For me, silicon and more specific silicic acid is the primary substrate on which life developed billions of years ago. The first primitive organic molecules needed an original substrate in the oceans, a support for further development of primitive life over millions of years. At these times, there was a struggle between phosphor and silicon to form primary biological molecules and the oceans were more alkaline so that more silicates were solubilized.
All silicon on earth is burned so that all natural silicon is combined with oxygen. Natural silicon always contains single Si-O bounds. All other silicon molecules which are available nowadays, are artificial (Si-Si, Si-N, Si-C, Si-H, …) and can in organisms be converted to “biological active molecules“ interfering on a molecular level with substantial pathways in our body or other multicellular organisms. All these compounds and more specific all the new organic silicon compounds have nothing to do with silicic acid, on which live originated.
Silicic acid is the support molecule for life or “there is no life without silicic acid”. It is our structural compound which gives the strength to our body, helping all supporting structures such as bones, connective tissue, cell walls, collagen, all kinds of organic polymers made from protein fibers, polysaccharides, glycoproteins. It introduces flexibility in organisms and combines strength with flexibility as it does in Bamboo. It introduces protection in all kinds of surface layers by crosslinking support molecules and closing the holes. It protects “developing systems”. All embryonic systems contain very high concentrations of silicic acid. By still unknown mechanisms, it regulates the absorption of other minerals and acids. It is the contact molecule of organic material with water as in the primitive oceans. It regulates water capacity!
The presence of OSA is crucial for all live because silicic acid is only absorbed by cell organisms (plants, animals, humans) through OSA.
The most simple of all silicic acids is ortho silicic acid : Si(OH)4 (“OSA”). The presence of OSA is crucial for all live because silicic acid is only absorbed by cell organisms (plants, animals, humans) through OSA. OSA is the MOST NEGLECTED molecule. Because silicon is so abundant on earth, most scientists think that there is no need any more for this molecule. Indeed there is silicon, but there is no OSA. It is also the MOST TRIGGERED molecule because natural OSA found in mineral water or ground water at low concentrations is attacked by a lot of so called “newly introduced molecules” or molecules which have never been there before, inducing precipitation, polymerization and neutralization of OSA resulting in poor absorption by living organisms. OSA is a NEUTRAL ACID in which the big silicon atom is surrounded by four non-reactive hydroxyl (OH) functions. The acid does not dissociate in anions because the pK values are all above 9.4 so that at all physiological conditions the molecule does not change.
Two OSA molecules easily react with each other loosing water by forming -Si-O-Si- bridges. OSA is the most hydrated form of silicic acid. (One Si molecule contains 2 molecules of water). Further reaction with OSA results in bigger and bigger silicic acid molecules with loss of more water. Quartz is a fully polymerized OSA crystal not containing water. Opal, formed merely by diatoms (eukaryotic omnipresent algae in the ocean and essential in the silicon cycle on earth) and sponges, are less dehydrated than quartz.
Opal is also more soluble than quartz. As you can see, OSA can easily expand into polymers and MAKES BRIDGES AND FILLS THE HOLES in order to give more protection against infiltration and to make tissues stronger and more flexible. The solubility of free OSA in water is limited so that organisms must constantly adsorb new OSA mostly by consuming OSA rich water or greens. OSA can polymerize at all pH values into non-bioavailable silicic acids. Plants absorb mainly OSA though the roots by active or passive transport. Plants and soil microbes secrete organic acids which can solubilize silicates into OSA. This process is naturally slow and influenced by neutralizing and polymer inducing substances used in modern agriculture and industrial derived water polluents resulting in low OSA bioavailibility. This is even more so for plants especially in modern hydroculture techniques where no soil is available.
There is ample evidence now that OSA plays a very important role in plants, it enhances : the growth, mechanical strength, resistance to fungi, other microbes and insects and detoxification, and it supports mineral nutrition especially in unbalanced media. Silicon also plays an important role in helping the plant to survive in extreme conditions such as high temperatures. So it contributes to the strength and thickness of the cell wall, to erect the plant for more light supply, to protect against pests, increases root formation, induces higher chlorophyl concentrations in leafs, regulates available CO2 and decreases leaf and flower senescence, etc. Annually 200 – 800 kg Si per hectare is removed from the soil by plants (leaching – migration and adsorption) in open air, traditional agriculture. Therefore and especially as natural protector and growth enhancer different attempts were made to supply modern plants systems with silicon : silicates, metasilicates, zeolites, clays, etc. In all of these supplements, the content of OSA is mostly low and the OSA delivery is not reproducible, i.e. it depends on specific situations.
