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Silica, silicon, silicic acid, orthosilicic acid - Prevention (treatment?) for AD?
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Posted: Thursday, January 5, 2012 3:06 PM
Joined: 1/14/2015
Posts: 40463

Originally posted by: onward

There's a ton of info available about possible helpfulness of silica (or silicon or silicic acid or orthosilicic acid) in the prevention (or even possibly treatment?) of Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive disorders. Apparently this is controversial, and I’d appreciate input.

(“Silicon can be obtained in [whole] grains like rice, oats, wheat and unrefined soy, in addition to supplements.” Therefore some say to get silica through diet and drinking water while others say it's better to use certain kinds of supplements with supposedly better absorption.)

Comment by: Colin Meyer
“... There are two groups of foods that provide unusually high levels of silicic acid. Thin-skinned fruits such as grapes and blueberries evaporate moisture through the epidermous, thereby concentrating the solubilized silicon within the fruit.
“And over the eons silicic acid endlessly concentrates in the oceans in the same manner as salt.
“Thus, the two food groups from which consumers can expect to elevate their blood levels of silicic acid are thin-skinned fruit and marine seafood. And the two foods for which epidemiological studies have indicated a protective effect against Alzheimer's disease are red wine and fish.”

Aluminosilicate Precipitation and Alzheimer's Disease
“…The premise of this hypothesis is that both AD and ALS/PD are forms of aluminosilicate neurotoxicity. I emphasize that the etiology of these diseases is aluminosilicate toxicity, not aluminum toxicity.”
(This author also explains why he believes antacid studies that failed to show a relationship between aluminum and AD were flawed.)
He also says: “… The collective drinking water studies did indicate a direct relationship with aluminum levels and AD incidence, but this could actually be regarded as an inverse relationship between silicic acid levels and AD occurrence.”
“Wine is a rich source of silicic acid, and it is reasonable to expect wine drinkers to have higher blood levels of protective silicic acid than non-drinkers and a correspondingly lower incidence of AD…”

Cognitive impairment and composition of drinking water in women: findings of the EPIDOS Study
Results: A low silica concentration was associated with low cognitive performance at baseline… A multivariate analysis including potential confounding factors showed that women with AD appeared to have been exposed to lower amounts of silica at baseline…Silica in drinking water may reduce the risk of developing AD in elderly women.

Aluminum and Silica in Drinking Water and the Risk of Alzheimer's Disease or Cognitive Decline: Findings From 15-Year Follow-up of the PAQUID Cohort
“The authors examined associations between exposure to aluminum or silica from drinking water and risk of cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer's disease among elderly subjects followed for 15 years (1988–2003)… A total of 1,925 subjects … a high daily intake of aluminum was significantly associated with increased risk of dementia. Conversely, an increase of 10 mg/day in silica intake was associated with a reduced risk of dementia...”

Silica and Aluminum in Drinking Water and Cognitive Impairment in the Elderly
“We studied the relation between silica and aluminum levels in drinking water and the risk of cognitive impairment using data from a population-based survey of 3,777 French subjects age 65 years and older… The association between cognitive impairment and aluminum depended on the pH and the concentration of silica: high levels of aluminum appeared to have a deleterious effect when the silica concentration was low, but there was a protective effect when the pH and the silica level were high. The threshold for an aluminum effect, however, was very low (3.5 μg per liter) and did not support the hypothesis of a deleterious effect for only high levels of aluminum.”

The potential influence of silica present in drinking water on Alzheimer's disease and associated disorders
“… Data have suggested the possible use of silicates as a therapeutic agent for AD since both model tangles and precipitated beta-pleated sheets of betaA4 can be reversed to soluble forms by silicates…”

Can Silicon Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?
“…Some 7,598 French women aged 75 years or older participated in the new study. At the beginning, an estimate was made of the amount of silica (silicon dioxide; one of the main forms of silicon in the diet) each participant consumed per day in their drinking water. Women with lower intakes of silica were found to perform worse on cognitive function tests… During the follow-up period… those who developed Alzheimer’s disease were nearly three times as likely to have a low silica intake from drinking water (4 mg per day or less).”

Aluminum in the diet and Alzheimer's disease: from current epidemiology to possible disease-modifying treatment
“Some epidemiological studies, but not all, suggested that silica could be protective against Al [aluminum] damage, because it reduces oral absorption of Al and/or enhances Al excretion…”

Role of beer as a possible protective factor in preventing Alzheimer's disease
“…The results obtained confirmed that at moderately high levels of beer intake the Si [silicon] present in the beer was able to reduce Al [aluminum] uptake in the digestive tract and thus was able to slow the accumulation of this metal in the body, brain tissue included. In consequence, moderate beer consumption, due to its content in bioavailability silicon, possibly affording a protective factor for preventing Alzheimer's disease, could perhaps be taken into account as a component of the dietary habits of the population.”

