Natural silica is a trace mineral that is a combination of silicon and oxygen, the two most abundant elements on earth. It is commonly found where oceans used to exist millions of years ago, and is the remains of fossilised algae called diatoms, whose cellular walls were entirely made of silica.
Every single cell in our bodies uses silica, however as we get older our silica levels start to decline. This shows in the ageing of our skin, because silica is a co-factor in collagen production and is an essential component of elastin, which keeps the skin firm and tight. Silica creates bonds between protein molecules which enable the skin to retain water and are critical for rebuilding and regenerating the dermis (the layer of skin below the outer-layer).
Silica also helps to give our skin a glow because it improves the transport of nutrients and oxygen to the skin. Plus it helps with clearing out toxins that could otherwise leak into the bloodstream and lead to acne and dull skin. This is due to the honeycombed shape of the fossilised diatoms, which can trap toxins in the digestive tract and clean the inside of the colon as they pass through.
Another way that silica combats acne is by balancing other minerals in the body—such as calcium and magnesium—which helps to regulate hormones. Apart from contributing to acne, an imbalance of hormones can also be a factor in hair loss and thinning hair. What's more, silica helps to strengthen hair by delivering all the nutrients necessary for hair growth to the hair follicles.
Silica also delivers nutrients to the nail bed and is a key mineral in the composition of our nails. In this study, silica was given to women with sun‑damaged skin for 20 weeks, to evaluate its ability to improve skin and nail health. At the end of the study, there was a decrease in skin roughness and less brittle nails in the group that took silica compared to the women in the placebo group.
Aside from skin, hair and nails, silica has other roles in the body. Calcium needs silica to enable it to build strong bones and teeth. This journal article discusses several studies that discovered silica’s positive association with bone mineral density, including one that found that supplementing with silica can increase bone volume in people with osteoporosis.
Additionally, the body uses silica to produce antibodies and antigens, which are essential components of a healthy immune system. Silica can also clear our bodies of excess aluminium. This study done in 2010 reported that supplementation with silica could help to prevent aluminium accumulation in the brain, and be a potential therapy for Alzheimers.
Natural silica is truly an anti-ageing mineral that boosts skin, hair and nail health, and overall body and brain health. You can find it in Bellē, our beauty formula rich in bioavailable ingredients that work in synergy to transform your looks and well‑being.