Calcium, Magnesium, Silica and Boron
Their Combined Roles in Maintaining Bone Strength

According to a study published in the July, 2004 issue of Archives of InternalMedicine, the number of North Americans diagnosed with osteoporosis surged sevenfold over the past decade. As of 2003, there were an estimated 3.6 million Americans who had been diagnosed with osteoporosis, compared with half a million in 1994, according to the study by Stanford University researchers. Also, the number of doctor visits for the condition jumped to 6.3 million last year from 1.3 million in 1994.

Osteoporosis is second only to cardiovascular disease as a leading health care problem, according to the World Health Organization. Worldwide, the lifetime risk for a woman to have an osteoporotic fracture is 30-40 per cent, yet in seven major countries - France, Germany, Italy, the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain and Japan – less than half of women with osteoporosis are diagnosed, according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) In the next 50 years, the number of hip fractures for both men and women will more than double. This means the need for prevention is more urgent than ever.

This significant research clearly illustrates that the dietary recommendations by leading government and industry groups is doing nothing to prevent the growing incidence of osteoporosis. Indeed, this ‘taken for granted’ approach to preventing osteoporosis is actually contributing to the accelerating incidence of this debilitating disease. The promotion of milk (with government approval) as a good source of calcium and an important factor in maintaining strong bones is a highly deceptive marketing tactic, not based on science, which only serves to enrich the coffers of the dairy industry at the expense of the health of millions.

Dairy products offer a false sense of security to those concerned about osteoporosis. In countries where dairy products are not generally consumed, there is actually less osteoporosis than in the United States and Canada. Studies have shown little effect of dairy products on osteoporosis 1. The Harvard Nurses Study followed 78,000 women for a 12-year period and found that milk did not protect against bone fractures. Indeed, those who drank three glasses of milk per day had more fractures than those who rarely drank milk 2. Another study comparing bone loss in the lumbar spine in perimenopausal women showed that the control group who supplemented the diet with whey protein (a milk protein), significant bone loss occurred. The researchers at Iowa State University concluded that regular consumption of milk proteins such as whey could increase the lifetime risk of osteoporosis 3.

Calcium is only one of many factors that affect the bone. Other factors include hormones, phosphorus, boron, silica, exercise, smoking, alcohol and drugs. Protein is also important in calcium balance. Diets that are rich in protein, particularly animal protein such as in milk, actually encourage calcium loss 4, 5, 6.

Another common fallacy promoted by the pharmaceutical industry, and given lip service by the health food industry, is the promotion of calcium carbonate and other inorganic forms of calcium as a preventative for osteoporosis. There is absolutely no scientific evidence that taking calcium carbonate (Tums, and other OTC antacids as well as oyster shell, dolomite, coral calcium or calcium hydroxyapatite or combinations containing them, have any bearing on the incidence of osteoporosis. Again, if these popular supplements (used by millions) had any effect on osteoporosis, then a decline in osteoporosis should be evident rather than a 7-fold increase over the last 10 years.

Clearly, a more scientific approach to address this problem is required. It is obvious that current dietary recommendations are not working. From a dietary supplement perspective, we must look at all of the nutritional co-factors involved in bone density and bone mass. Besides calcium, the role of magnesium, silica and boron as well as vitamin D and K must be considered. And when we consider calcium and the other minerals we must consider the more bio-available forms such as amino acid chelates rather than the inorganic carbonates or oxides.

An effective dietary supplement to help deal with bone health must include calcium, magnesium, silica and boron in organic form as well as vitamin D and K. Of course, other lifestyle factors are also important such as regular exercise, not smoking, and reduction of animal protein. Strong bones throughout our lifetime is possible if we make the right choices early enough.

  1. Riggs BL, Wahner HM, Melton J, RichelsonLS, Judd HL, O’Fallon M. Dietary Calcium Intake and Rates of Bone Loss in Women. J Clin Invest 1987:80:079-82
  2. Feskanich D, Willett WC, Stampfer MJ, Colditz GTA. Milk, Dietary Calcium and Bone Fractures in Women: a 12-Year Prospective Study. Am J Publ Health 1997;87:992-7
  3. D Lee Alekel, Alison St Germaine, Charles T Peterson, Kathy B Hansen, Jeanne W Stewart, and Toshiya Toda. “Isoflavone-rich soy protein isolates attenuates bone loss in the lumbar spine of perimenopausal women”. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;72:884-52
  4. Zemel MB . Role of the sulfur-containing amino acids in protein-induced hypoercalciuria in men. J Nutr 1981; 111:553
  5. Hegsted M. Urinary calcium and calcium balance in young men as affected by levels of protein and phosphorus intake. J Nutr 1981; 111:553
  6. Marsh AG, Sanchez TV, Mickelsen O, Keiser J, Mayor G. Cortical bone density of adult lacto-ovo-vegetarians and omnivorous women. J Am Dietic Asso. 1980;76:148-51


It is estimated that 68 percent of North Americans are not getting enough calcium and that 75 percent of North Americans are deficient in magnesium 1. You have also heard the old saying: "You are what you eat". A more correct version of that saying should be: "You are what you absorb". A mineral that is not absorbed cannot get into the bones to strengthen them. The amount absorbed is more important than the quantity consumed.

