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Use of silicon for skin and hair care: An approach of chemical forms available and efficacy

  • MEDCIN Instituto da Pele


Silicon is the second most abundant element on Earth, and the third most abundant trace element in human body. It is present in water, plant and animal sources. On the skin, it is suggested that silicon is important for optimal collagen synthesis and activation of hydroxylating enzymes, improving skin strength and elasticity. Regarding hair benefits, it was suggested that a higher silicon content in the hair results in a lower rate of hair loss and increased brightness. For these beneficial effects, there is growing interest in scientific studies evaluating the efficacy and safety of using dietary supplements containing silicon. Its use aims at increasing blood levels of this element and improving the skin and its annexes appearance. There are different forms of silicon supplements available and the most important consideration to be made in order to select the best option is related to safety and bioavailability. Silicon supplements are widely used, though there is wide variation in silicon bioavailability, ranging from values below 1% up to values close to 50%, depending on the chemical form. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the scientific literature related to the different chemical forms of silicon supplements available and the limitations and recent progress in this field. According to reported studies, among the different chemical forms available, the orthosilicic acid (OSA) presents the higher bioavailability, whereas the others forms have absorption inversely proportional to the degree of polymerization. However, clinical studies evaluating safety and efficacy are still lacking.
An Bras Dermatol. 2016;91(3):331-5.
Use of silicon for skin and hair care: an approach of chemical
forms available and efficacy*
LidianeAdvinculadeAraújo1 FlaviaAddor2
Patrícia Maria Berardo Gonçalves Maia Campos1
Received on 27.08.2014
* StudyperformedatFaculdadedeCiênciasFarmacêuticasdeRibeirãoPreto,ofUniversidadedeSãoPaulo(USP)–RibeirãoPreto(SP),Brazil.
Financial Support: None.
1 UniversidadedeSãoPaulo(USP)–RibeirãoPreto(SP),Brazil.
2 Privateclinic–SãoPulo(SP),Brazil.
 ©2016byAnaisBrasileirosdeDermatologia
this element and improving the skin and its annexes appearance. There are different forms of silicon supplements
available and the most important consideration to be made in order to select the best option is related to safety
Keywords: Biological availability; Collagen; Dietary supplements; Hair; Silicon; Silicon compounds; Skin aging
Silicon is the second most abundant element on
most abundant trace element in the human body.1,2 It
is present in the water and in plant and animal sourc-
for optimal synthesis of collagen and for activating
thehydroxylationenzymes, improvingskinstrength
and elasticity. It was shown that physiological con-
blasts to secrete collagen type I.3-5Inthecaseofhair,
it is suggested that higher silicon content in the hair
brightness. Nails are also affected by the presence of
composition.4,5 For these benecial effects, there is
growing interest in scientic studies to examine the
of this element and hence lead to improvements in the
skin and its annexes. There are different forms of sili-
con supplements available and to select the most suit-
ableoption,themost importantconsiderationstobe
made are regarding safety and bioavailability. In some
although there is great variation in silicon bioavail-
However, it is observed that there is still no
consensus among researchers about the statement
that silicon is an essential element for man or about
containingsilicon.Thus,it isextremelyimportantto
critically evaluate the information published so far
used in complementary supplements to the diet. That
was the aim of this study.
An Bras Dermatol. 2016;91(3):331-5.
The aging process occurs by two main mecha-
nisms: intrinsic and extrinsic. The intrinsic aging is un-
the accumulation of irreversible degenerative changes
associated with aging.4,8,9 The extrinsic aging primar-
ily results from damage caused by ultraviolet radia-
tion. Other factors related to this type of aging include
smoking, pollution and inadequate nutrition. These
are described,8,9 in addition to a reduction of silicon
levels and hyaluronic acid in the connective tissues.10
it to act as an organ of protection from external trau-
ma. They present as essential components of structur-
al integrity of the connective tissue and are present in
largequantities intheskin,bonesandjoints.9,11A re-
duction in the amount of collagen in the skin of about
rectly related to the wrinkles depth.11,12
Changes occurring after menopause are even
lageninthe rst 5 years and annual loss of 0.55% of
elastin.13,14 The biosynthesis process of collagen after the
collagen that has been lost as part of the degradation
processes associated with age.9 The decrease of collagen
that occurs after menopause especially correlates with
decreased bone mineral density associated with age.14
protein is as a potential tool for improving and pre-
venting skin aging.
