Silicon increases defenses in animals by activating the immune system. In rats, chickens, calves and horses, several studies show that silicon deficiency causes bone and cartilage defects. Especially collagen is reduced and the calcification decreases. Horses are less prone to injuries after silicon supplementation. Also, wound healing is improved by additional silicon.
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Studies of dietary silicon supplementation in growing animals have reported improved bone quality by direct measurements of bone strength and density for quail, broiler chickens, and rainbow trout [37–39]. A randomized blind study of racing quarter horses compared a control group to three different levels of dietary silicon supplementation . The supplemented horses began their diets at six months of age and continued for 18 months including a six-month training and racing period. Race times, lameness, fractures, and serum silicon levels were recorded during the period of study. At the completion of the study, it was determined that the horses with medium and high levels of silicon supplementation had significantly faster race times and greater training distances before the first breakdown. The horses with the highest level of silicon supplementation also had increased bone mineral density in the third metacarpal .
Direct measurements of bone mass and strength in numerous animal models have demonstrated the beneficial effects of silicon supplementation to increase bone mineral density and to reduce bone fragility [20, 33, 37–43].
International Journal of Endocrinology Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 316783.