Your hair, skin, bones, nails and connective tissue depend on the protein collagen to keep them strong and supple. As you age, your body naturally produces less collagen. The result can often be wrinkles, brittle hair and nails and stiff, painful joints. BioSil, a dietary supplement sold by Bio Minerals NV, contains ingredients that the manufacturers claim can help you generate more collagen. Talk to your doctor about possible side effects before using BioSil.
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BioSil contains two active ingredients: choline and silicon. According to Bio Minerals NV, the two are combined in a patented compound they call choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid, or ch-OSA. The supplement is available in liquid or capsule form. The liquid drops contain glycerol and purified water along with the ch-OSA, while the capsules contain microcrystalline cellulose and purified water mixed with the active ingredients and hydroxypropyl methylcellulose as the outer capsule casing. The product is safe for vegetarians, vegans and individuals who avoid nuts, soy, wheat, corn and gluten.
What the Research Says
A study published in the "Archives of Dermatological Research" in 2005 reported that women who took 10 milligrams of silicon daily for 20 weeks in the form of ch-OSA experienced improvements in nail and hair suppleness. Another study, published in 2007 in the same medical journal, found that women taking ch-OSA for nine months had stronger, thicker hair than subjects given a placebo. These studies indicate that BioSil may have a beneficial effect on collagen production. The choline included in the product is used to stabilize the silicon compound and does not have any known effect on collagen.
Potential Side Effects
BioSil is not associated with any potentially harmful side effects. Each dose contains 5 milligrams of silicon, far below the 760-milligram maximum advised to avoid negative health effects. The amount of choline in BioSil -- 100 milligrams per dose -- is also not high enough to be considered a problem. But the maximum safe dosage for silicon, choline or BioSil has not been determined for children, pregnant or nursing women or people with chronic liver and kidney disease.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not check dietary supplements like BioSil for purity, safety or effectiveness. The agency also doesn't verify that the supplement contains the amount of ingredients that the label advertises. Although some studies support the theory that BioSil's ingredients can be beneficial for your hair, nails and skin, more research is needed to determine whether taking the supplement is safe long-term. Instead of turning to supplements, consider increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables and fish rich in omega-3 fatty acid, such as salmon, to get the vitamins and minerals your body needs to produce collagen and prevent damage from free radicals.