In the case of calcium and magnesium, there is widespread use of inorganic forms of these minerals for supplementation, such as calcium carbonate or magnesium oxide (oyster shells, dolomite, calcium hydroxyaptite or coral calcium). Yet by properly combining [chelating] calcium with an amino acid [a component of protein] to create an organic chelate, 57 percent more replacement calcium was delivered to the bones than with inorganic calcium 1. Another example is magnesium, which is absorbed 87 percent when properly chelated, but only absorbed 16 percent when taken in an inorganic non-chelated form such as magnesium oxide 1. Chelated minerals provide 3 to 10 times greater absorption than the non-chelated ones.

Chelated minerals are bound by and incorporated in the structure of an amino acid molecule. Since they are bound to an organic amino acid, they are, by definition, now organic and more easily absorbed. Chelate comes from the Latin chele, meaning “to bind” An example of a chelated mineral is found inside the haemoglobin molecule, where the mineral iron is tightly bound by the surrounding heme and globin molecules. Most chelated minerals are bound to amino acid molecules. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are actively absorbed from the intestinal tract when we ingest them. “Actively absorbed”, means that our gastrointestinal (GI) tract has specific receptors and carrier molecules that transport amino acids into the bloodstream. The mineral chelated to the amino acid is simultaneously absorbed into the bloodstream along with the amino acid. After entering the bloodstream, the mineral is able to break free from the amino acid carrier, and to recombine into the many forms required by our metabolism. Likewise, the carrier amino acid can now combine with other amino acids to form new proteins 2.

Note: Many manufactures simply mix protein with inorganic minerals and pass them off as chelates, or they add a small amount of chelate to the inorganic mineral to give the impression that the entire mineral is chelated. This is deceptive marketing with profit, not the health of the consumer, as the motive. Amino acid chelates are manufactured by a sophisticated process where the mineral is reacted with the amino acid to form an organic bond. For a more complete technical description of mineral chelates visit

  1. Graff, D., Research on Mineral Absoprtion, Weber State University, International Conference on Human Nutrition, 1995
  2. Grossman, T. M.D. “Chelated Minerals” Nature’s Impact Dec/Jan 1997/98


Both calcium and magnesium are involved in numerous metabolic functions and are absolutely essential for the maintenance of a healthy body.

Calcium is considered the backbone mineral because of its role in the formation of skeleton and teeth.  Magnesium is called the natural tranquilizer due to its relaxing action on nerves and muscles.  Some biological functions and the therapeutic uses of these minerals are shown below:

  • Development and maintenance of bones and teeth (about 99% of body calcium is in bones and teeth)
  • Blood clotting
  • Muscle contraction and relaxation
  • Transmission of nerve impulses
  • Enzyme activation for production of gastric juices
  • Fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism
  • pH balance
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Reduces risk of kidney stones
  • Development of bones (about 70% of body magnesium is in bones)
  • Activates and regulates over 3000 enzymes involved in energy production respiration and bio-chemical reactions
  • Transmission of nerve impulses and release of nerve tension
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Regulation of body temperature acting as detoxifying and chelating agent for the liver
  • pH balance
  • Crucial in glucose metabolism
  • Absorption and utilization of calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, vitamins C, E, & D.

Both minerals require each other for their absorption and utilization and must be provided in adequate amounts.  Depending upon the physiological environment, there are cases in which the roles of these two minerals are antagonistic to each other.   Magnesium is located inside the cell (intra-cellular) while calcium is predominantly located outside the cell (extra-cellular).  Consequently, the role of magnesium in intracellular metabolic functions, such as energy production, respiration, and muscle contraction-relaxation is antagonistic to calcium.


The heart is a muscle and its primary function is to pump blood throughout the body.   The heart is composed of billions of cells, each of which works as an electrochemical generator, and contains both calcium and magnesium.  On the outer surface of the heart cells, thin fibers made of a substance called "actin", continually expand and contract in unison with the heartbeat.  The actin fibers are stimulated by calcium, and then relaxed by magnesium.  An electrical charge produced by magnesium then pushes the calcium to the opposite side of the cell.  Thus, calcium helps to produce the heartbeat, and magnesium regulates it.


Several researchers have shown that a heart failure involves drastic changes in the concentration of cardiac electrolytes 1. During cardiac stress, some of the magnesium is moved out of the cell accompanied by an influx of calcium into the cell.   Thus, the cardiac muscle shows a 20% decrease in magnesium and a 4 1/2 fold increase in myocardial calcium 2. The loss of magnesium and an influx of calcium seriously disrupts the energy potential of the affected muscle 3.  The situation can be prevented by increasing the level of magnesium.  In clinical practice, intravenous or intramuscular administration of magnesium salts has proven very useful and is highly regarded 4. It is known that magnesium therapy is the most effective to protect myocardial integrity during cardiac arrest 4, 5.  It is interesting to note that in Canadian surveys of post-mortem tissue composition, about 24% less magnesium was found in ischemic hearts than in non-cardiac cases 6.


A highly dietary intake of magnesium has been attributed to why heart disease is virtually unknown among Bantu tribesman of South Africa while the disease is prevalent among white South Africans.  Clinical studies have revealed that the Bantu's serum magnesium level is about 11% higher than in the white South Africans.  The Bantu's high dietary intake of magnesium is largely attributable to intake of unrefined cereals such as maize meal, which has a high magnesium content and also has a high fiber content 12. Also, it has been shown that the ability of high-fat diets to induce atherclerosis is prevented by a high magnesium dietary regime 7.

