Why a sandbag might be the perfect health tonic

The Good Life Letter 

4th June 2017

Scientists are beginning to understand how poor nutrition and declining levels of activity are destroying our bodies from the inside.

Scary thought isn’t it, but failing bone health will result in over 200,000 hospitalisations this year in the UK alone.

Low bone mass is termed as osteoporosis (or osteopenia in its early stages when the levels of mineral are decreased but the structure of the bone is yet to be affected) and is being dubbed the silent epidemic of the 21st century.

Understanding the factors which affect bone metabolism is thus of primary importance to establish preventative measures or treatments for this condition. Nutrition is an important determinant of bone health, but the effects of individual nutrients and minerals, other than calcium, is little understood.

Mention osteoporosis to your GP, health nurse, pharmacist or type it into Google and you will be showered with information about calcium supplementation and maybe at a push someone will mention magnesium – which is also vital (more to come in a later letter dear reader).

It seems like the only answer to this debilitating and even life-threatening condition is to force more calcium into your diet, but new thinking is beginning to suggest that this is way too simplistic.

Today I want to share with you the reason why we should all be getting the nutritional equivalent of a sandbag wall put in place to save our joints and bones – and many other important parts of our bodies too!

The reason is because sand is composed largely of silica, an oxidised form of silicon and it is this which scientists have been getting excited about over the past few years.

Rapidly accumulating evidence over the last 10 years strongly suggests that dietary silicon is beneficial to bone and connective tissue health, and although no-one is entirely sure how it acts, major studies in the UK and US have shown huge benefits from supplementation.

So, am I about to suggest that you should be making lunch from sand? Well no, because that’s not what your body needs and it would also cause your teeth to wear away which is not a desirable outcome.

Here’s how you can get bio-available silicon naturally

Please don’t confuse silica with silicone...

Silicon is the second most abundant element on earth (after oxygen for which it has a huge affinity) so it’s not hard to come by in one form or another.

The problem is that some forms are not available to us for use in our bodies.

Leaving aside the whole issue of creating artificially pneumatic women using silicone implants and the well documented health risks of poor quality materials… if you want to get the benefits of silicon you need to choose your source wisely.

We encounter silicon in plant derived foods such as flour, oatmeal and even beer (hurrah!) but there is little in meat or dairy products, so a good balanced diet is a start.

The problem is that not much of the mineral is available to us when we need it and the body has very poor reserves stored.

Under trial conditions it has been found that silicon in the form of silicic acid is readily available to the body – it has even been officially recognised by the European Food Standards Agency(1).

Silicon has a surprising number of health benefits including:

  • Preventing hair loss; a diet rich in silicon encourages the growth of thick and healthy hair. It also increases the lustre and shine of hair.
  • Promotes healthy bone and ligaments; silicon plays a vital role in assisting calcium for the growth and maintenance of joints and bones. It induces flexibility in the bones by increasing the amount of collagen, which is the protein component of bones.
  • Maintains healthy skin and prevents brittle nails; silicon helps in improving the quality of nails and protecting them against several nail infections. In addition, it prevents the skin from becoming flabby, restores the natural glow and actually improves healing when skin is damaged.
  • Protects the cardiovascular system; silicon has been found to prevent the formation of damaging plaques and helps prevent atherosclerotic damage to the heart and major blood vessels.

Still think sand is overrated? Read more about silicon here

So, getting a daily tonic of stable, bioavailable silicic acid is a good idea especially if it also contains a combination of essential elements including boron, sulphur, selenium, zinc, calcium and magnesium.

The expert’s view

Supplements often come in for criticism, especially from those who believe we get enough of what we need from a balanced diet, however, silicon is not something that all of us find easy to deal with in its natural form.

Natural health and nutrition expert Dr Sarah Brewer explains:

“The highest concentration of Silicon in the body is found in connective tissues such as ligaments, tendons and cartilage.
This is because it is essential to strengthen structural proteins such as Collagen and Elastin, which are essential for healthy bones and joints. Silicon also encourages the deposition of Calcium into bones, keeping them healthy and strong.”
“If you do not absorb enough Silicon from your diet, then joint health is likely to be affected. The formation of new, strong joint cartilage is reduced and bones can become more brittle.”
“A liquid Silicon supplement, in an easily absorbable form, helps to increase the levels of Silicon in the body and helps to keep bones and joints healthy.”

Could an end to painful joints and ligaments really be that simple? Well there are now a series of scientific trials that support the fact that silicon both prevents joint erosion and helps heal damaged tissue.

This is something very few other compounds can do – even the highly popular glucosamine can’t claim to benefit our joints in the way silicon does and certainly does not have the support of researchers to back it up.

Silicon on the other hand has been finding favour in many circles of orthopaedic specialisms where results have exceeded those of more expensive and invasive treatment options.

I also know of three people who have suffered the daily agony of rheumatoid arthritis who now swear by the restorative and pain-relieving effects of liquid silicon supplements – and they have tried many other remedies before settling on this.

If you want to know more about silicon and the body click here

Yours, as always



(1) F. Aguilar, U.R. Charrondiere, B. Dusemund, P. Galtier, J. Gilbert, D.M. Gott, S. Grilli, R. Guertler, G.E.N. Kass, J. Koenig, C. Lambré, J-C. Larsen, J-C. Leblanc, A. Mortensen, D. Parent-Massin, I. Pratt, I.M.C.M. Rietjens, I. Stankovic, P. Tobback, T. Verguieva, R.A. Woutersen. (2009) Choline-stabilised orthosilicic acid added for nutritional purposes to food supplements. The EFSA Journal (2009) 948, 1-23


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