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What are the health and beauty benefits of silica?

Demand for silica supplements is increasing, and current users have quickly become sworn converts, claiming that it will soon replace the much-lauded hydrolysed collagen as the go-to supplement for joints, skin, hair, nails, and many other beauty concerns.

But what is this little-known mineral, and why is it anticipated to be the ‘next big thing’ on the health and beauty agenda since, well, coconut oil?

Organic mineral silica plays a key role in the resilience of connective tissue, namely in cartilage and ligaments. The organic form of silica is a component of living tissue. In chemistry, ‘organic’ takes on a different meaning when used in connection to the mineral silica, referring to the silica found in mineral deposits that contains an additional carbon molecule, making it highly bioavailable.

After the age of 30, your body’s natural levels start to decline. Clinical studies have revealed that silica supplementation can improve collagen type I synthesis; preserve blood vessel elasticity, promote synthesis of elastin, increase nail strength, and improve thickness of the hair fibre. Bone formation and joint health Silica has been shown to speed up the healing of fractures and prevent new injuries. A study by the Centre Hospitalier de Toulon in France reported that silicon supplementation induced a significant increase in bone mineral density in women with osteoporosis. Furthermore, silica also shows promising results for general joint health; strengthening connective tissue and reducing pain, particularly in those suffering from conditions such as arthritis.

Cellular oxidation Silica reduces oxidation stress, resulting in the reduction of inflammation, while maintaining a balance of iron, copper, zinc, manganese, magnesium and calcium, and eliminating build-up of toxic levels of aluminium.

Beauty benefits Silica’s popularity is in no small part thanks to its ‘fountain of youth’ effect. In one clinical trial, women were administered 5mg silicon for 150 days. The subsequent evaluation showed a 46-75% improvement in wrinkles, 40% less visible UV spots, and even a 50-54% increase in eyelash length.

Not all silica supplements are created equal When choosing a silica supplement, it is important to bear in mind that not all variants will offer the same bioavailability. Monomethylsilanetriol (MMST) and silicic acid (OSA) present the highest bioavailability. Given the significance of these findings – you can expect the demand for silica to continue to grow, and for very good reason.

Zelda Warren is the MD of Alexia Rich, producer and supplier of Alexia Rich’s Orgono® Silica products.