A publication in the journal Endothelium 13 : 17 – 23, 2006
“Dietary Silicon Modifies the Characteristics of Endothelial Dilation in Rat Aorta” found that dietary silica in the form of Orthosilicic Acid (OSA), the bioavailable and bioabsorbable specie, activiate endothelial cells by producing Endothelial Derived Hyperpolarizing Factor (EDHF) which help in the regulation of vascular tone. This is one of the way, OSA could be helpful in keeping blood vessel walls healthy.
Not surprising finding as many earlier researchers have shown OSA to have antiatherosclerotic effect.
For example, T J Bassler commented in British medical Journal 8 April 1978 page 919 that Schwarz et al (Inverse relation of silicon in drinking water and atherosclerosis in Finland, Lancet 1977 March 5 ; 1 (8010) : 538 -9 ) have reported higher levels of silicon (OSA) in the hard water of West Finland. They studied private wells in areas of high and low incidence of heart disease. Hard water had twice the silicon content of soft water.
They suggested that “the silicon (OSA) in drinking water may have a determining effect on atherosclerosis”. This would support the “Schawrz hypothesis” which cited human necropsy studies which showed an inverse relation between tissue levels of silicon (OSA) and the degree of atherosclerosis and arthritis.
Silicon (OSA) plays a role in connective-tissue aging by forming –O-Si-O- bridges and adding to the stability of collagen. Dietary sources of silicon (OSA) as reported by Schwarz, include hard water and fibre (cereal bran, alfalfa and pectius ).
T J Basler went on to say that his interest in the “Schwarz hypothesis” was stimulated by his analysis of hair samples from cardiac patients. He submitted samples from cardiac patients, marathon runners and patients who were in exercise rehabilitation programmes.
Some cardiac patients who were disabled by musculoskeletal injuries during training had “very low” levels of silicon (OSA) (under 4 ppm). Normal levels were found in champion marathon runners (over 20 ppm). Patients who were supplementing their diets with bran and alfalfa had elevated levels (up to 100 ppm).
These results suggest that silicon (OSA) is the “hard water factor” and the “food fibre factor”. Cardiac patients are now advised to increase their fibre intake until their stools float. 102 cardiac patients have “graduated” from rehabilitation programmes by running 42 km. If Schwarz is correct, the high intake of Silicon (OSA) will “protect” against both arthritis and atherosclerosis.
Interesting, this author also postulated that the increased frequency of atherosclerosis (heart attack) and hypertension (high blood pressure) all over the world, could be due to the lack of Si (OSA) in refined and processed foods that we consumed.