That’s because while many key nutrients either reduce bone breakdown or stimulate new bone formation, silicon does both according to new research. Here’s how:
- Soluble silica enhances osteoblast bone-building cells. This enhancement increased protein collagen synthesis and collagen is the protein which provides flexibility and strength to bone, skin, and connective tissue. We’ve known for quite a while that healthier collagen enhances bone strength, beauty, and heart health.
- Silicon inhibits bone breakdown. Researchers concluded that Silicon interacts with inter- and intra-cellular signaling pathways and directly inhibits osteoclast formation and bone resorption.
While most silicon exists in a form that is not absorbable by the body, water, plant foods, and some beverages do contain silica in a form that is absorbable. US daily intake ranges from 13 mg/day to 62 with intakes above 30 mg/day being associated with greater bone density.
You can get silicon in your diet with:
- Whole grains: Silicon is found in the fiber and husks of the grains, and brown rice contains twice as much silicon as white rice and whole grain bread contain much more than white bread. Oats and bran are especially rich sources of silicon.
- Vegetables: Especially rich sources are string beans, spinach, lettuce, potatoes with the skin, carrots, beets and other root vegetables.
- Fruits: Bananas, raisins, oranges, strawberries
- Drinks: Mineral water, beer, red wine or cooked horsetail grass herbal tea
All this talk of vegetables, fruits and whole grains seem familiar? Sounds like the Alkaline for Life® eating program we so highly recommend in the Better Bones Program.
Happy whole foods eating!
Mladenović, Ž. et al. 2014. Soluble silica inhibits osteoclast formation and bone resorption in vitro. Acta Biomaterialia 10:406–418.
I’m Dr. Susan Brown. I am a nutritionist, medical anthropologist, writer, and speaker. Get my free weekly newsletter here.