Considering the abundance of silicon in the hu-
in men and women.15
groups showed that silicon was an essential element
in chickens and mice.16,17 These experiments demon-
strated that nutritional deciencies of silicon led to
skeletal deformities such as abnormal skull and long
associated with higher concentrations of this element
rosis,skinagingandfragilehairandnails.10,15 Howev-
or not silicon is an essential nutrient for humans and
remainstobeclearlydened.15,18-20 Most of the silicon
excretion and that levels of silicon in blood correlate
with the levels present in urine.21Forthisreason,var-
ious studies evaluate the serum concentration as well
as the one present in urine in order to study the bio-
availability of silicon and its derivatives.
Silicon occurs naturally in foods in the form of
siliconoxideandsilicates, whicharepresentin water
and in plant and animal sources and are found in high
concentrations especially in cereals.18,22 The main sourc-
es of silicon from the diet in the Western Hemisphere
provide about 75% of the total silicon ingested by man.23
However, there are studies that question the
low solubility of some compounds, especially those
that are polymerized.15,24 Thus, although signicant
times it is presented in an insoluble form and cannot
be directly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. The
can then be absorbed. It is described in the literature
that the aging process is associated with an increase in
gastricpH,which decreasesthe conversion capacity
of this silicon found in foods in the bioavailable form.5
it is considered the most readily available form of sili-
con to humans.19 It is stable when diluted (<10-4M)but
polymerizesinhigher concentrationsinapH closeto
Questions on the bioavailability of silicon from the min-
eral water are reported in the literature. In a study con-
ducted with rats that received supplementation with
OSAin thewatertheyingested,therewerenosignif-
icant differences in the concentration of silicon present
in bones in relation to baseline.1Inbeer,itdemonstrated
that about 80% of the total silicon found corresponds
332 Araújo LA, Addor F, Campos PMBGM
An Bras Dermatol. 2016;91(3):331-5.
Useofsiliconforskinandhaircare:anapproachofchemicalformsavailableandefcacy 333
a reduced bioavailability.10Forthisreason,silicon-con-
concentrateOSAandstabilizeit inawayto makeit
more bioavailable.
Different consumptions patterns of supple-
ments containing silicon are observed around the
world. As an example, the organic silicon – com-
consumedinFrance, whileinGermanythe colloidal
meric while other silicates show different degrees of
icon absorption values in experiments with rats and in
some preliminary studies in humans.25,27 Some studies
have shown that it is readily absorbed after digestion
and observed no adverse events with its use. Never-
not conducted.28
Jugdaohsingh et al,in2013,conductedastudy
the maximum recommended dose of 10.5 mg/Si/day.
The authors concluded that MMST intake is safe and
that it was absorbed. They also presented data to prove
that,afteringestion, thereisconversionof MMSRin
However,in responsetothepublishedarticle,
VandenBerghequestionedsomepointsof thestudy,
claiming that studies of longer duration in humans
and toxicological tests in vitro and in animals are need-
ed in order to prove the safety of using the supplement
studieswerenotpresentedin the article in question
and they are also scarce in the available literature on
the subject. The statement on MMST conversion in
The authors of the original study published a
responsethat keptemphasizingthestudy’sndings.
They argued that they used rigorous methodology and
that,intheadoptedconditions, they could conclude
it was safe to use the supplement containing MMST.
