Last updated: October 27, 2020

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Our skin tends to lose its shine over time. Our nails become brittle, and our hair gets frizzy. Must we resign ourselves to look worse with each passing day? Or can we grow old without losing our beauty and charm? If you are worried about these questions, you have come to the right place.

Silicon is a mineral that many people don’t know leading. This trace element may be related to the formation of collagen, improving our appearance. Some people also believe that silicon supplements can contribute to relieving joint discomfort. If you want to distinguish fact from fiction, keep reading out guide.

Key Facts

  • Silicon is a trace element that may be linked to the synthesis of collagen.
  • There is no recommended daily allowance set for this mineral. The maximum limit our body can withstand is 700 milligrams per day.
  • There are various important factors to keep in mind when you purchase silicon supplements. These include their safety for the body and compatibility with potential dietary restrictions, as well as the presence of other ingredients.

Our Selection: The Best Silicon Supplements on the U.S. Market

These products are considered safe as long as you consume them carefully and responsibly. In the following section, you will discover our very own selection of the most popular silicon supplements currently available out there. All of them are made with top-quality ingredients and have received high ratings from past users. We hope their descriptions help you find the product that best suits your needs.

Best Silicon Capsules for Vegans

Manufactured right here in the United States, the silicon in these capsules by Solgar is sourced from red algae.

This means that this product is vegan-friendly, unlike most other silicon supplements on the market. Each bottle contains 100 units; they are also non-GMO and gluten-free.

Best Silicon Liquid Supplement

Choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid is a powerful bioavailable form of silicon, and this is exactly what this liquid extract consists of.

Designed to improve the appearance of your face, hair, and nails, this vegan-friendly product promotes the body’s ability to produce collagen, keratin, and elastin.

Best Silicon & Collagen Supplement

 

California-based company Jarrow Formulas has decades of experience in the industry, so it’s no surprise to see this Amazon’s Choice supplement be a fan favorite.

Each capsule contains 10 milligrams of silicon, in addition to hydrolyzed collagen and MSM. Note that this product contains fish and is, therefore, not suitable for vegetarians.

Best Silicon Gel

The topical use of silicon may not be the most common, but it’s certainly an interesting alternative to boost collagen production in very specific zones.

This clinically-tested, non-GMO formula is completely safe and has a particularly high absorption rate. In fact, topical use is considered more effective in treating localized areas.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Silicon

Silicon is a mineral that is part of our hair, skin, and nails. Its levels and bioavailability in the human body decrease over time. Many scientists are wondering if this compound could be involved in the synthesis of collagen, helping to keep our tissues in good condition. In the section below, we have answered the most frequently asked questions regarding this trace element.

Woman smiling with an apple

Silicon may improve the appearance of your skin, hair, and nails.
(Source: Macniak: 72070372/ 123rf.com)

What is silicon exactly?

Simply put, it is one of the most abundant minerals on our planet. This substance is found in small quantities throughout the human organism. This is why it is considered a trace element, a group of nutrients (such as iron and zinc) that are essential for the proper performance of biological functions (1, 2).

We can obtain different compounds by combining silicon with other atoms.

Some formulations are purely designed for industrial use, such as silicone or crystalline silica (the latter being a potential carcinogen). Orthosilicic acid (OSA) and monomethylsilanetriol (MMST), on the other hand, are compounds used in the field of supplementation (3, 4).

Silicon appears to play a major role in the human body to mineralize bones and produce collagen. This protein provides the elasticity and resistance our skin, tendons, and joints need. We have summed up the main functions of silicon on the table below (1):

Zone Possible function of silicon
Skin Stimulation of collagen synthesis and regeneration of lost collagen
Hair Stimulation of keratin synthesis
Nails Stimulation of keratin synthesis
Bones Bone formation and mineralization of bone tissue

Repair of fractures

Endocrine system Regulation of hormone production
Cartilage Formation of connective tissue
Cardiovascular system Integrity of the vessel wall

What are the consequences of silicon deficiency?

