BioSil® Supplement: Can Silica & Choline Really Regrow Hair? (Scientific Deep-Dive)


BioSil® is a popular silica supplement touted for its ability to improve hair health. But, hair health is a broad (and obscure) term. A fair warning: it’s not necessarily synonymous with hair regrowth.

So, what does BioSil® actually do? More importantly, can it regrow your hair?

This product review breaks down everything we need to know. Here, you’ll find:

  • The science behind silicon and hair health
  • The claims BioSil® makes about their hair supplement
  • A review of BioSil®’s clinical trials
  • What changes you can expect to see in your hair when taking BioSil®
  • An overview of BioSil®’s marketing claims and how they stand up to the research

Key takeaways

  • Product: Supplement
  • Effort: Low (two capsules daily, oral intake)
  • Expectations: For women ages 18-65 with fine hair (but not thinning hair), BioSil® improves resistance to hair breakage and the thickness of hair shafts when compared to placebo.
  • Response rate: Unknown (clinical studies aren’t designed for hair loss sufferers)
  • Regrowth rate: Unknown (clinical studies aren’t designed for hair loss sufferers)
  • Cost: $30/month
  • Problems: clinical data is not on hair loss sufferers, but rather, women with “fine hair” (a subjective term); horsetail may be a cheaper alternative, even when accounting for differences in bioavailability

What is BioSil®?

BioSil® is a supplement marketed for hair health. If you’re at all familiar with hair supplements, you probably already know that they often contain a laundry list of ingredients. So, you might be surprised to find that BioSil® only has two ingredients:

  • Orthosilicic acid, a form of the mineral compound silica
  • Choline, a phospholipid precursor (phospholipids are highly concentrated in the membranes of our cells).

So, why does BioSil® contain silica and choline? Is there any evidence to suggest these ingredients could benefit our hair?

Silica, choline, and hair health: a breakdown of the science

Silica and choline are abundant in the human body. But, can they influence hair health?

The short answer is: probably. The longer answer is more complicated.


Unfortunately, there are few (if any) studies directly comparing silica’s effects on hair health. That  means that in order to build a case for silica as a potential hair health therapeutic, we need to look at silica’s mechanisms of action (i.e., how the compound works inside the bodies) and then compare that to what we know about the hair cycle.

  • Silica seems to be involved in bone mineralization. During the mineralization process, immature bone cells contain high levels of silica, suggesting that it may play a significant role in bone health. Not surprisingly, studies also show that deficiencies in silica can lead to bone deformities, poorly formed joints, reduced cartilage content, and aberrations in mineral balance. [1]ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3671293, [2]pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17435951
  • In rats, silica appears to be concentrated in the hair and skin. [3]ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2658806 While studies haven’t investigated the concentration of silica in human tissues, researchers do expect similar distribution patterns. This suggests that a deficiency in silica might have negative effects on hair shaft structure. What is less clear is how this may affect the coordinated cellular effort that is hair growth.
  • Preliminary studies suggest silica may be involved in or at least stimulate collagen production. This has implications for the signs of aging, which is characterized by a decrease in collagen production. One study found that collagenous tissue production ramps up alongside the growth phase of the hair cycle. [4]pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2078047 This infers that the maintenance of collagen production could play a role in hair growth. At the same time, too much collagen – especially disorganized collagen – isn’t good for hair health. Which leads us to our next point…
  • Evidence suggests too much silica can lead to fibrosis, or the deposition of collagen-rich scar tissue. [5]pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16350548 Fibrosis has major implications in certain hair loss disorders like scarring alopecia and androgenic alopecia; it’s believed to be both a rate-limiting regrowth factor (we can’t grow hair in scar tissue) and potentially a partial driver of hair follicle miniaturization. Needless to say, if we want more hair, we probably want to avoid fibrosis however we can. Having said that…
  • In cases where silica has caused fibrosis, it is due to prolonged inhalation of silica-rich dust. This is a condition called silicosis, and it’s most common in construction workers. The amount of silica inhaled from dust, over a career, is thousands of times greater than our exposure from diets and supplements. So don’t let this connection scare you from supplementing; it’s a condition that is both dose-dependent and delivery-dependent (inhalation versus oral intake).

In any case, it’s clear that the evidence in support of silica’s benefit for hair health is weak.

But, what about choline? Could it contribute to improved hair health and/or growth?