HYPERTENSION (High Blood Pressure)

For many years, hypertension has been associated with sodium.  Consequently, the disorder is treated by substituting potassium in the diet.  However, most of us do not realize that magnesium is also considered a well-known vasodilator.  The anti-hypertensive effect of magnesium is achieved by a direct effect on the vascular wall or is mediated through the central nervous system 8. Magnesium competes with calcium for binding sites and the net result is that magnesium reduces the calcium-induced contractions.  It is well established that magnesium infusions can cause vasodilation and reduce hypertension in humans 9.

UROLITHIASIS (Kidney Stones)

Canadians appear to have a very high incident of kidney stones and the occurence is particularly high in Newfoundland 11, 12. In U.S., South Carolina has the highest urolithiasis rate.  South Carolina also has the highest U.S. rate for cardivascular deaths 10. Both Newfoundland and South Carolina regions have "very soft" drinking waters with little magnesium 11.

In Canada, calcium urolithiasis accounts for 70 to 80% of the total kidney-stone problems 12. In the U.S., about 67% of all kidney stones are composed of calcium oxalate or calcium hydroxyapatite 11.

Several researchers have used the magnesium/calcium ratio as an index of susceptibility of urine to form kidney-stones in patients 10, 13, 14. In general, patients with a urinary magnesium/calcium ratio of 0.7 is normal, whereas a value lower than 0.7 may be considered as stone-forming.  The ratio is especially low in the Canadian "Kidney Stone Patients", indicating inadequate magnesium intake.

Oral magnesium supplementation has proven effective in the prevention of kidney-stone formation 14.


Magnesium deficiency has a primary role in sudden unexpected infant-death syndrome.   The sequence-of-events are as follows:

Magnesium deficiency causes calcium-dependant release of histamine which, in turn, induces increased release of acetylcholine (especially at high calcium/magnesium ratio). The increased amount of acetylcholine leads to symptoms of neuromuscular hyperirritability and convulsions that can lead to reduced heart rate 15.

The sudden-death syndrome is puzzling since no recognizable allergens are involved.   The symptoms are acute respiratory distress and includes bronchospasm, shortness of breath, and eventual circulatory collapse.  Hypomagnesemia is observed throughout this syndrome.  Therefore, the role of magnesium in the infant-death syndrome is very significant.


The recommended dietary allowance for magnesium is 300 to 450 mg/day.  There are several factors including pregnancy, rapid growth, or a high intake of protein, vitamin D, calcium, fat, carbohydrates or alcohol, that will increase the requirement for magnesium.

Surveys of dietary magnesium intake from different countries show a prevalence of lower magnesium intake than the desired levels.  In Newfoundland, the intake is only 50% of the recommended amount 16, 17. Other reports 40 show that hospital and institutional diets contain only 61 and 68% of the recommended intake, respectively.   In other studies 18, 19, it was found that the intake for pregnant women was only 45 to 60% of the recommended allowances.  There is definite evidence that magnesium intake is suboptimal or marginally inadequate in regions of the Western World 20. The occurrence of hypomagnesemia in humans, due to low magnesium intake and due in part to factors such as, prolonged use of diuretics, alcoholism, pregnancy etc., have been shown to be more prevalent that generally believed 21.


Drinking water can significantly contribute to magnesium intake and hard waters can supply 9 to 29% of the daily magnesium intake 23. Because of the metabolic antagonism between magnesium and calcium, the ratio between these two minerals in the drinking water is of considerable significance.  In a survey of 25 U.S. cities, the lowest death rates from coronary disease were found in areas where the drinking waters supplied more magnesium and less calcium than the U.S. average 24.

Australia has the highest cardiovascular death rate in the world and also consumes some of the worlds softest drinking waters 60. On the other hand, the Western region of Texas has the hardest drinking waters and the lowest cardiovascular mortality rates in the United States 25.

The relationship between death rates from coronary heart disease and the dietary calcium/magnesium ratio in several countries is shown in the following figure:

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Relationship between death rates from coronary heart disease and the average dietary calcium/magnesium ratio in several countries 26.

The high mortality rate in Finland is associated with a high calcium/magnesium ratio 26, while the low mortality rate in Japan is related to a low calcium/magnesium ratio as well as to the "protective" effect conferred by the alkalinity (carbonate-biocarbonate content) of water.


From the information presented here it is apparent that the ratio between calcium to magnesium is very important in dealing with the causes and prevention of a number of disorders including myocardial infraction or arrhythmia, atherosclerosis, hypertension, urolithiasis, and infant-death syndrome.  In all cases, a lower calcium/magnesium ratio or a higher magnesium/calcium ratio is desirable.  This need is further underscored by the fact that magnesium intake is generally suboptimal and that hypomagnesmia is more prevalent than generally believed.

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for calcium is 800-1200 mg/day, whereas for magnesium it is 400-450 mg/day.  Only about one-third of magnesium is absorbed from dietary sources.  Therefore, many researchers recommend an intake of 1200 mg/day 22. The traditional ratio of approximately 2 parts calcium to 1 part magnesium needs to be upgraded to increase magnesium intake in view of the overwhelming beneficial role of magnesium.  The ideal ratio for most people's needs is an equal ratio of calcium and magnesium.

