Have you ever noticed that your hair, skin, and nails all begin to thin as you grow older? It's no coincidence that all this happens about the same time your hormones begin to wane. And it's also about this time when many of us see our mineral levels decline and our bones become brittle. Could there be one simple mineral that's at the crux of all these problems?
If you're thinking this about magnesium, you're close. There's another mineral that's crucial for keeping your magnesium and calcium in proper balance. This same mineral also helps balance your hormones. And it even helps keep your hair, skin, nails, and bones strong.
Unfortunately, we don't hear a lot about this mineral. I've written about it a couple of times because it is great for your hair and nails. But we can't stop there. In the last 40 years, there have been numerous studies showing just how important it is for your bones. A glimpse at these studies shows that silica increases bone volume and increases femoral and lumbar spine bone mineral density.
One study showed that it was more effective than the osteoporosis drug Etidronate (a bisphosphonate) and sodium fluoride. It also reduces bone resorption and bone loss and increases bone formation and bone mineral content (bone mineral density). Some animal studies show that it also helps your muscles gain strength and reduces bone-related injuries. What's more, all of these studies were on silica as a supplement - not just dietary intake.
The reason silica is so great for your bones is because it's involved in the synthesis and/or stabilization of collagen. Collagen, as you may know, plays a vital structural role in our body, contributing to the formation and resilience of bone and connective tissue. You'll find collagen in your bones; your ligaments, tendons, and muscles; and your hair, skin, and nails.
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Silica is so important for the health of your hair, that supplementing with this one mineral will often stop female hair loss and thinning. It often can do so without the addition of hormone-mimicking herbs. The reason is its ability to help balance the female sex hormones, which is the biggest single causal factor for hair loss and the thinning of hair. And yes, silica affects all of your hormones, including your thyroid.
In fact, collagen helps unclog your thyroid gland so that it can produce adequate levels of thyroid hormone. It also helps reduce your cortisol levels (reducing the effects of stress). And it helps reduce your need for insulin, by regulating your blood sugar. Many hypothyroid sufferers also have insulin resistance.
As you can see, silica is one of the most important nutrients you can take in supplement form. Yet hardly anyone recommends taking it. This doesn't make sense. If you want to improve the strength of your bones, joints, muscles, organs, endocrine system, hair, skin, nails, and (... well the list could go on), make sure you're taking ample levels of silica. The usual daily dose for silica is 50 mg. If you're severely deficient, you can take up to 200 mg daily for a few weeks to get your levels back up. But then move back down to 50 mg daily.
You can find silica in many products online, but I like Advanced Bionutritionals Healthy Hair & Nails. Not only does it contain a full day's supply of silica, it also has biotin, pantothenic acid, and L-cysteine hydrochloride. All of these are great for building your body's structural elements, including your bones, hair, and nails. And, yes, you can take it along with your bone formula to add even more protection.
In a future issue of Nutrient Insider, I'll show you how silica can help you repair poor digestive function by fixing the damaged lining of the digestive tract. This is one impressive nutrient we all need to hear more about.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening, ND.