But, I'm not a health professional, what do I know. All I have to go on is how my body reacts. - Lyra
I don't know if this was said with tongue-in-cheek, but I would maintain that your comment "all I have to go on is how my body reacts" is the most important aspect to rely on when looking at the effect of diet, supplementation, whatever change one is undertaking. No health professional can know anyone's body as intimately as one does oneself via observation and awareness. Nor does one person's experience on something mean that another's will be similar.
With respect, any test can be misleading - because they tend to be point in time and are often taken wholly out of context, or extrapolated well past the point of meaning, like taking a division calculation to 10 decimal places because the calculator can when only two are relevant. I have seen blood tests that are all 'normal' on people who are critically ill but off on holiday (or something nice) next week and some wholly abnormal on those perfectly well but going through some biochemical change that the body deems necessary to restore homeostasis (aka balance). They are also 'point in time' and in many ways reflect only that moment, and this includes hair, saliva, whatever. We are always so much more than the results of any test.
Of course if we are unaware we can feel 'good' on all manner of non-beneficial substances, merely the body is fooled for a short period of time by biochemical manipulation but it will not be sustained and will require more and more stimulation to regain the same high. But you know all this. My point is, believe the person, not the test and not necessarily the 'health professional' either, whatever discipline they come from. As an aside, my clients have taught me SO much by their observations, their often poorly-articulated sense of their feelings or body sensations and symptoms (and I say poorly articulated not to denigrate their intellectual capacity at all, but because they don't know what words to use to explain their 'weird' feelings and observations, and they are wholly unused to anyone caring or asking for same (please do not think I am a saint here, merely I have learned they tend to know more about themselves than I do, for all my training, very humbling). My job, as a health 'professional' is to ask the right questions, tease out from them what their body is telling them because none of it is irrelevant, then make sense of it all to help them get themselves well. So to paraphrase, for good health, all we have to go on indeed is how our body reacts. Thank you Lyra for pointing this out.
I have had great results with silica, in keeping with Lyra's findings, but using the basic silica dioxide (Blackmores S79 Silica dioxide 33mg), although it is well argued that the liquid form is better absorbed (and somewhat more expensive) especially if stomach acid is a limiting factor for absorption.
Apart from the experiences documented here, silica strengthens connective tissue (bone, tendons, ligaments) so is helpful, once inflammation is reduced, in problems like tennis elbow, damage in knees, hips etc, anywhere there is joint articulation. Hence great for joint disease, arthritis, gout etc. Gout is an excess of acid in the body (put simply) so don't believe the whole acid/alkali book thing, the body is not quite so neat in its divisions and too alkali a system can also be detrimental of course. Silica also works on bone spurs and tooth enamel as it re-organises calcium and in that manner is great for skin fissures. Break down of skin (psoriasis, degranulation, ulcers that won't heal etc) are often indicators that calcium is deficient or its metabolism dysfunctional so this would fit nicely with Lyra's report of her hands feeling/being more able to retain moisture. I had not made this association before, so thanks. Observations and personal experiences are SO useful! (And on that note, Proto, caffeine plays havoc with calcium metabolism as you may already know.)
Silica has the very useful quality of also expelling waste, promoting suppuration from the inside to out so it's good for ripening boils, styes and anything festering, and also driving out splinters and foreign material. Be careful if one has bone pins as it can cause them to be expelled too (as a foreign material). Silica, if indicated for the mother, is unlikely to harm a foetus BTW because it is not considered foreign to the body. On a personal note, I used it to remove a sliver of oyster shell that was buried in my foot and several weeks later the skin parted, out it popped and the skin closed up again behind it. That in itself was interesting because I would have expected to have been able to reopen the exit wound but could not. Closed up immediately, never to reopen. No text book will tell you that.
It has been my experience that when taking any supplement, there will come a point when "enough, already" occurs and that if I may paraphrase Lyra, will be when the body tells us so - by no further improvement or our attention moves elsewhere (my addition).
This forum is a tremendous place of learning for me, thank you all.