Experts have not come to a clear consensus regarding the levels of silicon in plasma. In fact, no recommended daily allowance (RDA) has been defined for this mineral. The consequences of silicon deficiency are, therefore, poorly understood. Studies on animals have tested what happens when silicon is removed from their diet. You can find the different findings listed below:

  • Defects in bone mineralization (5): Silicon deficiency in test animals caused abnormalities in mineral deposition on bone tissue. As a result, their shinbones showed significant deformities.
  • Lower levels of collagen in bone (6): The difficulty in depositing collagen may lead to weak bones.
  • Reduced collagen formation on wounds (6): Silicon deficiency has a negative influence on collagen synthesis. This finding could indicate an increased difficulty in wound healing induced by silicon deficiency.

The results of these studies may have implications for the importance of silicon in humans. According to unofficial sources (7), an insufficient amount of this mineral may cause deterioration of hair, skin, nails, cartilage, and bone. However, please keep in mind that these statements need to be confirmed with human trials.

foco

Did you know that beer is a source of silicon with a high bioavailability? Remember to consume alcohol moderately!

What are the benefits of silicon supplements?

As of yet, scientists have not been able to confirm the direct consequences of silicon deficiency. However, supplementation with this trace element has proven capable of producing specific benefits (in studies of limited impact). In that regard, using silicon dietary products may be useful in:

  • Strengthening your bones: In men and pre-menopausal women, we have observed that silicon supplementation promotes bone mineralization and increases bone density. Unfortunately, this would not be the case in postmenopausal women (the leading group affected by bone loss) (8).
  • Improving your skin texture: A small clinical trial found an improvement in skin texture by giving 10 milligrams of OSA silicon to middle-aged people with signs of skin aging (4).
  • Strengthening your hair: An improvement in hair quality was observed after administering 10 milligrams of OSA silicon for nine months. People who took the supplement benefited had more tensile hair than those using the placebo (4).
  • Preventing brittle nails: Silicon seems to be able to interact with the keratin present in hair and nails. By supplementing with 10 milligrams of this trace element, the nails of the volunteers became more resistant to wear.

In addition, many have tried to link the consumption of silicon supplements to a series of other benefits. These include a lower prevalence of atherosclerosis, prevention against Alzheimer’s disease, and antibacterial properties. Unfortunately, these promising effects have not been verified by trials of acceptable quality.

In short, silicon supplements may help you if you’re looking to increase the durability and vitality of your hair, skin, and nails. While the mechanisms behind this are still unclear, it is believed that this mineral promotes the synthesis of collagen and is involved in keratin formation. Both compounds give strength and elasticity to your tissues.

How should I use silicon supplements?

Although these products have been on the market for over a decade already, there are still no set criteria for their consumption. This means that you should be particularly careful when using silicon supplements. Here are some guidelines to help you consume them as efficiently and safely as possible:

  • Manufacturer’s instructions: These will depend on the raw material used to obtain the silicon, the excipients, and the dosage form of the product. Always follow the brand’s instructions and avoid taking doses higher than those advised on the supplement.
  • Minimum dose: Since there is no RDA for silicon, this minimum dose can vary significantly from one product to the next. A good practice for supplementation is to start with the minimum that produces the desired effects. Remember that the positive actions of silicon have occurred with doses as low as 10 mg/day in clinical trials.
  • Maximum dose: Silicon is considered safe up to 700 mg/day in healthy people. Exceeding this amount is virtually impossible if you use supplements consciously and carefully (10).
  • Supplementing with food: There is no clear indication as to when these dietary products should be taken. However, some people have reported experiencing gastrointestinal discomfort with silicon supplements. If you have a sensitive stomach, you may want to take them with a main meal.

In existing studies, the results of silicon supplementation were noticed after nine months of treatment. This is why you need to be patient if you have started using a silicon product. Consistency is key, so don’t give up!

