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Silicon is the second most abundant element on Earth, the first being oxygen. It has a great affinity for oxygen, forming silica and silicates, which at 92% are the most common minerals. Silicon’s properties allow millions of bits of information to be processed and stored in computers. Silicon is most commonly found in the form of silica, a compound of silicon and oxygen also known as silicon dioxide (SiO2).
As of 2007, 200,000 bone fractures occur annually with a cost to the NHS of over #1bn. Many studies show positive associations between dietary Si intake and bone mineral density in the US and UK. Shouldn’t more be done to promote this health-giving mineral?
One possible role of silicon in bone health is the synthesis of collagen / stabilization and matrix mineralization. (Other bone minerals include magnesium, potassium, fluoride, as well as calcium and vitamin D. Trace elements are zinc, copper, boron and manganese, the last being cofactors for enzymes involved in the synthesis of the constituents of bone matrix.)
Dietary silicon intake is associated with higher bone mineral density, especially in males and pre-menopausal women.
- Pulmonary tuberculosis
- Atherosclerosis and the prevention of heart disease and the maintenance of flexible arteries. The formation of hard plaque in the arteries causes atherosclerosis. It further leads to the obstruction of blood flow as the scar tissue and oxidized cholesterol inhibits the circulation of blood. The recent researches on rabbits have revealed that silicon supplements decrease the formation of plaque, and subsequently reduces the risk of various cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and strokes.
- Counteracts the effects of aluminium in the body
- Important in the prevention of Alzheimer’s
- Bone health: “diet is a major source of silicon for humans, with higher intakes obtained from diets rich in grains, cereal products, and plant-based foods than from dairy and animal products (6–,8). Asians and Indians have much higher silicon intakes than do Western populations (32, 33) as a result of their higher intakes of plant-based foods (32, 34), and it is interesting that in these communities there is a lower incidence of hip fracture than in the West (35).” (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition article). Possible role of silicon in bone health the synthesis of collagen / stabilization and matrix mineralization. (Other bone minerals include magnesium, potassium, fluoride, as well as calcium and vitamin D. Trace elements are zinc, copper, boron and manganese, the last being cofactors for enzymes involved in the synthesis of the constituents of bone matrix.)
- Skin, nail and hair health: “The manufacture of collagen, a predominant protein found in connective tissue, relies on an adequate supply of the nonessential amino acid proline and a slightly modified form of proline called hydroxyproline. Silicon is probably required for the optimal synthesis of both proline and hydroxyproline.” Silica interacts with the formation of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), which are structural building blocks of connective tissues. One well-known GAG important for skin health is hyaluronic acid, which promotes skin cell proliferation and increases the presence of retinoic acid, improving the skin’s hydration.
Silicon does not occur in significant quantities in animal-origin food.
Vegetable / mineral sources of silica:
Alfalfa, beets, brown rice, bell peppers, soybeans, leafy green vegetables and whole grains, also Bamboo leaf, horsetail, beer, water. There is a debate about silica in bananas: some people think that even though there is a lot of silica in bananas, it is not bioavailable.
Men drink a lot more beer than women, which may be why women are statistically much more likely to get brittle bones. This is something I actually read in a scientific paper online. I think that it has more to do with the balance of estrogen at the time of menopause and how that impacts on bone density. Sorry.
There is a lot of silicates added to food as anticaking agents, thickeners, stabilizers, clarifying agents, glazing, dusting powder in gum, coating agents in rice. Some of these are extracted from natural silicates, some are manufactured synthetically.
“Silicate additives are also present in foods and beverages. As with pharmaceuticals these are added as inert additives or excipients and are thought not to be absorbed. A number of studies, in man and animals, however, have reported marked increases in serum Si concentration or excretion of Si in urine (5-56%) following ingestion of silicates (zeolite A (an aluminosilicate), sodium aluminosilicate, or magnesium trisilicate) suggesting that these are partly solubilised to orthosilicic acid in the gastrointestinal tract and absorbed (63, 65, 68)[…]”
“Long-term use of high doses of silicate containing drugs, such as analgesics and antacids (magnesium trisilicates) could cause damage to the renal kidney tubules and lead to chronic interstitial nephritis (63). As noted previously, the high levels of silica in these drugs can lead to the formation of renal stones/calculi which are responsible for kidney damage.“(NCBI article – see below)
So we presume there a link between excess silicon, in the diet, from food additives and in drugs, and kidney health. The difference between the silicon in food that causes kidney damage, and the silicon in food that enhances bone density and gives you great hair and nails is: that the first category, that we find in processed foods, is inorganic, or manufactured from chemicals / minerals; the second category, that we find in raw and unprocessed foods, is organic, or naturally-occurring and produced silicon from vegetables.
