Bioactive Silicon Improves Aged Skin & Reduces Wrinkling

Excerpted from an article by Richard A. Passwater, Ph.D.,

and Richard Passwater, Jr., from the April 2005 edition of Whole Food.

Contrary to popular belief, beauty does come from within. Yet our respect for this fact about skin runs as shallow at the proverbial surface. Exterior—or epidermis—skin beauty and health is determined by what is going on in the underlying tissue—dermis and hypodermis.Moisturizing lotions (though a good daily practice) are of little help comparatively to aged, wrinkled, and dry skin to what is achieved by internal nourishment.

The Skin

As the largest organ in the body, comprising 15-20% of an adult's total body weight, skin performs several vital functions. Foremost, it serves as a protective barrier between internal organs and external environment. Healthy skin impedes the penetration of micro-organisms, which can cause infection, and it protects against irritants. It can also act as a red flag since many health problems are reflected in the skin, particularly nutritional deficiencies.

What we perceive as "beautiful skin" is smooth and resiliently tight (elastic). This is a function of collagen (the main skin protein) and water content. Collagen production is not merely a matter of eating the right proteins and amino acids, but also the nutrients that facilitate collagen production, such as silicon and vitamin C. Collagen production must be properly supported with collagen-based links and aldehyde links, and not improperly cross-linked by random free-radical damage. Thus, collagen and water content are silicon-dependent.

Silicon's Role

In bioactive form, silicon is of great importance to our health in several ways. A new clinical study verifies that silicon's systematic absorption of bioactive silicon, as choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid (ch-OSA), produces immediate and observable results. These measurable indicators include improved nail appearance and healthier osteoporosisresistant bones. In this 20-week study, shallow wrinkles improved by up to 30% and skin elasticity by 55%. Because it was taken internally, improvement in the skin was apparent over the entire body. In addition, there was a significant reduction of brittleness in nails and hair. Plus, new information now exists on how silicon works to bring about these benefits.

This information includes diet. Many people are silicon-deficient, which results in rough, dry wrinkled skin. Proper support by underlying connective tissue is essential for skin function. Connective tissue is composed of cells that produce the fibrous protein matrixes of collagen and elastin, as well as the hydrated (water-retaining) network of amino-sugars called glycoaminoglycans (GAG). Silicon is an essential element of connective tissue as it determines the quality of the cells connected with its structure. Silicon is believed to act as a crosslinking agent, which stabilizes the GAG network to improve hydration and skin texture.

The bioactive form of silicon, ch-OSA, provides chemical links within and between polysaccharide chains of GAG, including glucosamine, hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulfate, and other GAGs. These silicon links formed by ch-OSA are important not only to structural strength, but also to skin health, making it appear smoother, firmer, and more youthful.


Most think of wrinkles as being caused by aging. However, time alone has no effect on skin. People of the same age do not all have identically wrinkled skin. The exposure of skin to sunlight increases free-radical damage and the cross-linking of skin proteins accumulated over time. It's a product of the rate of reactions (intensity) and length of time of exposure. Antioxidant deficiency also increases the rate of wrinkling.

So wrinkles are modifications of the skin surface occurring with age and exposure. The severity of these changes in an individual depends on genetic tendency, skin photo-type, and exposure to environmental factors. Wrinkles arise because of a modification in dermis structure (less collagen versus younger skin) and because of a decrease in the amount of water held by the epidermis, leading to indentations on the surface.

Thus, skin health is dependent on skin nourishment, which is effectively achieved by dietary ch-OSA, as that found in Jarrow Formulas' BioSil. Animal studies show that silicon deficiencies cause collagen deficiencies, including bone deformities. Results from previous animal studies show that a 5% increase in dietary silicon as stabilized ch-OSA biologically amplifies collagen production by 12% in the dermis because silicon affects the enzymes that produce collagen rather than becoming a part of the collagen structure.

This relationship between silicon and enzyme activity was learned within the past few years. Enzymes are not consumed in reactions but serve as reusable catalysts that cause the reactions to occur. So enzymes required for collagen production are small in comparison to all of the collagen that they make. But, if the actions of these two enzymes are impaired by silicon deficiencies, the difference in collagen production can be great. Conversely, a small amount of additional dietary ch-OSA to stimulate or facilitate the efficiency of these two enzymes can significantly improve collagen production and lead to firmer, smoother skin.

Bio-active silicon yields favorable results associated with connective tissue health, is important for optimal collagen synthesis, and crucial for activating the hydroxylation enzymes for cross-linking collagen, which improves the strength of collagen and wrinkle reduction. To maintain youthful-looking, healthy skin, pay attention to what you put in your body to produce the results you seek on your face.