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Silicon

Silicon is by mass the eighth most widely occurring element in the universe. It is found most widely distributed in sand and dust, and is second only to oxygen in its abundance on Earth.

Dietary silicon is available in drinking water and in many whole cereal grains, particularly oats, and can be found in seafood, green beans, spinach and root vegetables. It is present in some dried fruit and nuts, and a good supply can be obtained by drinking beer, since this is a whole-grain based beverage.

In its natural form silicon is used commercially as silicates for construction purposes, to make cement, and concrete, porcelain, glass and industrial abrasives. Pure elemental silicon is used in aluminium casting, steel refining and for fine industrial chemicals, while modern technology is founded on its use in integrated circuits as a semiconductor. It also constitutes the base content of the silicone used as synthetic polymers for implants.

Studies have shown that silicon is an important factor in skin, hair, nail and bone health, and evidence suggests that silicon supplementation can increase bone density and volume in osteoporosis patients. It is also required for synthesis of connective tissues such as collagen and elastin.

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