Calling Bullshit: Silicon Dioxide

Internet health experts are making some interesting claims again.  Silicon dioxide is a natural compound.  It’s literally sand.  It’s commonly used because it can help prevent certain things from clumping.  There was a claim made here that it has been linked to rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.  I got curious so I decided to look up that study and see if it actually applied for this.  

It was published in a reputable journal but my interpretation of the experiment leads me to a very different conclusion than Howard’s Health Quarters.  This study first of all does not directly deal with ingestion like in a food.  It deals with inhalation.  So we already cannot and should not draw conclusions from this towards ingestion.  Furthermore, it did not actually show that exposure to this compound was linked to those diseases.  All it showed was a modification in several proteins which were then removed from the cells through their defense mechanisms.

Furthermore, looking at the chart, we see points of citrullination (the mechanism they are looking at) at half of the maximum at concentrations around 500 ug/ml and only when incubated for at least three hours.  Remember, as Howard’s Health Quarter’s pointed out the FDA already limits the mass to 2% in any foodstuff.  So let’s just make some wild assumptions and say that for dangerous levels of citrullination of the cells in the human digestive system to occur we only need 1 gram of it.  That would work out to an incubating solution of 2 L (remember this is for the entire digestive system).  So to get our 1g of dangerous silicon dioxide, our multivitamin would have to weigh at minimum 50 grams.  That’s almost a 2 oz multivitamin!

Now I’m not saying multivitamins are healthy or necessary.  I’m saying obsessing over a harmless little bit of sand that passes through your digestion system will only leave you panicked and distracted from the true actionable changes you can make in your life.  And always remember going to the literature will almost always show you the truth.  Focus on the big changes that will have big effects.  Not a microscopic bit of sand.