The absorption and metabolism of calcium and magnesium is one of mutual dependence, and therefore, the balance between these two minerals is especially important.  If calcium consumption is high, magnesium intake needs to be high also. The trace mineral Boron (B) also plays a part in preventing urinary loss of calcium and magnesium and Silicon (Si) aids in calcium absorption.  


A common misunderstanding amongst both healthcare professionals and the general public is that the daily requirement of calcium should be taken in supplemental form. In other words, many doctors suggest taking 1200mg a day of calcium from a supplement such as calcium carbonate. There is a great deal of risk in this approach, as it does not take into account the average daily intake of calcium from the diet. A supplement is just that, a supplement, to the average dietary intake of calcium - to bring the total intake of calcium to the optimum. Osteo-Rx suggests taking three tablets daily to bring the TOTAL dietary intake of calcium and magnesium to the ideal. The majority of North Americans ingest more than enough calcium from the diet, but the intake of magnesium and silicon is often inadequate. The most common problem is lack of calcium absorption, not the amount of calcium ingested. Calcium absorption depends on many factors including the type of calcium used e.g. carbonate, citrate or chelate, the amount of protein in the diet and co-factors such as magnesium, boron, silica and vitamin D. The danger of too much calcium in the diet can lead to plaque on the arteries and kidney and gallstones. It is probably just as well that the excess calcium ingested in supplement form is usually the poorly absorbed calcium carbonate, which acts mainly as an antacid but provides little if any calcium to the bones.


  1. Seelig, M.S.. 1972 Recent Advances in Studies on Cardiac Structure and Metabolism. Vol. 1: Myocardiology. Publ. By University Park Press, London, Baltimore. Pp 615-638
  2. Matyushin, I.F. and Samartseva, T.F. 1972. Kardiologiya 12(3): 1963-69.
  3. Levin, R.M., Haugaard, N. and Hess, M.E. 1969. Biochem. Pharmacol. 25: 1963-69
  4. Petrie, R.H. et al. 1978. Amer. J. Obstetr. Gynecol. 130: 294-299
  5. Hearse, D.J., Stewart, D.A. and Braimbridge, M.V. 1978. J. Thoracic Cardiovasc. Surg. 75: 877-885
  6. Anderson , T.W., et al. 1975. Canada Med. Association J. 113: 199-203
  7. Thrivikraman, K.V. and George, S. 1972. J. Animal Morphol. 19: 196-204.
  8. Szelenyi, I. 1973. World Rev. Nutr. Diet. 17: 189-224.
  9. Singh, R.B. et al. 1976. Acta Cardiol. 31: 401-409 and 221-226.
  10. Mukai, T. and Howard, J.E. 1963. Bull. Johns Hopkins Hosp. 112(5) 279-290.
  11. Churchill, D.N. et al. 1978. Annuals Internal Med 88: 513-514.
  12. Yendt, E.R. and Cohanim, M. 1978. Canada Medical Association. J. 118: 755-758.
  13. Bastian, H.P. and Vahlensieck, W. 1975. Europ. Urol. 1: 235-237.
  14. Gershoff, S.N. and Prien, E.L. 1967. Amer. J. Clin. M. Nutr. 20: 393-399.
  15. Cadell, J.L. 1972. Lancet, Aug 5, pp 258-262
  16. Neri, L.C. and Marier, J.R. 1978. In: Proc Symp June. Bloomington, Minnosota.
  17. Fodor, J.G. Pfiffer, G.J. and Papezik, V.S. 1973. by. Canada Medical Association. J. 108: 1369-1373
  18. Ash, J.R., Schofield, F.A. and Gram, M.R. 1979 J. Clin. Nutr. 32: 286-291.
  19. Hankin, J.H., Margen, S. and Goldsmith, N.F. 1970. J. Amer. Dite. Assoc. 56: 212-224.
  20. Schroeder, H.A. 1966. J. Amer. Med. Assoc. 195: 81/125-85/129.
  21. Dawson, E.B. et al. 1978. Amer. J. Clin. Nut. 31: 1188-1197.
  22. Karpmannen, H., Pennanen, R. and Passinen, L. 1978. Adv. Cardiol. 25: 9-24
  23. Seelig, M.S. 1978. Cardiovasc. Med. June. Pp 637-650.
  24. Anderson , T.W. 1977. Nova Scotia Med. Bull. Apr. pp 58-61.
  25. Becking, G.C. and Morrison, A.B. 1970. Biochem. Pharmacol. 19: 2939.
  26. Ashmead, D. Chelated Mineral Nutrition. 1981. Publ. By Institute Publishers, Huntington Beach, Calf.


Vitamin D is necessary to enhance calcium absorption.  Vitamin D works with the parathyroid hormone "PTH" to regulate the amount of calcium in the blood. It also stimulates the production of a calcium binding protein (CABP) in the intestinal wall, which helps absorption.

Functions of Vitamin D

Functions as a hormone; stimulates synthesis of calcium & phosphorus binding proteins that increase absorption of these minerals: regulates absorption & metabolism of calcium & phosphorous: acts in conjunction with parathyroid hormone to stimulate release of calcium from bone into blood: stimulates re-absorption of calcium & phosphorus from the kidneys.  


Osteo-Rx is formulated with a greenfood base of alfalfa, spirulina and barley grass juice powder to provide important trace minerals, vitamins and enzymes. Alfalfa in particular supplies a rich natural source of vitamin K.

