- Side Effects
- Drug Interactions
- Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
- What Else to Know
Generic Name: silicon
Other Names: acide orthosilicique, atomic number 14, dioxyde de silicium, numéro atomique 14, orthosilicic acid, phytolithic silica, si, silica, silica hydride, silice hydride, silicea, silicio, silicium, silicium de sodium, silicon dioxide, sodium silicate
Drug class: minerals, other
What is silicon, and what is it used for?
Silicon is a mineral, the second most abundant trace element on earth after oxygen, and is present in the soil, water, animals, and humans. Silicon is taken as a dietary supplement to strengthen bones and improve hair, skin, and nail health. Silicon is different from silicone, a plastic-like substance that contains silicon, oxygen, and other chemicals used to make many medical devices such as breast implants and medical tubing.
Silicon is the third most abundant trace element in the body, present in almost all tissues, including connective tissue in the aorta, trachea, tendon, bone, and skin. It has not been established what exactly silicon’s functions in the body are, or if it is essential for humans. There is evidence that silicon plays a role in the synthesis of collagen, an important protein that provides elasticity to the skin, and strength to bones and connective tissue, however, clinical studies evaluating the safety and efficacy of silicon supplements are still lacking.
In nature, silicon exists as a compound of silicon and oxygen, silica, or silicon dioxide, in rock forms such as quartz, which is released into the environment. Dietary sources of silicon include whole grains such as oats, barley, rice, and wheat, beverages including water, sugar cane juice, tea, coffee, some beers and wines, bananas, dried fruits and nuts, mussels, beans, spinach, and root vegetables. Silicon is an additive in many food products and an ingredient in vitamins. Silicon supplements are available in the form of tablets and solutions.
Inhalation of silicon or silica is, however, harmful and is well known to cause lung diseases such as silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung cancer. Long-term exposure to inhaled silica can also cause kidney injury, and increase the risk of tuberculosis and autoimmune diseases. Inhalation of silica can occur from industrial and occupational exposure to silica-contaminated air.
What are the side effects of silicon?
Do not take silicon supplements if you are hypersensitive to any of the components of the formulation.
- There are no known side effects from oral ingestion of silicon supplements.
- Silicon is present in the neurofibrillary tangles in Alzheimer's disease.
- Inhaled silicon can cause:
Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms or serious side effects while using this drug:
- Serious heart symptoms include fast or pounding heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, shortness of breath, and sudden dizziness;
- Severe headache, confusion, slurred speech, severe weakness, vomiting, loss of coordination, feeling unsteady;
- Severe nervous system reaction with very stiff muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, and feeling like you might pass out; or
- Serious eye symptoms include blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain or swelling, or seeing halos around lights.
This is not a complete list of all side effects or adverse reactions that may occur from the use of this drug. Call your doctor for medical advice about serious side effects or adverse reactions. You may also report side effects or health problems to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What are the dosages of silicon?
There isn’t reliable information to know what might be an appropriate dosage, check manufacturer’s label. Suggested dosage:
- 5-20 mg/day, maximum 50 mg/day; up to 700 mg taken without apparent harm
- Daily diet normally provides enough to meet requirements
- Sources of silicon: Oats, rice, and barley; also found in fruits and vegetables
- Efficacy: Insufficient data
- Safety and efficacy not established
- Silicon absorbed from food is unlikely to lead to an overdose. There are no reports of silicon supplement overdose, however, it is not expected to cause any serious adverse effects.
- Inhalation of silica, especially in the crystalline form is known to cause lung disease (silicosis) and chronic inhalation can result in kidney damage.
- There is no specific treatment for silicosis or kidney damage from inhaled silica. Treatment may be supportive and symptomatic, and avoiding silica exposure to prevent worsening of disease.
What drugs interact with silicon?
Inform your doctor of all medications you are currently taking, who can advise you on any possible drug interactions. Never begin taking, suddenly discontinue, or change the dosage of any medication without your doctor’s recommendation.
- Silicon has no known severe, serious, moderate, or mild interactions with other drugs.
The drug interactions listed above are not all of the possible interactions or adverse effects. For more information on drug interactions, visit the RxList Drug Interaction Checker.
It is important to always tell your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider of all prescription and over-the-counter medications you use, as well as the dosage for each, and keep a list of the information. Check with your doctor or health care provider if you have any questions about the medication.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Silicon absorbed from food is safe during pregnancy. Limited animal reproductive studies of silicon do not show evidence of fetal harm. There is no information on the safety of silicon supplements during pregnancy or breastfeeding, avoid use.
- Do not take any supplement including silicon without checking with your healthcare provider first, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
What else should I know about silicon?
- Silicon obtained from food is safe for humans and silicon supplements are possibly safe for most adults when taken orally in recommended doses.
- Take silicon supplements exactly as per directions on the label, do not exceed the recommended dose.
- Check with your healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement, including silicon.
- Use silicon exactly as per label instructions.
- Dietary supplements often contain many ingredients. Check labels for the components in the silicon product you choose.
- Dietary supplements are not regulated by the FDA. Products may differ in formulations and strengths, and labels may not always match contents; exercise caution in choosing your product.
- Store safely out of reach of children.
Silicon is taken as a dietary supplement to strengthen bones and improve hair, skin, and nail health. There are no known side effects from oral ingestion of silicon supplements. Inhaled silicon can cause: liver disease, kidney injury, increased risk for tuberculosis, and autoimmune disease. Consult with your doctor if pregnant or breastfeeding.
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