May 27, 2021
By Christine Cheng, R.Ph. and Fred Cheng, R.Ph.
There are many things that skin and bones share in common and the one that we would like to discuss today is silicon. In our diet, common sources of silicon include vegetables, whole grains, seafoods, fruits and vegetables (such as bananas, raisin, beans and lentils). Coffee, beer, and unfiltered drinking water are other common sources. Silicon is a trace mineral that is necessary for growth and bone calcification. It is required for the synthesis of collagen and glycosaminoglycans, which are imperative for the formation of the organic component of the bone matrix. In short, this mineral lends strength to connective tissues in the body.
Of particular importance is the role of silicon in the metabolism of bone tissue. Calcium and vitamin D3 have gotten most of the attention when it comes to supplements for bone health. In recent years, more focus has been given to the roles of magnesium and vitamin K2 for affecting the formation and resorption of bone. Recent animal studies have shown that silicon supplementation can improve bone mineral density even in the absence of high calcium supplementation, implying that it plays an important role unto itself. Clinical studies done in humans reflect the same trends.
With regards to skin, silicon is needed for the optimal synthesis of collagen, which is important for the strength and elasticity of skin (and hair). Many of us may be familiar with the use of a herb called “horsetail” for healthier skin and hair. This is because horsetail is a good source of silica. However, silicon is known for its low bioavailability. For example, only approximately 3% of silicon from horsetail is absorbed. Another difficulty with silicon in supplements is that in liquid form, silicon will polymerize (i.e., bind to each other forming larger complexes), which makes it even less absorbable.
To overcome this, scientists have developed a soluble and stable form of silicon called “Monomethylsilanetriol” or MMST that does not polymerize in solution and has a 64% relative bioavailability when compared to other dietary and supplement forms of silicon. CanPrev has brought this to market under the name SILICON BEAUTY. Although the Health Canada approval for this product is for its skin benefits, once the body absorbs MMST, it does not discriminate between which tissue it will use the silicon for.
Silicon is a relatively safe supplement to use. But as always, review your medications and conditions with your physician or Integrated Health Pharmacist before starting any supplement.
Christine and Fred Cheng are a passionate, charismatic sister-brother pharmacist team at their unique, family-operated Pharmasave stores in Cloverdale and Steveston, B.C. They specialize in natural remedies and compounding for both human and veterinarian use. Find them on Instagram and Facebook! Everything mentioned in their article is available InStore.
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