Vitamin K also, called Menadione, is a very important fat-soluble vitamin that plays a key role in the regulation of normal blood clotting functions. We get vitamin K from several sources in our diet including dark leafy vegetables. Numerous studies indicate that vitamin K plays a role in bone formation and preventing osteoporosis. Vitamin K also assists in converting glucose into glycogen for storage in the liver.


A recent study conducted by a consortium of scientists, including the Harvard Medical School Division on Ageing, has found that Silica intake is a major dietary determinant of bone mineral density in humans. Optimal bone health depends upon silicon as well as calcium. The best-documented function of silicon is that it facilitates bone calcification and bone mineralization. This feature is an important benefit to those with ageing bones 1.

  1. Seaborn, C.D. and Neilson, F.H., "Silicon: A Nutritional Beneficence for Bones, Brains and Blood Vessels," Nutrition Today, July/August 1993.

Silica is an essential trace mineral that plays a biological role in the processes by which bone, cartilage, connective tissue and skin are formed and is a component of collagen.

Both silica and zinc are important for the repair of tissues.  Silica is also important in helping calcium to be absorbed.   Ensuring that these minerals are in your diet is a way to potentially decrease the time it takes to heal from a fracture

Silica is an element required for the proper functioning of the enzyme prolyhydroxylase. This enzyme functions in the formation of collagen in bone, cartilage, and connective tissue. Silica is also a natural diuretic.*

Research shows that skeletal diseases such as osteomalacia (bad bones), osteoporosis (porous bones and/or spontaneous fractures, as well as shrinkage) although caused by a calcium deficiency, do not respond to calcium therapy alone. Research conducted in Paris, France by noted biophysicist Louis Kervan, and in the United States by Dr. Richard Barmakian shows that fractured bones did not heal at all when high amounts of calcium were present. They heal fair to poorly when moderate amounts of calcium were present. But they heal extremely well when relatively low amounts of calcium were present with an abundance of silica.

Silica is a vital mineral that is almost completely overlooked by mainstream nutritionists. We are born with an abundance of silica and relatively low amounts of calcium. Then with every advancement in chronological age, the amount of calcium increases and the amount of silica decreases within the body. This is exactly what happens in the ageing process. As our silica supply diminishes, the soft tissues become stiff and lose elasticity. They become over calcified!

Additionally, there is a relationship between silica and the rate of aluminum concentration in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients. Many research projects point to the fact that a deficiency of silica in the diet is the causal effect of the increased absorption of aluminum into the body and its ultimate accumulation into the synapses of the brain.

Studies at UCLA and other research institutions have proven that silicon is an essential element required for the normal growth, development and integrity of hair, skin, nails, arteries, bones, cartilage and connective tissue. Optimal bone health depends upon silicon as well as calcium.

Recent studies examining Silica's role in human health have revealed that Silica performs multiple roles in the body. In fact some studies suggest that insufficient levels of Silica may play a role in several common ailments:

Hair, Skin and Nails - A recent research study, conducted in Finland, demonstrated that silica supplementation could significantly improve the quality and appearance of hair, skin and nails. In this 90 day study, half of the subjects with thin or brittle hair reported a complete improvement in their condition, half of those with brittle nails reported a significant improvement, and a majority of the subjects with aged skin showed an increase in dermal thickness and appearance.

Osteoporosis - Silicon deficiency in animals leads to bone defects. A recent study conducted by a consortium of scientists, including the Harvard Medical School Division on Aging, has found that Silica intake is a major dietary determinant of bone mineral density in humans.

Alzheimer's - Some evidence suggests that aluminum may increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's. Silica has been found to significantly reduce the absorption of aluminum by the body, and researchers hypothesize that dietary Silica may therefore reduce the risk of developing aluminum induced Alzheimer's.

Atherosclerosis - Animal studies indicate that Silica reduces the formation of atherosclerotic plaques. There is a low incidence of atherosclerosis in less developed countries where foods are not heavily processed before consumption. However, in Western diets the foods are more heavily processed, which removes much of the Silica - and atherosclerosis is much higher. This fact has led some researchers to hypothesize that the lower incidence of atherosclerosis in less developed countries may be attributed to the higher levels of Silica in their diet.

With age, the levels of Silica decline in the body. In our youth, our tissues absorb and maintain high levels of silica and simultaneously our bodies remain flexible, resilient, and energetic with soft supple skin. When we age, our Silica levels decrease and we begin to exhibit other signs of ageing such as dry skin, lack of energy and slower healing. It is believed that Silica supplementation may be a part of this solution to ageing. Maintaining a regular supply of Silica to our bodies as we age should help us to maintain a more youthful state and to live our lives in minimal pain.

Silica may also be important in bone calcification since large concentrations of silica have been found in growing bone.* Silica is also found in high concentration in the skin and hair, further implicating it its role in promoting structural health.*

Studies have shown that minerals play many roles in the metabolic activities that strengthen bone, cartilage, and other connective tissues.* Unfortunately, many of the foods we eat have lost their nutritional value due to soil nutrient depletion, food processing and cooking. Silica aids in replenishing missing minerals to help boost the body processes needed for promoting structural health.*

Silica works in synergy with boron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and ascorbic acid, and supports bones, arteries, connective tissue, healthy hair, skin, and nails. Bone cannot re-mineralize and repair itself if enough Silica is not present.

