What Is Silica and How Can it Support Your Health?

2 years ago
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Silica, also known as silicon dioxide or SiO2, is a colorless, white, chemical compound. Silica is made of the most common elements on earth, silicon (Si) and oxygen (O2). It’s also the most abundant compound in the earth’s crust, where it makes up 59% of the total composition.[1] Silica is used everywhere, from industrial applications to the food and beverage industry.[2]

You’ll find silica in a lot of places — food, rocks, plants, medicine, cosmetics, toothpaste, and those little dry gel packs that are packed in with product packaging to absorb moisture. There’s even silica in your body.[3] The most common form of silica is quartz, a component of stone, concrete, and sand.[4] Simply put, silica is everywhere. If you’ve touched a rock or been to the beach, you’ve handled silica. Don’t worry— it’s mostly harmless and can even be beneficial.
The Role of Silica in Your Body

Humans use silica as a food additive and a filler in drugs and vitamins.[5] It has a low bioavailability, meaning your body will only absorb a tiny amount of silica and excrete the rest in urine.[6] Most of the silica in your body is in a form called orthosilicic acid. It exists in your bones, tendons, aorta, liver, and kidneys.[5] Health Benefits of Silica

The exact role of silica in human health is still unclear. It may support bone health and the creation and maintenance of connective tissue.[7] Orthosilicic acid supplements have shown positive effects on skin, hair, and nails[8] by keeping these parts supple and preventing brittleness. Orthosilicic acid may help block the neurotoxic effects of aluminum and it’s linked to normal immune system health.[2][9][10] Dangers of Silica

Silica used in the food and beverage industry is safe to take orally.[11] However, that doesn’t mean that silica is always safe for humans. Silica actually comes in many forms — some safe, some not.

Crystalline silica, a form that includes quartz, can be toxic if inhaled.[4] Crystalline silica is found in rock, brick, and concrete. Grinding, sawing, crushing, or drilling these materials produces a fine powder that causes serious respiratory problems. It is possible for homes to retain this sort of dust after a construction or remodeling project but, most of the time, unless you work on a construction site or quarry, you probably don’t have to worry about crystalline silica powder. If you do work at a place like this, it’s vital that you wear an appropriate dust mask or respirator.[12] Diet and Silica Supplementation

Silica is naturally present in many foods and it’s actually essential to a healthy diet. Unless you like licking rocks or eating big spoonfuls of sand, supplements may be the best way to get what you need. You can also obtain silica from a natural source such as diatomaceous earth, a thick, white, siliceous powder that has a variety of uses. If you choose supplements, I recommend MegaHydrate™, a hydration supplement that contains silica hydrate.

Silica hydrate is the result of silica binding to water molecules. When taken as a supplement, it hydrates cells and acts as a powerful antioxidant. Silica hydrate neutralizes free radicals to help preserve cells.[13][14] After neutralizing a free radical, most antioxidants break down and become free radicals themselves. Silica hydrate is the only antioxidant that doesn’t.

Silica is all around us and inside us. It comes in many forms. Some, like crystalline silica, are harmful. Others, like silica hydrate, are amazingly beneficial. There is still a lot of research that needs to be done on silica and its effects on the human body, but it seems to have the potential to be amazing.

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