As with silica, research is limited. However, one study assessed the benefit of purified phospholipids on hair growth – the principal component of which is a metabolite of choline: phosphatidylcholine. [6]ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4354319

This study was an animal study, so we can’t directly apply it to humans with thinning hair. But the study did produce some interesting results: the application of a phospholipid cocktail at a 2% concentration led to significant increases in hair growth.

However, there is a caveat to these findings: in that study, the phospholipid cocktail was compared to topical minoxidil. And unfortunately, phosphatidylcholine wasn’t nearly as effective as minoxidil in terms of its ability to encourage hair follicles to enter anagen (the growth stage of the hair cycle). Phospholipids increased the number of anagen follicles from 0% to 60%, whereas minoxidil-treated mice increased to 93%.

If there’s anything we know about minoxidil, it’s that it’s not very effective on its own. In fact, a large number of users eventually stop using minoxidil, often citing lack of effectiveness as their reasoning. [7]ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17917938 If phospholipids like choline metabolites appear to be even less effective, this doesn’t leave much to be expected of the choline in BioSil®.

That being said, the rationale behind choline’s inclusion in BioSil® isn’t an improvement in hair growth as a results of its conversion to phosphatidylcholine. Rather, it’s because choline helps increase the bioavailability of silica. [8]ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4938278

This points us back into the direction of silica being the primary active ingredient in this supplement.

So, what can we expect from the silica in BioSil® in terms of hair health and hair growth?

The great news is that BioSil® has conducted two clinical trials of its hair loss supplement. So, let’s dive into them.

BioSIL®’s clinical trials: a critical review

BioSil® has published two clinical trials on their choline-stabilized silica supplement. The table below details the characteristics of each study: the investigation team, number of subjects, duration, dosage, and results.

BioSIL® Clinical Trials
Investigation team Subjects Duration Dosage Results
Wickett et al. 45 Caucasian females between 18 and 65 years with fine hair. 22 women were administered BioSil® while the remaining 23 were administered a placebo capsule. 9 months 2 capsules per day, once in the morning and once at night A significant increase in the thickness of the individual hair shafts as well as an increased resistance to breakage when compared to placebo.
Barel et al. 55 Caucasian females between 40 and 65 years with clear signs of photo-aging on the skin 20 weeks 2 capsules per day, once in the morning and once at night A decrease in hair brittleness, potentially indicating increased protein content of the hair shaft

From these trials, we can glean one major thing.

BioSil® isn’t designed to treat hair loss or regrow hair

Rather, it’s designed to improve the look, feel, strength, and resilience of each individual hair shaft. It’s obvious just by looking at its study participants:

  • Women ages 40-65 with signs of photo-aging skin
  • Women ages 18-65 with fine hair

Females with “fine hair” (as subjectively determined by the study investigators), and females with signs of “photo-aging” aren’t really markers we can tie to any specific hair loss disorder. Moreover, study end-points like “brittleness” and “resistance to breakage” aren’t really things we care to measure in most hair loss treatment studies.

Why? Because they’re not markers for increased hair growth. Rather, they’re markers of improved hair quality.

Thus, BioSil® might improve hair quality – but it shouldn’t be your first line-of-defense as a hair loss supplement.

Yes, BioSil® may increase hair shaft thickness and resistance to breakage in women with fine (but not thinning) hair. And yes, this may help improve the quality and look of someone’s hair – especially those with longer hair, where breakage becomes more common.

Having said that, BioSil® probably shouldn’t be something to consider if you’re actually dealing with a hair loss disorder.

Is BioSil® worth the $30/month investment?

At that price point, there are supplements and topicals out there that more closely conform to your hair loss needs – whether that be androgenic alopecia, telogen effluvium, scarring alopecias, or alopecia areata.

Moreover, even if you did want to try BioSil®, you might be able to save on the price by testing out a non-branded version of the same ingredients. For instance, horsetail.

Horsetail: a cheaper alternative (with similar efficacy)?

Horsetail is a perennial herb that grows throughout the Northern hemisphere and arctic regions. It’s been used in folklore medicine to support skin, nail, and hair health, among other ailments. Interestingly, a lot of these benefits are attributed to its rich silica content.

So, what’s the difference between silica in horsetail and the silica in BioSil®?

The biggest difference is price.

The dry matter of the horsetail herbs contains between 2.4% and 3.8% silica, depending on the part of the plant. [9]ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4771831 The stems generally contain more silica, serving as a contributor to structural rigidity, whereas branches generally contain less silica.

