Why Is Silica In Supplements and Is It Safe?
What Is Silica, and Why Is It So Often Found In Supplement Capsules?
Is silica in supplements carcinogenic? What is it, and why is silica frequently found in dietary supplement capsules?
Silica is also known as silicon dioxide (SiO2) or silicium. It is actually a form of quartz. Silica is a mineral composed of silicon and oxygen, and which nearly two-thirds (opinion fluctuates on this) of the Earth’s crust is made of.
Silicon is the third most abundant trace mineral found naturally in our body (which would mean that it is technically false that it is an essential nutrient, which it is commonly declared to be).
Two Different Forms of Silica
So, what are the two different forms of silica? The most well-known form is crystalline silica.
Crystalline silica is the type found in beach sand, as well as in granite, glass and silicone, and is known to cause silicosis (go figure), which is a fatal disease caused if crystalline silica is inhaled. It is said that it can even cause lung cancer. Silicosis is most common among people who work in quarries or mines, work with bricks, glass or concrete, or perform sandblasting.
The other type of silica is dietary silica (or non-crystalline), which we will obviously be focusing on.
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Unlike crystalline silica, dietary silica is water-soluble, and we get a small amount of it from certain foods, like cereals and un-refined (whole) grains, seafood, vegetables and raisins. It is also present in drinking water and beer.
Dietary silica is obviously safe to consume (in reasonable doses) and possesses several health benefits—the key benefit being its involvement in the production of the protein collagen. Collagen is essential to the formation and health of skin, bones and muscle, and since our body’s production of collagen tends to decline as we age, we should certainly make sure we are not deficient in dietary silica. Especially if we have low bone density, or fragile bones.
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Silica is also known to be beneficial to connective tissue health, which is quite a coincidence, since the connective tissue is mainly where silica lives in our body…
A thorough and technical report on numerous silica studies from the National Library of Medicine
Why Is Silica In Supplement Capsules?
Why Is silica so often found in supplement capsules?
The non-crystalline silica so often put in supplement capsules other than silica supplements is intended to serve as an anti-clumping agent for the powder inside the capsules. It is also used as a food additive for the same purpose.
It is not carcinogenic.
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What Is the Difference Between Silica and Sand?
People often wonder if there is a difference between silica and sand, and many assume silica is just another word for sand, and so they also assume that when they see the word “silica” on the ingredient label of a supplement bottle that it is present in the capsules as a filler. This is what I always assumed. This is not so. As stated above, it is the non-crystaline form of silica that they put in supplement capsules to prevent clumping.
Crystalline silica is just an “ingredient” in sand.
Silica For Hair Growth
Is silica effective to help regrow hair?
Not so much, but it can help to prevent further hair loss, and it can greatly help to strengthen your hair and keep it healthy and shiny. There are many things you can use to stimulate hair growth, such as black seed oil, onion juice, aloe vera, and apple cider vinegar, to name a few. Different things work for different people, so it is kind of a game of trial and error.
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Silica is, however, very beneficial for skin and nails, as well as healthy hair, even if it doesn’t really do anything in the way of re-growing it. I will provide a large list of other health benefits that silica provides, below.
Are Horsetail and Silica the Same Thing?
Silica supplements usually contain silica extracted from horsetail (also known as shavegrass), as well as antioxidants.
Much evidence has been found that horsetail has some pretty stellar health benefits, mostly due to its containing the water-solluable form of silica. Traditionally, horsetail has been utilized in the treatment of kidney issues, to help heal wounds, and to strengthen connective tissue.
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Horsetail is an herb that acts as a diuretic and helps your body flush out harmful bacteria from your urinary tract. It’s known for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties that offer protection for your body and help it fight infection. It also has soothing properties that work to relieve persistent urinary urges associated with UTIs.
Benefits of Taking Silica / Horsetail
- Bone maintenance
- Urinary tract support
- Kidney and bladder health
- Antioxidant protection
- Treatment of wounds
- Healthy skin, hair and nails
- Strengthening connective tissue
- Replenishes trace minerals
- Kills bacteria and fungi
- Fights inflammation
- Healthy blood vessels
- Strengthening stomach
- Healthy muscle
- Helps the formation of the ligaments, tendons, and cartilage
- Wards off infection
- Strengthens digestive system
- Clears acne
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Best Organic Silica Supplement
If you are middle-aged or older, you will likely benefit from a silica supplement, as your natural stores of silica and collagen tend to perpetually deplete with age.
Silica is normally poorly absorbed by the body, so a supplement containing other minerals, vitamins, herbal infusions, etc. to improve the silica’s absorbability of the silica is very important. Plus these other ingredients will provide their own additional health benefits.
One such organic silica supplement that I would highly recommend, based on research, positive reviews and ratings is
Garden of Life, MyKind Organics, Organic Plant Collagen Builder
“Absolutely love this tablet. Have been eating this for a few years. Significant improvement in the thickness of the hair. Also, the skin has become glowing and sagging has reduced. Excellent quality. And the best part is that it is vegan.”
“Love this product!!! I have been using it for almost a year now and it really makes a difference! My hair and my nails feels amazing and i get a lot of energy after taking it! Totally recommend!”
“Excellent product! …I had been looking for something to help build collagen and keep my youthful appearance. I was very excited when I came across this product. I am a big fan of Garden of Life as all their products are from food and plant sources. This product is great. Joints don’t ache and I’m feeling like my hair skin nails have improved. Hair loss has improved too. I’ve just started using it. Will purchase again. Quality is good. Garden of life is a good reliable effective brand.”
*Yes, I receive a wee commission, at no cost to you!
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Silica in supplement capsules is not carcinogenic, or otherwise harmful, unless you take a ton of daily supplements. The silica so often found in supplement capsules is there as an anti-caking agent for the powder inside the capsule.
Dietary silica is not at all harmful to a reasonably healthy person, taken moderately. It in fact has a boatload of health benefits, as the above list shows.
The other form of silica, known as “crystalline” silica, is harmful if inhaled, and potentially harmful if a lot consumed. So don’t eat sand or concrete dust, or the like, and you should be fine.
We have learned that silica and horsetail are not the same thing, but that silica is extracted from horsetail. Horsetail itself will not be as beneficial as a good silica supplement, due to the addition of other ingredients to help the silica itself to be better absorbed by the body. The above supplement that I have recommended contains lots of those ingredients, plus about a ton-and-a-half of other very healthy vitamins and minerals.
Thanks for coming by, and I hope you now feel a little bit smarter.
As always, your questions, comments and stories are always welcomed, and I will always respond.
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2 thoughts on “Is Silica In Supplements Carcinogenic? | Why Is It In Them?”
It would certainly stand to reason that he died of silicosis, wouldn’t it?
Collagen is about to get extremely popular, I think, due to the fact that it is being found to be good for much more than healthy skin.
Gut health, joints, immunity, weight loss, and feeling younger and healthier, in general.
This is a very interesting subject. I have heard of or seen the word Silica many times but have never taken much notice of it.
This is the first time I’ve read about Crystalline silica and the fatal disease that can be caused if crystalline silica is inhaled. Many years ago, when I was a child, the father of one of my friends worked in a Glass factory. This man suffered from an illness which was said to cause his early death. It was also said that his illness was due to working in that Glass factory. I never knew the name of what he died from, but after reading your article, it appears that could have been Silicosis.
Learning that dietary silica is involved in the production of Collagen is also interesting. Collagen is something I was keen to take, but I have not got around to it. In saying that, I do not suffer from skin problems, so maybe I do not need Collagen at present.
You have a wealth of information in your article, which I will return to at a later date.