Orthosilicic acid is a substance found naturally in seawater, drinking water, and certain beverages (including beer). Sometimes referred to as "soluble silica," orthosilicic acid is a dietary form of silicon (a mineral involved in the formation of collagen and bone). Available in supplement form, orthosilicic acid is said to offer a number of health benefits.
Uses for Orthosilicic Acid
Proponents claim that orthosilicic acid supplements can treat or prevent a wide range of health conditions, including:
In addition, orthosilicic acid is said to improve hair and nails, protect skin from the negative effects of aging, preserve dental health, and stimulate digestion.
Benefits of Orthosilicic Acid
To date, very few studies have tested the health effects of orthosilicic acid. However, preliminary research shows that orthosilicic acid may offer certain health benefits. Here's a look at some key study findings:
1) Orthosilicic Acid and Bone Health
Orthosilicic acid may help protect against loss of bone density, suggests a 2008 study from BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. For the study, 136 women with osteopenia took calcium, vitamin D, and either orthosilicic acid or a placebo every day for a year. By the study's end, participants given the vitamins with orthosilicic acid showed greater improvements in bone formation. According to the study's authors, this finding indicates that orthosilicic acid shows promise as a treatment for osteoporosis.
In earlier studies on human cells, scientists discovered that orthosilicic acid may help promote bone formation by stimulating the production of collagen (a protein found in connective tissue, including bone) and promoting the development of bone-forming cells.
2) Orthosilicic Acid and Joint Health
Orthosilicic acid is purported to improve joint health — and protect against conditions like osteoarthritis — by promoting collagen production in cartilage. Indeed, a 1997 study published in Biological Trace Element Research found that calves fed an orthosilicic-acid-supplemented diet experienced an increase in collagen concentration in their cartilage. However, it's not known whether orthosilicic acid supplementation might produce the same effect in humans and help shield joint health.
3) Orthosilicic Acid and Hair
Orthosilicic acid may help improve hair, according to a small study published in Archives of Dermatological Research in 2007. For the study, 48 women with fine hair took either an orthosilicic acid supplement or a placebo every day for nine months. Results showed that orthosilicic acid appeared to boost hair strength and increase hair thickness, however, there haven't been any other studies examining the use of orthosilicic acid for hair.
Is Orthosilicic Acid Safe?
Although preliminary studies have not linked the use of orthosilicic acid with any adverse effects, little is known about the safety of taking orthosilicic acid supplements in the long term.
Where to Find Orthosilicic Acid
Available for purchase online, orthosilicic acid supplements are sold in many natural-food stores and in stores specializing in dietary supplements.
Should You Use Orthosilicic Acid for Health Purposes?
Due to a lack of supporting research, it's too soon to recommend orthosilicic acid for any health condition. Furthermore, there is insufficient evidence to support the claim that increasing intake of orthosilicic-acid-containing beverages (such as beer) can enhance your health.
If you're considering the use of orthosilicic acid for a chronic condition, make sure to consult your physician before starting your supplement regimen. Self-treating a chronic condition with orthosilicic acid and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.
Calomme MR, Vanden Berghe DA. "Supplementation of calves with stabilized orthosilicic acid. Effect on the Si, Ca, Mg, and P concentrations in serum and the collagen concentration in skin and cartilage." Biol Trace Elem Res. 1997 Feb;56(2):153-65.
Duivenvoorden WC, Middleton A, Kinrade SD. "Divergent effects of orthosilicic acid and dimethylsilanediol on cell survival and adhesion in human osteoblast-like cells." J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2008;22(3):215-23.
Reffitt DM, Ogston N, Jugdaohsingh R, Cheung HF, Evans BA, Thompson RP, Powell JJ, Hampson GN. "Orthosilicic acid stimulates collagen type 1 synthesis and osteoblastic differentiation in human osteoblast-like cells in vitro." Bone. 2003 Feb;32(2):127-35.
Spector TD, Calomme MR, Anderson SH, Clement G, Bevan L, Demeester N, Swaminathan R, Jugdaohsingh R, Berghe DA, Powell JJ. "Choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid supplementation as an adjunct to calcium/vitamin D3 stimulates markers of bone formation in osteopenic females: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial." BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2008 Jun 11;9:85.
Wickett RR, Kossmann E, Barel A, Demeester N, Clarys P, Vanden Berghe D, Calomme M. "Effect of oral intake of choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid on hair tensile strength and morphology in women with fine hair." Arch Dermatol Res. 2007 Dec;299(10):499-505.