Non-invasive therapy to reduce the body burden of aluminium in Alzheimer's disease
“… Based upon the premise that urinary aluminium is the best non-invasive estimate of body burden of aluminium patients with Alzheimer's disease were asked to drink 1.5 L off a silicic acid-rich mineral water each day for five days and, by comparison of their urinary excretion of aluminium pre-and post this simple procedure, the influence upon their body burden of aluminium was determined…The reduction in urinary aluminium supported the future longer-term use of silicic acid as non-invasive therapy for reducing the body burden of aluminium in Alzheimer's disease.”

The chemistry of aluminum and silicon in relation to Alzheimer's disease
"Aluminosilicates have been identified at the core of senile plaques in Alzheimer's disease, and aluminum has been found within neurons bearing neurofibrillary tangles. Here we show that aluminum species interact with silicic acid, Si(OH)4--a normal component of plasma--to form aluminosilicate species solubilized by citrate. A switch in the binding of aluminum from silicate to phosphate at pH less than 6.6 calls attention to the strong binding of cationic aluminum species to proximate phosphate groups, as in the inositol phosphates, and to the potential effect on the activity of the phosphoinositide-derived intracellular messenger system. The chemistry may throw light on the debated relationship between aluminum and Alzheimer's disease."

I’m unable to find the contents of these other papers:

Supplementation of the diet with silicic acid to reduce body burden of aluminum: a miracle cure or useless treatment for Alzheimer's disease

Commentary on Non-invasive therapy to reduce the body burden of aluminium in Alzheimer's disease

Aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease: a vexata questio between uncertain data and a lot of imagination

The Silicon Link between Aluminium and Alzheimer’s Disease
Posted: Thursday, January 5, 2012 3:06 PM
Originally posted by: onward


The comparative absorption of silicon from different foods and food supplements.

Br J Nutr. 2009 Sep;102(6):825-34. Epub 2009 Apr 9.
Sripanyakorn S, Jugdaohsingh R, Dissayabutr W, Anderson SH, Thompson RP, Powell JJ.
Gastrointestinal Laboratory, The Rayne Institute (King's College London), St Thomas' Hospital, London SE1 7EH, UK.


Dietary Si (orthosilicic acid; OSA) appears important in connective tissue health, and although the sources and intakes of Si are well established, its absorption is not.

Si absorption was measured from eight high-Si-containing sources: alcohol-free beer; OSA solution (positive control); bananas; green beans; supplemental choline-stabilised OSA (ChOSA); supplemental monomethyl silanetriol (MMST); supplemental colloidal silica (CS); magnesium trisilicate British Pharmacopoeia antacid (MTBP).

Two of the supplements and the antacid were pre-selected following an in vitro dissolution assay.

Fasting, healthy subjects (CS, n 3; others, n > or = 5) each ingested two of the sources separated by a 1-week wash-out period. Blood and urine were collected and measured for total Si concentrations by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry.

Absorption, based on urinary Si excretion, was highest for

MMST [supplemental monomethyl silanetriol]

and alcohol-free beer (64% of dose),

followed by green beans (44%),

OSA [orthosilicic acid] (43%),

ChOSA [supplemental choline-stabilised OSA] (17%),


and MTBP [magnesium trisilicate British Pharmacopoeia antacid] (4%)

and CS [supplemental colloidal silica] (1%).

Peak serum concentrations occurred by 0.5 h for MMST and green beans, 1.5 h for OSA and alcohol-free beer, 2 h for ChOSA and CS, and 4 h for MTBP.

Area under the serum curves correlated positively with urinary Si output (r 0.82; P < 0.0001). Absorption of Si from supplements and antacids was consistent with their known chemical speciation and kinetics of dissolution under simulated gastrointestinal conditions. Monomeric silicates were readily absorbed, while particulate silicates were decreasingly well absorbed with increasing polymerisation.

The present results highlight the need to allow for relative absorption of Si from different foods or supplements in subsequent epidemiological and intervention studies.

PMID: 19356271 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]PMCID: PMC2744664 Free PMC Article
Posted: Thursday, January 5, 2012 3:06 PM
Originally posted by: onward

Thanks so much, swarfmaker. As usual, you're 10 (or 20 or 50) steps ahead of me.

