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Silica Supplements: Just Another Fraud

Written by Print 

Silica (silicon dioxide) is used in some powdered foods to ensure that they are free flowing. It is also used heavily in the manufacture of steel, thermal insulation, electronic circuit boards, semiconductors, and optical fibers. While its industrial uses are many, its health benefits appear to be nil.

Silica is a compound that is found in soil. There are people who have made the asinine assumption that it must be beneficial to health based on this. Another basis for the assumption about silica's benefits is the fact that trace amounts of it are found inside fruits and vegetables, which could produce some minor contributions to good health, but mostly to the health of those fruits and vegetables. Supplementing with silica has not been shown to provide any health benefits to humans, and all silica supplements contain far more silica than anyone could consume naturally.

Silica dust is a known carcinogen, lung irritant, and a central nervous system toxin. Although, it has been shown to be relatively neutralized when filtered through the human digestive system. This somewhat makes the point about how stupid silica supplementation really is. Since it is destroyed by the human digestive system, injections would be the only way to actually supplement with it. The website owners who profit from the fraud of silica supplements claim that it does all of the following:

Fraudulent Silica Claims

  • Prevents Alzheimer's disease
  • Prevents atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries)
  • Strengthens bones
  • Makes the skin "glow"
  • Prevents hair thinning
  • Increases mucosa during dehydration
  • Improves circulation
  • Prevents cancer
  • And everything else...

The list of supposed silica benefits goes on practically forever, so this is not a full listing of claims. It would be much simpler to list what its sales people do not make any claims about. The latter would be a very short list. Those who have a health condition, could search the Internet for their ailment alongside the word "silica", and they would undoubtedly find accolades about it being the very "miracle" that they had been seeking. Some companies have appeared on the market being dedicated to selling only silica, at prices which exceed those of real supplements. They are essentially selling sand as a high-priced dietary supplement, but it does not actually supplement any nutrient.

When silica is obtained from the horsetail plant (the standard process), it can actually cause a thiamine (vitamin B-1) deficiency. Thiamine is a real nutrient with real benefits. On the other hand, a silica (dirt) supplement simply is not going to be of much use to anyone, except the salesmen. A wise person should instead eat a balanced diet of natural foods, avoid refined sugars, and avoid chemicals. Sure enough, he will get trace amounts of silica in his diet too. Likewise, he will get trace amounts of other unnecessary elements which we would also never recommend supplementing with, like arsenic.

"Studies in mice suggest that horsetail [source of silica supplements] may change the activity of the kidneys, causing abnormal control of the amount of water and potassium release. Low potassium, which in theory may occur with horsetail, can have negative effects on the heart."

-- National Institutes of Health

The above quote cites the only known effect of silica supplementation. Eventual heart attacks are hardly a desirable effect of any supplement. We do not know the effect of supplementing with silica over an extended period of time. No one knows. All we know with certainty is that silica supplementation has never been proven to have any benefits for humans whatsoever, and we also know that it so thoroughly destroys the kidneys of laboratory animals that they become prone to having heart attacks.

Regular vitamins and supplements, which contain small amounts of silica are not harmful; but the presence of silica will not present any therapeutic effect, either.


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A Dangerous Pharmaceutical Espoused as 'Alternative Medicine': Dichloroacetic Acid (DCA)

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Comments (38)
  • Nicole Lamb  - Silica supplements

    I have to disagree with you on silica not having any benefit. While I agree with you that if you google it you will find many a website touting it's healing abilities, I don't think they are all quacks trying to take advantage.
    I have rheumatoid arthritis. I was taking the generic version of Plaquenil for 3 years with no noticeable difference in my joints. I was always stiff and the days I was without pain were few and far between. It also didn't seem to halt the progress of the disease at all either.

    I found silica quite by accident while researching something completely different. I decided it couldn't hurt to try. So I bought a bottle. I started taking 10-20 mg daily.

    Within 1 week I noticed a marked difference in not only my pain level but also by flexibility. I was not doing anything different such as diet, exercise, or stretching to explain this. I can only think it was the silica and plan on buying another bottle.

  • C. Thomas Corriher (Managing Editor)

    We wrote the article, Naturally Eliminating Joint and Arthritis Pain. We believe the advice contained within that story will be much more useful for helping than silica.

