It’s interesting to know that some help for joint pain exists right within our soil. Diatomaceous earth which contains silica can help with joint pain relief. It comes from diatoms which are tiny, fossilized skeletons of marine animals made up of silica. The deposits of these skeletons are found in the sediment of riverbeds, streams, lakes, and oceans and have accumulated over time.
Silicone is a single element, while silica is a compound made out of silicone and oxygen atoms, called silicon dioxide. Silica is abundant in the earth’s crust and is also present in our bodies. Silica is an important component of human ligaments, cartilage, and musculature, and it’s essential to healthy joints, teeth, and nails. Silica reduces inflammation in the joints, increases collagen production to lubricate the joints, and increases the elasticity of tissues to promote flexibility. It is also important to our fascia, which is comprised of collagen.
Silica within the diatomaceous earth is important for:
- Anti-aging-The silica and other minerals within it can help promote skin elasticity and potentially also reduce wrinkles.
- Providing trace minerals important for our joints and tissues.
- Detoxification to eliminate toxins and heavy metals to prevent heavy metal toxicity.
- Anti-parasitic to help eliminate parasites in the gut.
- Boosting collagen production-Collagen makes up the fibers of healthy joints, bones, hair, skin, nails, tendons, cartilage, and all connective tissue in your body. With age, the production of collagen begins to slow, so supplementation may be beneficial.
- Strengthens hair and nails.
- Bone formation-In younger women and men is positively associated with dietary silicon intake.1,2
- Decreasing inflammation to reduce joint pain and other inflammatory conditions.
- Increases bone volume and mass, leading to stronger bones and reduced fracture risk. While the exact role silica provides in bone health is unknown, it is thought to improve the synthesis and stabilization of collagen and its matrix mineralization. Copper and manganese in diatomaceous earth are also involved in the synthesis of the bone matrix.
- Promotes nutrient absorption in the digestive tract and helps to heal the gut
- Helps to maintain hormonal balance by regulating the balance of magnesium and calcium
- Provides magnesium, which is deficient in most individuals, to help prevent chronic inflammation which leads to many different chronic diseases.
Diatomaceous earth is used in many industrial applications. It is also used as a pesticide option for animals and plants as well. There are two forms of silica, crystalline, and non-crystalline. Crystalline silica is a bigger concern for our lungs. The most common form of crystalline silica is quartz, which is found in diatomaceous earth and other rock.
Silica is also found naturally in some foods such as whole grains, green beans, rice, cucumbers, and tomatoes. It is important to get the food-grade version of the diatomaceous earth for human consumption. Food-grade diatomaceous earth products contain less than 1% crystalline silica.
Considerations for use:
- Take care not to inhale the fine crystalline powder as it can lead to asthmatic reactions or irritation of the respiratory system. Industrial diatomaceous earth is toxic and of note, studies have reported a link between occupational exposure to silica and inhalation of crystalline forms that may induce silicosis in the lungs and the development of autoimmunity, including diseases such as Rheumatoid arthritis.3,4–6 Most diatomaceous contain very low levels of crystalline silicon dioxide according to the National Pesticide Information Center.
- Always dilute in water or other liquid such as juice or a smoothie.
- Take on an empty stomach, preferably in the morning, but at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after meals.
- Drink plenty of additional water during the day to enhance the effects.
- Use small amounts such as a teaspoon per day and work your way up to 2 tsp. a maximum of 1 Tablespoon.
- Cycle off for 10 days after every month of use
An alternative to buying a food-grade diatomaceous earth would be to buy a silica product such as Biosil®. This product contains a bioavailable form of silicon, known as orthosilicic acid (or OSA, which is, essentially, silica with attached water molecules) which is naturally found in a variety of foods and beverages and is a key ingredient in BioSil, and also includes a dietary supplement, choline. Orthosilicic acid (OSA) has been shown in studies to stimulate fibroblasts to secrete collagen type I.
Silica supplements should not be taken by children, pregnant women, or individuals with kidney disease. Always check with your healthcare provider regarding whether silica may interfere with any medication or condition.
1. Jugdaohsingh R, Anderson SHC, Tucker KL, et al. Dietary silicon intake and absorption. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2002;75(5). doi:10.1093/ajcn/75.5.887
2. Choi MK, Kim MH. Dietary Silicon Intake of Korean Young Adult Males and Its Relation to their Bone Status. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2017;176(1). doi:10.1007/s12011-016-0817-x
3. Pollard KM. Silica, silicosis, and autoimmunity. Front Immunol. 2016;7(MAR). doi:10.3389/fimmu.2016.00097
4. Merget R, Bauer T, Küpper H, et al. Health hazards due to the inhalation of amorphous silica. Arch Toxicol. 2002;75(11). doi:10.1007/s002040100266
5. Min YS, Kim MG, Ahn YS. Rheumatoid arthritis in silica-exposed workers. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021;18(23). doi:10.3390/ijerph182312776
6. Mehri F, Jenabi E, Bashirian S, Shahna FG, Khazaei S. The association Between Occupational Exposure to silica and Risk of Developing Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Meta-Analysis. Saf Health Work. 2020;11(2). doi:10.1016/j.shaw.2020.02.001
I am a Master’s prepared RN, National Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Board-Certified Functional Wellness Coach, and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner. I help people fix their chronic inflammation & pain with in-home lab testing, client assessments, personalized natural healing protocols, and online coaching to help them move from pain to peace so that they feel better, move better, and live better.