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Silica
Healthy Hair and Skin

by Jennifer Green, ND

Silica helps maintain healthy hair, skin and nails, and promotes calcium absorption in the early stages of bone formation. Silica is needed for flexible arteries and plays a significant role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Silica also improves elasticity and thickness of skin.
 

Silica, also referred to as silicon, should not be confused with silicone, the plastic-like substance made from silicon which is used commonly in breast implants.

Medically, silica helps improve the elasticity of arteries and the strength of bones. It also seems to play a vital role in the slowing and prevention of hair loss and brittle nails.
 

Because silica seems to improve the elasticity of blood vessels and the strength of bones it can be a worthwhile dietary supplement for the following:

 

*Osteoporosis

*Heart disease

*Alzheimer's disease

*Stroke

*Hair and nail strength
 

We recommend no more than between 20-40 mg as a daily dietary supplement.

The best sources of silica are vegetal silica and Horsetail. Renewal of bones and formation of cartilage is heavily dependent on vegetal silica in combination with calcium. Horsetail, also known as equisetum, is the best source of silica in herbal form and maximum absorption of silica is through horsetail. Additionally, one of the best food sources of silica is oats.

Just one caution: if you pick your own, never ingest raw ground horsetail, either in capsules or powder. Horsetail herb is used as a scouring agent to polish tin and will have an abrasive effect on your stomach lining.

Therapeutic Dosage: When used as a supplement, common recommended dosage levels range from 10 to 60 mg per day. When looking at the supplement facts on a bottle, it may show a higher dosage. This is typically indicative of the total amount of the herb that is in the herbal combination, rather than silica itself. The active amount of silica should be listed separately and is usually of a lower dose (within the therapeutic range). For example, the bottle may say 500 mg of Horsetail and 40 mg of silca (from Horsetail Extract).

Silica supplementation should only be done under the supervision of your physician and for short durations. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends silica supplements be taken cautiously as kidney stones and kidney problems are a potential side-effect to long term usage. 

Some quality supplements for silica include Vegetal Silica by Flora and Silica Complex by NOW Foods.