Silica is a trace mineral made up of silicon dioxide that is used in supplement form by many people to help improve the strength of skin, nails, hair, and bones.
The relationship between silica and bone health has been heavily studied in the scientific literature, and there are also some interesting findings on silica’s role in preventing cognitive decline among older adults.
Whether you want to improve your bone health, increase the radiance of your skin, or maintain your cognitive abilities into old age, silica could be a great addition to your supplemental routine.
We’ve ranked and reviewed the ten best silica supplements on the market, plus taken a close look at the scientific research behind the benefits of silica.
1. Solgar Oceanic Silica
Solgar Oceanic Silica is an excellent source of natural silica, which comes from red algae. The supplement itself comes in large vegan-friendly capsules, each of which provides 54 mg of silica.
The supplement design is pretty clean, so if you want a naturally-derived silica supplement, this should definitely be your top pick
2. Eidon Silica Liquid Concentrate
Eidon Silica Liquid Concentrate is a concentrated solution that provides 375 mg of silica per serving, and comes in a blue glass bottle with an integrated vial dropper.
The vial makes measuring out doses pretty easy, and both the purity and the concentration of silica are fantastic.
3. Hubner Original Silica Gel
Hubner Original Silica Gel is a favorite among purists, because its only ingredients are silicic acid and purified water. The dosage level is quite high, at 420 mg per serving.
While the gel texture is not quite to everyone’s liking it’s hard to argue with the purity, dosage, and efficacy of this silica supplement.
4. Orgono Living Silica
Orgono Living Silica is an ultra-pure liquid solution of reverse-osmosis purified water, and a proprietary form of silica that provides 22.5 mg per serving.
While the dosage is lower on a per-serving-size basis, the bottle itself provides 500 mL of solution, so the number of servings in the bottle is still quite good.
If you strive for purity in your supplements, Orgono Living Silica is a great pick with just two ingredients: the special silica complex, and water.
5. Swanson Bamboo Extract
Swanson Bamboo Extract is a supplement that provides a natural source of silica that’s not the same old horsetail extract used in many other supplements.
The bamboo extract used in this supplement is standardized to 70% silica by weight, meaning that each serving contains an impressive 210 mg of silica. Among the natural sources of silica that comes in a tablet, it’s one of the better options.
6. World Organic Silica 500
World Organic Silica 500 is a silica supplement that’s based on horsetail extract, but in this case, it is actually standardized to contain a set amount of silica.
Each tablet contains 50 mg of silica, which is on the lower end, but if you are looking for a horsetail extract source of silica, it is a pretty good option.
7. NOW Foods Silica Complex
NOW Foods Silica Complex includes 40 mg of silica per tablet, which is derived from horsetail extract. It also includes a number of other trace minerals, such as calcium, zinc, manganese, and boron.
While the dosage is not as impressive as some of the other silica supplements on the market, NOW Foods Silica Complex is still a good choice if you want to get your silica from a totally natural source.
8. Good State Ionic Silica
Good State Ionic Silica uses purified water and silica to provide a liquid solution with a fairly high dosage of silica per serving (125 mg to be precise).
However, it does have the drawback of having some extraneous stabilizing ingredients not found in some of the other silica supplements out there, such as citric acid, fulvic acid, and sorbic acid. While it’s still an effective silica supplement, these extras knock it down a bit in the rankings.
9. SilaLive Silica
SilaLive Silica is a bit unusual among silica supplements—it’s a powder-based supplement that derives its silica from diatomaceous earth.
As a result, it is hard to estimate a precise dosage when it comes to the silica content. One serving has a predetermined amount of diatomaceous earth in it, but the silica content itself is unknown.
It’s a good option if you want to take advantage of the specific benefits of diatomaceous earth, but for pure silica, there are better options out there.
10. Alta Health Products Herbal Organic Silica
Alta Health Products Herbal Organic Silica is a tablet-based silica supplement that uses horsetail extract as a natural source of silica. Each tablet contains 500 mg of horsetail extract, but the silica content of this extract (which varies from plant to plant) is not standardized, making it hard to compare doses to other silica supplements.
Moreover, in part due to the tablet design, this silica supplement has more extraneous ingredients than other competitors, which will be a turn-off for purists.
Silica benefits and side effects
Silica is a mineral that provides your body with silicon, which is essential for proper skeletal and connective tissue function.
Supplemental use of silica is quite popular to improve hair, skin, and nail quality, but most of the scientific research is focused on its applications in improving bone strength and preventing bone fractures in the elderly.
There’s even some evidence that silica could exert a neuroprotective effect in older adults.
