Properties and Sources of Silicon

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  • January 10th, 2022

Silicon Is An Important Mineral For Our Well-being, even if it is present only in trace amounts in the human body. It is involved in the formation of connective tissue and is also an integral part of bones and cartilage.

The Benefits of Silicon

Essential for bones, together with calcium and magnesium, silicon facilitates calcification even in the event of a fracture. During growth, up to 10 years, silicon contributes to the well-being of the musculoskeletal system, in particular by promoting bone formation. Silicon is necessary for the synthesis of collagen, involved in the formation of various connective tissues, in addition to bones. Cartilages and ligaments are thus protected, the tendons are more flexible, and the muscles retain the necessary elasticity. At the cutaneous level, then, silicon (again thanks to collagen) keeps the skin elastic, as well as promotes cell regeneration and healing in the presence of wounds. Moreover, silicon is useful for strengthening nails and keeping hair healthy and strong, strengthening its structure and preventing its fall. Silicon is also important for the well-being of the cardio-circulatory system, since it gives elasticity to the walls of veins and arteries (thanks to the elastin of which it forms the structural part), improves microcirculation, prevents hypertension, and helps keep bad cholesterol (LDL) levels low. Thus, silicon is useful in protecting against the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Silicon is also useful in strengthening the immune and hormonal systems. Being a basic mineral, it also promotes pH balance, acting as an anti-acid in attenuating inflammation, with a preventive effect also on tumors. Finally, silicon is also necessary for the central nervous system. Present in the intercellular space between neurons, it promotes mental concentration and prevents age-related memory loss. Therefore, silicon is also suitable for protecting the brain from the onset of senile dementias like Alzheimer’s disease. On a psychic level, then, it stimulates the intellect and improves mood. In addition, it removes mental fatigue and gives a certain psychological balance (chasing away anxieties and worries).

In Which Foods You Can Find Silicon

Silicon is taken through the diet and is mainly present in plant foods (in the form of silicic acid). It is found in whole grains (mainly oats, but also wheat, corn, barley, rice, rye, and millet) and in legumes (particularly in soy, but also in peas). In green leafy vegetables (spinach, chard, parsley etc.), in seaweed and other vegetables such as cauliflower, asparagus, cucumber, radish, beetroot, potatoes, Jerusalem artichoke, onion, garlic, shallot and pepper. In fruit, the silicon is concentrated in the peel, especially in apples. Generally, foods of animal origin are low in silicon, with the exception of crustaceans and seafood. Silicon is also present in the water we drink and in beer.

Silicon Deficiency and Overdose

The daily requirement of silicon varies between 20-50 mg per day. With advancing age, the concentration of silicon in the bones decreases. Therefore, it is important to follow a varied and balanced diet and, in case of deficiency, to take specific supplements, under the direction of a doctor or nutritionist. If there is a deficiency in silicon during growth, as well as a delay in growth, it could result in bone fragility, skin problems, loss of tissue elasticity, muscle weakening and organ atrophy. In the case of deficiency in adulthood, however, there may be hair loss, arthritis, osteoporosis, rheumatic diseases and, in general, premature aging, memory loss and other neurological problems. If inhaled silicon is toxic and, in case of prolonged exposure, it can cause silicosis, a respiratory disease characterized by excessive production of collagen in the lungs, which can also lead to the formation of tumors. Frequent pathology in miners employed in the extraction of silicon from mines.

For further scientific information, related to a correct lifestyle and healthy eating habits, visit the FONDAZIONE VALTER LONGO ONLUS website, where you will also find several publications of clinical studies.

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