The Health Benefits of Orthosilicic Acid

A Supplement That May Boost Bone Health

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Orthosilicic acid is a natural substance found in seafood, seawater, vegetables, whole grains, and certain beverages, including beer. Sometimes referred to as "soluble silica," orthosilicic acid is a dietary form of silicon, a mineral involved in the formation of collagen and bone. Silicon should not be confused with silicone—a substance used to make medical devices including breast implants.

Orthosilicic acid is available in supplement form and is used to treat certain medical conditions and to boost hair and skin health. Some, but not all of these benefits, have been supported by scientific evidence.

Health Benefits

Some alternative medicine proponents claim that orthosilicic acid supplements can treat or prevent a wide range of health conditions, including:

In addition, orthosilicic acid is said to improve nails, protect skin from the negative effects of aging, preserve dental health, and stimulate digestion.

To date, very few studies have tested the health effects of orthosilicic acid. However, preliminary research shows that orthosilicic acid may offer certain health benefits in some key areas.

Bone Health

In early studies on human cells, scientists discovered that orthosilicic acid may help promote bone formation by stimulating the production of collagen (a protein found in connective tissue, including bone) and promoting the development of bone-forming cells.

A 2008 study from BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders Orthosilicic suggested that orthosilicic acid may help protect against loss of bone density. For the study, 136 women with osteopenia took calcium, vitamin D, and either orthosilicic acid or a placebo every day for a year. By the study's end, participants given the vitamins with orthosilicic acid showed greater improvements in bone formation. According to the study's authors, this finding indicates that orthosilicic acid shows promise as a treatment for osteoporosis.

However, studies have been inconsistent when determining if taking a supplement is as effective as dietary consumption of silicon (orthosilicic acid). So far, research has suggested that consuming silicon in food may be more effective.

Joint Health

Orthosilicic acid is purported to improve joint health and protect against conditions like osteoarthritis by promoting collagen production in cartilage. A 1997 study published in Biological Trace Element Research found that calves fed an orthosilicic-acid-supplemented diet experienced an increase in collagen concentration in their cartilage. However, it's not known whether orthosilicic acid supplementation might produce the same effect in humans and help shield joint health.

Hair

Orthosilicic acid may help improve hair, according to a small study published in Archives of Dermatological Research in 2007. For the study, 48 women with fine hair took either an orthosilicic acid supplement or a placebo every day for nine months. Results showed that orthosilicic acid appeared to boost hair strength and increase hair thickness, however, there haven't been any other studies examining the use of orthosilicic acid for hair.

Possible Side Effects

Silicon is likely safe in amounts typically consumed in food. Its safety as a medicine is unknown. Although preliminary studies have not linked the use of orthosilicic acid with any adverse effects, little is known about the safety of long-term or regular use of orthosilicic acid supplements.

Due to the limited research, it's too soon to recommend orthosilicic acid as a treatment for any condition. If you're considering the use of orthosilicic acid for a chronic condition, make sure to consult your healthcare provider before starting your supplement regimen. Self-treating a chronic condition with orthosilicic acid and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

Dosage and Preparation

There is no recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for silicon. There is also not enough scientific evidence to determine an appropriate dose when taking an orthosilicic acid supplement.

When researchers have studied osteoporosis in women, they found that eating a diet that includes 40 milligrams of silicon was linked with stronger bones than lower doses. Studies investigating the supplemental use of silicon used a dose of three, six, or 12 mg combined with other supplements.

Also, the safety of these supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established.

What to Look For

Available for purchase online, orthosilicic acid supplements are sold in many natural-food stores and in stores specializing in dietary supplements. The produce is generally sold in capsule form.

You may see different names on the label when looking for a product. Some products are labeled as orthosilicic acid and some are labeled as silicon. Many products are combined with other ingredients. Be sure to read the ingredients label carefully before choosing a product.

Also, keep in mind that even though supplements are largely unregulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is still illegal to market a dietary supplement product as a treatment or cure for a disease or to reduce symptoms of a disease.

The FDA does not test products for safety or effectiveness. In some cases, the product may deliver doses that differ from the amount specified on the label. There have also been published reports of supplements containing ingredients not disclosed on the label.

When choosing a supplement, try to buy from a familiar seller such as your local pharmacy. Ask questions if you are not sure which product to choose. Also, it's best to look for products that have been certified by ConsumerLabs, The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention, or NSF International. These organizations don't guarantee that a product is safe or effective, but they do provide a certain level of testing for quality.

Other Questions

What are the best food sources of orthosilicic acid?

Common food sources include bread and other grain products, especially those which are less refined, along with a variety of fruits and vegetables, including boiled green beans, boiled spinach, bananas, and pitted dried dates. Although alcohol is not recommended as a source of silicon, a liter of beer averages about 19 milligrams in the form of orthosilicic acid that is extracted during the hot mashing of barley.

What is choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid?

Choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid is a mixture of orthosilicic acid and choline chloride. Some believe that it is a more bioavailable form of silicon, meaning that it is more effectively absorbed by the body.

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