Silica can heal damaged skin and improve the strength of brittle hair and nails. Silicon, the chemical element that is delivered to your body by silica supplements, plays a critical role in synthesizing the proteins that make up your skin, nails, and hair.
Research has found that taking a silica supplement can help improve the vitality of all three. A study published in 2005 in the Archives of Dermatological Research by a team of scientists in Belgium examined how skin, nails, and hair responded to a 20-week supplementation routine (1).
The study involved 50 women, all of whom had photodamaged skin. The women were split into two groups, one of which received a placebo supplement, and one of which received a capsule that provided 10 mg of elemental silicon per day (equivalent to about 22 mg of silica per day).
After the study, the researchers evaluated skin hydration, skin roughness, nail brittleness, and hair brittleness in both groups.
The results showed that the silica supplement helped make photodamaged skin smoother, and decreased brittleness in both the nails and the hair.
These results seem to confirm the widely-held belief among silica supplement enthusiasts that increasing the amount of silicon in your system can help strengthen your connective tissue, including skin, nails, and hair.
Silica could help increase your bone density. Elemental silicon doesn’t just play a role in the synthesis of connective tissue—it also plays a key role in building bone strength.
Research from large epidemiological research on nutrition provides the basis for this discovery. For example, one study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research in 2009 analyzed dietary silicon intake among members of a group of almost 3000 healthy adults (2).
The researchers found a positive association between dietary silicon intake and bone mineral density among both men and women.
Supplementing with silica improves bone density by slowing down your body’s rate of bone resorption. Experimental evidence from animal studies also supports the use of silica for bone strength. A paper published in 2008 in the journal Biological Trace Element Research looked at the biochemical effects of a silicon supplement in rats who were predisposed to loss of bone mineral density (3).
By comparing the rate at which the rats’ bodies dissolved bone tissue (a process known as resorption) across a range of different diets, the researchers were able to show that a diet with supplemental silicon added was effective at reducing the rate of bone resorption, which led to a halting of bone density loss.
Both this study and the other epidemiological research make a strong case for considering silica as a critical part of a supplemental routine to maintain or increase bone density in people at risk for osteoporosis.
Silica may help prevent the negative effects of aluminum on cognitive function in older adults. When it comes to degenerative disease of the brain, like Alzheimer’s, quite a bit of research has focused on the role of aluminum, a trace element that is thought to accumulate and contribute to brain degeneration over time.
Health experts point to higher rates of dementia in regions of the world that have higher concentrations of aluminium ions in the drinking water as evidence. Worries about aluminum account for the popularity of natural deodorants that are aluminum-free, for example.
However, interesting research suggests that silica might offer protection from the neurodegenerative effects of aluminum.
A scientific article published by researchers in France examined the issue of aluminum in drinking water in more detail by considering how silica levels in the same water modulated rates of dementia in older adults (4).
Through careful analysis of levels of silica and aluminum in drinking water and the incidence of dementia among a large sample of people in France, the researchers were able to confirm that aluminum increases the risk of dementia, but only when levels of silica are low.
High levels of silica actually appeared to be protective against dementia when aluminum was present, which provides tantalizing evidence that silica could serve as a neuroprotective agent to stave off cognitive decline in the elderly.
Silica is a naturally-occuring compound that’s found in many kinds of foods (often absorbed from soil), so it has no documented side effects or interactions.
In powder form, like you might find in diatomaceous earth or other powdered sources of silica, it can be hazardous to breathe the dust, but unless you are making and pressing your own capsules using powdered silica, you’re unlikely to face any problems from this—merely scooping a tablespoon out to mix into your smoothie isn’t going to create any dust.
For improving the strength of your skin, hair, and nails, the scientific literature supports a dosage of at least 22 mg of silica per day.
However, a higher dose might be better if your supplement does not provide silica in a particularly bioavailable form. For bone strength, epidemiological research suggests that your total dietary intake of elemental silicon should be between 30 and 45 mg per day for optimal results.
This would translate into 65-100 mg of silica per day, since silica (the mineral) contains about 54% oxygen by weight.
Silica is a safe and effective supplement that can play dual roles. It’s a good way to improve the health of your skin, especially if it’s been damaged by sunlight, and it also combats brittle hair and nails.
Moreover, the silicon contained in silica supplements appears to play a critical role in regulating bone strength—people whose diet is high in silicon have higher bone density, and supplementing the diet of animals with silicon prevents bone resorption.
Silica may even help ward off cognitive decline and dementia in old age. When it comes to dosage, preliminary research suggests that between 22 and 100 mg of silica per day is optimal, though future work might be able to narrow this range.
Thanks to its wide range of benefits for your body, and its lack of side effects, silica is a great addition to your supplementation routine.