Silica (from the Latin word meaning ground stone) is the common name for silicon dioxide, in nature most commonly seen as quartz, and found in many living organisms. It is one of the oldest known, most abundant and most complex chemical families, with various applications from food additives to the famous silicon chip.
It is used primarily in powdered foods and pharmaceuticals as an anti-caking and anti-foaming agent, or as an absorption agent to take up water. It also has filtration capacities and can be used in brewing and winemaking as a fining agent, while as an abrasive it can be included in toothpaste and facial scrubs. It can also control viscosity, modify dough, and can be used as a binding vehicle for vitamins or drugs in tablets.
Various compounds of water-soluble silica are present in water, which is absorbed by and distributed in various tissue sites including bones, organs and tendons. Some research indicates that water containing higher levels of silica may decrease the risk of dementia, while known deficiency can lead to lack of collagen and cartilage, poor joint formation, mineral imbalances in major long bones, and deformities in the peripheral bones and skull.