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Silicon (Si) is the most abundant element present in the Earth's crust besides oxygen. However, the exact biological roles of silicon remain unknown. Moreover, the ortho-silicic acid (H4SiO4), as a major form of bioavailable silicon for both humans and animals, has not been given adequate attention so far. Silicon has already been associated with bone mineralization, collagen synthesis, skin, hair and nails health atherosclerosis, Alzheimer disease, immune system enhancement, and with some other disorders or pharmacological effects.
The appearance of hair plays an important role in people's overall physical appearance and self-perception. Silicon (Si) has been suggested to have a role in the formation of connective tissue and is present at 1-10 ppm in hair. Choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid ("ch-OSA") is a bioavailable form of silicon which was found to improve skin microrelief and skin mechanical properties in women with photoaged skin. The effect of ch-OSA on the hair was investigated in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Forty-eight women with fine hair were given 10 mg Si/day in the form of ch-OSA beadlets (n = 24) or a placebo (n = 24), orally for 9 months. Hair morphology and tensile properties were evaluated before and after treatment. Urinary silicon concentration increased significantly in the ch-OSA supplemented group but not in the placebo group. The elastic gradient decreased in both groups but the change was significantly smaller in the ch-OSA group (-4.52%) compared to placebo group (-11.9%). Break load changed significantly in the placebo group (-10.8%) but not in the ch-OSA supplemented group (-2.20%). Break stress and elastic modulus decreased in both groups but the change was smaller in the ch-OSA group. The cross-sectional area increased significantly after 9 months compared to baseline in ch-OSA supplemented subjects but not in the placebo group. The change in urinary silicon excretion was significantly correlated with the change in the cross sectional area. Oral intake of ch-OSA had a positive effect on tensile strength including elasticity and break load and resulted in thicker hair.
Mounting evidence supports combined therapy of ch-OSA and Ca/Vit D3 had a potentially beneficial effect on bone collagen compared to Ca/Vit D3 alone, which suggests that this treatment is of potential use in osteoporosis.