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You are here: Skin & Nutrition >

Can silicon enhance your beauty naturally?

When the words silicon and beauty are used in the same sentence, one would expect to hear about the controversial silica gel implants for breast enhancement. Surprisingly, there may be a much safer and more natural use of silicon that could benefit your appearance. Namely, food supplements containing bioavailable forms of silicon.

Silicon is an essential trace element required for the formation and maintenance of the connective tissue. In particular, silicon increases tissue levels of hydroxyproline, one of the key amino acids required for the synthesis of collagen and elastin. In fact, several studies demonstrated that addition of bioavailable forms of silicon to tissue culture increases the production of type I collagen. There is some evidence that supplementing bioavailable forms of silicon in humans may improve some parameters of the connective tissue, including skin, nails, hair and cartilage. In one study, researchers from the university of Antwerp, Belgium, investigated the effects of choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid (10 mg of silicon per day for 20 weeks) on various parameters of the skin, hair and nails. The study involved 50 women and was double-blind and placebo-controlled. The researcher found modest (in the range of 15-20%), but statistically significant improvements in such parameters as skin roughness, firmness and strength. The brittleness of nails and hair decreased.

Further research is required to confirm these findings and find optimal doses, treatment duration and so forth. For those who would rather not wait, a supplement of a bioavailable form of silicon may be worth a try. One such commercially available supplement is choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid (e.g. Biosil brand), the form used in the above study.

Silicon is generally well tolerated. Its recommended intake estimates range from 5 to 20 mg per day. Considering that some silicon is contained in the food, it would be wise not to exceed supplemental doses used in the above study - at least until more research is available.

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