Colloidal silver has been marketed as something akin to a magic potion by organizations that specialize in the field of alternative medicine. They see it as an effective antibacterial supplement which is superior to modern day antibiotics. The one problem supporters of colloidal silver face is the fact that medical evidence does not support their lofty claims. Of course, accusations have been thrown around by those in favour of colloidal silver including suggestions that medical evidence which dismisses it was collected by those who have a vested interest in antibiotics.
It has even been suggested that the amount of profit made by companies who manufacture synthetic drugs and doctors who prescribe them is a good enough motive to ignore alternative medicine. Companies who sell colloidal silver suggest that their product is easy to digest and is able to fight bacteria in a way synthetic drugs cannot.
There are dozens of different dietary supplements containing silver. It can be confusing to a consumer because there is colloidal silver, ionic silver and silver proteins amongst other forms of the metal within these supplements. This can make it difficult for customers to figure out what their supplement does for them.
Yet silver is quite easy to understand. It has positively or negatively charged ions with three different positive charges. Only the singly charged ion is stable in the majority of solutions. Colloidal silver normally comes in the form of uncharged silver particles combined with positively charged ions which are suspended in solutions such as ionized water or saline. Most companies use vague labels which do not distinguish between the different forms of silver. Labelling a product “silver proteins” helps no one because it could be any combination of silver ions. Consumption of colloidal silver leads to silver ions being released in the body but no one knows at what rate this occurs.
Good or Bad Bacteria?
Companies that market colloidal silver suggest that its main benefits include fighting bad bacteria. Various experiments have found that silver particles enter the body and become attached to bacteria cells. The silver also stops bacteria from creating new protection which makes them even more open to attack from antimicrobial agents. Effectively, bacteria are unable to resist colloidal silver and become stronger which happens when synthetic drugs are used too often on a patient.
However, a large hole appears in the colloidal silver theory. There is no evidence to suggest that the silver particles only attack harmful forms of bacteria. This means colloidal silver is capable of killing good bacteria just as easily as harmful strains. As this news damages the claims of colloidal silver companies, they skip the issue entirely or come up with vague solutions such as consuming live culture yoghurt one hour after taking colloidal silver. Apparently, this should create good bacteria in your system once more.
The Side Effects of Colloidal Silver
An extremely rare condition known as Argyria is caused by overexposure to silver. It would appear that an extreme overdose of colloidal silver is required for this to happen however. It has also been suggested that high quality silver is excreted from the body thus avoiding excess amounts of silver remaining in the body. These silver deposits are what cause Argyria and the resultant grey skin colouring. Laboratory tests on rats have also revealed that reduced liver function is another effect of colloidal silver if too much is consumed.
It would seem that colloidal silver is more toxic than magic and should be avoided until clearer scientific evidence is found. Certainly, sensational claims relating to colloidal silver including its ability to cure cancer need to be ignored. All available research suggests that colloidal silver may have antibacterial properties but there is no way of knowing how effective it is. There is also the possibility that it will kill good bacteria which will quickly lead to ill health.