Silica and Your Pet's Healthy Skin, Hair and Nails
Many nutrients can improve the overall health of the skin, hair and nails of your pet, and silica is just one of them.
Silica: What is it?
Silica is the common name for the non-metallic chemical compound silicon dioxide (a combination of the element silicon with oxygen). Silicon does not exist as a free element, as it is highly reactive with water and oxygen. Interestingly, silica is the primary component of sand and is the second most common component on earth (oxygen is the most common component), comprising nearly 30% of the Earth's crust.
Roles of Silica in the Body
Put simply, silica is ingested and broken into its components, silicon and oxygen. Silicon is then primarily utilized for two major functions. First, silicon has a role in the management and distribution of calcium throughout the bones. Its particular role in this process is to ensure that calcium is stored only in bone and not in any other location. The second role that silicon is known play in is the process of collagen formation. Collagen is the most abundant protein in mammals, and is the primary component of connective tissues. Connective tissues include skin, blood, cartilage, bone, muscle and nervous tissues. Silica is a component of glycoaminoglycans (GAG's), which is a polypeptide produced in the cells. Glycoaminoglycans consist of a specific chain of proteins that are necessary for the production and maintenance of connective tissues such as collagen. Silica is known to be necessary in adequate amounts for the repair and proper functioning of connective tissues.
Silica and Your Pet's Skin
Silica has been identified with the capability to improve the overall general health of hair, skin and nails. It has also been correlated with the capability to improve and enhance the process of wound healing, in addition to improving overall bone health.
Many foods contain amounts of silica. The majority of foods that are considered to be whole grains have considerable amounts of silica. Other foods such as oats, onions, and potatoes also contain typically high amounts of silica.
Silica Deficiency and Toxicity
There exists no extensive study about the deficiency or toxicity of silica within the body. However, enough studies have been completed to conclude that silica is a necessary component of overall general health of the skin. It is also known that the body's ability to naturally maintain levels of silica becomes increasingly difficult with age. Silicon is an essential trace mineral required by the body in adequate amounts. If you suspect that your pet's diet does not provide them with adequate amounts of silicon, you may consider supplementation. As with any new supplement, you should discuss this option with your veterinarian before you begin.