What is Silica and why is it important?

Silica is the second most abundant element in the earth’s crust.  It is a building block of most life on earth - including plants, animals and humans.  As humans, we need silica for our bones, hair, skin, teeth, organs, tissue and more.  “Silica was there, for example, when life began on earth.  It wasn’t just there, it was key…. At the core of all terran life” writes biogeochemist Christina De La Rocha.  She goes on to state “Our skeletons would be weak and malformed, our hair and skin would be a wretched mess, our organs would be falling apart, and our wounds would not heal if we hadn’t kept up an adequate daily intake of dietary silica so far throughout our lives”.(1)  In the skin, silicon is important for optimal collagen synthesis improving skin strength and elasticity. Higher silicon content in the hair results in a lower rate of hair loss and increased brightness. Silica is known for improving lung function, wound healing, organ health and bone density.  It can even help reverse the signs of sun damaged skin! (2) 

Today, silica is even more important to our health because we live in the Aluminum Age.  The Aluminum Age began in the late 19th century when we learned how to make aluminum metal cheaply and efficiently and continues to today where aluminum made products pervade just about every aspect of our lives.  “Many will be incredu­lous to learn that in the Aluminum Age, there are no health-based standards or regulations relating to human exposure to aluminum. Nor are there laws protecting us from aluminum in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the cosmetics we use, the medicines we need, the supplements we take... Aluminum is everywhere, and the result of living in the Aluminum Age is that every one of the cells that make up our body includes at least a few atoms of aluminum,” states Dr. Christopher Exley, PHD FRSB. “When aluminum loads exceed the body’s excretory capacity, they form deposits and accumulate in tissues. In Alzheimer’s disease, alu­minum accumulates in brain tissue to an extent that the brain’s coping mechanisms begin to fail. Think of your brain aluminum burden (while you still can) as a catalyst of the aging process that is bringing about age-related and eventually catastrophic changes in brain chemistry, well ahead of what should be your normal longevity. At a time when we are all living longer, and some dream of living forever, it is noticeable that advancing age is not ushering in better health. We may be living lon­ger—but we are living unwell. In the Aluminum Age, it would seem all but futile to aspire to a healthy older age.”  

Silica rich water helps remove aluminum from the body.  Silica follows water molecules through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream where it bonds to aluminum and removes it from the body via urine and sweat.  In fact, a 15 year study following over a thousand people age 65 and older found that drinking silica rich water reduced the risk of Alzheimer's disease.(3)  The abstract from another study states “it has been shown that the performances to a cognitive test were positively correlated to the consumption of silica and that the risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD) was reduced in subjects who had the higher daily silica intake compared to the others. The silica is probably the natural antidote of the aluminum and could play a benefit role by decreasing the biodisponibility of aluminum, whose neurotoxicity is now clearly established.” (4)

Luckily silica can be found in vegetables and grains as well as water.  However, our bodies only absorb a fraction of the silica we ingest.  Silica in water is the easiest form for our bodies to absorb. We absorb at least 50% of the silica present in water (5), making it one of the best sources of silica supplementation.

(1) Silca Stories - Christina De La Rocha - Springer Publishing 2017

(2) https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00403-005-0584-6 

(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2809081/

(4) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17435954/

(5) https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3417/10/18/6255/htm