Foods that contain silicon

While crystalline silica and silicone are both derived from silicon, their consumption is toxic.
(Source: Barbone: 95259740/ 123rf.com)

Are silicon supplements safe?

This is one of the most controversial discussions that surround these dietary products. While silicon naturally present in food is considered safe by experts, nutritional supplements are under the scrutiny of healthcare professionals.
Silicon-based additives used as anticaking agents have also been the subject of study.

Currently, most authoritative boards recognize monomethylsilanetriol (MMST) (11) and orthosilicic acid (OSA) as safe for consumption (12). These forms of silicon can be consumed in the form of supplements without endangering healthy people. Silicon dioxide can be used as an additive, as long as you do so in limited quantities (13).

The time factor is another critical aspect that you have to take into account. Silicon supplements haven’t produced any side effects in treatments lasting less than nine months. Their safety is unknown if they are consumed chronically. We encourage you to consult your physician if you want to extend the duration of your supplementation.

Last but not least, you should use these products cautiously if you are chronically ill or more sensitive to silicon. The following population groups should consult a healthcare professional before starting supplementation (14):

  • Minors: Silicon supplements are not recommended for children under the age of 18.
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women: The safety of these products in pregnant or breastfeeding women has not been proven yet. In that regard, it is safer to avoid them during these sensitive periods.
  • Hypertensive patients: Some silicon supplements include horsetail extract. This plant has diuretic properties that can interfere with antihypertensive medication and lead to dangerous interactions. Patients following this type of treatment should consult their doctor before using silicon supplements.
  • People with kidney conditions: Excess silicon is excreted in the urine. Defects in renal clearance could lead to a dangerous accumulation of this mineral in the body. This is why individuals with kidney diseases or failure, as well as anyone suffering from nephrolithiasis (kidney stones), should avoid silicon supplements.
  • Diabetics: The consumption of these nutritional products has been linked to the appearance of severe hypoglycemia in people with diabetes.
Old woman and nurse holding hands

Silicon supplements are available in both capsules or liquid extract.
(Source: Bialasiewicz: 88394349/ 123rf.com)

Buyer’s Guide

Choosing the right product is the best way to make the most of silicon supplements. We want to make this easier for you, which is why you can learn more about the key shopping criteria in the following section. They will help you identify the supplements that best suit your needs.

Food Safety

Try to purchase a supplement that indicates the origin of the silicon. The majority of manufacturers choose bamboo or horsetail extract as the raw material. However, you should know that these plant species also produce their own effects.

Horsetail acts as a diuretic and can alter the potassium levels in the blood. Bamboo extract may have a negative influence on fertility and thyroid hormones. In the table below, you can see how each silicon derivative is considered in terms of safety (111, 13, 15):

Derivative Abbreviation Classification
Monomethylsilanetriol MMST Supplement (safe for healthy people)
Orthosilicic acid OSA Supplement (safe for healthy people)
Silica (silicon dioxide) SiO2 Additive (safe in limited quantities)

Dietary Restrictions

The raw material used to manufacture silicon supplements is generally of plant origin. However, many laboratories use animal-based gelatin capsules to convey the powder. Fortunately, silicon is readily available in drinkable form. That way, vegan and vegetarian individuals can also supplement with it.

Celiac people and anyone allergic to lactose, shellfish, or soy should also carefully check the label of silicon products.

Certain brands may have traces of these allergens in their supplements. Finally, remember that horsetail extract can be particularly hard to digest.

Wheat

Silicon is found in all body tissues.
(Source: Mironova: 87873729/ 123rf.com)

Dosage Form

Silicon supplements are available in four different formats on the American market:

  • Capsules or tablets: This is the most traditional method of supplementation. Taken with water, they are a convenient and practical option. Some people may have difficulties with swallowing tablets.
  • Liquid: Silicon liquid vials or bottles are an exciting alternative if you prefer avoiding the format mentioned above. They are easier to ingest and are naturally free of animal gelatin. Intaking the right dose can be more challenging, however.
  • Powder: This is a good midpoint between solid and liquid supplements. Simply dissolve the powder in some water. Lumps in your drink can be annoying, but this format is easy to swallow.
  • Topical gel: This is a lesser-known form of silicon supplements. Creams and gels are used to relieve joint pain and ligament injuries, although their actual effectiveness needs to be confirmed with further analysis.