Theauthors,however,agreedthat studieswithlarg-
er numbers of volunteers and greater length of time
would be needed for the continuation of research in-
volving this supplement.30
MMST has been used as a silicon source for a
long time around the world, especially in Europe.28
the safety have been reported.31,32 However, the Eu-
ropean Food Safety Authority (EFSA) considers that
silicon supplement.19
The greatest number of studies in the literature
addition to representing the most bioavailable form of
and choline chloride. Given the lack of data about ad-
ious silicates are classied as substances “generally
line has important characteristics that place it in the
positionofan idealstabilizerforOSA, inadditionto
promotingbenetsduetoitsowncharacteristics.33 In
highconcentrations,cholineavoids extensive polym-
Furthermore,aspreviously mentioned,choline
present in the compound may have a synergistic effect
withOSA, since it is well known its participation in
many basic biological processes.33 Choline is a precur-
protection against the collagen breakdown mediated
by homocysteine.34,35
In2009,EFSArequestedascienticopinion to
the Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources
Added to Food concerning ch-OSA safety. The only
objective was to evaluate ch-OSA as a silicon source
in terms of daily amounts that can be consumed and
Based on different studies conducted in animals
and in humans, the Panel concluded that the silicon
present in ch-OSA is bioavailable and that its use in
risksforsafety, providingthatthecholinemaximum
Studies were analyzed both in animals and in
humans so the conclusion on bioavailability and safe-
ceivedsupplementcontainingch-OSA or placebofor
23 weeks evaluated the evolution of serum silicon con-
334 Araújo LA, Addor F, Campos PMBGM
An Bras Dermatol. 2016;91(3):331-5.
centration. There was a 4.9% increase at this concen-
tration in the group of animals receiving silicon.36 In
anotherstudy, VandenBergheassessed the bioavail-
the gestation (16 weeks) and lactation (four weeks)
period. In the offspring of pigs that received supple-
ment containing silicon, signicantly higher silicon
offspring of the control group. The authors attributed
this result to the bioavailability of silicon in the sup-
plementcontainingch-OSAandalso tothematernal
transfer capability of absorbed silicon.37 The silicon ab-
sessed in a study of 14 healthy volunteers aged 22-34
years. Each volunteer received successive oral doses
in serum concentration of silica compared to baseline
wasobservedforch-OSA.6,19 This study demonstrated
that the bioavailability of silicon is to a great extent
dependent on the chemical form of the compound.
in vivo absorption of silicon by evaluating its serum
absorption for the different sources used were found.
healthy volunteer. It was observed that a diet rich in sil-
when compared with the period in which the volunteer
silicon urinary excretion was observed when the eval-
uated supplementation consisted of tablets containing
dry extract of horsetail. However, the silicon serum
levels remained constant. Only the biologically active
silicon present in solution at 2% silicon in a matrix of
thesignicantincreaseofsiliconinbothserum levels
by its chemical form and matrix.
Sripanyakorn et al measured silicon uptake
centration of silicon. The results conrmed that the
degreeofsilicon polymerizationisinverselypropor-
tional to intestinal absorption.7
Regardingtheskin,itissuggested thatsiliconis
important for optimal synthesis of collagen and for ac-
tivating the hydroxylation enzymes, important in the
and elasticity. Silicon is also associated with the synthesis
of glycosaminoglycans. Concerning the hair, it is sug-
gested that strands with higher silicon content tend to
have lower falling rate and higher brightness. Nails are
is one of the predominant mineral in their composition.