    I'm going to be frank and honest here. The fact that silica seems to be helping you is an indication that there is something terrible about your diet -- not that silica is curing you. We know this because the only known biological use for silica is as a filtration agent. In fact, it is used to filter food and aid digestion in birds for that reason. You can even make your beer more pure with it!

    The question is, what exactly is the silica filtering out? In any case, the silica is merely temporarily helping shield you from whatever garbage is going into your body, so it is hardly the best option. The better option is for you to discover and eliminate whatever is aggravating your problems.

    Read those labels carefully. They're meant to deceive.

  • Nicole Lamb

    Of course I think research is always good especially when trying out supplements. I have in the past used turmeric, which helped for a short time. It always made me burp and I had to take it at night so it didn't upset my stomach. Not only that, but it also seemed like my body built up a tolerance to it. At one point it just seemed like it stopped working at all.
    I have also taken cherry supplements. I didn't feel any noticeable difference at all with the cherry.
    As far as my diet being terrible, I eat fruits and vegetables daily, most of the time they are organic. I usually only drink water and sometimes milk. I don't drink sodas at all and don't generally eat candy. I don't see how this could be blamed on diet at all. I have been diabetic for 25 years and that is for sure a contributing factor, especially with the inflammation part of it.

  • Dr. Asad Choudhry

    diatomaceous earth - agreed is the type your should use. Yea the rest are garbage and def not helpful. People need to stoop thinking that you can pop a drug or pill to achieve adequate or optimal health.

  • s. franklin  - so you know all about diabetes too huh?

    I would love to overcome my type 1 diabetes that I got at age four (45 yrs ago) with my already very strict, clean, and greatly managed diet....but there is NO natural cure for my diabetes other than maintaining it with insulin replacement!! NOT EVERYONE who has diabetes is type 2 !!!

  • C. Thomas Corriher (Managing Editor)

    Really? Is that what your doctor told you?

    Yes, we do indeed "know all about diabetes", and thank you for mentioning that. No person affiliated with us has diabetes, and Health Wyze's own Sarah cured herself. So, yes, we are certainly far more qualified than you to write about diabetes.

    Let me guess... your doctors told you that it was "genetic", right? Just enjoy the insulin, and keep patting yourself on the back about how much smarter you are. In the meantime, don't be angry with us because of your failures and the failures of your parents.

    Your lack of faith and belief that God is a shoddy engineer has condemned you to the life and death that you truly deserve.

  • Sheren  - Silica

    Silica is necessary for proper function/assimilation of other nutrients such as iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium. It also plays a key role in the strength of bone tissue and the elasticity and regeneration of connective tissue. Just because the FDA chooses to ignore something doesn't mean we should their conclusions are not sacrosanct and in fact they have been wrong in many cases.

    One of the reasons supplements are so needed today is that the soil which our food supply grows in is severely lacking in many nutrients that in bygone eras it used to be rich in. Yes, the nutritional value of food depends on the quality of the soil it is grown in, that is a fact. It is therefore possible to eat a proper diet and still be deficient in certain nutrients which may result in health problems. I can personally attest that high quality supplements taken in the proper dosage can help dramatically improve health, whether you believe it or not.

  • Chuck  - Silica does not aid in the absorption of minirals,

    Silica does not aid in the function/assimilation of iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium. Please do at least a small amount of research before eagerly spreading disinformation.

  • Chris  - Kudos Sheren

    Thanks for stating the what one would think should be obvious.

    The fact that the body only retains the silica that it needs and dispenses the rest makes it one of the better supplements to be taking without having to worry about getting too little or too much... as long as your body is properly regulating what it needs.

    From what I can see from the several articles I have read about silica as a diet supplement - the worst thing that can happen is that you will pay for something that your body doesn't absorb. If there are no other noticeable physical benefits it is highly unlikely that anyone would continue taking it anyway.

    The bottom line for me is "It can't hurt - only possibly help". So I'm going to give it a go. After years of eating grocery store mass produced foods (several of which are no longer grown in soil) I can draw a line directly from rather superficial symptoms
    I have to the list of claims Silica claims it can remedy. Worth a shot I say.

    It's not a life saver by any means but perhaps might bring relief to some and/or a little 'feel & look' better to others. And that's a good thing surely. It's definitely not deserving of the lashing it has taken as a suspected "Fraud" given all the other things out there that people are taking in attempts to find a quick fix to one thing or another.

