If you haven’t heard of colloidal silver, you will soon enough, especially if you’re on the lookout for alternative therapies to common health issues, such as a sinus infection or a cold.
Most health food stores and pharmacies stock several brands of colloidal silver, and, of course, you can find a vast amount of information about colloidal silver benefits on the internet. Unfortunately, the information out there is confusing, as many sources have conflicting opinions.
On one hand, you’ll run across thousands of personal testimonials about colloidal silver helping people with practically every disease you’ve heard about. You will also stumble upon some well-known health sites that warn consumers about safety concerns. (1) Usually, these sources quote a statement made by the FDA in 1999 claiming that there is no scientific evidence to support the use of colloidal silver. (2)
This type of information can confuse even the most savvy natural health enthusiast, which is why I want to lend a helping hand and provide some evidenced-based information to help you make an informed choice about colloidal silver uses and benefits.
What Is Colloidal Silver?
Before the invention of the refrigerator, it was common practice to drop a silver coin into a container of milk as a preservative because silver was known to prevent the growth of algae, bacteria and other undesirable organisms.
Dating back to ancient times, silver was also a popular remedy to stop the spread of diseases. Its use as a natural antibiotic continued all the way until the 1940s, when modern antibiotics arrived.
Today, obviously, people don’t need to drop silver coins into their water to experience colloidal silver benefits. All you need to do is carefully take a few drops from a bottle that you buy at the store, which is:
A solution of water containing nanometre sized particles of suspended silver. The total silver content is expressed as milligrams of silver per litre (mg/L) of water which is numerically the same as parts per million (ppm). The total silver content is divided into two forms of silver: ionic silver and silver particles. (3)
According to a report written by Richard Davies and Samuel Etris of The Silver Institute in a 1996, there are three primary ways that colloidal silver can help heal the body: (4)
- Catalytic Oxidation: Silver naturally holds onto oxygen molecules, which readily react with the sulfhydral (H) groups that surround bacterial and viruses. In turn, this helps block the life-preserving cellular process known as cellular respiration, which is defined as “the set of metabolic reactions and processes that take place in the cells of organisms to convert biochemical energy from nutrients into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and then release waste products.” (5)
- Reaction with Bacterial Cell Membranes: Silver ions can attach to bacteria cell membranes directly and produce the same respiration-blocking effect.
- Binding with DNA: Shown to literally enter bacteria DNA, up to 12% of silver has been detected in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. According to one source, “While it remains unclear exactly how the silver binds to the DNA without destroying the hydrogen bonds holding the lattice together, it nevertheless prevents the DNA from unwinding, an essential step for cellular replication to occur.” (6)
There are basically three types of products that are marketed as “colloidal silver” and these can be categorized as:
1. Ionic silver
Ionic silver solutions are products whose silver content primarily consists of silver ions. Although ionic silver is often marketed as colloidal silver, it’s not true colloidal silver. Because it’s the least expensive to produce, ionic silver is the most popular product in this category. The problem? It simply won’t produce the same benefits that true colloidal silver can.
2. Silver Protein
In order to keep large silver particles suspended, silver protein-based products add gelatin. Silver protein is the second-most popular type of colloidal silver product on the market and can easily be made by adding water to silver protein powder. Again, it’s also often marketed and labeled as colloidal silver, but should not be confused for the real thing. Silver protein is less effective for human use, and you won’t experience the true colloidal silver benefits.
3. True Colloidal Silver
Lastly, true silver colloids don’t contain any protein or other additives, as the vast majority of the silver content consists of nanometre-sized silver particles. (7)
Is Colloidal Silver Safe?
First of all, is it safe to use colloidal silver supplements? Although the National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health reports that colloidal silver may cause poor absorption of some drugs, there is limited research proving that side effects to colloidal silver use even exist. (8)
Nonetheless, you may come across many warnings about it causing an irreversible condition called argyria (when people turn blue). However, this is caused by misuse not of true colloidal silver, but through other cheaper products marketed as colloidal silver, such as ionic silver or silver protein.
One point to consider is that, because colloidal silver is such a potent antibacterial agent, you should be sure to supplement with probiotics during use to be sure that you maintain a proper balance of microflora.
8 Colloidal Silver Uses and Benefits
By having a direct effect on cellular respiration, colloidal silver benefits the body in numerous ways, including providing numerous medical uses. There are eight proven healing properties that I consider to be particularly supported by the medical literature.
1. Antibacterial and Antimicrobial
First, colloidal silver’s ability to control antibiotic-resistant superbugs is astonishing. While employed at UCLA Medical School in the 1980s, Larry C. Ford, MD, documented over 650 different disease-causing pathogens that were destroyed in minutes when exposed to small amounts of silver. (9)
Colloidal silver, unlike its modern prescription antibiotic counterpart, simply doesn’t create resistance or immunity in the organisms that are killed by it. This point cannot be emphasized enough, especially in light of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reporting that more than 2 million people in the U.S. suffer illness every year as a result of antibiotic-resistant infections and 23,000 die from these infections. (10)
In addition, a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine supported ionic colloidal silver as a broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent against both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, but its activity wasn’t as pronounced against fungi. (11)
2. Wound Care/Skin Health
Robert O. Becker, MD, says that colloidal silver stimulates healing in the skin and other soft tissues. (12) In a research article produced by Pharmacognosy Communications in 2012, it was specifically recommended that certain colloidal silver preparations should be considered for topical use to treat burns, thrush, periodontitis and other conditions. (13)
For instance, you can treat ringworm (Tinea capitis) at home with colloidal silver because it’s a potent anti-fungal. Caused by a fungus that lives on the top layer of the skin, ringworm presents as round, scaly patches. It’s contagious and spread by skin contact and by contaminated materials, such as clothing.
