Urinary Excretion of Silicon in Men, Non-pregnant Women, and Pregnant Women: a Cross-sectional Study
Abstract: Silicon is a trace element found mainly in plant-based food and proposed to be beneficial for bone health. Urinary excretion of Si has been shown to be a surrogate measure of its uptake in the gastrointestinal tract. The objective of this study was to describe and compare the levels of urinary Si excretion, and consequently Si uptake, in Swedish men, non-pregnant women, and pregnant women. No formal assessment of dietary Si intake was carried out in this study. This cross-sectional study included 89 men, 42 non-pregnant women, and 60 pregnant women. The subjects collected urine over a 24-h period and the samples were assayed for total Si using inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry. The excretion levels of creatinine were used to validate the completeness of the urine sample collections. The mean 24-h urinary excretions of Si were 7.8 mg for the cohort of young men, 7.6 mg for the cohort of non-pregnant women, and 12.4 mg for the cohort of pregnant women. Creatinine excretion was similar between pregnant and non-pregnant women (10.4 vs. 10.8 mmol/day) and significantly higher in men (15.4 mmol/day). The pregnant women excreted significantly higher levels of Si than the young men and non-pregnant women, respectively (p < 0.05). The higher urinary excretion of Si by pregnant women compared with men and non-pregnant women is a novel finding possibly caused by temporary physiological changes during pregnancy such as increased gastrointestinal uptake of Si, altered bone metabolism, and increased renal excretion of Si.