Colloidal Silver: How does it work and what are its benefits?
Are you someone who is on the lookout for alternative therapies related to the common health ailments such as cold for a sinus infection? If so, you probably must have heard of colloidal silver is considered as a remedy to treat a lot of health problems. If not, read on to know all about colloidal silver and the different ways in which you can seek the best of health from this product.
What is colloidal silver?
Before the refrigerators existed, a silver coin was dropped as a common practice in a container full of milk which acted as a preservative. Silver has been long known to curb the growth of bacteria, algae and other undesirable organisms.
Silver was also used as a popular remedy in ancient times to keep a check on the spread of different diseases. Until about the 1940s, it was even used as a natural antibiotic which was only stopped after the modern antibiotics were introduced.
In the present date, people are not educated enough about the benefits of colloidal silver. With the advancement in technology, they don’t need to drop silver coins into the water to get desirable results. Adding a few drops of colloidal silver from the bottle brought by you from the store can do the needful:
Water which contains nanometre-sized particles of suspended silver.
The amount of total silver present in the solution can be calculated as milligrams of silver per liter which when numerically translated, would be the same as parts per million.
The amount of silver content is divided into two different forms of silver — silver particles and ionic silver.
To put it out straight for you, colloidal silver is a mineral. To talk about it in-depth, colloidal silver is nothing but a solution of tiny silver particles that are suspended in a liquid base. The particles of silver present in the colloidal silver are so tiny that a normal filtering process will not be able to remove them.
The size of silver particles in colloidal silver may vary but sometimes, insert solutions, the silver particles used are so tiny that they are referred to as nanoparticles. This explains that they are less than 100 nanometers in size and are invisible to the naked eye.
Long before the development of modern antibiotics, colloidal silver was used as an all-purpose medicine to get rid of various infections and treat illnesses. In the late 90s, the US food and drug administration i.e FDA stated that the colloidal silver products were not considered safe or effective. It was said that the Colloidal Silver products which were being promoted for medical purposes, had lots of unproven uses and benefits.
Now, without any appropriate approval from the FDA, these products or ‘new drugs’ are being considered misbranded. Despite the fact that the FDA has not approved these products as prescription drugs or over-the-counter ones which contain silver that can be consumed orally, yet it has been gaining a lot of revival in terms of popularity.
How is colloidal silver being marketed?
Nowadays colloidal silver is being marketed as a sure shot remedy to treat a range of health issues. The products made using this controversial substance are being openly sold as dietary supplements or homeopathic remedies. Certain medical practitioners claim that in the long run, this product can replace antibiotics and/or various other medical therapies that are used to treat bacterial, viral and fungal infections.
Apart from numerous sites on the internet which share illustrious information about colloidal silver and its benefits, there are a lot of brands that sell colloidal silver and have it stocked up in the health food stores and pharmacies. Sadly, there is not much concrete information available about it and there is a conflict of opinions which causes great confusion.
While you are surfing the net to gather more knowledge about the hype that surrounds colloidal silver, you will also come across hundreds of testimonials from the patients who have used it, who claim it as a solution to almost every disease you have never heard about.
Along with that, you will also encounter certain widely renowned health sites which may give out warnings to the potential consumers about the safety concerns while using this medicine. Mostly, such websites make sure to provide a quoted statement made by the FDA in the year 1999 which claimed that there is no scientific evidence to prove the benefits and uses of colloidal silver.
Such kind of texts tend to create tension among the most enthusiastic health freaks who prefer to choose the natural way of staying fit, which makes it all the more important to provide people with real information that is based on evidence so that they can make an informed choice about colloidal silver, its uses, and its benefits.
On the whole, there are three different kinds of products which are being sold in the market by the tag of “colloidal silver” which can be categorized as under:
The products in which the silver content primarily consists of silver ions are known as ionic silver solutions. Despite the fact that ionic silver is very often sold as colloidal silver, it must be noted that it is not true colloidal silver. Commonly, the ionic products which are sold as colloidal silver do not mention the term “ionic silver” or the percentage of total silver in that product in terms of silver ions vs silver particles in the literature and guidelines.
