Home > Health Conditions Affecting The Elderly > Assisted Living Facilities Monitor Levels Of Silica in Senior Citizens

Assisted Living Facilities Monitor Levels Of Silica in Senior Citizens

September 14, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Most of us have heard about the importance of calcium in the development and maintenance of strong bones, but doctors are now including the importance of silicon to the list. Silicon is a trace mineral. Scientifically, not much is known about it, but silicon is considered an essential trace element and is required for good integrity of skin, ligaments, tendons and bones. Silicon is required for the proper functioning of the enzyme prolyhydroxylase, which is responsible for the formation of collagen in bone and elastin, cartilage and other connective tissues. Silicon may also be important in bone calcification. The importance of silica is no longer being ignored.  Next to oxygen, silicon is the most abundant element on earth. Assisted living facilities are learning more about silicon and its uses to improve the health conditions of senior citizens.

There has been a growing interest in silicon based products in the cosmetic industry and has been used in shampoos, creams and lotions. Products containing silica are very effective for the development of healthy skin, nails and hair. As we grow older, levels of silica decline in the body and may be the contributing factor of aging. Assisted Living Facilities have noticed that low levels of silica in seniors can trigger bone loss and heart disease. Silica has been used to heal fractures and increase bone mineralization in osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a common condition in the elderly, particularly in women. There are no known cases of silicon deficiency but silicon plays such a significant role in bone and cartilage composition.

As early as 1878, Louis Pasteur believed that the importance of silica in treating many diseases would someday be widely recognized. Various scientists in the 20th century supported Pasteur’s theory by extensively studying the effect of silica on animal and human life. Through research done in 1972 at UCLA, Dr. Edith Carlisle found that silica is an essential trace element, necessary for normal bone development. It was determined that optimal growth and skeletal development could not occur without adequate amounts of this essential trace mineral. While studying mice, depressed growth and skull deformities occurred due to an inadequate supply of silica. Humans that lacked a sufficient amount of silica in their diet experienced cardiovascular and arterial problems, fragile bones, joint deterioration, digestive disorders, along with weakened gums and teeth.

anatomy by *ilaBarattolo on deviantART

Once supplied with the appropriate amount of silica, the above symptoms showed considerable improvement, in addition, collagen levels elevated, calcium absorption increased, and cardiovascular support strengthened. The texture of the hair, skin and nails also improved. Scientists have also discovered that silica is important for making the collagen matrix structure where calcium deposits are used for building and strengthening bones. Silica is so imperative for forming healthy bones, that some scientists believe silica supplements are even more important than calcium for maintaining bone strength. Assisted living facilities believe that silica supplements may become even more necessary as seniors age, because their body absorbs less of it with each passing year. Assisted living facilities think that this factor may be a reason why seniors lose flexibility and joint stability, as they get older.

In addition to the ever increasing importance for silica, another challenge is that there are no food sources that provide it in large quantities. It can be found in certain cereals and grains such as oats, millet, barley and wheat. Potatoes, fruits, beets and turnips also contain silica but it usually gets eliminated when these foods are processed.  More recent research suggests that beer is a great source of silicon. Researchers ran a chemical analysis of the raw ingredients of beer. The discovered the silicon content of beer ranged from 6.4 mg/L to 56.5 mg/L, with an average of 30 mg/L. 2 beers are the equivalent of just under a 1/2 liter, so a person could get 30 mg of the nutrient from 2 beers. But other studies show that consuming more than 1 alcoholic beverage a day may be bad for senior health.

The average daily intake of silica from diet may be 20 to 50 milligrams per day, but the optimum dose is probably higher. Researchers are finding that by supplementing the diet with a minimum of 40 milligrams of silica a day, the skin shows an improvement of elasticity, texture and thickness. Added benefits include helping weakened teeth and gums, strengthening bones, and decreasing hair loss. Overall, silica was found to help the body repair, rebuild, strengthen, and lessen or eliminate many body ailments associated with aging. Assisted Living Facilities monitor the silica intake in seniors and try to incorporate healthy sources of it into their diets.

Reference: University of California, Davis’ Department of Food Science and Technology, February issue of the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture; Roche: A-Z Guide on vitamins and minerals- Selenium, Silicon, Sodium and Sulphur;Bill Evans. Applied Health Solutions Journal. Topics of Health and Natural Healing Volume 8: May 1, 1999,”Silicon Biochemistry,” Ciba Foundation Symposium 121. John Wiley & Sons, 1986, “Silica,” Edward a. Lemmo, Ph.D. Keats Publishing, Inc., 1998.

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care, Home Health, Skilled Nursing, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living Chicago and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

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