Silicon - Deficiency and Food Sources

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Published: 07th April 2007
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Silicon is an essential trace mineral required by the body for stronger bones, better glowing skin and more flexible and strong joints. It is present in the body in the form of an ether derivative of silicic acid or silanate. It is important to include silicon in the daily diet, because it may help boost the benefits of calcium, glucosomine and vitamin D.

The human body contains approximately 7 grams of silicon, which is present in various tissues and body fluids. The silicon present in tissues is mostly bonded to glycoproteins such as cartilage, whereas the silicon in blood is nearly entirely found as either free orthosilicic acid or linked to small compounds.

Silicon has been recently regarded as an essential mineral required by the body. It is needed for the optimal growth and efficient production of mucopolysaccharides and collagen in connective tissues - helps increase the strength and reduce the permeability of the extra-cellular matrix in connective tissues including the arteries, trachea, tendon, bone, teeth and skin. It also has a catalytic role in the mineralization of new bones. Silicon therefore facilitates the healing process in the body and helps to build the immune system.

Curative uses of silicon:

Silicon's most popular use is as a nutritional supplement to strengthen not only the bones and connective tissues, but also hair, nails and skin - therefore called the beauty mineral.

Silicon has manifold therapeutic benefits to the body. It is particularly useful in case of:

• Hair loss - Silicon helps hair grow thicker and stronger

• Irritation in mucous membranes

• Skin problems

• Helps nails grow harder and faster.

• Silicon helps maintain bone density and strength by facilitating the deposit of calcium and other minerals into bone tissue.

• Problems related to sleep.

• Silicon is essential for the strength and integrity of the arteries, thus helps maintain proper cardiovascular health.

• Helps slow down the ageing process

• Atherosclerosis (blockage and hardening of the arteries by cholesterol plaques and abnormal arterial tissue growth). Silicon levels decrease just prior to plaque development, which indicate that silicon deficiencies cause inherent weaknesses in blood vessel walls.

• Silicon makes the eyes bright and protects the skin from becoming flabby.

• It is beneficial in all healing processes of the body, and protects us against many diseases, such as tuberculosis, irritations in the mucous membranes, and skin disorders.

Silicon deficiency:

The chief symptom of silicon deficiency is sensitiveness to cold - one always feels cold even in the hot months. Symptoms of silicon deficiency are principally apparent as anomalies in the connective tissue as well as bones. Other symptoms include:

• Ageing sign of the skin e.g. looseness, wrinkles

• Loss of hair accompanied by thinning

• Poor bone development

• Nails which are brittle

Excessive intake of silicon:

Excess silicon intake is generally regarded as non-toxic. However, in some patients high levels of Silicon has been associated with Alzheimer's disease. Toxicity of silicon can also lead to chronic fibrosis of the lungs.

Dietary sources of silicon:

Generally, plant sources have a higher Silicon content, as compared to animal sources, refined or processed foods. Normally, refining and processing reduces the silicon content of foods. The silicon content in drinking water and beverages shows geographical disparity - silicon is high in hard water and low in soft water areas.

Good food sources of silicon include cereals, apples, oranges, cherries, raisins, almonds, peanuts, raw cabbage, onions, carrots, brinjal, pumpkin, cucumber, fish, honey, oats, unrefined grains/cereals with high fibre content, nuts and seeds.

An increased need for silicon is best fulfilled by increasing the consumption of whole grains, because they are rich sources of easily absorbable silicon.

Most of the silicon that is consumed from the diet is mostly in the form of alumino-silicate and silica, and is therefore not bio-available.

Recommended Daily Allowance:

Only very tiny amounts of this element are present in the human tissues and the actual amount required by the body has not been determined so far.

While silicon is exceptionally well tolerated at high doses, it is currently estimated that the human requirement for silicon is from 5 to 20 mg per day.

However, most silicon found in diets as aluminosilicate and silica is not absorbable or available as sodium metasilicate. Additionally, factors such as ageing and low estrogen levels apparently decrease the body's ability to absorb silicon. Thus, the recommended intake of silicon is around 5 to 10 mg/day in a healthy adult.

Read more on silicon, benefits of silicon and food sources of silicon.

Also Visit for Information on Vitamins, Minerals, Amino Acids.

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Vitamins what else on August 22, 2011 said:
Silicon deficiency is rare, but because its an important trace element if you don't have enough in your diet you can get conditions such as brittle nails. Good natural sources include fish, dried fruit and honey.

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