Silicon Antagonizes Calcium and Magnesium in Animals


Effects of high levels of dietary silicon on bone development of growing rats and turkeys fed semi-purified diets.

Two experiments were conducted using a completely randomized design to study the effects of high levels of silicon (Si) supplementation on bone development, structure, and strength in growing rats and turkeys. Rats were supplemented at two dietary Si levels: 0 and 500 ppm; and the turkeys were supplemented at four dietary Si levels: 0, 135, 270, and 540 ppm in semi-purified diets of dextrose-albumin for rats and dextrose-casein for turkeys. The experiments lasted 8 and 4 weeks for the rats and turkeys, respectively. Physical, mechanical, and chemical parameters of bones were measured. All the physical and mechanical measures of bone size and strength were not different (P > 0.05) between treatments in rats and turkeys except the moment of inertia, which was lower (P < 0.01) in rats on the 500 ppm Si level of supplementation. There were small but consistent reductions in structural and strength parameters with Si supplementation which were not wholly due to differences in bodyweights of the rats and turkeys. Although bone mineral composition was not affected (P > 0.05) by Si supplementation, plasma magnesium (P = 0.08) in rats and plasma calcium (P < 0.05) in turkeys were reduced by high levels of Si supplementation. The antagonistic relations of high Si levels with calcium and magnesium were deemed to be the mechanisms through which high Si imposes its deleterious effects on bone size and strength.

Kayongo-Male H, Julson JL
Biol Trace Elem Res 2008
PMID: 18418557