Silicon

There is still some question as to whether silicon is a cofactor. It is included here because of the importance of silicon in a number of biochemical reactions leading to the synthesis of glycoproteins and poly-saccharides in the extracellular matrix of connective tissue ground substance. Silicon as Si(OH)4 is very abundant in soils and minerals and is as common in human tissues as magnesium. In plants, especially grasses, silicon is a major component of a mineral skeleton and has a metabolic turnover nearly on a par with carbon. In humans, the highest concentrations of silicon occur in connective tissues such as aorta, trachea, tendon, bone, and skin. Lesser amounts are found in liver, heart, and muscle. The epidermis and hair are significantly high in silicon.

Reactivity Silicon, as silicic acid, has been shown to be required for maximal activity of prolyl hydro-xylase, the enzyme that converts proline residues to hydroxyproline in collagen. High levels (0.2-2.0 mM) are needed to stimulate the enzyme, which catalyzes a rate-determining factor in collagen biosynthesis.

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