  1. Researchers Sullivan and Volcani (USA) at Columbia University (1973) concluded that silica is an essential nutrient.
  2. Dr. C. L. Kervran ( France) found silica to have a direct relationship with the absorption of all minerals, especially calcium.
  3. Holt and Osborne (USA) demonstrated in their research the essential role silica has in maintaining supple skin.
  4. Drs. Kervran and Monceaux (France) found that with silica supplementation fragile nails became normal in a relatively short time period.


  1. Kaufmann, Klaus, Silica: The Forgotten Nutrient, Alive books, 1990.
  2. Neilson, F.H., Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine 60:177-95, 1984.
  3. Schneider, Dr. Johannes, "Silica: A Vital Element for Good Health," Focus on Nutrition No. 10, Journal of Health and Nutrition, 1990
  4. Seaborn, C.D. and Neilson, F.H., "Silicon: A Nutritional Beneficence for Bones, Brains and Blood Vessels," Nutrition Today, July/August 1993.
  5. Cichoke AJ Silica: nature's health-giving mighty-mite. Townsend Letter 1995
  6. Garnick JJ. Singh B. Winkley G. Effectiveness of a medicament containing silicon dioxide, aloe, and allantoin on aphthous stomatitis. Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology, & Endodontics. 86(5): 550-6, 1998
  7. Garson LR. Kirchner LK. Organosilicon entities as prophylactic and therapeutic agents. [Review] [180 refs] Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 60(8): 1113-27, 1971
  8. Lassus A. The effect of silicol gel compared with placebo on papulopustular acne and sebum production. A double-blind study. Journal of International Medical Research. 24(4): 340-4, 1996
  9. Oberbaum M. Markovits R. Weisman Z. Kalinkevits A. Bentwich Z. [Wound healing by homeopathic silica dilutions in mice]. [Hebrew] Harefuah. 123(3-4):79-82, 156, 1992
  10. Rathjen AH. Letter: Silicone. JAMA. 235(22):2391, 1976
  11. Schiano A. Eisinger F. Detolle P. Laponche AM. Brisou B. Eisinger J. [Silicon, bone tissue and immunity]. [French] Revue du Rhumatisme et des Maladies Osteo-Articulaires. 46(7-9): 483-6, 1979 July


The mineral boron may retard bone loss 1. Since osteoporosis is occuring in larger numbers of the population, this is important news. Bones have osteoclasts that break down old or damaged bone cells, while the osteoblasts work to replace the lost bone. Osteoporosis occurs when the osteoblasts cannot replace lost bone tissue as fast as the osteoclasts break it down. Osteoclasts deplete bone at a faster rate after menopause, leaving women at a greater risk of bone degradation. Boron appears to have a moderating effect on this process.

  1. Newnham, Ph.D., D.O., Rex E.   Journal of Applied Nutrition, (Volume 46, Issue 3, 1994)

The following data indicates that boron is essential for magnesium and calcium metabolism

The effect of boron supplementation on its urinary excretion and selected cardiovascular risk factors in healthy male subjects.

Naghii MR, Samman S
. Department of Biochemistry, University of Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Boron (B) is an essential trace element for plants and its interrelationship with mineral and bone metabolism and endocrine function in humans has been proposed. Relatively little is known about the occurrence of B in the food chain and hence a biomarker, which reflects its intake is required. Two studies were carried out to quantify the urinary B concentration of subjects consuming their habitual diet and the effect of supplementation. In addition, the effect of supplementation on plasma lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations and susceptibility to oxidation and plasma steroid hormones were determined. Boron excretion, obtained on two different occasions from 18 healthy male subjects, was found to be in the range 0.35-3.53 mg/day, with no significant difference between the two occasions. Supplementation with 10 mg B/d for 4 wk resulted in 84% of the supplemented dose being recovered in the urine. Plasma estradiol concentrations increased significantly as a result of supplementation (51.9 +/- 21.4 to 73.9 +/- 22.2 pmol/L; p < 0.004) and there was a trend for plasma testosterone levels to be increased. However, there was no difference in plasma lipids or the oxidizability of low-density lipoprotein. Our studies suggest that the absorption efficiency of B is very high and estimation of the urinary B concentration may provide a useful reflection of B intake. In addition, the elevation of endogenous estrogen as a result of supplementation suggests a protective role for B in atherosclerosis.

The following study shows that boron supplementation increases estradiol and testosterone suggesting that boron might be deficient in hyperthyroidism. Additionally boron was shown to decrease plasma concentrations of calcium. High calcium levels may be associated with increased heart rate. Since calcium and magnesium act as antagonists, this reduction of calcium by boron may allow magnesium levels to rise and thereby lower the heart rate and muscle cramps.

Additionally boron was shown to increase plasma copper, copper-zinc super oxide dismutase (SOD is one of the body's most important free radical scavengers), and ceruloplasmin (a protein which transports copper). Here is direct evidence that boron is essential for copper metabolism and therefore quite probably for the correction of hyperthyroidism and possibly hypothyroidism.

Furthermore, the study offers a possible explanation for why estrogen may slow thyroid function: it increases plasma copper, SOD, and ceruloplasmin. Boron also increased these variables whether estrogen was administered or not. 

Biochemical and physiologic consequences of boron deprivation in humans.