Ingredient Combination

Silicon is often combined with other substances to improve the appearance of skin, hair, and nails. You can also find this trace element with ingredients that aim to strengthen bones and joints. We have listed the most common ones in the following table:

Ingredient Purpose
Magnesium Strengthening of muscles and joints
[Zinc Improvement of the appearance of skin, hair, and nails
Selenium Improvement of the appearance of skin, hair, and nails
Collagen Improvement of the appearance of skin, hair, and nails

Strengthening of bones and joints

Glycine Anti-inflammatory effects

Fatigue relief

Hyaluronic acid Relief of joint pain

Improvement of skin appearance

Vitamin C Antioxidant effect

Improvement of the appearance of the skin

Group B vitamins Improvement of the appearance of skin, hair, and nails
Vitamin E Antioxidant effect

Improvement of skin appearance

Plant extracts Antioxidant effects

Summary

Silicon is one of the most neglected and underestimated trace elements in the field of nutrition. Very few clinical trials on human volunteers have allowed us to get a glimpse of the true potential of this mineral. However, we do know that the consumption of a small amount of silicon can improve our overall appearance.

Daily consumption of grains, vegetables, and fruits will help you safely increase your silicon levels. If your lifestyle or dietary preferences prevent you from eating a healthy diet, a silicon supplement may be what you need. Always choose a safe product, follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and watch your skin improve day after day!

Did you find our guide helpful and informative? Feel free to let us know what you thought in the comments section below, and don’t forget to share this article!

(Featured Image Source: Nataliya Arzamasova/ 123rf.com)

References (15)

1. Martin KR. The chemistry of silica and its potential health benefits. J Nutr Health Aging [Internet]. 2007 Mar [cited 2020 Feb 15];11(2):94–7.
Source

2. Boguszewska-Czubara A, Pasternak K. Silicon in medicine and therapy. J Elemntology [Internet]. 2011 Jul 1;16(3/2011):489–97.
Source

3. Jugdaohsingh R, Hui M, Anderson SHC, Kinrade SD, Powell JJ. The silicon supplement “Monomethylsilanetriol” is safe and increases the body pool of silicon in healthy Pre-menopausal women. Nutr Metab. 2013;10(1):37.
Source

4. De Araújo LA, Addor F, Campos PMBGM. Use of silicon for skin and hair care: An approach of chemical forms available and efficacy. Vol. 91, Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia. Sociedade Brasileira de Dermatologia; 2016. p. 331–5.
Source

5. Carlisle EM. Biochemical and Morphological Changes Associated with Long Bone Abnormalities in Silicon Deficiency. J Nutr [Internet]. 1980 May 1 [cited 2020 Feb 17];110(5):1046–56.
Source

6. Seaborn CD, Nielsen FH. Silicon Deprivation Decreases Collagen Formation in Wounds and Bone, and Ornithine Transaminase Enzyme Activity in Liver. Biol Trace Elem Res [Internet]. 2002 Dec [cited 2020 Feb 17];89(3):251–62.
Source

7. Muñoz B. «El codo de tenista se puede evitar con suplementos de silicio». La Razón [Internet]. 2016 [cited 2020 Feb 17]
Source

8. Jugdaohsingh R. Silicon and bone health. J Nutr Health Aging [Internet]. 2007 Mar [cited 2020 Feb 11];11(2):99–110.
Source

9. Sripanyakorn S, Jugdaohsingh R, Dissayabutr W, Anderson SHC, Thompson RPH, Powell JJ. The comparative absorption of silicon from different foods and food supplements. Br J Nutr [Internet]. 2009 Sep 28 [cited 2020 Feb 11];102(6):825–34.
Source