The presence of soft and brittle nails can indicate system-
there is an increased protection against nail infections.4,5
tween 40 and 65 years and with clear clinical signs of
facialphotoaging, the effect of the intake of supple-
OSAtaken daily.Also, serumconcentrationsofvari-
ous components in the blood were evaluated in order
to verify safety of oral treatment. The silicon intake
under these experimental conditions was considered
this treatment. This study, according to the authors,
wasthe rstrandomized,double-blind,placebo-con-
trolled trial that showed positive results in the skin
microtopography and anisotropy after the intake of
istics and in its mechanical properties.
improvement in the fragility of nails and hair in the
before the start and after the end of the study.
teers had thin hairs and were divided into 2 groups:
ch-OSA and placebo. The rst group received daily
dosesof10mgof silicon, for a periodof9months.4
Morphology and mechanical properties of hair were
evaluated at the beginning and at the end of the study.
loss of hair tensile strength suggests that it has a struc-
turaleffecton hair bers.Accordingto the authors,an
is the chemical form of silicon prevalent in physiological
to form complexes with amino acids and peptides.4,38,39
An Bras Dermatol. 2016;91(3):331-5.
Useofsiliconforskinandhaircare:anapproachofchemicalformsavailableandefcacy 335
The analysis of the scientic literature on the
use of supplements containing silicon shows great
different conditions of human health and presents aes-
theticproperties.Amongthevarious chemicalforms
form that presents greater bioavailability; other forms
have absorption inversely proportional to the degree
of polymerization. We also observed that ch-OSA is
and bioavailability of the different existing chemical
of volunteers and long follow-up period.q
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Mailing address:
Patrícia Maria Berardo Gonçalves Maia Campos
Avenida do Café, S/N
Monte Alegre
14040-903 - Ribeirão Preto - SP - Brazil
How to cite this article:AraújoLA,AddorF,CamposPMBGM.UseofSiliconforskinandhaircare:anapproachof
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... In the form of orthosilicic acid, Si is the third most abundant trace element in the human body [27]. Si also activates hydroxylation enzymes, enhancing skin strength and suppleness [31], and is present in 1-10 parts per million (ppm) in hair, hair epicuticle, nails, and cornified epidermis [27]. ...
... Because of their many beneficial properties, MSNs have a broad spectrum of practical features, including combating bacterial infections [51], however commercialization may be challenging. A gentamicinloaded MSN construct with bacterial toxin-receptive lipid bilayer surface shells protecting the bacteria-targeting peptide, UBI [29][30][31][32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39][40][41] , effectively targeted Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) in vitro and in vivo and hindered S. aureus growth in mouse models [52]. Also, hollow mesoporous silica nanoparticles (HMSNs) and nonporous MSNs are used to treat skin disorders [53]. ...
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Microencapsulation has received extensive attention because of its various applications. Since its inception in the 1940s, this technology has been used across several areas, including the chemical, food, and pharmaceutical industries. Over-the-counter skin products often contain ingredients that readily and unevenly degrade upon contact with the skin. Enclosing these substances within a silica shell can enhance their stability and better regulate their delivery onto and into the skin. Silica microencapsulation uses silica as the matrix material into which ingredients can be embedded to form microcapsules. The FDA recognizes amorphous silica as a safe inorganic excipient and recently approved two new topical therapies for the treatment of rosacea and acne. The first approved formulation uses a novel silica-based controlled vehicle delivery technology to improve the stability of two active ingredients that are normally not able to be used in the same formulation due to potential instability and drug degradation. The formulation contains 3.0% benzoyl peroxide (BPO) and 0.1% tretinoin topical cream to treat acne vulgaris in adults and pediatric patients. The second formulation contains silica microencapsulated 5.0% BPO topical cream to treat inflammatory rosacea lesions in adults. Both formulations use the same amorphous silica sol–gel microencapsulation technology to improve formulation stability and skin compatibility parameters.
... It has been reported that the release of Si in the range of 0.1-100 ppm can favor cytocompatibility, as this chemical element can induce cell proliferation and tissue regeneration [96]. In terms of tissue engineering, Si plays a particularly important role in skin regeneration by supporting collagen synthesis, activating enzymes, and improving its resistance and elasticity [97]. Fig. 10c shows the Ce release profiles obtained. ...
