Being marketed to cure a wide range of different health problems, colloidal silver is composed of tiny particles of silver that have been suspended in a special liquid base. While it is normally taken as an oral supplement, some of the new products coming out are in spray form, while others are applied directly onto your skin, or even injected right into one of your veins.
Having been used for centuries as a form of medicine, colloidal silver has been touted as an essential cure-all for health conditions ranging from arthritis and tuberculosis, all the way to cancer and even herpes. Even in today’s antibiotic society, there are still many practitioners of alternative medicine that believe colloidal silver has some health benefits that simply cannot be ignored. Mainly known for boosting the immune system and helping prevent or treat any type of infections, the scope of colloidal silvers ability range from the more common conditions, all the way to the more severe ones.
Despite some of the other claims that are being made about colloidal silver, it actually has absolutely no known function within the human body. In fact, back in 1999, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) ruled that colloidal silver products were not safe and did not have any effect on the symptoms it claimed to help. Because of this, many different manufacturers of colloidal silver were sued over false health claims.
While there were many different colloidal silver products that were removed from the shelves of stores everywhere after the FDA ruling, it has since been reintroduced as a homeopathic remedy or dietary aid, neither of which are going to require any type of approval by the FDA.
Health Benefits of Colloidal Silver
Some of the main benefits that colloidal silver claims are that it helps to stimulate your immune system, which will in turn help your body to ‘heal’ itself much quicker. Some of these benefits include healing wounds, improving several different types of skin disorders, and even treat or prevent certain diseases, some of which are the flue, herpes, shingles, AIDS, pneumonia, eye infections, and even cancer.
While the claims may sound somewhat far-fetched, many of them have been proven to be true in studies that have revealed how powerful colloidal silver really is. The studies have shown that colloidal silver has extremely powerful antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal effects.
Because of the powerful effects that colloidal silver has doesn’t mean that you should start drinking it on a daily basis. In fact, when you do ingest it, it can potentially build up in your system, leading to toxicity and in some very rare cases, even death. With that being said, too much of anything is a bad thing and can have harmful affects on your body. For example, if you eat too much beta-carotene (the stuff found in carrots), it can cause toxicity and you can even end up in the hospital, as well as turn orange.
Cases of silver toxicity are extremely rare and will take months and years to build up a toxic amount within your body. But just so you know, if you do experience silver toxicity, some of the side effects can include severe disfigurement, as well as potentially harmful deposits in your spleen, brain, kidney, liver, and muscles, according to the Imperial College in London.
All this is not to say that colloidal silver does not have any type of health benefits however. When you use is as a topical solution (put it on your skin), it can aid in the healing and prevention of different types of infections.
Silver for Healing Wounds
Many different studies have looked into the claims that colloidal silver is a great way to treat skin ulcers and other wounds that are found on your skin. In fact, the studies have found that silver particles do actually have antibacterial properties that can help aid in the treatment of different skin conditions, some of which include:
- Skin grafts
- Necrotizing fasciitis
- Diabetic ulcers
- Other serious types of skin conditions
This means that the shorter term uses of topical products that contain colloidal silver do have their place as a form of treatment.
Potential Side Effects of Colloidal Silver
When you first start taking colloidal silver, you will probably not notice any types of immediate side effects. All of the concern tends to come into play in regards to the more long-term use. This is because over time, the continual use of silver can potentially start to accumulate within your body and even embed its particles within your organs and tissues, mainly your skin.
As time moves on, this build up can potentially lead to a permanent and disfiguring condition that is known as argyria, which is when your tissue will start to take a bluish-gray color. If this does happen, you will first start to notice it in your gums, which will be followed by your eyes, skin, nails, and eventually the deeper tissue layers of your body. Other symptoms include headaches, a feeling of fatigue, and even myoclonic seizures.
While there is not definitive research on what silver toxicity will do to your internal organs, studies that have been done on animals has shown us that inordinately high amounts of silver can interfere with liver and kidney function, cause damage to your central nervous system, and instigate your bones to start releasing calcium. Whether or not there are any side effects of silver toxicity on your ability to reproduce or while pregnant are still unknown, the National Toxicology Program has stated that silver toxicity will not cause any kind of cancer.
Drug Interactions of Silver
Other than providing some potential health hazards, silver has also been known to interact with several different types of medication by reducing that particular medicine’s effectiveness, enhancing any potential side-effects, or even impairing the function of the liver as the drug will become metabolized. Some of the possible interactions will include:
- Antiarrhythmic drugs such as Cordarone
- Antifungal drugs such as Sporanox and Diflucan
- Levothyroxine, which is used to help treat different thyroid problems
- Methotrexate that is used to help treat different autoimmune disorders
- Penicillamine that is used to help treat those with rheumatoid arthritis
- Quinolone antibiotics that include Penetrex and Cipro
- Statin drugs such as Zocor and Pravachol
- Tetracycline antibiotics that include both Minocin and Achromycin
While there are other drug interactions that are not on this list, these are the main ones, so be sure that you always speak with your doctor prior to taking any type of colloidal silver supplements, even if you are only planning on doing it for the short term.
Preparation and Dosage of Colloidal Silver
When it comes to colloidal silver, there is not going to be a safe dosage amount that you should be taking. On top of that, it is also not known how much silver you would have to take in order to reach the point of silver toxicity. One of the main problems lies with the different brands of colloidal silver that are available on the market. Each brand is going to have a different concentration of the silver particles, making it much more difficult to definitively say how much is too much. Some brands are going to contain 15 ppm (parts per million), while other brands will have in excess of over 500 ppm. On top of that, you are also going to have to take into consideration the person who is taking its weight, age, and their current health status.
Despite the FDA banning colloidal silver, there are still many colloidal silver products available as a homeopathic remedy, as well as a dietary aid. Most of the silver supplements that you will find are going to be liquid in form, but you will also find it in all types of other substances as well. Some of these include soaps, eye drops, lozenges, mouthwash, nasal sprays, and even body lotions.
What to Look for with Colloidal Silver
Be sure to keep in mind that no dietary supplements are officially regulated by any national organization, meaning that they are not necessarily required to undergo the proper research and safety testing that many of the pharmaceutical drugs require. With this being said, what it means is that the quality of each supplement is going to vary drastically from one brand to another.
Unlike many of the different vitamins supplements available, very few colloidal silver supplements are ever voluntarily sent to independent certifying authorities such as ConsumerLab, the U.S. Pharmacopeia, or NSF International, for evaluation. Because of this, you can essentially be left in the dark when it comes to what the product you are purchasing actually contains and how safe it is going to be for you to use.
So if you are going to be using a colloidal silver product, you are going to want to choose one that has it clearly indicated how high the concentration of silver is, by displaying the parts per million right there on the product label. You are going to want to do this even if you are only planning on using it short-term, and always remember that less is more.