Nielsen FH. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Grand Forks, North Dakota 58202-9034.

Boron deprivation experiments with humans have yielded some persuasive findings for the hypothesis that boron is an essential nutrient. In the first nutritional study with humans involving boron, 12 postmenopausal women first were fed a diet that provided 0.25 mg boron/2000 kcal for 119 days, and then were fed the same diet with a boron supplement of 3 mg boron/day for 48 days. The boron supplementation reduced the total plasma concentration of calcium and the urinary excretions of calcium and magnesium, and elevated the serum concentrations of 17 beta-estradiol and testosterone. This study was followed by one in which five men over the age of 45, four postmenopausal women, and five postmenopausal women on estrogen therapy were fed a boron-low diet (0.23 mg/2000 kcal) for 63 days, and then fed the same diet supplemented with 3 mg boron/day for 49 days. The diet was low in magnesium (115 mg/2000 kcal) and marginally adequate in copper (1.6 mg/2000 kcal) throughout the study. This experiment found higher erythrocyte super oxide dismutase, serum enzymatic ceruloplasmin, and plasma copper during boron repletion than boron depletion . The design of the most recent experiment was the same as the second study, except this time the diet was adequate in magnesium and copper. Estrogen therapy increased plasma copper and serum 17 beta-estradiol concentrations; the increases were depressed by boron deprivation . Estrogen ingestion also increased serum immunoreactive ceruloplasmin and erythrocyte super oxide dismutase; these variables also were higher during boron repletion than depletion for all subjects, not just those ingesting estrogen.

Following is the original USDA study that showed that boron supplementation increases estrogen and testosterone in postmenopausal women. The study also showed that boron "markedly reduced the urinary excretion of calcium and magnesium," interacts with magnesium metabolism, and the boron effects were not negated by a high intake of aluminum (1000 mg per da y). It seems as though boron conserves magnesium and calcium, prevents the bone demineralization, and protects against osteoporosis.

Effect of dietary boron on mineral, estrogen, and testosterone metabolism in postmenopausal women.

Nielsen FH, Hunt CD, Mullen LM, Hunt JR. United States Department of Agriculture, Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, North Dakota 58202.

A study was done to examine the effects of aluminum, magnesium, and boron on major mineral metabolism in postmenopausal women. This communication describes some of the effects of dietary boron on 12 women between the ages of 48 and 82 housed in a metabolic unit. A boron supplement of 3 mg/day markedly affected several indices of mineral metabolism of seven women consuming a low-magnesium diet and five women consuming a diet adequate in magnesium; the women had consumed a conventional diet supplying about 0.25 mg boron/day for 119 days. Boron supplementation markedly reduced the urinary excretion of calcium and magnesium ; the depression seemed more marked when dietary magnesium was low. Boron supplementation depressed the urinary excretion of phosphorus by the low-magnesium, but not by the adequate-magnesium, women. Boron supplementation markedly elevated the serum concentrations of 17 beta-estradiol and testosterone; the elevation seemed more marked when dietary magnesium was low. Neither high dietary aluminum (1000 mg/day) nor an interaction between boron and aluminum affected the variablespresented. The findings suggest that supplementation of a low-boron diet with an amount of boron commonly found in diets high in fruits and vegetables induces changes in postmenopausal women consistent with the prevention of calcium loss and bone demineralization.

Additional studies on boron

Interest in boron as a naturally occurring trace element nutrient from the food supply is increasing. Mounting evidence suggests that boron is essential to human beings. This study explores the major food and beverage contributors of boron and estimates of daily boron intake from the American diet. Previous estimates in the literature of dietary boron consumption are based on limited foods and population segments. In this study we provide a more comprehensive assessment of boron consumption by the US population. A boron nutrient database of 1,944 individual foods was developed. These foods represent 95.3% by weight of all foods consumed in the US Department of Agriculture 1989-1991 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals (1989-1991 CSFII). The Boron Nutrient Database (version 1.0) was then linked to the 3-day food records of 11,009 respondents to the 1989-1991 CSFII to generate the average daily boron intake for each person. The weighted 5th percentile, median, mean, and 95th percentile boron intakes, respectively, are 0.43, 1.02, 1.17 and 2.42 mg/day for men; 0.33, 0.83, 0.96 and 1.94 mg/day for women; and 0.40, 0.86, 1.01 and 2.18 mg/day for pregnant women. For vegetarian adults, these intakes are 0.46, 1.30, 1.47 and 2.74 mg/day for men and 0.33, 1.00, 1.29 and 4.18 mg/day for women. The top 2 boron contributors, coffee and milk, are low in boron, yet they make up 12% of the total boron intake by virtue of the volume consumed. Among the top 50 boron contributors, peanut butter, wine, raisins, peanuts, and other nuts are high in boron. As more data become available on daily boron requirements, the results of this study may be used to assess whether Americans' daily intake of boron is adequate.

The justification for providing dietary guidance for the nutritional intake of boron.

Nielsen FH. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center, ND 58202-9034, USA.

