Silicon is a naturally occurring mineral found in the environment and the second most common element in the earth's outer crust. This element is important because it performs a variety of functions when it comes to health. Most of the silicon exists in a form that is absorbable. However, some foods contain significant amounts of silicon dioxide, which may be usable in the body.
Silicon is essential for strengthening bones, improving skin health and making joints more flexible. Including silicon rich foods in your diet can increase the absorption of calcium and vitamin D. The human body contains approximately 7 grams of silicon, which is present in various tissues and body fluids. Silicon in tissues is normally bound to glycoproteins, such as cartilage, whereas the silicon in the blood is almost entirely found as free or small compounds.
The biological requirement of silicon for the body was demonstrated for the first time by Edith Carlisle and Klaus Schwarz in experiments with rats and chickens that were fed low silicon. These experiments demonstrated that nutritional deficiency of silicon causes skeletal deformities, such as abnormality of the skull and long bone structure, as well as malformed joints with decreasing content of cartilage. Detailed biochemical analysis revealed that silicon is an essential nutrient for the structural integrity and development of connective tissue. The substance is also used to strengthen hair, nails and skin.
Silicon in diet
The daily intake of silicon is estimated to be between 20 and 50 mg, with lower intakes being associated with animal-based diets and higher intakes associated with vegetarian diets. The plants absorb silicic acid from the soil and convert it into polymerized silicon. Foods rich in fiber, such as cereals, oats, wheat bran and vegetables, are also the main foods rich in silicon. An unbalanced diet with a limited supply of vegetables, fruits and cereals will bring low concentration of silicon, leading to its deficiency and possible bone problems.
While whole foods are a good natural source of silicon, most of them are considered insoluble and can not be directly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. The silicon present in food is solubilized by gastric acid in siliciclic acid, which is absorbed directly through the wall of the stomach and intestine and carried into the blood.
The low acidity of the stomach, whether due to illness or age, lowers the body's ability to metabolize the element from silicon-rich foods. Aging is associated with an increase in gastric pH. Thus, the elderly will have a decreased ability to convert dietary silicates into bioavailable silicic acid. Refining and food processing, which removes silicon-containing fibers, contributes to silicon deficiency. In addition, many of the additives used in the food industry interfere with the absorption of silicon.
In fact, these additives may increase gastric pH and thereby decrease the rate of dietary silicon hydrolysis, promote the polymerization of silicylic acid and chelating mineral salts, which are then eliminated through the intestinal tract without absorption by the body. The extensive reuse of soils and the application of agrochemicals reduce the supply of siliciclic acid in plants. The resulting cultures have a less rigid structure due to decreased biosynthesis of epidermal fibers and specific cells containing silicon structures.
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Therefore, these cultures will have a lower silicon concentration and contribute less to silicon intake compared to cultures that have been grown in a natural soil. In view of all these factors, it is known that silicon supplementation can be useful for complete and balanced diet if it is not possible to obtain this through silicon.
Although silicon is not considered an essential nutrient and does not have a recommended daily dose health authorities, the European Food Safety Authority recommends a daily limit of 700 mg. The average adult consumes between 20 and 50 mg of silicon per day. In general, the plants contain silicon, since the mineral is absent in foods of animal origin. Depending on where you live, your drinking water may be a natural source of silicon in your diet. Beer also offers ample amounts of silicon, possibly derived from the grains used during manufacturing.
Variety of food
Silicon dioxide helps to minimize the harmful effects of aluminum and combat Alzheimer's disease. Silicon dioxide also contributes to healthy bone formation and slows down aging. Silicon levels decrease with age, causing your dietary silicon requirements to increase.
To ensure optimal levels, one should choose to consume a variety of silicon-rich foods, including alfalfa, beet, brown rice and oats. Chili, soy and green leafy vegetables also provide large amounts of this nutrient. Other sources rich in silicon dioxide include asparagus, artichoke, parsley, sunflower seeds and bark from grains such as barley, oats, corn and wheat.
Drinks like beer, coffee and water are the main food sources of silicon dioxide for the average person, providing about 55% of the daily intake. Grains provide 14% and vegetables contribute about 8% of the consumption of silicon-rich foods per average person. Silicon benefits health by keeping tissues healthy and preventing skin aging and joints; however, modern foods are deficient in silicon dioxide due to depletion from soil.
Herbs and algae
Some herbs like horsetail provide a rich natural source of traditional silicon dioxide and its use is indicated for obtaining healthier skin, nails and hair. Some types of algae also contain considerable levels of absorbable silicon and are used in the preparation of silicon supplements.
28 Foods rich in silicon
- Brown rice;
- Horse mackerel;
- Sunflower seeds;
- Dry fruits.
Do you believe that you have consumed a correct level of silicon-rich foods for your body? Which are your favorites? Comment below!(19votes, average:, 1of 5)