Q:

Is silicon dioxide harmful to humans?

A:

Quick Answer

The mineral silicon dioxide found in food sources is likely safe but its safety as a medicinal supplement is not determined, explains WebMD. Men and pre-menopausal women who eat large amounts of silicon-rich foods have stronger bones and less risk for osteoporosis.

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WebMD adds that menopausal women see no benefit from increased silicon because it does not stop the bone deterioration that naturally comes with age; it only helps with bone formation. Although silicon is also used to treat cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease, digestive disorders and hair loss, WebMD states that insufficient evidence exists to prove its efficacy as a medicine.

Forty milligrams per day seems to be the most effective dose to take by mouth for stronger bones, but there is no recommended dietary allowance, according to WebMD. Rare cases of kidney stones have been reported in people taking antacids with high levels of silicon for extended periods of time.

A 2010 study published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture confirms that beer is a very rich source of silicon, especially beers derived from barley. Silicon is easily confused with silicone, a plastic-like material used to make breast implants and other medical devices, according to WebMD.

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