Biosil is a supplement containing the minerals choline and silicon. BioMinerals N.V., the manufacturer of Biosil, claims that use of its supplement will result in healthier hair, nails and skin as well as improve bone and joint health. Though company-funded studies show these claims to be true, there is no independent medical evidence to prove the product works as promised.
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The Product Label
BioSil contains choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid, or ch-OSA, a combination of choline and silicon. The supplement contains 100 milligrams of choline and 5 milligrams of silicon. The product label explains that collagen, keratin and elastin are responsible for wrinkle prevention and skin, hair, nail, bone, and joint health. The label claims that BioSil results in 13 percent stronger hair and 30 percent less wrinkle depth.
Choline and Silicon
Choline is an essential nutrient that is part of cell membranes and contributes to their strength. The recommended dietary allowance, or RDA, is 425 milligrams for adult females and 550 milligrams for adult males. Choline in foods takes the form phosphatidylcholine, which is in liver, wheat germ, eggs, broccoli, milk, and peanut butter. Another form of choline, lecithin, is used during food processing as an emulsifier.
Silicon is a trace mineral that is involved in bone formation and growth. There is no RDA for silicon. Food sources of silicon include whole grains, root vegetables, beer, coffee, and water. According to the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, most adults have a silicon intake of 14 to 62 milligrams a day. The body does not absorb all of the silicon ingested, excreting 60 to 97 percent of silicon from foods depending on fiber intake.
Research mostly funded by BioSil has found that the product works as claimed. Tim Spector and colleagues found in their 2008 clinical trial that ch-OSA given with calcium and vitamin D resulted in a significant beneficial effect on bone collagen at 12 months in 136 women with osteopenia, or low bone mineral density. R. R. Wickett and colleagues found that hair was stronger, more elastic and harder to break after nine months of ch-OSA treatment for 45 women with fine hair in their 2007 clinical trial. A. Barel and colleagues studied 50 women with photo-damaged facial skin for 20 weeks in a 2005 clinical trial and found that ch-OSA treatment resulted in a decrease in skin roughness and nail and hair brittleness. The manufacturer of BioSil funded these studies, with the exception that a small portion of funding for the first study came from the National Osteoporosis Society U.K.
BioSil’s Potential to Work
BioSil has the potential to work as the manufacturer claims; however, studies do not conclusively support these claims. There are very few studies done on the effects of ch-OSA in humans. The studies conducted use very small sample sizes and the women studied did not have healthy hair, skin, and nails when the studies began. Most importantly, the BioSil manufacturer funded the studies, so there is a potential for bias. It is unknown if the study results are typical, due to small study sizes, and if these results are translatable to the generally healthy population or to men. Based on the inconclusive research, a better approach would be to eat a healthy diet that includes foods rich in choline and silicon.
- General Nutrition Centers Inc.: BioSil
- Oregon State University, Linus Pauling Institute: Choline
- Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism; Sareen S. Gropper, et al.
- National Academies Press: Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc
- BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders: Choline-Stabilized Orthosilicic Acid Supplementation as an Adjunct to Calcium/Vitamin D3 Stimulates Markers of Bone Formation in Osteopenic Females: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial
- Archives of Dermatological Research: Effect of Oral Intake of Choline-Stabilized Orthosilicic Acid on Hair Tensile Strength and Morphology in Women with Fine Hair
- Archives of Dermatological Research: Effect of Oral Intake of Choline-Stabilized Orthosilicic Acid on Skin, Nails and Hair in Women with Photodamaged Skin