... Коллаген сохраняет упругость, эластичность и уменьшает появление тонких линий и морщин. [23] Противопоказания для приема кремния Кремний безопасен в пищевых количествах и учеными не было выявлено его серьезных побочных эффектов. У людей, принимающих кремнийсодержащие антациды в течение длительного периода времени, иногда возникают камни в почках. ...
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В статье рассмотрены основные свойства кремния (Si) и его воздействие на организм человека. Проведен систематический обзор современной специализированной литературы и актуальных научных данных. Указаны лучшие натуральные источники кремния. Рассмотрено использование минерала в различных видах медицины и эффективность его применения при различных заболеваниях. Отдельно проанализированы потенциально неблагоприятные эффекты кремния на организм человека при определенных медицинских состояниях и заболеваниях. Расширенная HTML версия статьи приведена на сайте
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In pharmaceutical industries, various chemical carriers are present which are used for drug delivery to the correct target sites. The most popular and upcoming drug delivery carriers are mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSN). The main reason for its popularity is its ability to be specific and optimize the drug delivery process in a controlled manner. Nowadays, MSNs are widely used to eradicate various microbial infections, especially the ones related to biofilms. Biofilms are sessile groups of cells that live by forming a consortium and exhibit antibacterial resistance (AMR). They exhibit AMR by extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) and various quorum sensing (QS) signaling molecules. Usually, bacterial and fungal cells are capable of forming biofilms. These biofilms are pathogenic. In the majority of the cases, biofilms cause nosocomial diseases. This review will focus on the antibiofilm activities of MSN, its mechanism of target-specific drug delivery, and its ability to disrupt the bacterial biofilms inhibiting the infection. The review will also discuss various mechanisms for the delivery of pharmaceutical molecules by the MSNs to inhibit the bacterial biofilms, and lastly, we will talk about the different types of MSNs and their antibiofilm activities.
Synthetic amorphous silica (SAS) is used as additive in a variety of industrial applications for many decades and has been approved to be used in food, food contact materials, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics. Due its internal structure, SAS is considered as a nanomaterial, thus it is affected by a general safety discussion. Based on the production process, SAS for cosmetic application is a nanomaterial by the EU Recommendation, although it was not considered as such, because the solely size-dependent definitions of the term "nanomaterial" emerged in recent times first in Recommendation 2011/696/EU. Therefore, former physicochemical and toxicological evaluations of SAS were already performed on nanomaterials, however, without being addressed as such. Safety concerns can only emerge if two criteria, (toxicological) hazard and exposure towards the substance is fulfilled at the same time. In case of SAS, the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) challenged provided data to be insufficient to draw a conclusion regarding the safety of SAS and thus, requested further investigations, in particular by exploring skin penetration of particulate SAS. Investigation of specific particulate substances in skin penetration tests is an analytical challenge. The number of available analytical techniques that are capable to detect nanomaterials in complex matrices, like receptor fluids from skin penetration testing, are limited and still emerging. In the new studies, a comprehensive set of analytical techniques were used to investigate the skin penetration potential of SAS. Particle-sensitive, element and particle-specific combinations of techniques and different sample preparation procedures, that respected the particulate nature of SAS, were used to detect SAS in receptor fluids directly. In addition, electron microscopic techniques were used to examine different layers of skin to detect adsorbed SAS. The combination of Asymmetric Flow Field-Flow Fractionation (AF4) in combination with Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) for examination of receptor fluids and Scanning Electron Microscopy coupled with Energy Dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM/EDX) for examination of skin itself, were identified as suitable techniques for the detection of SAS in skin penetration tests. Data from literature was used to compare the results of the studies with the outcome of other test systems (other particles, other techniques). Both, the test results, and literature evaluation led to the conclusion, that SAS does not penetrate skin. Based on this outcome and local and systemic dermal toxicity review of SAS, it can be concluded that dermal application of SAS in cosmetic formulations is negligible.
