The importance and benefits of silica for hair growth
Silica gained attention a few years ago for its power to improve hair growth and help keep hair looking healthy and feeling great. You’ve probably hears of silicon before, but silica (silicon dioxide) is basically the oxidized form of silicon and it’s present throughout the human body. Actually, silicon is one of the most abundant elements on the Earth!
Although it’s crucial for growth and proper function of the human body, it’s often completely overlooked in just how important it is. Silica is found within various tissues in the body such as the skin, hair, bones, and even has important functions in the immune system where it regulates function of macrophages – or otherwise known as white blood cells.
Silica for better hair growth
Silica is important in the synthesis of collagen in the body and how protein structures are built. As far back as the 1980s, scientists experimented with using silica to boost collagen synthesis in various cell types. Low levels of silica in the diet can lead to all kinds of problems and cause the body to become frail from impaired wound healing from poor tissue regeneration.
Lack of this important element in the diet can lead to all the signs we associate with aging like thinning hair, fine lines, sagging skin and brittle nails which break easily.
I actually look at finger nails often to check for signs of deficiencies. Finger nails grow pretty slow, but leave a history by the way they grow (or don’t grow) and we can diagnose various vitamin and mineral deficiencies from looking at them.
How does silica help?
As already mentioned, silica is important in proper protein or collagen synthesis in the human body. Hair is primarily made up of keratin, a protein. Silica also has an important role in regulation of the immune system, reducing inflammation and fighting infection.
Another important factor to consider is that as you age, your absorption of silica decreases, and this can have a significant impact over time on the skin and hair follicles.
If you’re not already convinced how important silica is for better skin and better hair, then let me introduce you to two studies using silica for hair growth and skin health.
In the first study from 2005 which was published in the archives of dermatological research, researchers looked at the effect of orthosilicic acid (bioavailable form of silicon) on the skin, nails and hair of women.
After 20 weeks they measured levels of Si in the blood and also did measurements on skin, nail and hair health. What they found was very clear: the women who had been taking 10 mg of Si/per day had less skin roughness, stronger nails and stronger hair.
In second and more recent study, which was a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial looking at self perceived hair thinning in women who were taking a supplement contains different extracts, including silica – derived from horsetail.
The results of the study were really impressive: they saw that the number of terminal hairs in the scalp area of women with hair loss increased from 271 at baseline (in the are measured) to 561 after 12 weeks and then at 6 months it was at 609. In the placebo group, women had significantly fewer terminal hairs (256).
Silica was one of the major ingredients in this supplement, but it wasn’t the only one.
Whether or not silica was indeed the main component responsible for the hair regrowth is hard to say, but based on the evidence of its function in the skin and the results from the first study, it’s reasonable to assume that it was an important factor.
Which foods are high in silica?
There are many foods in the diet which contain silica, so I have compiled a list. Take your pick! 🙂
Foods high in Silica
- Red lentils
- Tap water
- Bell peppers
Foods low in Silica
- Dairy products
- Animal foods
Silica is abundant in the diet, but some sources are less bioavailable than others. There is quite a large variance in the bioavailability, but many of foods above listed are able to be absorbed fairly well by the body.
There’s much debate still on the safety of silicon, but the safe upper limit is thought to be around 700 mg per day for adults. The average intake per day for an adult is around 20-50 mg.
Silica supplement for hair growth?
Based on the amount of silica in the diet already for most people, it’s almost safe to assume that you are already getting enough to maintain good health and good hair.
However, because of the studies above, it appears that in some cases, getting extra silica in the form of supplements, like from ortho-silicic acid, does improve hair growth and hair health. And if you don’t know how fast hair normally grows, then go here to find out.
The high upper limit of silicon allows one to experiment with silica supplements to test for themselves, without much risk of side effects.
Potential benefits of using silica supplements
- Better skin
- Stronger nails
- Stronger and thicker hair
- Stronger bones
- Improved healing
Potential side effects from using silica supplements
- Increased urination
- Reduction in absorption of bioavailability of other nutrients such as vitamin B1
- Increased risk of kidney stones in some people
As you can see, silica for hair growth is very important and you need to make sure that you’re getting adequate amounts of it in your diet. Supplements also appear it help some people who are suffering from various health problems and hair thinning.
Whether or not you should try taking silica for better hair is entirely up to you. It appears to be very safe, and there is little risk of any side effects. The margin of safety is also very high, and so experimenting by using silica supplements might be worth a shot.
I’ve personally never taken silica before specifically for hair growth, but it is contained in a hair supplement that I use, and I also get plenty in my diet as eating primarily fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans etc.
If you’re suffering from hair loss, brittle nails, poor skin, then give silica a shot. It might really help you!
If you’ve already tried using silica for your hair growth, then let me know in the comments how it went and what your results were like!