Dr. Robert Cook - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Robert Cook

Is Silica Bad For You?

Also Known As: silicon dioxide, SiO2



Short answer

Silica can have great benefits for your health, but there are a few concerns to watch for if you have existing medical conditions.



Long answer

Silica certainly has its place in healthcare, but there are many people that should make the decision to add it to their diet with the consultation of their doctor.  Silica is also known as silicon dioxide and is often used a filler in prescription medications outside of its availability as a nutritional supplement on its own.

Many healthcare providers see the benefits of silica as a stabilizer in the body’s tissues as it balances calcium and magnesium, and is a necessary component of building collagen. Its use in building collagen is especially noteworthy, as this means not only a strong body with healthy skin and bones but healthy blood vessels as well. It may even boost your immune system! Silica is made from the herb horsetail (Equisetum) which has also long been used to soothe inflammation and to remedy kidney and bladder issues.

There are some cautions that should be noted when taking a silica supplement, though. Those with certain health conditions such as diabetes and alcoholism should be careful when taking silica. It can also enhance (to a dangerous point) some medications when taken in combination.

Silica lowers your blood sugar, so those with diabetes should discuss the best dosage of both their diabetes medication and their silica supplement with their doctor before taking. 

Taking a silica supplement can also cause a vitamin B1 deficiency. This can be particularly dangerous if you have problems with alcoholism. Alcohol directly inhibits the intestines ability to absorb thiamin (B1) by acting on the gene receptors that pull the vitamin into the cells. Silica supplementation will make this deficiency worse.

Silica also acts as a diuretic, which can be dangerous for anyone taking a “water pill.” Taking both together can lead to dehydration from the excessive water loss in the body, which can also cause electrolyte imbalance. Potassium is typically the most affected by this situation, as levels become very low. Potassium deficiency can cause muscle weakness, muscle cramps, fatigue, and constipation, along with arrhythmias. The risk of chromium poisoning is also increased when chromium containing supplements or herbs like brewer’s yeast are combined with silica. Talking with your doctor or pharmacist is always a good idea when adding supplements to your diet regardless of if you take medications or not. You never know, and it’s better to be safe!

Aside from its healthcare uses, silica is also used to manufacture ceramics and cast iron and as an anti-coagulant in food production.

Possible short-term side effects

  • decreased blood sugar
  • vitamin b1 deficiency
  • potassium deficiency
  • dehydration
  • electrolyte imbalance
  • muscle cramps or weakness
  • chromium poisoning


  • promotes:
  • collagen production
  • healthy skin
  • healthy blood vessels
  • healthy immune system
  • kidney and bladder health
  • reduced inflammation

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Kristin Brown, DC, MS
Published on: 07-13-2016
Last updated: 12-10-2016

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Kristin Brown, DC, MS
Published on: 07-13-2016
Last updated: 12-10-2016

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