  • Suzanne Beardslee  - Harm

    But can silica do any actual HARM?

  • Sarah C. Corriher (H.W. Researcher)

    It is very unlikely that you would experience any actual harm, except to that of your wallet when swallowed. Inhaling silica is very different.

  • Ken Shackleton


    My only experience with silica is eating bread in Africa. I was near the Sahara and there was quite a bit of sand in the food. It served as a pretty good colon scrub....not sure of any other benefits.

  • Mariel Thomson  - Horsetail Tea

    I have used horsetail [esquistum arvense] tea. It is supposed to treat edema, and strengthen teeth, bones ,fingernails, and connective tissue. I noticed that my bladder, which had not been a problem, felt stronger and good, as though some kind of tension was relieved. A tea is a better way to take this than a pill. Horsetail is a primitive fern that grows on a long runner root, and survives as a small plant.
    From Wikipedia: Equisetum (play /ˌɛkwɨˈsiːtəm/; horsetail, snake grass, puzzlegrass) is the only living genus in the Equisetaceae, a family of vascular plants that reproduce by spores rather than seeds. [2]

    Equisetum is a "living fossil", as it is the only living genus of the entire class Equisetopsida, which for over one hundred million years was much more diverse and dominated the understory of late Paleozoic forests. Some Equisetopsida were large trees reaching to 100 feet tall.

  • Larry  - Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth


    I tried Food Grade DE for energy, (don't ask, :lol: ) because it was a somewhat soluble form of silica.

    After one month of using it, I was surprised that I no longer have acid reflux. I have had reflux problems for over 15 years, and it had become bad enough that I have had to take Pepsid every night before bed for the past 3 years.

    I've stopped the Pepsid completely and can't believe that I am not waking up at 1:00 AM with severe heartburn, as was typical. Although DE is supposed to help with irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux is not even on the long list of supposed benefits on the websites dedicated to DE. It may just be the crushed microscopic chiten shells, or it may be the silica that they are made of, I don't know.

  • C. Thomas Corriher (Managing Editor)

    Silica is fairly insoluble and non-reactive inside the human body; unless the powder gets inside the lungs, in which case, it may cause cancer. The reason why you are doing better with your digestive system is because diatomaceous earth killed your parasites. Silica neither stops acid reflux nor kills parasites.

    This is why we recommend diatomaceous earth, while recommending that people avoid silica supplements. It is because the former is alternative medicine, but the latter is a sham.

    You've been had, Larry.

  • Dr. Asad Choudhry

    thanks, for putting the right information. I'm a first year medical resident and there is a ton of fraud in the alternative health field as well as 'normal' allopathic medicine.

    Doing my training in Internal Medicine in philly.

  • Diane Warner

    I just saw an a program on TV about silicon which made it sound like a miracle drug. I was most interested in it because they said it would help grow your hair in thicker. My hair has been thining really bad for years. If silicon can't help do you have any suggestions on what to take to make the hair healthier?? Thank you

  • Jasmine Barratt


    Just wanted to mention that magnesium could be helpful for thicker hair. I was taking it for psoriasis and found it also made my hair thicker and have more life, which I was not expecting. It took about a month to notice a difference if I remember rightly.

  • Lloyd Phillips  - Sarah Cain: check your information

    A 2013 study has indeed confirmed that silica/silicon removes aluminum, and improved symptoms in a significant number of Alzheimer's patients:

    doi: 10.3233/JAD-2012-121231

    PMID: 22976072

  • C. Thomas Corriher (Managing Editor)

    This degree of stupidity and misinformation is exactly why we do what we do. That study is the epitome of bad science, and they were obviously shopping for the results that they wanted to get. It's like F.D.A. science. In the study they used mineral water, which means that it was impure (on purpose!). It wasn't distilled water with pure silica or some other method of supplementing with pure silica, but it was instead mineral water with minerals and various impurities, including salt compounds. At first glance, it doesn't appear that they even used a control group, or any other method to compare results of those who were not "treated" with mineral water. It's just incredible. Out of the natural compounds in the mineral water, it is impossible to know what helped to excrete the aluminum, but it was most likely the small amounts of selenium -- which by the way -- does actually help remove and neutralize metals. The science was done so poorly that the higher levels of aluminum might have merely been due to a worsening diet, because the subjects overall intake of aluminum increased.