With this kind of silica content, you can expect a gram of horsetail to contain between 24-38mg of silica. On the other hand, two capsules of BioSIL® per day contain only 10mg of silica.

At a cost of $31.99 for 60 capsules, this puts the cost of silica at 5 cents per mg. In contrast, the price per mg of silica derived from horsetail is around a penny.

This means you can get the same amount of silica for about 80% less investment.

But, what about differences in bioavailability?

Research comparing silica from horsetail versus silica from BioSil® undoubtedly shows that BioSil® silica is more bioavailable. [10]https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s002160051243 You need about three times as much silica from horsetail as you do silica from BioSil® to achieve the same levels of urinary excretion – the gold standard measurement for silica absorption.

Nonetheless, silica from horsetail still works out to be more cost effective, even when accounting for differences in bioavailability.

It also provides a slew of other minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium. So, in general, you’re getting more out of your money with the whole horsetail plant.

But, that doesn’t mean BioSil® isn’t a good option. Rather, it depends on your personal preferences.

If you feel more comfortable purchasing silica in the form of the highly bioavailable choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid, clinically-proven supplement, you’re only going to be paying about 20% more. What you personally decide to opt for will be contingent upon your comfortability with the investment and your priorities for your hair (investing money in hair loss treatments as opposed to supplements that improve hair quality).

With all of that laid out, there’s one last point we need to consider when looking at whether to invest in a supplement: the company’s marketing tactics. This often tells us whether a company is actively trying to mislead their prospective customers or whether they are fully transparent about what one can expect from using their products.

Is BioSil® using misleading marketing tactics?

In our process of investigating hair loss products, one of the points we take a good look at is the claims made by the company about the product at hand.

Then, we compare the plausibility of these claims against what we find in the available research – whether that be research published on certain ingredients or clinical trials conducted with the product itself.

This often provides valuable insight as to whether the company uses sleight-of-hand marketing: a marketing tactic which often involves failing to disclose which form of hair loss the product is designed to address and/or misrepresenting the research on their products (or the ingredients contained therein).

So, what claims does BioSil® make about their hair product? Are they misleading?

The great news is: no, BioSil® makes it very clear what their product does. They don’t make any claims on their website that deviate from what the clinical research shows: BioSil® improves the look, feel, and strength of hair and increases the thickness of each individual hair shaft.

This gives us confidence that BioSil® isn’t trying to actively mislead their prospective customers in order to sell more products. Instead, they lay out what you should expect from using their product prior to purchasing.

Who is the best candidate for silica?

Using silica, whether in horsetail or BioSil® form, is not going to be for everyone. Preferences, priorities, and comfortability with investment and effort varies wildly from person-to-person.

So, who is silica best suited to? The best candidate for silica will likely be:

  • Someone with fine hair who is interested in improving overall hair quality.
  • Someone, with or without hair loss, who is looking to fortify hair against the elements like heat and UV radiation.
  • Someone willing to pay $30/month to do so through supplementation rather than improvements to diet


Silica is an abundant element – both in the human body and the environment. However, research on its functional properties are limited. Preliminary evidence shows it may play a role in the health of the hair shaft and its surrounding skin. At the same time, too much silica can stimulate fibrosis in lung tissues, so there’s clearly an upper tolerable limit.

BioSil® is a supplement containing a highly-bioavailable form of silica: choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid. Compared to other forms of silica, BioSIL® is more bioavailable. It’s also clinically-proven to improve the look, feel, strength, and thickness of the hair shaft.

Having said that, the research suggests we shouldn’t expect to see improvements to hair loss disorders from a supplement like BioSil®. In other words, its benefits are mainly relegated to hair quality improvements, not hair count improvements.

You can expect to pay about 20% more for BioSil® compared to silica from an alternative source –like horsetail – even when you account for bioavailability. And while these forms of silica haven’t been clinically proven to improve hair health, it’s likely that they work in a very similar manner.

As such, whether you opt for BioSil®, horsetail, or any silica at all will be contingent upon what works best for your regimen right now. If you want the confidence of a clinically-proven supplement, choose BioSil®. If you’re looking to save some money, experiment with horsetail. If you’re primarily interested in regrowing hair, save your money and invest it in products targeted towards your specific type of hair loss.



1 ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3671293
2 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17435951
3 ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2658806
4 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2078047
5 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16350548
6 ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4354319
7 ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17917938
8 ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4938278
9 ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4771831
10 https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s002160051243

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