In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Is 551 vegan?’ and will discuss the use and risks of E551.
Is 551 vegan?
Yes, E551 is vegan. E551 is also known as silicon dioxide. Since it is only a mineral found in sand, rocks, and the Earth’s surface, silicon dioxide (silica) is vegan. It is not a product of animal origin.
What is silicon dioxide?
Silica, often known as silicon dioxide or silica, is a naturally occurring compound made up of silicon and oxygen. Silica comes in a wide variety of forms. They all have the same composition; however, they may be referred to by various names based on the arrangement of the particles. Amorphous silica and crystalline silica are both forms of silica.
Occurrence in nature
Natural silicon dioxide may be found everywhere. What the ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry) has to say about the prevalence of this substance is enlightening. Quartz is the most frequent term for this mineral, which accounts for around 12 percent of the Earth’s surface. Aside from water and plants and animals, silicon dioxide may be found naturally. Many beaches are covered with silica sand, which is also found in most of the rocks on the planet. More than 95 percent of the Earth’s crust is made up of silica-containing minerals or silica itself.
Many plants that people commonly eat also contain silicon dioxide, such as:
· Greens that are rich in chlorophyll
· Oats, brown rice, and vegetables like beets and bell peppers are also good sources of silica.
Why is silicon used as a food additive?
Silicon dioxide is utilized in food additives because of its ability to absorb water. It is used in the production of everything from glass to cement, but silica may also be used to enhance and protect food products. To prevent food from caking or clumping together, this sort of food ingredient is used. Preventing powdered components from sticking together and clumping together may assist in extending the shelf life of a product and protecting it from the impacts of moisture.
Silicon dioxide’s safety
People who care about what goes into their food are often wary of chemicals like silicon dioxide.
Silicon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical, despite its unusual name. Many studies have shown that silicon dioxide is safe to eat in modest quantities, such as in food items that are meant to keep them from caking.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)Trusted Source has published a review of silica research. When animals were fed silica regularly in animal models, no silicone buildup was seen. People should also be aware that silica comes in a variety of grades. Cement companies, for example, employ silica that is not the same quality as the silica found in dietary supplements.
Silica is also regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States. Following FDA rules, producers may use silicon dioxide as a food additive as long as they use only the lowest amounts necessary and the quantity does not exceed 2% by weight of the food product.
Silicon dioxide’s side effects and dangers
More study on the forms of silica that make their way into food items has been advocated for by some researchers. When it comes to particles smaller than most of those found in nature, nanoparticles are a good example.
The fear is that these microscopic particles might spread throughout the body and possibly enter cells.
Researchers in the Journal of Applied Toxicology studied the impact of silica nanoparticles as food additives. Silica nanoparticles were shown to have a minimal risk of passing through the digestive system when eaten.
There is no danger in utilizing silica nanoparticles as a food additive, according to the experts, but they advocated for greater long-term study. The EFSA has voiced concerns regarding the use of silica nanoparticles in food since there are no long-term safety studies to support their use.
However, it is difficult to distinguish between nano and non-nano silica, and many producers are not explicitly mentioning that their goods include nanoparticles. So, whereas silica particles larger than nanometers seem to be safe for human consumption, there is insufficient evidence to support the same conclusion for nanoparticles. So, as a result of this study, experts are calling for stronger regulations on the usage of silicon dioxide as a food ingredient.
Silicon dioxide adverse effect
Silica may have negative impacts. As a result, research on the dangers of silica tends to concentrate mostly on silica dust that is inhaled by humans. Inhaling silica dust over a long period may be dangerous, according to the ATSDR. Workers in silica-processing plants and quarries are the most likely to experience this.
Long-term exposure to silica dust may cause a variety of respiratory problems, including:
· lung silicosis, a progressive and incurable lung illness
· COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
· TB risk is raised
The kidneys may also be affected by long-term exposure to silica, increasing the risk of autoimmune disorders.
Other FAQs about Vegans that you may be interested in.
In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Is 551 vegan?’ and discussed the use and risks of E551.