Sure wish I could find these 2 brief articles to read. (They may not really be articles but more like brief commentaries on someone else's article?)

Organosilicon therapy in Alzheimer's disease?
J Alzheimers Dis. 2007 Jun;11(3):301-2; discussion 303-4.

Supplementation of the diet with silicic acid to reduce body burden of aluminum: a miracle cure or useless treatment for Alzheimer's disease?
J Alzheimers Dis. 2006 Sep;10(1):25-7

They're both in the same journal (though different issues), and if anyone happens to have access and could give a quick summary, that'd be much appreciated.
Posted: Thursday, January 5, 2012 3:06 PM
Originally posted by: john1943

Great effort, Onward. You did a lot of work. Just off the top of my head I would say that you uncovered a possible stressor in aluminum and another counter-stressor in silicon.

We have found other reasons to eat blueberries and grapes and to drink red wine. They are good sources of polyphenols, resveratrol, etc. You have added another.

I recall aluminum taking a lot of heat over being an ingredient in deodorants about a decade ago.
Posted: Thursday, January 5, 2012 3:06 PM
Originally posted by: swarfmaker

The article cited above, "Aluminosilicate Precipitation and Alzheimer's Disease" describes this very well.

As I understand the theory of aluminosilicate formation in the brain silicic acid in the diet gets into the brain. Then, along comes some dissolved aluminum. These two get together, react at normal body temperatures, forming aluminosilicate crystals. These are essentially just rocks. Unlike other organs, the brain has no way of ridding itself of these crystals, so it surrounds them with amyloid beta plaques. It may be that the alluminosilicates act as a catalyst, causing harmful chemical reactions, like the creation of peroxide, etc. Or, it may be the amyloid beta.

The interesting thing is that if you have a lot more of just one of these two substances in your gut, the reaction occurs there, and the rocks pass harmfully out of your system. The aluminum or the silicic acid alone may not a problem, but rather an unfortunate "exactly wrong" proportion of both in the brain. Over time, these rocks would accumulate. This fits with the age-related onset of AD of most cases.

There may be many paths that lead to the same destination, genetic, remote chronic remote infection, aluminosilicate rocks in the head. Kind of like "pneumonia". It is a symptom caused by many maladies.

Here are some more...
Posted: Thursday, January 5, 2012 3:06 PM
Originally posted by: onward

Thanks, John and Pecan King. There are things about this silica angle that puzzle me.

Let's assume for a moment that silica intake really might be a crucial component in dementia prevention and treatment. Well, that's kind of weird because silica is found in A LOT of common foods:

"There are a number of foods which are an excellent source of silica (silicon) and they are:

Banana (yellow, peeled), 250g - 13.60mg
Beer, 1L - 19.2mg
High bran cereal, 100g - 10.17mg
Bread (wholegrain), 200g - 8.94mg
Raisin (California seedless), 100g - 8.25mg
Mineral water (high silica), 500mL - 7.23mg
Green beans (cooked), 250g - 6.10mg
Carrot (raw, peeled), 200g - 4.58mg
Bread (wholemeal), 200g - 4.50mg
Brown rice, 200g - 4.14mg
Mineral water (regular), 500mL - 3.44mg
Bread (white), 200g - 3.38mg
Wheat biscuits, 100g - 2.78mg
White rice, 200g - 2.48mg
Cornflakes, 100g - 2.42mg

My previous post cited several really interesting, high-silica drinking water studies that showed greatly reduced AD risk.

But IF silica from solid foods is being properly absorbed and utilized by the body, wouldn't that have the same anti-AD effect as the high-silica drinking water?

And wouldn't that food intake of silica have completely thrown off the results of those drinking water studies?

Is silica in drinking water (or in other liquids such as beer, wine) (or in liquid or capsule-form "orthosilicic acid" supplements) absorbed much better than from foods?

Some articles claim that silica from foods is poorly absorbed and that it's far better to get it in supplement form as "orthosilicic acid." But some of these articles either directly or indirectly are promoting a certain brand of supplement.

One article claims this: "Most of the silicon that is consumed from the diet is mostly in the form of alumino-silicate and silica, and is therefore not bio-available."

I'm very interested to see any clinical studies, even if only small-scale ones, in which high-bioavailable silicic acid or orthosilicic acid was given to dementia or mci patients for an extended period of time. Are there any such studies???
Posted: Thursday, January 5, 2012 3:06 PM
Originally posted by: Pecan King

Remarkable research effort Onward. It would be interesting to see if anyone is focusing on a silica based therapy. I don't have even a sparkle of an idea as to silica's biological role in humans (I know it makes seeds crunchy though!).
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