Boguszewska-Czubara, Anna; Pasternak, Kazimierz
September 2011
Journal of Elementology;Sep2011, Vol. 16 Issue 3, p489
Academic Journal
Trace elements are a very important factor affecting functions of living organisms. Silicon, the third most abundant trace element in the human body, is present in all healthy tissues of people. It is especially strongly associated with connective tissues, as it has been found to participate in bone development, collagen formation and mineralization of bone matrix. Silicon has also been suggested to be involved in mammalian hormonal control and to protect people from heart diseases. An average dietary intake of silicon is about 20-30 mg/person/day, with higher intakes for men than women. Silicic acid or orthosilicic acid are the bioavailable forms of silicon, found mainly in food rich in fibre and whole grains, in vegetables, fruit and in drinking water. Various alcoholic beverages such as beer or wine also contain considerable amounts of silicon. Silicon provided with food is digested in the gastrointestinal tract to silicic acid, which is then absorbed. With blood, it is distributed into various tissues and organs, where it can exerts its action. The highest amounts of silicon are accumulated in the kidneys, liver, bone, skin, spleen, lungs, while free orthosilicic acid, not bounded to proteins, occurs in blood. The amount of silicon in tissues decreases with age. Depleted levels of silicon have also been observed in some pathological states e.g. atherosclerosis. The aim of the paper has been to present the role of dietary silicon in living organisms. Silicon is necessary for the growth and bone calcification and as a biological cross-linking agent of connective-tissue-based membrane structures. This element is considered to have beneficial effects on several human disorders, including osteoporosis, ageing of skin, hair and nails or atherosclerosis. It has also been suggested that silicon and silicic acid may decrease the bioavailability of aluminium by blocking the uptake of the latter by the gastrointestinal tract and impeding its reabsorption in the kidneys, thus protecting an organism against the toxic (especially neurotoxic) action of aluminium. Anticancer, antiatherosclerotic and antidiabetic effects of silicon have also been suggested.


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