for its content of L-carnitine (present in mitochondria, the cells’ powerhouses), and MSM (a precursor of key joint compounds) (18-19).
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