Colloidal silver benefits many skins conditions such as psoriasis and eczema as well. It’s soothing to scrapes and even repairs tissue damage from burns. In fact, a colloidal silver-based nanogel was successfully used as a dressing for superficial pellet gun wounds in a Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care study. (14) Such silver nanoparticle-based gel dressings for wounds or even chronic wounds are becoming more common.
Topical silver historically was used on burns but usage stopped after the advent of antibiotics, until the 1960s when it kicked back into popularity. The combination of silver nitrate and sodium sulfadiazine to create SSD cream helped lead to burn recovery in many patients. (15)
Applying a silver coating to specialized foam, as part of a wound vacuum system, provides antibacterial activity in vitro. “This technology may assist in preparing infected chronic venous stasis wounds for skin grafting, ultimately leading to better healing.”
3. Pink Eye/Ear Infections
Pink eye is an inflamed mucous membrane that covers the eyeball and eyelid lining, and it’s primarily caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Colloidal silver can be used for prompt action against this irritating and highly infectious virus and bacteria.
When applied on the infected eye, the tiny silver colloids pick up the infected cells by attracting them electromagnetically and sending them into the bloodstream to be eliminated.
Our modern prescription antibiotic drugs are designed to work against specific classes of bacteria, but ear infections may be caused by multiple classes of bacteria or can even be fungal.
In this case, the prescription antibiotic will be useless, whereas colloidal silver is effective regardless of what may be causing your infection.
Colloidal silver benefits can be experienced as an anti-viral for HIV/AIDS, pneumonia, herpes, shingles and warts. Dr. Martin Hum, from the Institute for Optimum Nutrition, lists colloidal silver as one of the natural remedies to stop viruses fast. (16)
Colloidal silver suffocates the virus and can even reduce the activity of the HIV virus in AIDS patients. There are also numerous anecdotal accounts of colloidal silver’s efficacy against the hepatitis C virus.
Colloidal silver is also a fantastic anti-inflammatory remedy. Case in point: Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) studied the effects of inflammation after being treated by colloidal silver; they found that the inflamed skin of pigs treated with silver experienced near-normal skin after 72 hours, while other treatment groups not treated with silver remained inflamed. (17)
Research is beginning to reflect what many people have already known anecdotally for years — that colloidal silver can reduce swelling, speed healing, and boosts cell recovery!
And a recent 2018 study published in Frontiers in Microbiology found that colloidal silver nasal rinses, when used twice daily for 10 days, is safe and effective for patients with chronic sinusitis.
Twenty-two patients completed the study and were given either oral antibiotics with saline rinses twice a day or colloidal silver nasal rinses twice daily. The results indicate that both forms of treatment showed similar improvements in sinusitis symptoms, and using colloidal silver in this manner for ten days was deemed safe. (19)
You can purchase a good quality, pure colloidal silver nasal spray product or add a few drops of liquid colloidal silver to a “neti pot.” To apply it directly into your nasal cavity, let it drain down your throat while tilting your head back.
Also, it’s important to point out that recent research indicates that hidden infections by pathogens could be a cause of respiratory inflammation associated with common allergies and asthma. Colloidal silver destroys Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections, which may be the reason why airborne allergy sufferers often find such dramatic relief from colloidal silver.
Few studies have been done to test this clinically, but in 2011 the NIH took 100 children under the age of 12 suffering from the common cold and nasal congestion and assigned them into two groups; the first group was treated with a solution of colloidal silver and beta glucan, and the second group with saline solution. Even though both groups benefited from the treatment, 90% of the people in the colloidal silver group completely recovered! (21)
Our modern drugs have become limited in their efficacy when it comes to fighting bronchitis or pneumonia. Typically, antibiotics are administered as the first line of defense, but when the pneumonia is viral, antibiotics won’t help in the least. The nice thing about colloidal silver is that it can help regardless of the pathogen.
Colloidal silver is a remarkable product to help fight against bronchitis and pneumonia when ingested internally, but an even more effective way to utilize it? Simply breathe it into your lungs.
This way, the silver directly contacts the germs residing in the lungs, which are causing bronchitis or pneumonia. It’s basically the same thing as using respiratory support, and it works speedily, clearing it up within a couple of days.
Now, the most effective method to get the colloidal silver into the lungs is to use a nebulizer. Generally, use one teaspoon approximately three times a day for 10 to 15 minutes.
Colloidal Silver Dosage and Uses
Colloidal silver needs to be applied differently for each condition. To experience colloidal silver benefits, it may be taken as follows, always keeping in mind to never use it for more than 14 days in a row.
- 2–5 drops applied directly to the skin
- 1 eyedropper taken orally for immune support
- 1–2 drops into eyes for pink eye
- 1–2 drops can help disinfect any wound or sore by applying onto a Band-Aid
- If prepared properly, it can be injected into a muscle, a cancerous tumor, or into the bloodstream
- 5–10 drops can be applied vaginally or anally
- 5 drops added into a neti pot or directly sprayed into the nose (22)
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