The manufacturers do not disclose that the product is brought by you is mostly ionic silver – not silver particles. It is the least expensive form of silver solution to produce and hence it makes for the most popular products in this category. Mostly, the ionic silver products only contain about 1% to 20% of the silver content in the form of silver particles with about 80% to 99% in the form of ionic silver. The only drawback with an ionic silver solution is that it will not provide the same benefits that true colloidal silver can.
The second most popular type of colloidal silver product on the shelves can be made by simply adding silver protein powder to water. Often also known by the name of “mild silver protein”, silver protein is made of large silver particles that are kept suspended by using a protein binder. While there can be a lot of binders that can be out to use for this purpose, casein, gelatin, and soy are the most commonly used binders.
The reason why binders are used to keep the particles suspended in that the particles which are large in size do not stay in suspension independently. Often labeled and sold by being called colloidal silver, silver protein should not be confused with the real thing. This product is much less effective for human bodies and one can not obtain the actual benefits of colloidal silver after consuming this.
True Colloidal Silver
The term true colloidal silver is used to describe a silver colloid wherein the silver content mostly consists of silver nanoparticles vs silver ions. To be termed as true colloidal silver, the concentration of silver in the form of nanoparticles must form the majority of the total silver content (more than 50%).
What is meant by total silver is that it includes silver in both ionic and nanoparticle forms?
The concentration of silver is calculated by using the atomic absorption or atomic emission spectroscopy and is expressed by parts-per-million (PPM). The same unit (PPM) is also a ratio of the mass of silver in relation to the dispersant – which is water.
For instance, 10 PPM of silver implies that there is a total of 10 milligrams of silver content in one-liter water. Hence, this implies that true colloidal silver refers to the percentage of silver in the form of nanoparticles in the dispersant being the majority of the total silver concentration.
Lastly, it must be noted that true silver colloids do not contain any additives or proteins and that the majority of silver consists in the form of nanoparticles.
So how can colloidal silver help me?
Findings suggest that there are two main ways in which colloidal silver can help in expediting the healing process in our body.
a) By the means of Catalytic Oxidation
The oxygen molecules which are naturally present in silver are highly reactive with sulfhydryl (H) groups which are known to surround viruses and bacteria. When these two react, the life-preserving cellular processes which are known as cellular respiration are blocked, which can further be defined as a set of metabolic reactions and processes which occur in the cells of organisms to convert biochemical energy from nutrients into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and then release waste products.
b) Reaction with Bacterial Cell Membranes
Silver ions can attach to bacteria cell membranes directly and produce the same respiration-blocking effect. What’s more, is that colloidal silver can even bind with DNA. Studies suggest that silver can literally enter DNA and up to 12% of silver has been detected in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
It is not clear as to how exactly does silver gets bound to our DNA without really destroying the hydrogen bonds holding the lattice together. However, it prevents the DNA from unwinding, which is proven to be an essential step for cellular replication to occur.
Is the consumption of colloidal silver safe?
You may come across warnings wherein you will be warned about the consumption of colloidal silver as unsafe when taken by mouth, injected intravenously ie. by the means of IV or if applied to the skin. They may even claim that the consumption of colloidal silver can lead to a bluish skin discoloration which begins to appear in the gums, which can further stimulate the production of melanin in the skin and the areas which are left exposed to the sun tend to become increasingly discolored.
The condition wherein people turn blue irreversibly is called argyria which is caused by the misuse of the fake silver supplements which are tagged as the true colloidal silver which are actually the unreal products such as ionic silver or silver protein being sold.
Even though the National Centre for Complementary and integrative health states that colloidal silver can possibly cause poor absorption of certain drugs, the information regarding if there are any side effects related to the use of colloidal silver is very limited.
