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Open Access Research

Silicon balance in human volunteers; a pilot study to establish the variance in silicon excretion versus intake

Supannee Pruksa1, Atitaya Siripinyanond2, Jonathan J Powell3 and Ravin Jugdaohsingh3*

Author Affiliations

1 Faculty of Science and Technology, Loei Rajabhat University, Loei-Chiangkan Road, A. Muang, Loei 42000, Thailand

2 Applied Analytical and Inorganic Chemistry Program, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Rajthevee, Bangkok 10400, Thailand

3 MRC Human Nutrition Research, Elsie Widdowson Laboratory, Fulbourn Road, Cambridge CB1 9NL, UK

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Nutrition & Metabolism 2014, 11:4  doi:10.1186/1743-7075-11-4

Published: 9 January 2014



Accumulating evidence suggests a role for silicon in optimal connective tissue health. Further proof of its importance/essentiality may be provided by studies involving imposed depletion followed by 29Si challenge to estimate metabolic balance. Prior to conducting these expensive studies, we first established the variance of estimating normal Si excretion versus intake using a single oral dose of typical dietary Si, orthosilicic acid.


Healthy volunteers were recruited from Loei Rajabhat University, separated into two matched groups (three males and three females/group) and maintained on a standardized diet for the three study days. One group ingested 500 ml water containing orthosilicic acid (28.9 mg Si) and the other group received 500 ml water alone, all on a fasted stomach. Blood samples and total urine and faeces were collected over the 48 h post-dose period and 24 h before-hand (baseline) and analysed for silicon by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry.


Serum Si analysis confirmed the ready absorption of silicon from the orthosilicic acid solution. Mean total urinary and faecal Si excretions over the 24 h post-dose period accounted for 57 ± 9.5% and 39 ± 9.4% of the ingested dose, respectively. Thus in total 96.3 ± 5.8% of the ingested dose was recovered in faecal plus urinary excretions over the 24 h post-dose period.


We report that in healthy subjects (presumably in Si balance), the ingestion of a soluble dose of dietary Si results in the same quantity (within analytical error) being excreted within 24 h. It is currently not known if this all originated from the dose solution or if there was some exchange with the body Si pool but, given the low variance in these silicon balance data, isotopic studies are now merited.

Silicon; Orthosilicic acid; Absorption; Balance studies; Urine; Faeces