Because a biochemical function has not been defined for boron (B), its nutritional essentiality has not been firmly established. Nonetheless, dietary guidance should be formulated for B, because it has demonstrated beneficial, if not essential, effects in both animals and humans. Intakes of B commonly found with diets abundant in fruits, vegetables, legumes, pulses, and nuts have effects construed to be beneficial in macro-mineral, energy, nitrogen, and reactive oxygen metabolism, in addition to enhancing the response to estrogen therapy and improving psychomotor skills and
cognitive processes of attention and memory. Perhaps the best-documented beneficial effect of B is on calcium (Ca) metabolism or utilization, and thus bone calcification and maintenance. The paradigm emerging for the provision of dietary guidance that includes consideration of the total health effects of a nutrient, not just the prevention of a deficiency disease, has resulted in dietary guidance for chromium (Cr) and fluoride; both of these elements have beneficial effects in humans, but neither has a defined biochemical function. Knowledge of B nutritional effects in humans equals or is superior to that of Cr and fluoride; thus, establishing a dietary reference intake for B is justified. An analysis of both human and animal data suggests that an acceptable safe range of population mean intakes of B for adults could well be 1-13 mg/d. Recent findings indicate that a significant number of people do not consistently consume more than 1 mg B/d; this suggests that B could be a practical nutritional or clinical concern. There have been numerous studies on the role of boron in various animal and plant models, but the following references on the nutritional role of Boron in human subjects are more meaningful in the real world of human health.

BORON: 19 Citations

  1. Wallace JM, Hannon-Fletcher MP, Robson PJ, Gilmore WS, Hubbard SA, Strain, JJ.
    Boron supplementation and activated factor VII in healthy men. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2002 Nov;56 (11):1102-7. PMID: 12428176
  2. Schaafsma A, de Vries PJ, Saris WH. Delay of natural bone loss by higher intakes of specific minerals and vitamins.Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2001 May; 41(4):225-49. Review. PMID: 11401244
  3. Stacewicz-Sapuntzakis M, Bowen PE, Hussain EA, Damayanti-Wood BI, Farnsworth NR.
    Chemical composition and potential health effects of prunes: a functional food? Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2001 May; 41(4):251-86. Review. PMID: 11401245
  4. Gaby AR. Natural treatments for osteoarthritis.Altern Med Rev. 1999 Oct; 4(5):330-41. Review. PMID: 10559548
  5. Naghii MR. The significance of dietary boron, with particular reference to athletes.Nutr Health. 1999;13 (1):31-7. Review. PMID: 10376277
  6. Sayli BS. An assessment of fertility in boron-exposed Turkish subpopulations: Evidence that boron has no effect on human reproduction.Biol Trace Elem Res. 1998 Winter, 66 (1-3):409-22. PMID: 10050934
  7. Penland JG. The importance of boron nutrition for brain and psychological function.Biol Trace Elem Res. 1998 Winter, 66 (1-3):299-317. Review. PMID: 10050926
  8. Samman S, Naghii MR, Lyons Wall PM, Verus AP. The nutritional and metabolic effects of boron in humans and animals.Biol Trace Elem Res. 1998 Winter, 66 (1-3):227-35. Review. PMID: 10050922
  9. Hunt CD. Regulation of enzymatic activity: one possible role of dietary boron in higher animals and humans.Biol Trace Elem Res. 1998 Winter, 66 (1-3):205-25. Review. PMID: 10050921
  10. Sutherland B, Strong P, King JC. Determining human dietary requirements for boron.
    Biol Trace Elem Res. 1998 Winter, 66 (1-3):193-204. PMID: 10050920
  11. Hunt CD, Herbel JL, Nielsen FH. M Metabolic responses of postmenopausal women to supplemental dietary boron and aluminum during usual and low magnesium intake: boron, calcium, and magnesium absorption and retention and blood mineral concentrations. Am J Clin Nutr. 1997 Mar, 65 (3):803-13. PMID: 9062533
  12. Naghii MR, Samman S. The effect of boron supplementation on its urinary excretion and selected cardiovascular risk factors in healthy male subjects.Biol Trace Elem Res. 1997 Mar;56(3):273-86. PMID: 9197924
  13. Naghii MR, Wall PM, Samman S. The boron content of selected foods and the estimation of its daily intake among free-living subjects.J Am Coll Nutr. 1996 Dec;15(6):614-9. PMID: 8951740
  14. Meacham SL, Taper LJ, Volpe SL. Effect of boron supplementation on blood and urinary calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, and urinary boron in athletic and sedentary women.
    Am J Clin Nutr. 1995 Feb, 61 (2):341-5. PMID: 7840072
  15. Penland JG. Dietary boron, brain function, and cognitive performance.Environ Health Perspect. 1994 Nov, 102 Suppl 7:65-72. PMID: 7889884
  16. Newnham RE. Essentiality of boron for healthy bones and joints.
    Environ Health Perspect. 1994 Nov; 102 Suppl 7:83-5. PMID: 7889887
  17. Meacham SL, Taper LJ, Volpe SL. Effects of boron supplementation on bone mineral density and dietary, blood, and urinary calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and boron in female athletes.Environ Health Perspect. 1994 Nov; 102 Suppl 7:79-82. PMID: 7889886
  18. Nielsen FH. New Essential Trace Elements for the Life Sciences.
    Biol Trace Elem Res. 1990 Jul-Dec.26-27: 599-611. PMID: 1704767
  19. Nielsen FH, Hunt CD, Mullen LM, Hunt JR. Effect of dietary boron on mineral, estrogen, and testosterone metabolism in postmenopausal women.FASEB J. 1987 Nov; 1(5): 394-7. PMID: 3678698


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