After calcium, silica is the seventh most prevalent element in human tissue. Research done in the early seventies at the UCLA School of Public Health indicated silica was necessary for normal bone development. When laboratory mice were fed a silica-deficient diet, depressed growth and bone deformities occurred. Once supplied with an appropriate amount, the above symptoms showed significant improvement along with increased calcium absorption, elevated collagen levels, and a strengthening of major blood vessels. Another study in 1990 found it absolutely necessary for strong bones and connective tissue. For the past few decades silica supplements have been used regularly by many people, myself included, to strengthen and help maintain the integrity of their bones, cartilage, tendons and ligaments, hair, and skin. As a matter of fact, it’s positive effect on hair,skin and fingernails accounts for most of silica’s popularity with consumers and it’s often referred to as the “beauty mineral”.

Other possible uses of silica or silicon that have been looked at are treatment of arthritis and joint or cartilage problems, and other conditions where tissue repair and healing are needed. Silicon is known to speed the healing of bone fractures and to my mind, plays a major role in the prevention or treatment of osteoporosis. Tooth enamel contains a high amount of silica which indicates supplementation may help with stronger, more cavity-resistant teeth.

Rusty Improta is a nutritional consultant and owns Rusty’s Vitamins, located at 5 Chambersburg St., Gettysburg, 334-8212.

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