Several years ago, scientists in New Zealand wanted to see if calcium could help prevent heart attacks. So they gave 1,471 postmenopausal women 1,500 mg of calcium or a placebo for five years. The results shocked the researchers. Instead of preventing heart attacks, those taking the calcium had a 40% higher risk of heart attacks.
Since then, other studies have confirmed the results of this study. Other studies have found that keeping your calcium intake down around 500 mg daily can help you avoid a heart attack. But far more important for a healthy heart is the amount of magnesium you take. Most people need to take up to 1,000 mg of magnesium daily.
However, the body is complex. And it's vital you keep the magnesium and calcium inside your body in proper balance. Doing so helps keep your hormones in balance and this, in turn, helps you avoid osteoporosis and other problems with your hard tissues (such as your cartilage, hair, and nails). Fortunately, there's a nutrient that helps keep your body's calcium and magnesium in balance. It's silicon (don't confuse silicon with silicone – one is a natural mineral, the other is a synthetic plastic you can use to caulk your bathtub).
Silicon is a trace element that's absolutely vital for your bones. It's so vital that it is the third most abundant trace element in your body after iron and zinc. And silicon is one of the most abundant nutrients on this planet. However, its function is still surprisingly unclear. We do know that animal studies in the 1970s found that a silicon deficiency produces defects in connective and skeletal tissues. We also learned in 1986 that silicon is highly concentrated in growing bone. Since then, researchers have confirmed silicon's role in building your bones.
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But what researchers didn't know until 10 years ago is that if you ever suffer from a broken bone or osteoporosis, silicon will work to help you rebuild your bone — and it can do so much faster than bisphosphonates and sodium fluoride (conventional osteoporosis treatments). A study in 2005 found that silicon enhances the effects of calcium and vitamin D3 on new bone formation.
Silicon is so important for your bones that a review study in 2013 found that this mineral can increase bone formation by 30%. And it also causes less bone resorption.
But why is silicon so important for your heart? In much the same way it protects your bones. It keeps the arteries healthy and balanced. When you get too much calcium in your body, you begin to store it. Some researchers believe this can cause calcification of the arteries (hardened arteries) and calcium deposits in the joints. Ultimately, they believe, the excess calcium constricts blood flow to and from the heart. This increases the work load of the heart.
Silicon removes excess calcium from the arteries, as well as other areas of the body, and helps keep the blood flowing properly. What's more, silicon acts as a chelator of heavy metals, which can wreak havoc on your cardiovascular system. The exciting part of all this is that silicon's actions to protect your heart clear the way for it to build your bone.
You can buy silicon by itself in health food stores and online. Or you can buy it in a bone-building formula, such as Ultimate Bone Support
, which can provide even better protection.
Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.
Carlisle EM. “Silicon as an essential trace element in animal nutrition,” Ciba Found Symp. 1986; 121():123-39.
Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand.
Schwarz K, Milne DB. “Growth-promoting effects of silicon in rats,” Nature. 1972 Oct 6; 239(5371):333-4.
Spector, TD, et al. 2005. Effect on bone turnover and BMD in low dose oral silicon as an adjunct to calcium/vitamin D3 in a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Abstract from the ASBMR 27th Annual Meeting, Nashville, TN.