    Is Keele University even a real school? Regardless, this will hardly merit mention in the annals of great medical research, and it is something they should be academically ashamed of.

    Perhaps you should push the silica supplements over at Cure Zone. You'll have better luck with your "science" over there.

  • Sarah C. Corriher (H.W. Researcher)

    Judging from the test results, it is likely that there was aluminum in the spring water itself. They didn't bother to test for that, did they?

  • frank

    What is your thoughts on bamboo leaf tea which is touted for it's silica content?

  • C. Thomas Corriher (Managing Editor)

    It probably tastes slightly better than sweaty sock tea. I suspect the health benefits are about the same. Well actually, the sweaty sock tea would have some beneficial minerals and salts, at least. Judging from some of the requests that we're getting about silica, I'm thinking there could be a huge market for sweaty sock tea. Time to buy some more socks and cash in!

  • Alex Elias

    Hi. I was recommended DE (Fossil shell Flour) as a Silica supplement. If it's no good for Silica what other benefits does DE provide? Thanks

  • Karen Peterson  - Health Risk of Silica in Stevia?

    Just purchased some stevia today at Trader Joe's and noticed after getting home that silica is in it. Comments on whether this is a health risk or just plain unhealthy? (actually comments on stevia AND silica very welcome!)

  • Sarah C. Corriher (H.W. Researcher)

    Silicon dioxide is commonly added to products to make spices, herbs and powders more free-flowing. It is not harmful, but it should not be considered a dietary supplement, because it does not yield any significant health benefits.

  • Lovric Jelena  - Thank you so much for this article

    I just threw out my silica supplement.I had the one from the photo.I've been taking this product for a week now (1 pill a day,suggested dose is 3 per day).I gave them to my parents as well and they are elderly.We all were very tired,we would urinate a lot,pain in kidneys.My parents also complained of heart pain.So finally I googled silica benefits and found this page.I feel pain in my kidneys even while I'm writing this.I will try to replenish my potassium levels with yogurt and bananas.I am really angry at myself for not researching this more before taking it. I can only hope this hasn't done too much damage.I don't understand why they produce something like this if there is even one study with such horrific results.The only research I've done was to read reviews on was a total of 6 and they all have 5 stars.I left a bad review on a different product a while back (I just said there was a lot of crushed pills and the content was out)and it wasn't published,so I'm thinking maybe they don't publish the review if it's too bad.I feel very dumb right now and I could cry when think I gave silica to my parents as well.

  • Ben  - Silica treatments as relief for Bartholin's cysts

    My wife suffers pretty harshly from Bartholin's cysts, probably once or twice a month and pretty bad. I've looked up remedies online, and the most popular homeopathic remedies for BC are salt baths and silica pills. Salt baths are fine once in a while but the BC has to be pretty big to have any effect, but silica pills always struck me as strange. WebMD (and most other professional health sites) state clearly that the best ways to deal with BC are lancing, surgical removal, marsupialization, and/or antibiotic treatments, which to me seems crazy because in almost every case after the "treatment" the cyst returns and sometimes worse.

    Your claim that silica acts more like a filter then makes perfect sense, because it would be filtering out the poisons that enter the bloodstream and cause the blockages in the vaginal ducts. I've no medical knowledge, but that just sounds logical. Of course, long-term side effects of taking silica include kidney failure and other even more nightmarish endgames. You have successfully alarmed me of the danger of taking silica and why it might seem like it would work in being able to relieve BC pain, but I still cannot find a reason for what is causing the cyst in the first place. "Maintaining a healthy diet" is all good, but do you have any other resources that I could use in trying to nail down what toxin is causing the cyst and how to immobilize/eliminate that toxin from our bloodstream?

  • Sarah C. Corriher (H.W. Researcher)

    The best advice that we can give is that you should check out our article on endometriosis, and our articles on hormones. We have a convenient search at the top right of our site for that. We would also like to warn you to avoid any kind of alternative medicine that calls itself homeopathic. That will probably give you what you need. If all else fails, you can get our book, which has two relevant chapters. The first is called, "Women's Health", and the second is called, "A Poisoned World". The reason we mentioned our book is because there is so much information scattered all about, that it is hard to put it all together. Your first step should be eliminating anything that could be altering her hormones, and that includes "the pill" and anti-depressants.