10. Price CT, Koval KJ, Langford JR. Silicon: A review of its potential role in the prevention and treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis. Vol. 2013, International Journal of Endocrinology. Hindawi Limited; 2013.
Source

11. Unión Europea. BOE.es - Documento DOUE-L-2017-81334 [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2020 Feb 15].
Source

12. Unión Europea. BOE.es - Documento DOUE-L-2009-82310 [Internet]. [cited 2020 Feb 18].
Source

13. Unión Europea. BOE.es - Documento DOUE-L-2017-81400 [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2020 Feb 18].
Source

14. Silicon: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning [Internet]. [cited 2020 Feb 18].
Source

15. BOE.es - Documento consolidado BOE-A-1990-28049 [Internet]. [cited 2020 Feb 18].
Source

Why you can trust me?

Review article
Martin KR. The chemistry of silica and its potential health benefits. J Nutr Health Aging [Internet]. 2007 Mar [cited 2020 Feb 15];11(2):94–7.
Go to source
Review article
Boguszewska-Czubara A, Pasternak K. Silicon in medicine and therapy. J Elemntology [Internet]. 2011 Jul 1;16(3/2011):489–97.
Go to source
Scientific article
Jugdaohsingh R, Hui M, Anderson SHC, Kinrade SD, Powell JJ. The silicon supplement “Monomethylsilanetriol” is safe and increases the body pool of silicon in healthy Pre-menopausal women. Nutr Metab. 2013;10(1):37.
Go to source
Review article
De Araújo LA, Addor F, Campos PMBGM. Use of silicon for skin and hair care: An approach of chemical forms available and efficacy. Vol. 91, Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia. Sociedade Brasileira de Dermatologia; 2016. p. 331–5.
Go to source
Clinical trial in animals
Carlisle EM. Biochemical and Morphological Changes Associated with Long Bone Abnormalities in Silicon Deficiency. J Nutr [Internet]. 1980 May 1 [cited 2020 Feb 17];110(5):1046–56.
Go to source
Clinical trial in animals
Seaborn CD, Nielsen FH. Silicon Deprivation Decreases Collagen Formation in Wounds and Bone, and Ornithine Transaminase Enzyme Activity in Liver. Biol Trace Elem Res [Internet]. 2002 Dec [cited 2020 Feb 17];89(3):251–62.
Go to source
Expert Interview
Muñoz B. «El codo de tenista se puede evitar con suplementos de silicio». La Razón [Internet]. 2016 [cited 2020 Feb 17]
Go to source
Review article
Jugdaohsingh R. Silicon and bone health. J Nutr Health Aging [Internet]. 2007 Mar [cited 2020 Feb 11];11(2):99–110.
Go to source
Scientific article
Sripanyakorn S, Jugdaohsingh R, Dissayabutr W, Anderson SHC, Thompson RPH, Powell JJ. The comparative absorption of silicon from different foods and food supplements. Br J Nutr [Internet]. 2009 Sep 28 [cited 2020 Feb 11];102(6):825–34.
Go to source
Review article
Price CT, Koval KJ, Langford JR. Silicon: A review of its potential role in the prevention and treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis. Vol. 2013, International Journal of Endocrinology. Hindawi Limited; 2013.
Go to source
Official State Bulletin
Unión Europea. BOE.es - Documento DOUE-L-2017-81334 [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2020 Feb 15].
Go to source
Official State Bulletin
Unión Europea. BOE.es - Documento DOUE-L-2009-82310 [Internet]. [cited 2020 Feb 18].
Go to source
Official State Bulletin
Unión Europea. BOE.es - Documento DOUE-L-2017-81400 [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2020 Feb 18].
Go to source
Official website
Silicon: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning [Internet]. [cited 2020 Feb 18].
Go to source
Official State Bulletin
BOE.es - Documento consolidado BOE-A-1990-28049 [Internet]. [cited 2020 Feb 18].
Go to source