The only thing you should keep in mind is bad colloidal silver is an effective antibacterial agent, so you should be sure to supplement it with probiotics so that a proper balance of microflora is maintained in your system.
The uses and benefits of colloidal silver
It is because colloidal silver has a direct effect on the cellular respiration, it can help our body in numerous ways while also providing various medical uses as well. Listed below are eighth proven healing properties that have been supported by the medical literature and various studies.
Antibacterial and antimicrobial properties
Before the antibiotics was discovered, colloidal silver was used as a popular antibacterial treatment. Studies suggest that colloidal silver’s ability to control the antibiotic-resistant superbugs is brilliant and that it can kill a very large number of bacteria. It is because of these properties that colloidal silver has been popularly used in some healthcare products such as wound dressings, wound creams and medical equipment.
While Larry C. Ford, MD was employed at UCLA Medical School in the 1980s, he documented over 650 different kinds of disease-causing pathogens that were destroyed in minutes when exposed to small amounts of silver.
Unlike its modern prescribed antibiotic counterpart, colloidal silver does not just create immunity or resistance in the organisms that are killed by it. In addition to it, a study published by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine explained at length about how ionic colloidal silver acts as a broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent against both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, but its activity was not as pronounced against fungi.
Healing the wounds and keeping a check on the overall skin health
A very large number of studies have researched the use of dressings containing silver to treat skin ulcers and wounds. A lot of them found that the antibacterial properties exerted by the silver particles helped in the treatment of skin grafts, diabetic ulcers, necrotizing fasciitis, bedsores, and various other skin injuries. According to Robert O. Becker, MD, colloidal silver can stimulate the healing of soft tissues and skin.
An article published by the Pharmacognosy Communications in 2012 specifically recommended that some colloidal silver preparations must be considered for topical use to treat periodontitis, thrush, relieve burns and other skin conditions. Tinea Capitis or ringworm can be successfully treated at home with the use of colloidal silver as it potentially has antifungal properties.
Ringworm is caused by a fungus that thrives on the topmost layer of our skin and creates round and scaly patches. It can be easily spread by simple skin contact, by the use of contaminated materials such as clothing and is considered highly contagious.
Apart from that, colloidal silver can also benefit other skin conditions such as Eczema and psoriasis as well. While it can provide relief to the patients, it also gives a soothing effect to the scrapes and also repairs tissue damage caused by burns. In a study by the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, a colloidal silver-based nano gel was put to use to dress superficial pellet gun wounds.
These kinds of silver nanoparticle-based gels can also treat chronic wounds and have been getting a lot of popularity. Historically speaking, silver was topically used on burns, etc. but the usage of the same was stopped right after the antibiotics were introduced, but it gained popularity again in the 1960s. Silver nitrate combined with sodium sulfadiazine is used to create the SSD cream which can help patients who have suffered burns and are recovering from them.
Putting up a generous coating of silver to specialized foam as a part of the wound vacuum system helps in providing antibacterial activity in vitro.
Pink Eye or Ear Infections
The inflamed mucous membrane which covers the eyeball and eyelid lining is called the pink eye. This condition is mainly caused due to a viral or bacterial infection. To treat the pink eye, colloidal silver can be used to gain quick relief from this highly infectious and irritating eye condition. When colloidal silver is applied to the infected eye, the infected cells attracted electromagnetically by the tiny silver colloids and are sent into the bloodstream to be eliminated.
The antibiotic drugs which are prescribed nowadays only act against a specific class of bacteria. What they miss out on is that the ear can be caused by multiple classes of bacteria or even fungus at times. In such a situation, the antibiotics which are prescribed shall be of no use whereas colloidal silver can effectively help eliminate this, regardless of what may be the root cause of infection.
Besides treating eye infections, skin problems, etc., colloidal silver can provide benefits as an antiviral to the people suffering from warts, pneumonia, herpes, HIV/AIDS and shingles. Dr. Martin Hum, from the Institute for Optimum Nutrition, states colloidal silver as one of the natural remedies to stop viruses fast.
