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How Harmful is Silicon Dioxide?

DANIEL

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Nov 10, 2020
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Found in many Thorne Research supplements.

I ask because they seem to be a good company otherwise.

I've heard some people say it's dangerous to the gut lining, others say it's not a big deal.

From Thorne's website:

"Silicon dioxide

Also known as silica, is a naturally-occurring compound that contains silicon, a mineral that is ubiquitous in nature and found in many foods, especially those high in fiber, and, because it is necessary for bone growth and maturation, it is also often added to nutritional supplements designed for bone support.

Silicon dioxide is used to control moisture content and to help powders flow into capsules. Although silicon is sometimes confused with silicone (the synthetic substance used in breast implants), there is no chemical similarity between these two substances."
 

RealNeat

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request and read "particles in context" newsletter and it might help understand this subject
 

boris

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It's dangerous because of it's size. Nanoparticles can travel through your gut freely and enter cells. It's potentially genotoxic.


This is about carbon black (size 85-500nm)

Silicon Dioxide possibly has particles smaller than 100nm
Re‐evaluation of silicon dioxide (E 551) as a food additive
"silicon‐containing material (in some cases presumed to be silicon dioxide) was found in some tissues"
 
Last edited:

DANIEL

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It's dangerous because of it's size. Nanoparticles can travel through your gut freely and enter cells. It's potentially genotoxic.


This is about carbon black (size 85-500nm)

Silicon Dioxide possibly has particles smaller than 100nm
Re‐evaluation of silicon dioxide (E 551) as a food additive
"silicon‐containing material (in some cases presumed to be silicon dioxide) was found in some tissues"
Thanks. It's a shame that Thorne uses it, then. They'd be better off using organic rice flour as a filler or even magnesium stearate, which a lot of people demonize.
 
Last edited:

GenericName86

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It's dangerous because of it's size. Nanoparticles can travel through your gut freely and enter cells. It's potentially genotoxic.


This is about carbon black (size 85-500nm)

Silicon Dioxide possibly has particles smaller than 100nm
Re‐evaluation of silicon dioxide (E 551) as a food additive
"silicon‐containing material (in some cases presumed to be silicon dioxide) was found in some tissues"
Oh geez, I'm probably pretty screwed then. I dare say a lot of supplements I've used have had silicon dioxide.
 

boris

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Oct 1, 2019
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Oh geez, I'm probably pretty screwed then. I dare say a lot of supplements I've used have had silicon dioxide.

Nanoparticles are all around us, I think it's more about reducing unnecessary exposure. Our bodies are designed to handle a certain amount from natural sources.

@RealNeat does Peat go more into detail about acceptable amounts or if our bodies get rid of them after stopping to ingest them?
 

Tarmander

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It is sand

Ever eat sand?

If you take supplements, you have to avoid it.

I am not sure if it has been nano-ized or not
 

DANIEL

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It is sand

Ever eat sand?

If you take supplements, you have to avoid it.

I am not sure if it has been nano-ized or not
Yup, crazy that it's allowed to be added in the first place.

Just found this article on it.

EFSA raises red flag for silicon dioxide safety over nanoparticles

"The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) cannot give food additive silicon dioxide the safety all clear because it may contain nano-sized particles, and has urged the Commission to change the specifications."

It's hard to find a good, balanced B-complex or zinc bisglycinate supplement that doesn't have unnecessary fillers.
 

Mastemah

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My brother (not a health/fitness guy) moonlighted in a major supplement factory for a year. He said the ideas about silicon dioxide having health benefits in supps was bs. He said theres a significant difference in how its found in food and that its used in supps because it allows you to make more pills per hour without machines jamming.
 

boris

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My brother (not a health/fitness guy) moonlighted in a major supplement factory for a year. He said the ideas about silicon dioxide having health benefits in supps was bs. He said theres a significant difference in how its found in food and that its used in supps because it allows you to make more pills per hour without machines jamming.