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic and recurrent intestinal disease of unknown aetiology, and the few treatments approved for UC have serious side effects. In this study, a new type of uniformly monodispersed calcium-enhanced radial mesoporous micro-nano bioactive glass (HCa-MBG) was prepared for UC treatment. We established cellular and rat UC models to explore the effects and mechanism of HCa-MBG and traditional BGs (45S5, 58S) on UC. The results showed that BGs significantly reduced the cellular expression of several inflammatory factors, such as IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α and NO. In the animal experiments, BGs were shown to repair the DSS-damaged colonic mucosa. Moreover, BGs downregulated the mRNA levels of the inflammatory factors IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α and iNOS, which were stimulated by DSS. BGs were also found to manage the expression of key proteins in NF-kB signal pathway. However, HCa-MBG was more effective than traditional BGs in terms of improving UC clinical manifestations and reducing the expression of inflammatory factors in rats. This study confirmed for the first time that BGs can be used as an adjuvant drug in UC treatment, thereby preventing UC progression.
The demand for sustainable products is increasing worldwide and cosmetic industry is not an exception. Besides exploring nature as source of new ingredients, their production must be sustainable and should use environmentally friendly processes. In this work, biogenic silica microparticles were synthesized from sugarcane ash, and their potential application as cosmetic and skincare ingredient was evaluated. For such application, several properties were validated, including cytotoxicity in skin keratinocytes, potential sensitization effect on skin peptides, stimulation of pro-collagen I alpha 1, wound healing capacity, as well as the ingredient stability along a storage period. Biogenic silica showed to be non-cytotoxic on skin keratinocytes, at concentrations up to 5 wt%, and non-skin sensitizer. A positive effect on the stimulation of pro-collagen I alpha 1 suggests a potential anti-ageing activity, while the migration of fibroblasts to a wounded area suggests a regenerative capacity. Under an accelerated stability study, biogenic silica showed an increase on the loss on drying, but no changes were observed on its functional properties, mainly oil absorption capacity, as well the microbiological quality, which was maintained. Overall, novel biogenic silica microparticles produced from a sustainable source are safe, stable over time and have potential to be used as a cosmetic and skincare ingredient.
Mineral ions play a crucial role in various biological processes in the human body, particularly in bone repair and regeneration. Supplementation with mineral ions offers several advantages over other therapies or treatments for bone repair and regeneration, such as higher biosafety, universal applicability, and compatibility with the immune system. Additionally, supplementation with mineral ions may avoid the need for invasive surgical procedures. The aim of this review is to provide a comprehensive overview of the functions of potentially beneficial mineral ions and their effects on bone regeneration and osteoporosis treatment. By examining previous studies, including in vitro cellular experiments, in vivo animal models, and clinical trials, this review compares the benefits and potential adverse effects of these mineral ions. Moreover, the review provides guidelines for suggested daily supplementation of these mineral ions to assist future preclinical and clinical studies in bone regeneration and osteoporosis treatment.
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This article is in response to Vanden Berghe: There are not enough data to conclude that Monomethylsilanetriol is safe. Nutrition & Metabolism 2013 10:66: www. nutritionandmetabolism. com/content/10/1/66
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This article is in response to Jugdaohsingh et al.: The silicon supplement ‘Monomethylsilanetriol’ is safe and increases the body pool of silicon in healthy Pre-menopausal women. Nutrition & Metabolism 2013 10:37: The response from the authors is published as Jugdaohsingh et al.: Response to Prof D. Vanden Berghe letter: ‘There are not enough data to conclude that Monomethylsilanetriol is safe’. Nutrition & Metabolism 2013 10:65: Abstract The authors claim that the silicon supplement 'Monomethylsilanetriol’ (MMST) is safe and is converted to orthosilicic acid (OSA) after ingestion. Critical analysis of the study results indicates that the presented data are insufficient to conclude that the use of MMST in food or food supplements is safe. Long term safety studies in humans and toxicological testing in vitro and in animals are an absolute requisite for such a conclusion but these are lacking in the present study and in the literature. Furthermore, none of the presented data show that MMST is actually converted to OSA, as OSA was not analyzed in neither serum or urine of supplemented subjects.