How colloidal silver works, in this case, is that it can suffocate the virus and can largely reduce the activity of the HIV virus in patients suffering from AIDS. A lot of hepatitis C patients have also reportedly told anecdotal accounts of the efficacy of colloidal silver.
The colloidal silver is also a fantastic anti-inflammatory remedy! The U.S National Library of Medicine has stated the apparent pro healing and anti-inflammatory properties of nanocrystalline silver-derived solutions. The nanocrystalline silver-derived solutions have shown promising results to treat a lot of anti-inflammatory issues. Researches by scientists have begun to reveal what the people have been anecdotally explaining for years together – the ways in which colloidal silver acts on reducing swelling, speed up the healing process, and gives a boost to the cell recovery.
Helps in relieving sinusitis
If you know someone who has been suffering from chronic sinusitis and has undergone multiple courses of antibiotics, then you must be aware that the antibiotic approach does not do much good. Widely used as a remedy to control sinus infections, colloidal silver can be used as a nasal spray to give relief to the people.
A study published in Frontiers in Microbiology found that if the colloidal silver nasal rinses are used twice daily for about 10 days, it can largely benefit the patients. Sadly, even the oral antibiotics along with saline rinses twice a day do as much good as and when compared to the use of colloidal silver nasal princess twice daily. As we are aware of how the antibiotics have negative implications on our body, it is better if we try to avoid them. A good quality, colloidal silver nasal spray or adding a few drops of liquid colloidal silver to a neti pot are two ways by which you can get the colloidal silver into your system. You may apply it directly into your nasal cavity, let it drain down your throat while tilting your head back.
Researches indicate that there are hundreds of hidden infections caused by pathogens which can for the cause of respiratory inflammation that is associated with common allergies and asthma. The use of colloidal silver destroys the infection-causing germs which can be one of the reasons why the people who suffer from airborne allergies find a dramatic relief from the use of colloidal silver.
Cold and flu
Anecdotes of various people claim that colloidal silver can help in the prevention of various kinds of flu which includes common cold as well as the swine flu.
About a hundred children under the age of 12 years were made to undergo a clinical test in 2011 by NIH.
These children were suffering from nasal congestion and the common cold. They were divided into two groups – the first one was treated with the solution of colloidal silver and beta-glucan while the second one was given a saline solution. Despite the fact that both groups experienced benefits from the treatment, about 90% of the people who were given colloidal silver experienced a complete recovery.
Benefits the patients suffering from pneumonia
While the drugs prescribed nowadays have limited efficacy when it comes to combating problems such as pneumonia and bronchitis, colloidal silver can work wonders regardless of the pathogen. Typically, antibiotics are said to be the first line of defense but when pneumonia is viral they are not of much use.
The best way to make optimum use of colloidal silver to treat bronchitis and pneumonia is to simply breathe it into your lungs. By this method, this remarkable product can directly attack the germs that are residing in your lungs and causing pneumonia or bronchitis. To put it simply, this method is pretty much the same as using a respiratory support system.
It works quickly and does away with me germs in a couple of days. the easiest method to get the colloidal silver into the lungs is by using a nebulizer to get it in your system. Usually, one teaspoon approximately three times a day for about 10 to 15 minutes is enough.
Dosage considerations for colloidal silver
The appropriate dosage of colloidal silver depends on various factors such as the consumer’s health, age, and several other conditions. The most effective way to get the colloidal silver in your lungs is by the means of a nebulizer. While consuming colloidal silver, always bear in mind that natural products too have to be taken in specific dosage only. Generally, one teaspoon about three times a day for approximately 10 to 15 minutes is sufficient.
A word of caution here – make sure to follow the directions of consumption as listed on the product label and make sure to consult your physician or pharmacist or any other healthcare professional before consuming colloidal silver.