  • Jimmie Miller  - Good to know

    I bought a bottle of Horsetail herb caps and took them once for "hair and nail" health, I'll know better now. My husband and I are implementing your advice for hypothyroidism. Thanks again for all the great info.

  • Brian Wm Burnett  - Question of toxic side effects of silicon dioxide.

    Has anyone heard of becoming toxified from constant exposure to Silicon Dioxide?

    I have heard of silicosis but has anyone heard of becomiong ill with symptoms that mirror scabies, which I do not have and never did, lice, fungus of the scalp, or any other of the easy medical guesses that I have been given .
    14 years ago I applied a bit too freely Insectigone because of a perceived flea problem. 10 years ago after a 6 month absence from my home I returned, had a new furnace installed and had the same lesions appear without any solution or cause identified. It eventuallty cleared up with a lot of time and numerous guesses.And aftyer the heating season was over.
    Recently after 10 years of dormancy
    it returned without warning.
    Now I should explain that I did not do any vacuuming or dusting since last spring, a year ago, developed a white powdwery dusty condition in my house, built in 1875,
    as it was a long heating season, starting in Oct and just ending now, and I wanted to wait for warmer weather here in Ontario Canada to return before I strarted the cleaning routine.

    Any ideas apart from leaving , cleaning all the house surfaces or doing the drastic solution of burning it down and starting over.
    No home ownwers insurance and I am not into fraud either if I did have coverage.
    I believe my cat and I are at risk but have no-where else to go. I should explain that I have a very modest income of $1300/month due to a motorcycle / car collision 11 years ago which left me partly disabled and unable to workmat a full time job.

    How do I detox myself ?The house I know needs to be completely emptied to the base walls and all my possessions cleaned but that is not in my budget and the more I attempt to clean the more I breakmout in itchy painfuy;l lesions the medicos are stumped by.
    And I have taken the xcat to the vet, not cheap either as well to confirm nofleas, no ear mites, no mange and no internal parasites. Same as myself.
    Any help will be appreciated and I do apologise for the length of this.

  • Brian Wm Burnett  - Questions about becoming senstized to DE

    Has anyone heard of long term exposure to low levels of DE causing hypersensitivity to the silicon Dioxide?
    I understand breasthing in the dust can cause silicosis but also was wondering about inadvertantly consumuing low levels for a long time.
    Doesanyone have an answer either way?
    MY idea is theis would explain why I have had an undiagnosed skin rash and lesions breaking out on various sections of my boidy the medicos all say is something different each time I am looked at.
    Or for that matter has anyone heard of any thing similar? It is the onlynlogical thing I can think of now the parasite , disease, etc. hasa been eliminated by trial and error.
    Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  • Helen Hawthorne  - Reasons for rashes and such

    Absolutely, I know a good reason. I just recently took two doses of diatomeceous earth (which, contrary to the above article was not made out of horsetails, but, was made entirely out of dieatomaceious earth), and, some of what I feel happening is some of the thing thing that I felt happening when I was following Dr. Drook's Yeast Overgrowth diet (such as I did follow it) .

    D.E. is known to help balance your intestinal flora, according to many sources. I feel it doing that to mine, at least to the extent of getting rid of some of the bad. The thing is, when the bad bacteria dies, it releases poisons.

    This can make you headachy, nauseated, give you rashes, pimples, boils and all sorts of nasty things like that.

    Now, the thing is, I am not sure how long D.E. takes to pass through one's system. I am under the impression that it might, like bentonite clay, take a long time. So, I would suggest you stop taking it for a day or two, to do a test that Dr. Crook suggested to help you to see if your illness is a bad thing or a good thing that just feels bad for now.

    If you stop taking it, and, you begin feeling better, that doesn't really tell you anything, right away.

    But, if you then eat a bunch of garlic, jalapenos, turnips, and/or horseradish (not too much, just enough to fire you up a bit) and it makes you feel more gassy, headachy and miserable - but, then, about 4 - 12 hours later (after it has had time to fairly well pass through) you feel better than you did before you ate them, you are almost certainly yeasty, and, you can take it the D.E. was helping fix this.

    In which case, if you haven't done so already, you should study up on Yeast Overgrowth. I have found Dr. Crook's books to be the most helpful sources of information.

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