Silica_Nanoparticles
Silica Nanoparticles (625 nm), Dried on a Glass Slide.

Nanoparticles are particles existing between 1–100 nm in diameter. If a particle is the Earth, a nanoparticle is a tennis ball (nano: one-billionth).

Silicon dioxide (Si + O2 = SiO2) is a nanoparticle used in the food and supplement industries as an anticaking agent. It, along with other nanomaterials like titanium dioxide, is present in baby formula, salt, seasoning powder, soups, nutritional supplements, and pharmaceutical medications.

Silica particles larger than 100 nm do not appear to absorb into cells, but anything smaller than that can enter cells and exert toxicity (Sakai-Kato, et al., 2014).

Bureaucratic apologist accomplices (like some industrial toxicologists), and bureaucrat criminals themselves like to dismiss the dangers of synthetic additives by talking of “recommended exposure limits” and saying “you’ll just safely excrete it since your body doesn’t use it”, but that’s lethally incorrect, since there is evidence of cellular bioaccumulation of nanoparticles, when consumed at small doses, orally or otherwise (Hassankhani, et al., 2015).

The regulations of SiO2 and other nanoparticle safety occurred alongside the medical reductionism of the 20th century, the idea of the body as a machine with 1:1 cause-and-effect mechanics, with organs and systems localized and isolated in a preset fashion. The reality of the complexity of organisms demands an extreme overhaul of the way we think about toxicology and biological “harm”, but there’s no political incentive for that, and the reductionist ideology still dominates legislative and mainstream medical thinking. 

Nanotechnology is one advancement allowing us to observe implications of yet uncovered biological complexity. Nanomedicine includes the observation of extremely subtle effects induced by biochemical compounds in organisms, whether restorative, benign or deleterious.

Mice that ate silicon dioxide (and other) nanoparticles at a relevant dose to human dietary intake had a shift in the ratio of the “good-and-bad” bacteria in their microbiome, with decreased populations of the beneficial bacteria, bacteroidetes and lactobacillus, and increased populations of the “bad” bacteria, firmicutes and proteobacteria. Proteobacteria are gram-negative, meaning they contain lipopolysaccharide (endotoxin) in their outer membrane, which is a major cause of chronic and degenerative disease (Rizzatti, et al., 2017). Firmicutes impair metabolism, and a high ratio of firmicutes-to bacteroidetes is seen in inflammation, obesity, and diabetes (Zhang, et al., 2015).

Indeed, these SiO2-eating mice had increased pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1, IL-6, and TNF-alpha in their colons (Chen, et al., 2017); essentially nanoparticle-induced colitis. The specific bacterial profile and depletion of beneficial bacteria observed in these rats is similarly observed in humans with obesity and inflammatory bowel disease (Lamas, et al., 2020).

1% of infants in the United States suffer from chronic “idiopathic” colitis, and the global frequency has increased in recent years (Rukunuzzaman & Karim, 2011).Nanoparticles found in popular baby formulas tested by Friends of the Earth

The non-profit organization Friends of the Earth contracted Arizona State University to analyze the nanomaterials in 6 popular baby formulas, including Gerber. All 6 brands contained a combination of either titanium dioxide, silicon dioxide, or nano-hydroxyapatite (FOE, 2016).

Babies who are subject to mainstream medical-nutritional guidelines are primed, from birth, to develop inflammatory digestive diseases, which sets the stage for any possible illness they’re predisposed to, whether it be psychiatric or cancerous.

SiO2 nanoparticles impair the mitochondrial function of differentiating neurons, which can impair the entire differentiation process. This implies a relation to and risk of neurodegeneration induced by SiO2 nanoparticles (Ducray, et al., 2017).

Dendritic cells receive and integrate antigens to the immune system’s T cells, a type of white blood cell. Food-grade silicon dioxide causes dendritic cells, normally found in the mucous membrane of gastrointestinal cells, to excrete the inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1-beta.

“The ensuing activation of immature dendritic cells with de novo induction of pro-IL-1β implies that the currently massive use of synthetic amorphous silica particles as food additive should be reconsidered.” —Winkler, et al., 2017

Silicon dioxide has harmful effects on intestinal cells, damaging their microvilli which significantly impairs their ability to absorb nutrients such as iron, zinc, sugar, and fat. The alkaline phosphatase enzyme is also increased by SiO2 exposure, the same reaction seen in Celiac Disease upon gluten exposure. The intestinal epithelium’s barrier function is significantly impaired (leaky gut), gene expression is altered for nutrient transport proteins, and oxidative stress and pro-inflammatory cytokines are increased (Guo, et al., 2018).

Oral ingestion of 39 nm-diameter amorphous SiO2 blocks the ability of mices’ immune systems to develop oral tolerance to harmless antigens like ovalbumin (egg-white) protein, when that tolerance does occur in mice not exposed to SiO2

Mice ingesting SiO2 had continually activated immune systems, expressing antibodies IgG1, IgE, and IgG2a, and the cytokines IFN-gamma, IL-5, IL-5, and IL-17,  indicating TH1, TH2, and TH17 immune reactivity in response to proteins they normally wouldn’t be reacting to (Toda and Yoshino, 2016). This immune hypersensitivity combined with the intestine-damaging effects implicates SiO2 as an inducer of allergies and autoimmune disease (Lerner & Matthias, 2015).

