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.


Related Articles

Common Frauds of Alternative Medicine

The Legend of Mike Adams and the Reality

Quackery: Foot Cleanses, Detox Foot Pads, and Ionic Foot Baths

Alternative Medicine Fraud: Magnet Therapy

Another Fraud Of Alternative Medicine: M.M.S.

The Debate between and Jim Humble about whether M.M.S. is a Fraud

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

Doctor Andrew Weil: Whose Side Is He Really On?


Nicole Lamb
# Silica supplements Nicole Lamb 2010-04-17 21:45
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.
Thomas Corriher (Managing Editor)
# Thomas Corriher (Managing Editor) 2010-04-18 00:27
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.
Suzanne Beardslee
# Harm Suzanne Beardslee 2011-05-01 21:53
But can silica do any actual HARM?
Sarah C. Corriher (H.W. Researcher)
# Sarah C. Corriher (H.W. Researcher) 2011-05-04 05:42
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
# Ken Shackleton 2011-09-14 23:58

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 Mariel Thomson 2011-10-25 14:04
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.
Diane Warner
# Diane Warner 2013-01-31 08:23
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
Sarah C. Corriher (H.W. Researcher)
# Sarah C. Corriher (H.W. Researcher) 2013-01-31 11:52
It is important to find the cause of the hair thinning, instead of just treating the symptom. Otherwise the cause will eventually manifest itself in another problem, and it could be much more severe.

It is possible that you have hypothyroidism, and you should be able to determine that from reading our article on the topic: How To Cure Hypothyroidism Naturally (

It could also be caused by your diet. You may find these articles helpful:

The Relationship Between Body pH and Disease (and other facts you're not supposed to know) (

God's Nutrition: From The Big Guy Himself (
Jasmine Barratt
# Jasmine Barratt 2015-07-30 20:40

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 Lloyd Phillips 2013-04-16 19:19
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
Thomas Corriher (Managing Editor)
# Thomas Corriher (Managing Editor) 2013-04-19 00:36
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)
# Sarah C. Corriher (H.W. Researcher) 2013-04-19 03:19
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?
Alex Elias
# Alex Elias 2013-04-22 12:14
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? Karen Peterson 2013-07-11 04:57
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)
# Sarah C. Corriher (H.W. Researcher) 2013-07-12 00:28
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.
Jimmie Miller
# Good to know Jimmie Miller 2014-03-06 09:13
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.

You must log in or register to post comments.

The Claimer: The information provided herein is intended to be a truthful and corrective alternative to the advice that is provided by physicians and other medical professionals. It is intended to diagnose, treat, cure, and prevent disease.