What Is Silica?
What is silica? Well, in nature, you’ll find silica taking the form of quartz or sand. Silica (aka Silicon dioxide or SiO2) occurs naturally in the earth’s crust. It can also be found in the planet’s water sources, its animals, and even in various kinds of plants. Furthermore, silicates (any member of a family of negatively charged ions made up of both silicon and oxygen) are also naturally consumed as a part of the human diet.1
But silica has found another purpose within the pharmaceutical industry. In fact, silica has several different uses when it comes to tablet-making for supplements. For instance, it is sometimes employed as an adsorbent (that means it can allow any number of liquids, gasses, or dissolved solids to adhere to it). Sometimes, silica is utilized as a disintegrant, causing therapeutic substances to disintegrate and release when they come into contact with water. Moreover, silica appears to be biologically inert. It is viewed as safe by the FDA.2
Silicon and oxygen are two of the earth’s most abundant natural compounds. In fact, silicon dioxide is the second most abundant element in the earth’s crust.3
In the earth’s water sources, however, silicon is somewhat scarce. But here’s what’s so interesting: several microorganisms are able to extract dissolved silica from their aqueous habitats and deposit it into their skeletons in a relatively insoluble form.4
History Of Silica
Swedish scientist Baron Jöns Jacob Berzelius is credited with the discovery of silica in 1823. He deemed silicon an element and discovered it while preparing elementary silicon from potassium fluosilicate. Not only did Berzelius study silicon’s properties, but he also converted it to silicon dioxide by combustion. This proved it was a compound. Berzelius named the new element silicium (which he derived from the Latin word for “quartz”).5
Silicon dioxide is one of the most useful elements on the planet. It’s not only used in supplements, but it is also employed in electronics, ceramics, construction materials, and glass.6