Silicon is present in all healthy tissues in the body, including hair, skin, and nails. But as part of the aging process, the cellular presence of silicon decreases over time. Evidence suggests that certain micronutrients such as silicon may help support cellular health and potentially prevent age-related skin changes.
Silicon helps promote the synthesis of proteins related to skin health. It plays an important role in collagen synthesis in skin fibroblasts. When bound to glycosaminoglycan in the extracellular matrix, silicon may stimulate crosslinking and synthesis of proteins such as elastin, potentially contributing to the integrity and flexibility of the connective tissues of hair, skin, and nails.
A molecule called inositol-stabilized arginine silicate (ASI) may help provide a highly bioavailable form of silicon to cells to support cellular health, age-related changes, and skin health. Research indicates that upon oral ingestion, ASI dissociates in the stomach into its original components (arginine, silicon, and inositol). Arginine is an amino acid that may help support the synthesis of growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1, and nitric oxide. Inositol is a precursor to second messengers for many signaling pathways and may help support the structure and proliferation of cells.
An animal study assessing the bioavailability of ASI reported significant increases in joint tissue arginine and joint tissue silicon in the ASI group as compared to its individual components. A similar animal study reported improvements in markers related to arthritic control and inflammatory scores, including lower levels of the proinflammatory markers interleukin (IL)-6, nuclear factor-kB (NF-kB), cyclooxygenase (COX)-2, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α.
A randomized, double-blind clinical study explored the efficacy of a supplement containing a combination of ASI and magnesium biotinate. The study involved 90 healthy women with a mean age of 46.9 ± 11.69 and observed significant improvements in maximal wrinkle depth, facial fine line scores, and skin texture roughness when compared with placebo. Magnesium biotinate is a compound that may be superior in increasing biotin levels as compared to D-biotin. Biotin helps support connective tissues such as hair, skin, and nails.
Resveratrol is another agent to help promote skin health. It promotes antioxidative status and helps support a normal inflammatory response. Laboratory studies involving resveratrol have also observed increases in the autophagy (death) of potentially harmful senescent cells. Senescent cells increase during the aging process and can be harmful to neighboring cells and tissues within the body. Clinical studies have explored resveratrol’s potential to support age-related skin changes; it has been shown to improve elasticity, moisture content, total wrinkled area, and total wrinkle volume.
While more research is needed, particularly in the clinical setting, preliminary evidence suggests that a combination of ASI and magnesium biotinate may support skin health and age-related changes. In addition, resveratrol may promote antioxidative status and the body’s response to senescent cells. Resveratrol can be found in grape skin, peanuts, and dark berries.
By Dr. Cory Ambrose, ND, MAT