There is ample evidence now that OSA plays a very important role in plants, it enhances : the growth, mechanical strength, resistance to fungi, other microbes and insects and detoxification, and it supports mineral nutrition especially in unbalanced media.
For animals and humans the silicic acid supply as import or by plant is even more important because during evolution different physiological systems evolved which are silicon dependent. The same OSA molecule is needed for absorption and transportation in the body.
From different studies and own observations we know that OSA is essential as structural compound for bones, cartilage, hair, nails, organs and as a basic element in the development. The concentration of Si is high in aorta, trachea, tendons, ligaments, bone tissue, cartilage tissue, dermis, spleen, pancreas, cornea, sclera and in all connective tissue rich in glycoproteins, collagen or proteoglycans. Silicon as OSA provides links within and between polysaccharide chains of glycosaminoglycans (GAG’s) and also helps link GAG’s to their respective protein. OSA contributes thus to the form, strength, resilience and flexibility of all connective tissue and protein polymer structures in our body. All these extra-cellular matrices contain also similar macromolecules found on cell surfaces as anchorage molecules and receptors. These structures containing protein polymers and polysaccharides closely connected, are also places for residence and passage of regulating substances such as hormones, nutrients, gases, growth factors, etc. All these highly biological active substances which control completely our cell metabolism have to migrate through all these layers from their production and secretion site on until they are absorbed by a specific cell tissue. The presence of OSA in these transfers and exchanges of these controlling molecules is very important and may play a role in maintaining a healthy condition. So, it is possible that OSA as silicic acid neutralizes or retards some substances: the presence of silicic acid also influences the migration of cells into tissues or vessels and delays the penetration of external substances such as allergens and toxic components.
SILICON WEAKNESS occurs when silicon poor food is ingested (e.g. modern food, low servings of fruit and vegetables, purified food, modern agricultural food) or non-mineral water is consumed. The first signs in animals are reduced skeletal growth, bone deformation, thinner cartilage, malformed joints, adverse effects on skin, hair, nails and mucous membranes. Silicon absorption slows down at adult formation and at older ages when individual deficient absorption occurs. As for other minerals a constant daily supply of OSA is necessary. Meat and dairy products contain low concentrations silicic acids and we don’t know if tap water is a reproducible source of OSA. It all depends on the water purification steps and the additives (chlorine, fluorine, …). Consequences of low OSA supply can be : increased ageing process of tissues, decreased elasticity and strength of blood vessels, decreased cell metabolism and altered cell structure, increased inflammation, impaired water balance, osteoporosis, cartilage problems, bone malformation, decreased immunological response, enhanced metal toxicity, tendon weakness, increased allergic reactions, formation of weak connective tissue, nails, hair, feathers, fur, hoofs, eggs, decreased injury recovery, etc.
Every day, humans excrete more than 15 mg of silicon and in human milk the silicon concentration is higher than copper, iron or strontium. It is clear that OSA is the central molecule in silicon metabolism for all organisms and therefore supply of standardized OSA is preferable. In the past decade, I developed such a form as a liquid. Choline, another natural molecule, which plays an important role in lipid metabolism and is part of most phospholipids of cell membranes, highly water soluble and a strong water attractant, was used as stabilizing agent inhibiting polymerization of OSA. The water molecule between two OSA molecules balances continuously between choline and OSA; between opal and OSA. It is simultaneously liquid opal and OSA. During dilution, free OSA is generated!
For the first time, it is now possible to use a highly concentrated and standardized form of bioavailable OSA at concentrations which exceed 20,000 times the concentration of OSA in mineral water at the source. The role of this molecule for plants, animals, and humans becomes every year more and more important just by using it complementary to a normal diet. It is at least an ANTI-WEAKNESS COMPOUND with tremendous benefit evolving into a real therapeutic. But what’s in a name!
Dirk Vanden Berghe
Professor Faculty of Pharmacy University of Antwerp,