Absorption and Intake of Silicon.

Date:

29-Apr-2002

Source

Am J Clin Nutr

Related Monographs

Consumer Data: Silicon
Professional Data: Silicon

Article

Even though silicon is the most abundant mineral on earth, scientists didn't discover it was essential for the body until very recently. The largest concentrations of silicon are found in the skin and cartilage, but it also occurs in other tissues and organs.

Although research on silicon is still in the early stages, it is believed that it plays a role in the production of collagen. Collagen provides strength, rigidity, and flexibility to bones, teeth, tendons, ligaments, cell walls and membranes, nails, and skin. The best food sources of silicon are rice, bran and brown rice. Dietary silicon is also available in other unrefined grain products and in high fiber vegetables. Beer also contains a high concentration of easily absorbable silicon.

Recently, a new study stated that silicon is evidentially important for bone formation and growth. Because the intake and absorption of silicon is not well understood, this study was designed to determine the bioavailabilty of silicon in solid foods. The gastrointestinal uptake of this mineral from food sources was assessed and the uptake was correlated to the silicon contents of foods. Taken form the Framingham and Framingham Offspring studies, the 126-item food questionnaire was used to determine the intake of silicon in each of the groups. Urinary silicon excretion was used to estimate the GI uptake of silicon in the foods in 3 to 8 healthy individuals. The results showed that men had a significantly higher intake of silicon compared to the women. Utilizing the information from the two studies, the mean intake of silicon in men was 31.5 mg a day and the major sources for this mineral came from beer and bananas. For women, the average daily intake of silicon was 24.5 mg. The major food sources for women were bananas and string beans. In addition, the intake silicon diminished with age. An average of 41% of the ingested silicon was excreted through the urine, which revealed that silicon is easily available from foods. The authors concluded that the association between bone health and silicon ingested should now be examined.1

References

1. Jugdaohsingh R. Dietary silicon intake and absorption. Am J Clin Nutr 2002 May;75(5):887-893.