Silicon, not to be confused with Silica or Silicone, is a mineral that is used in many ways as a health supplement. It is an essential trace element for some organisms, including humans There are several conditions that Silicon has been scientifically proven to help with, as well as some that are yet to be proven; however, scientists seem to agree that the mineral can have a positive effect on the body and no harm seems to come if it is taken properly as a health supplement.

The difference between Silicon, Silica and Silicone

The terms Silicon and Silica are related because Silicon is a key component of Silica, but they are not used interchangeably. The use of the terms depends on whether the focus is on the element itself (silicon) or the compound it forms with oxygen (silica). In order to fully make the distinction between the element Silicon, the compound Silica and the synthetic material Silicone, we will define them below:

Silicon is a chemical element with the symbol Si and atomic number 14. It is a metalloid, meaning it has properties of both metals and non-metals. It is a fundamental component of many minerals, but is not classed a mineral itself in its elemental form. Silicon is the second most abundant element in the Earth’s crust after oxygen, constituting about 27.7% of the Earth’s crust by mass. It is a versatile element with properties that make it useful in various applications, especially in the electronics industry. It is known for its semiconductor properties. It is widely used in the electronics industry to produce semiconductors, integrated circuits, and other electronic devices, hence the term ‘Silicon Valley’.

Silica is a mineral, and refers to silicon dioxide (SiO2), which is a compound composed of Silicon and Oxygen. Silica as a compound is abundant in nature and can be found in various forms, including crystalline and amorphous structures, such as quartz, sand, and glass. These different varieties of silica exist depending on the arrangement of its atoms. For example, quartz is a crystalline form of silica, and amorphous silica can be found in materials like diatomaceous earth. Silica is a key component of many minerals and materials. The most common and well-known crystalline form of silica is quartz, which has diverse industrial applications, such as in construction and manufacturing. It is a key component in the production of glass, ceramics, concrete, and other construction materials. It is also used in the manufacturing of silicon wafers for the semiconductor industry.

Silicone is a synthetic blend of materials that resemble plastic. Silicone is the material that is used in breast implants, as well as medical tubing. It contains Silicon along with Oxygen and a variety of other naturally occurring substances in nature, but it is a very different substance to the chemical element Silicon or the mineral Silica.

Silicon and Silica Effects on the Body

While silicon is an essential trace element for some organisms, including humans, it’s important to clarify that silicon and silica have distinct roles in the body. The role of silicon and silica in the body is an area of research, and their precise functions and requirements are not as well-defined as those of essential minerals such as calcium or iron.

Below is an overview:

Silicon (Element):

  • Trace Element: Silicon is considered an essential trace element for certain organisms, but its necessity for human health is still a topic of ongoing research. It is found in low concentrations in the human body, particularly in connective tissues, bones, hair, and nails.
  • Potential Benefits: Silicon is suggested to play a role in bone formation, collagen synthesis, and maintaining the health of connective tissues. Some studies have explored its potential benefits for bone health, skin elasticity, and hair and nail strength.

Silica (Compound):

  • Source: Silica refers to compounds made up of silicon and oxygen, with silicon in the +4 oxidation state. Silicon dioxide (SiO2), commonly known as silica, is the most prevalent form.
  • Dietary Intake: Silica is naturally present in certain foods, such as grains, vegetables, and water. It is a component of the Earth’s crust and can be found in varying amounts in the diet.
  • Biological Use: While silica itself is not a nutrient, some organisms, including diatoms and certain plants, utilise silica to build protective structures. In Humans, the dietary intake of silica is generally in the form of silicic acid.

Silicon Within the Body

As discussed above, Silicon seems to be necessary for a healthy body, however only trace amounts are needed. It is not entirely clear the exact range of roles it has within the body. Below we go into more details of what we do know:

Silicon helps with bone formation. It has been proven to increase the capacity for positive bone structure formation alongside calcium and vitamin D. The correct use of silicon can enhance the effects of calcium and vitamin D within the body. Silicon is best used in this capacity when it is obtained from foods. Individuals who receive more silicon have been shown to have increased bone mineral density. This reduces the effects of weak bones and the onset of osteoporosis. However, this effect is not found in menopausal women.

Silicon helps to regulate the mineralization of bone as well as helping to trigger the deposition of phosphate and calcium within the body. Silicon is also directly linked with decreasing the amount of osteoclasts and increasing the amount of osteoblasts within the body. Osteoclasts are generally defined as cells which destroy bone within the body while osteoblasts are generally defined as cells which help to build bone within the body.

Silicon Research

Researchers in the United Kingdom conducted a study in 2005 and found that silicon can only be absorbed in the body as a form of orthosilicic acid. The study was presented at the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. Individuals who were given this supplement showcased a significant improvement in bone density as well as bone formation.

Silicon does not seem to affect bones that are already being broken down because of age or other conditions.

Silicon also seems to be needed for the synthesis of elastin and collagen, both of which are used to help skin and other tissues maintain their shape.

Other Health Benefits of Silicon

Although silicon has not been widely studied when used as a supplement for other conditions within the body, many scientists believe that the mineral may actually be used for functions other than the formation of strong bones and tissue. Some possible uses of silicon include: hair loss, digestion problems, sprains, Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease.

There are many companies that market silicon as a dietary supplement that can help with the above conditions; however, none of these claims have been proven through study or upheld by the FDA.


As research continues, a better understanding of the potential benefits and roles of silicon and silica in human health may emerge.

It’s worth noting that dietary intake of silicon is typically in the form of various silicates, and the body processes these compounds. While there is ongoing interest in the potential health benefits of silicon, it is essential to approach claims with caution and await further scientific consensus.

If you are looking to improve your health through the ingestion of silicon supplements, it is best if you take the supplement with food during the meal. Silicon has been proven to be safe in low dosages. Higher dosages that are meant to help with increasing bone formation should be overseen by a reputable medical professional.

Always take care when taking herbs and Read Our Disclaimer.

Silicon Notes / Side Effects

In some studies, silicon has been found to increase development of kidney stones in individuals, although this happens quite rarely and the individuals in question were on silicon supplements for an extended period of time. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are not advised to take silicon supplements, mostly due to the unknown effects of overdose.

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