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Background: Several studies have confirmed dramatic changes in skin surface parameters during the winter months. Although there are many studies supporting the positive effects of topical treatment, there are no published studies demonstrating the effects of oral supplementation in the prevention of negative skin changes during winter. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of an oral micronutrient supplement in preventing the negative effects of winter weather on skin quality using noninvasive biometrologic instruments. Methods: This study included 80 healthy female volunteers aged 35-55 years with phototype II-IV skin. Randomization was balanced. Two tablets of a micronutrient supplement (Perfectil® Platinum) or placebo were administered once daily for 4 months. The volunteers were examined at baseline, after 4 months, and 6 weeks after termination of treatment (month 5.5). The evaluation included skin microrelief by Visioscan® as the main outcome, and the secondary outcomes were results on standard macrophotography, skin tension by Reviscometer®, skin high-frequency ultrasound, and self-assessment. Results: For all pseudoroughness and microrelief indicators, there was a significant increase from baseline to month 4 in the placebo group (P<0.05) but no change in the active group. Descriptive statistics for the mean minimum, mean maximum, and minimum to maximum ratio on the nonexposed study zone showed a significant and dramatic difference between baseline and month 4 and between baseline and month 5.5 (P<0.05) in the active group, indicating decreasing anisotropy of the skin. High-frequency ultrasound on the exposed study zone revealed that skin thickness was significantly decreased in the placebo group during winter but was stable in the treated group (P<0.01). The photography scaling and self-assessment questionnaire revealed no significant changes in either group. Conclusion: These results indicate that the skin is prone to seasonal changes during winter, particularly in exposed areas. The data also indicate that oral supplementation can be a safe treatment, with no serious side effects, and may prevent or even eliminate the negative effects of winter on the skin.
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SUMMARY Following a request from the Commission to the European Food Safety Authority, the Scientific Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food was asked to provide a scientific opinion on the safety of choline-stabilised orthosilicic acid (ch-OSA) added for nutritional purposes as a source of silicon in food supplements and on the bioavailability of silicon from this source. Choline-stabilised orthosilicic acid is a mixture of orthosilicic acid and choline chloride. The present opinion deals only with the safety of ch-OSA as source of silicon and with the bioavailability of silicon from this source. The safety of silicon itself, in term of amounts that may be consumed and the consideration of silicon as a nutrient are outside the remit of this Panel.
Silicon is required for normal growth and development in the chick when a low silicon diet is fed in a trace element controlled environment. Day-old deutectomized cockerels fed a purified amino acid diet showed significantly retarded growth and development within 2 to 3 weeks. Chicks fed the same diet plus a silicon supplement showed 50 percent higher growth and normal development. Silicon meets the criteria for an essential trace element.
Convincing evidence that silicon is a bioactive beneficial trace element continues to accumulate. The evidence, which has come from human, animal, and in vitro studies performed by several laboratories, indicate that silicon in nutritional and supra nutritional amounts promotes bone and connective tissue health, may have a modulating effect on the immune or inflammatory response, and has been associated with mental health. A plausible mechanism of action for the beneficial effects of silicon is the binding of hydroxyl groups of polyols such that it influences the formation and/or utilization of glycosaminoglycans, mucopolysaccharides, and collagen in connective tissue and bone. In addition, silicon may affect the absorption, retention or action of other mineral elements (e.g., aluminum, copper, magnesium). Based on findings from both animal and human experiments, an intake of silicon of near 25 mg per day would be a reasonable suggestion for an adequate intake that would assure its nutritional benefits. Increased intakes of silicon through consuming unrefined grains, certain vegetables, and beverages and cereals made from grains should be recognized as a reasonable dietary recommendation.