Yes, it's to make the powder flow better. They put nanoparticles into powdered milk now too, for basically the same reason, to avoid clumping. They don't even have to declare it on the package. Simply insane.
 

michael94

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Yes, it's to make the powder flow better. They put nanoparticles into powdered milk now too, for basically the same reason, to avoid clumping. They don't even have to declare it on the package. Simply insane.
wow
 

boris

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I checked it again, and I have to say I am not sure that this is true for milk powder. But still....

Certain ENMs [engineered nanomaterials] are exempted and they are not required to be included in the list of ingredients (Art. 20 of the Regulation on the Provision of Food Information to Consumers) when they are:
 Food additives or food enzymes contained in one or more ingredients of that food (carry- over principle) and if they serve no technological function in the finished product or are used as processing aids;
 Carriers and substances which are not food additives;
 Substances used as processing aids which are not food additives and which are still present
in the finished product, even if in an altered form.


And:
Nanomaterials
44. In 2017, an official laboratory analysed 110 food samples for the presence of nanoparticles (silicon dioxide E551, iron oxide E172 and titanium dioxide E171). 33 samples were ingredients, raw materials or intermediate products used to manufacture food and 77 samples were final products.
45. The CCA informed the audit team that based on the laboratory analysis 47 samples contained nanoparticles. Only one of the samples indicated the presence of nano- ingredient on the label.
 

gaze

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they also replaced asbestos with silica as a safer alternative, but now it's coming out that silicosis from inhaling silica dust is just as bad or worse then asbestosis or mesothelioma. industry does not care about people's health, all the safety claims are BS
 

boris

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CHAPTER 4: HEALTH AND SAFETY

Known risk factors associated with nanomaterials

4.1. The application of nanotechnologies to the food sector offers potential benefits (see Chapter 3). But concerns have also been raised about possible health and safety risks to consumers. Whilst much of the discussion is about potential risks, some instances of actual health consequences have been reported. For example, one study found that multi-walled carbon nanotubes injected into rodents caused lesions in the peritoneal (abdominal) cavity not dissimilar to those that occur in the pleural (lung) cavity with asbestos exposure.12 Another report published in 2009 described immune responses to foreign bodies and the collection of fluid in the lung cavity following exposure by inhalation to polyacrylate nanoparticles.13 We received no evidence, however, of instances where ingested nanomaterials have harmed human health.

4.2. The novel properties of nanomaterials may affect how such materials interact with the body and the risks they present to human health. A report, by the European Union Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR), published in 2009, listed a number of physical and chemical properties which affect the risk associated with nanomaterials.14 The evidence we received focused on six properties that may be particularly relevant when considering how nanomaterials interact with the body after they have been ingested and enter the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract.

4.3. Nanomaterials offer a vast range of different properties, and the risks they present will vary accordingly. While some types of nanomaterials may well pose little threat to human health (pp 112, 335) others may prove to be more hazardous.

Size
4.4. The small size of nanomaterials may give rise to a risk to human health irrespective of any other novel properties. Dr Qasim Chaudhry, Senior Scientist at DEFRA’s Food and Environment Research Agency, explained that: “Cellular barriers prevent the entry of larger insoluble particulate material; but nanoparticles, because of their very small size, can override that” (Q 215). The MRC Collaborative Centre for Human Nutrition Research reported that, as a rough guide, particles smaller than 100nm “will be taken up by cells through a different pathway to that of larger particles, meaning that they will access different cellular compartments and have different cellular effects” (p 113). Research indicates that nanoparticles are able to penetrate cell membranes of the lining cells of the gut (the epithelium) (p 111). If they pass through the entire epithelium they will enter either the tissue wall of the gut, or lymphatic vessels, or directly into the bloodstream, either as free particles or, following their ingestion, into circulating white blood cells.

