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Side Effects of Silica Supplements

author image Elizabeth Thatcher
Based outside Boston, Elizabeth Thatcher began writing health-related articles in 2007. Her work has appeared in the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Science," "Nature Genetics," "Journal of Cell Biology," "Developmental Dynamics," "RNA Biology" and "BMC Genomics." Thatcher earned a Bachelor of Science in biomedical engineering from Mercer University before starting medical research and receiving her doctorate in molecular biology from Vanderbilt University.
Side Effects of Silica Supplements
The herb horsetail is a primary source of silica for supplements. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Silica supplements can originate from either silica dioxide or the horsetail herb. According to the Vital Health Zone, silica is a mineral that is only required in small amounts. Silica exists "predominantly in the connective tissues -- skin, blood vessels, cartilage, bone, teeth, tendons and hair." Thus, silica is thought to promote healthy blood vessel walls, especially in the heart. You should always be aware that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate supplements as it does prescription medications. Thus, there are no strict guidelines that the manufacture of the supplement must adhere to in order to guarantee the product is safe for use.

Vitamin Deficiency

Medline Plus indicates that long-term silica use may result in loss of other essential vitamins from the body. For instance, silica supplements contain an enzyme called thiaminese, which destroys the vitamin thiamine or vitamin B1 in the body. After long-term use, you may discover that you are now thiamine deficient, which can lead to loss of muscle control and eventual paralysis. Medline Plus also warns that supplements labeled thiaminase-free have not been validated and are not guaranteed to be safe since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate supplement companies.

Excessive Urination

Vital Health Zone says that silica supplements may cause excessive urination that is counteracted in people that have edema. Also, it recommends that you consume plenty of water while taking silica in order to prevent dehydration and subsequent ill effects. Traditional suggestions of eight glasses of water a day would be a bare minimum while taking this supplement. The need to overhydrate may also lead to low potassium levels since potassium is flushed out of your system.

Kidney Function

The University of Maryland Medical Center says that prolonged use of silica supplements in any form is not recommended. Severe kidney trouble may occur after prolonged use. Kidney stones have been reported in people taking silica supplements, which may be due to a buildup of silica in the body since only a small amount is needed for the body to function properly. Also, general kidney deterioration, which is irreversible, will eventually occur with excess silica in your system.

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