Biosil (Jarrow Formulas) appears to be the most potent in terms of bioavailablility.
Relationships with other nutrients
- Competes with calcium and magnesium for absorption pathways. One study suggests that silica controls the metabolism of calcium and magnesium. It’s not clear whether in inhibits or enhances the absorption of these minerals.
- Boron, calcium, magnesium, manganese and potassium aid in the efficient utilisation of silicon.
- Silica increases the absorption of vitamin D, glucosamine and calcium.
Controversy on the subject of silica supplementation and therapeutic use:
Loic Le Ribault was a French scientist, who worked on silica and it’s bioavailable form for more than 30 years. During that time, he spent a lot of time working on the structural composition of sand and developed forensic techniques that helped the police to capture many criminals.
Norbert Duffaut made stable organic silicium, or DNR, that could be absorbed through the skin and deliver its benefit locally. Silicium restructures the whole of the individual, and reinforces the immune defences. Loic Le Ribault, a chemist and forensic researcher, who had worked with the police and had successfully worked to convict many criminals, tried to get permission to manufacture G5 as he called it, and get a license to sell and distribute it. As it is so expensive to do this, they applied to the big pharma companies for help. But because the product that they had developed potentially could replace thousands of medicines that were already on the market, funding was denied.
He managed to get his story published in a French newspaper, under the heading of Hepatitis and shingles. Eventually, frustrated by the government in France denying him the right to produce G5 and sell it commercially, because of the lobbying action of large pharmaceutical companies, Le Ribault produced and sold the medicine illegally. So many people came to be treated by him in his house, where he held his clinic that they had to call the police to come and control the people. Thousands of people were successfully treated for a spectrum of ailments. No side-effects, no interactions with other medications have ever been recorded.
Because he was practicing medicine illegally, the police came to his mother’s house, and seized everything they could. She was 85 years old at the time. They questioned her without break for 5 hours. That evening, she fell ill and died 15 days later. Le Ribault was arrested. He was charged, put on trial, found guilty and sent to jail. In jail, he was put in cells with people who had been arrested and jailed because of his research and work with the police (see above). He was placed for months in solitary confinement, supposedly for his own protection, due to death threats from other inmates.
He was freed, but the police tried to arrest him again. He went on the lam for 7 years, to Belgium, Jersey and eventually to Ireland. While in Ireland, with some friends, he managed to get a licence and production process for G5, but only for sale in Ireland. Doctors around France were importing G5 illegally and giving it to their patients illegally. He died very suddenly under suspicious circumstances in a hotel in France at the age of 60 in 2007. G5 is now available to buy commercially.
References for this episode:
Prescription for Nutritional Healing (3rd ed.) Phyllis A. Balch
Advanced Human Nutrition – Denis M. Medeiros, Robert H Fris, Denis, M. Medeiros et al.
Grand Forks Human Nutrition Center http://www.ars.usda.gov/Research/docs.htm?docid=9264
Chris Kresser article: https://chriskresser.com/nutrition-for-healthy-skin-silica-niacin-vitamin-k2-and-probiotics/
NCBI article about silicon and bone health (2007): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2658806/
Weston Price article: http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/abcs-of-nutrition/mineral-primer/
AJCN article here: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/75/5/887.full
Organic Facts https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/minerals/health-benefits-of-silicon.html
Bienfaits Du Silicium site: http://www.bienfaitsdusilicium.com/lo%C3%AFc-le-ribault/
Altermonde Sans Frontieres: http://www.altermonde-sans-frontiere.com/spip.php?article5573
Enquete debat http://www.enquete-debat.fr/archives/lhistoire-de-loic-le-ribault