4.5. The exceptional mobility of nanomaterials, both inside and outside cells, gives them the potential to “access all areas of the body, even the brain and all areas of the cell, including even the nucleus. It is this … property”, suggested the MRC Collaborative Centre for Human Nutrition Research, “that probably makes very small nanoparticles most worrisome to scientists” (p 113). Professor Vyvyan Howard, Professor of Bio-imaging at the University of Ulster and an adviser to the Soil Association agreed (Q 283). Professor Ken Donaldson, Professor of Respiratory Toxicology at the University of Edinburgh, described his work on the impact of nanoparticles in the lungs: “there is a hypothesis that there is also translocation of … nanoparticles to the blood and the brain”, and although “there is no evidence currently that the translocation of nanoparticles out of the lung occurs in humans or leads to any adverse effect … it is possible, even likely” (p 101).

Solubility and persistence
4.6. Another concern is whether ingested nanomaterials which can enter cells and migrate to different parts of the body will accumulate in certain organs. The question is whether a nanomaterial entering the body is broken down into its constituent parts (and either metabolised or the components excreted), in which case its toxicity is related to its chemical composition rather than its size (Q 215), or whether it enters the gut with the novel properties associated with the nanoscale intact. In Dr Chaudhry’s view, “if nanomaterials are solubilised, digested or degraded within the gut then they are of least concern … The main concern is on insoluble, indigestible, non-degradable nanoparticles that can survive mechanisms in the gut” (Q 216). Dr Kampers agreed: “toxicologists agree that the persistent nanoparticles, especially those that are non-biologically degradable, inorganic, the inorganic metal oxides and metals, are the particles that pose the most risk” (Q 89).

4.7. Persistent nanomaterials might be harmful because they could “become lodged into the cells and tissues … and get accumulated over time”, causing adverse effects in the “medium to long-term” (Q 218). The European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) Scientific Opinion on nanomaterials stated: “There are only limited data on potential, long-term accumulation/persistence of ENMs [Engineered Nanomaterials]. However the limited data available suggest that insoluble ENMs may be retained for a long time and accumulate”16; and a joint statement on nanomaterials toxicology by the UK Committees on Toxicity, Mutagenicity and Carcinogenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and Environment (COT, COM, COC) warned that “nanoparticles resistant to degradation could accumulate in secondary lysosomes, which in cells with a long survival such as neurones or hepatocytes might lead to chronic toxicity”.17 Dr Jonathan Powell, Head of Biomineral Research at the MRC Collaborative Centre for Human Nutrition Research, told us that “certain areas of the gut … with increasing age accumulate these [nano]particles … quite clearly accumulation does occur” (Q 242). Professor Donaldson agreed that a nanomaterial that reaches the blood “circulates round the body and accumulates in various organs at low levels” (Q 242), and added that the impact of this accumulation is unknown.

Chemical and catalytic reactivity
4.8. The large surface area to mass ratio of nanomaterials means that they tend to be very reactive. This can be harmful. Dr Chaudhry, for example, said that it might cause them to interfere with normal cellular processes, causing “inflammatory reactions and oxidative damage” (Q 215). The MRC Collaborative Centre for Human Nutrition Research made a similar point, stating that the direct toxicity of particles is mediated through “free radical” activity and such activity is considerably greater in smaller particles than in the same mass of larger particles (p 112). Recent studies in fish18 have shown not only uptake of nanomaterials into the gills and gut, but also evidence of an inflammatory response which was also present in the brain and other organs.19

4.9. Furthermore, because of their reactivity, nanomaterials will bond with other substances in the product in which they are ingested or in the GI tract itself (for example, bacterial toxins), thereby providing a vehicle by which these toxins can be delivered across cellular barriers which they could not normally cross—described by Dr Powell as a “Trojan Horse effect” (Q 216). According to Dr Powell, “the gut … is full of bacterial toxins” and particles “have the ability to bind to their surface these kinds of toxins and other molecules and can, at least in theory, and we now have evidence for this, carry them across into the gut mucosa” (Q 277). Dr Chaudhry also described how nanomaterials could “carry harmful substances out of the gut into the blood circulation from where they can lead to other parts of the body” (Q 215).