The biochemical insults induced by continuous exposure to industrial nanoparticles like silicon dioxide and titanium dioxide dysregulate the otherwise comprehensive, adaptive systems comprising mammalian organisms. Knowing the bioaccumulative and compounding effects of modern stressors, pollutants, and intoxicants, I think it’s worth understanding and avoiding these additives if one is looking to improve or prevent any unwanted physiological conditions in yourself or your children.

_End_Of_The_Silicon_Age__-_Silicon_dioxide_nanoparticles
“End Of The Silicon Age” – Silicon dioxide nanoparticles at 10 nm

Works Cited

Chen, Hanqing, et al. “The Effects of Orally Administered Ag, TiO 2 and SiO 2 Nanoparticles on Gut Microbiota Composition and Colitis Induction in Mice.” NanoImpact, vol. 8, 2017, pp. 80–88., doi:10.1016/j.impact.2017.07.005.

Guo, Zhongyuan, et al. “Silicon Dioxide Nanoparticle Exposure Affects Small Intestine Function in an in Vitro Model.” Nanotoxicology, vol. 12, no. 5, 2018, pp. 485–508., doi:10.1080/17435390.2018.1463407.

Hassankhani, Ramin, et al. “In Vivo Toxicity of Orally Administrated Silicon Dioxide Nanoparticles in Healthy Adult Mice.” Environmental Science and Pollution Research, vol. 22, no. 2, 2014, pp. 1127–1132., doi:10.1007/s11356-014-3413-7.

Lamas, Bruno, et al. “Impacts of Foodborne Inorganic Nanoparticles on the Gut Microbiota-Immune Axis: Potential Consequences for Host Health.” Particle and Fibre Toxicology, vol. 17, no. 1, 2020, doi:10.1186/s12989-020-00349-z.

Lamas, Bruno, et al. “Impacts of Foodborne Inorganic Nanoparticles on the Gut Microbiota-Immune Axis: Potential Consequences for Host Health.” Particle and Fibre Toxicology, vol. 17, no. 1, 2020, doi:10.1186/s12989-020-00349-z.

Lerner, Aaron, and Torsten Matthias. “Changes in Intestinal Tight Junction Permeability Associated with Industrial Food Additives Explain the Rising Incidence of Autoimmune Disease.” Autoimmunity Reviews, vol. 14, no. 6, 2015, pp. 479–489., doi:10.1016/j.autrev.2015.01.009.

Lerner, Aaron, and Torsten Matthias. “Changes in Intestinal Tight Junction Permeability Associated with Industrial Food Additives Explain the Rising Incidence of Autoimmune Disease.” Autoimmunity Reviews, vol. 14, no. 6, 2015, pp. 479–489., doi:10.1016/j.autrev.2015.01.009.

“Nanoparticles in Baby Formula: Tiny New Ingredients Are a Big Concern • Friends of the Earth.” Friends of the Earth, 5 Dec. 2017, foe.org/resources/nanoparticles-in-baby-formula-tiny-new-ingredients-are-a-big-concern/.

Rizzatti, G., et al. “Proteobacteria: A Common Factor in Human Diseases.” BioMed Research International, vol. 2017, 2017, pp. 1–7., doi:10.1155/2017/9351507.

Rukunuzzaman, Md, and A. S. M.bazlul Karim. “Ulcerative Colitis in Infancy.” Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology, vol. 17, no. 6, 2011, p. 414., doi:10.4103/1319-3767.87185.

Sakai-Kato, Kumiko, et al. “Physicochemical Properties and in Vitro Intestinal Permeability Properties and Intestinal Cell Toxicity of Silica Particles, Performed in Simulated Gastrointestinal Fluids.” Biochimica Et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – General Subjects, vol. 1840, no. 3, 2014, pp. 1171–1180., doi:10.1016/j.bbagen.2013.12.014.

Toda, Tsuguto, and Shin Yoshino. “Amorphous Nanosilica Particles Block Induction of Oral Tolerance in Mice.” Journal of Immunotoxicology, vol. 13, no. 5, 2016, pp. 723–728., doi:10.3109/1547691x.2016.1171266.

Winkler, Hans Christian, et al. “MyD88-Dependent pro-Interleukin-1β Induction in Dendritic Cells Exposed to Food-Grade Synthetic Amorphous Silica.” Particle and Fibre Toxicology, vol. 14, no. 1, 2017, doi:10.1186/s12989-017-0202-8.

Zhang, Yu-Jie, et al. “Impacts of Gut Bacteria on Human Health and Diseases.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol. 16, no. 12, 2015, pp. 7493–7519., doi:10.3390/ijms16047493.

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