Shape
4.10. The shape of a particle may have an impact on the possible harmfulness of nanomaterials (p 112). Professor Donaldson, for example, referred to the potential toxicity of “carbon nanotubes and other high aspect ratio nanoparticles (HARN) because of their superficial similarity to asbestos” (p 101); and whilst this particular concern has tended to focus on damage to the lungs and pleural lining, it might also possibly apply to the gut (pp 101–102)

Anti-microbial effect
4.11. Nanomaterials which are used because of their anti-microbial properties, for example nanosilver (also used to coat devices such as refrigerators (p 55)), may be ingested through food packaging or food supplements. Dr Chaudhry expressed a concern that their ingestion might have a harmful effect on the natural flora in the gut (Q 215). Professor Donaldson agreed: “another problem lies with the normal flora of the gut, which could well be unbalanced if there was selective toxicity towards commensals [bacteria naturally present in the body]—silver nanoparticles seem a particular threat in this area” (p 101).

4.12. According to the FSA, silver hydrosol, a form of nanosilver, was recently evaluated by the EFSA for inclusion on a European Union list of vitamins and minerals authorised for use in food supplements. The EFSA was unable to complete a safety evaluation since there was insufficient information available to determine the potential effects of nanosilver on the human body, and as a result, silver hydrosol is likely to be banned from January 2010 (pp 2–3).

Aggregation and Agglomeration
4.13. The large surface area, reactivity and electrical charge of nanomaterials create the conditions for what is described as ‘particle aggregation’ (physical forces) or ‘particle agglomeration’ (chemical forces), where individual nanoparticles join together to form larger particles.20 Just as the particle size can dramatically increase through these processes, under different conditions—for example in the gut or inside cells—collections of nanoparticles could disaggregate, thereby altering their physicochemical properties and reactivity. Such reversible phenomena add to the difficulty in understanding the behaviour and toxicology of nanomaterials.

Additional risk factors
4.14. Certain types of medical conditions may make people more susceptible to the potential risks posed by ingested nanomaterials. Diseases which cause gastrointestinal inflammation, such as inflammatory bowel disease or chronic diarrhoea, may allow nanomaterials to penetrate the intestinal wall more easily. In the human lung the adverse susceptibility to particles is greatly enhanced in those people who have inflammatory conditions of the lung; Professor Donaldson speculated that, in this case, “one would imagine the gut would be exactly the same” (Q 217). Dr Powell agreed: “gut permeability is enhanced in the presence of certain disease, including chronic diarrhoea; and there is good evidence that small particles … will have enhanced permeability under these conditions” (Q 217), a point also made by Professor Michael Depledge, Professor of Environment and Human Health at the Peninsula Medical School (Q 217).
 

BearWithMe

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Thanks. It's a shame that Thorne uses it, then. They'd be better off using organic rice flour as a filler or even magnesium stearate, which a lot of people demonize.
Magnesium stearate is demonized for a good reason. It can really wreak havoc on your gut.
 

DANIEL

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Magnesium stearate is demonized for a good reason. It can really wreak havoc on your gut.
Isn’t MCC and silicon dioxide worse, though? Magnesium + stearic acid seems more ‘natural’
 

Tarmander

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Yup, crazy that it's allowed to be added in the first place.

Just found this article on it.

EFSA raises red flag for silicon dioxide safety over nanoparticles

"The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) cannot give food additive silicon dioxide the safety all clear because it may contain nano-sized particles, and has urged the Commission to change the specifications."

It's hard to find a good, balanced B-complex or zinc bisglycinate supplement that doesn't have unnecessary fillers.
Emerald has one called B Healthy that is decent
 

dreamcatcher

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Thanks. It's a shame that Thorne uses it, then. They'd be better off using organic rice flour as a filler or even magnesium stearate, which a lot of people demonize.
I've heard magnesium stearate reduces the absorption of vitamins and minerals.
 

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