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Colloidal Silver-What Is It And How Is It Beneficial?

By Kim Robson:

 Colloidal silver is a substance that has been used as an antibiotic and antimicrobial agent for hundreds of years. Hippocrates discussed the use of silver in wound care in his writings. In the early 20th century, surgeons routinely used silver-coated sutures to reduce the risk of infection, and doctors used silver-laced eyedrops to treat ophthalmic problems. Colloidal silver was administered internally for diseases such as tropical sprue, epilepsy, gonorrhea and the common cold. During World War I, soldiers used silver leaf to treat infected wounds. Silver is still used in medical appliances because of its antimicrobial natureSilver and silver nanoparticles are used today as an antimicrobial in a variety of industrial, healthcare and domestic applications.colloidal-silver

When I had mono seventeen years ago, my mom brought over a bottle of colloidal silver for me. I didn’t know the first thing about the stuff, but my mom is a lifelong health nut and I trusted her. I don’t know if it helped speed my recovery, but I did start improving after I started taking it.Green Mom founder Fredrica Syren used it on her son’s face when he got foot and mouth disease, and she says it worked like a charm. She also uses it on small cuts and scrapes.

colloidal-silver-mainWhat Is Colloidal Silver?

In chemistry, a colloid is a suspension of microscopically-dispersed insoluble particles. To be acolloid, it must either never settle or take a very long time to settle noticeably. The dispersedparticles are infinitesimally small: between 1 and 1,000 nanometers. Larger particles are visible with an optical microscope, but at the smaller size range (r<250 nm), an ultramicroscope or electron microscope would be required. The diameter of a nanometer is about 1/100,000 the width of a human hair.

Colloidal silver is a colloid made with silver particles or silver salts suspended in water. These formulations were regularly used by doctors in the early 20th century, but in the 1940s, with the development of safer and more effective modern antibiotics, their use was largely discontinued. Before the 1940s, however, colloidal silver was used as a germicide and disinfectant. 

How Does It Work?

In the oligodynamic effect, metals can react with microorganisms. The silver ion (Ag+) is bioactive and, in sufficient concentration, readily kills bacteria in vitro. Silver salts in water carry a positive charge that attracts bacterial proteins, causing DNA damage to bacteria and disruptingtheir respiratory processes. When we ingest colloidal silver, our small intestines absorb about 10 – 18% of the silver nanoparticles into our bloodstreamsand the remaining silver passes harmlessly through our systems

Not a Miracle Cure

In recent years, colloidal silver has made something of a comeback as a dietary supplement or homeopathic remedy. Outrageous claims of its miraculously curing cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, herpes and tuberculosis are all unethical and medically unsound. Let’s be very clear: no medical evidence supports the effectiveness of colloidal silver for any of the above diseases. Also, in humans, silver is not an essential mineral like iron; there is no dietary requirement for silver and,therefore, no such thing as a silver “deficiency” exists in nature.

col-silvModeration in Everything

At HIGH doses, silver is potentially toxic to humans. Overuse of colloidal silver can lead to argyria (blue coloration) of the skin and other organs. While this is not life-threatening, it’s not a pretty sight. But colloidal silver, when taken in low doses over the short term, presents a very slight risk of serious harmIt’s considered safe for treatment of external infections, as well as for ingestion in the short term if the dose is low. 

The Dose Makes the Poison

Treat colloidal silver, especially for ingestion, as you would any antibioticExercise caution and don’t overuse it. And it’s not for the treatment of everything. study by naturopathic doctors in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that colloidal silver is effective against some strains of yeasts but not others.

The same study found that colloidal silver is not effective against viruses, so it probably didn’t help with my mono, other than perhaps as a placebo. But colloidal silver is a powerful antimicrobial, so it certainly couldn’t have hurt. As with anything, its effectiveness may vary depending on the type of infection and quality of the product. 

Colloidal silver shouldn’t be taken habitually over the long term. Another study showed that bacteria can become resistant to colloidal silver after many generations of exposure.

Studies Show that Colloidal Silver Does the Following:

• Kills bacteria and prevents bacterial growth, including antibiotic-resistant bacteria.(source)
• Killsome strains of pathogenic yeasts, including Candida and Cryptococcus. (source)
• Prevents viruses from entering human cells. (source)
• Reduces inflammation in contact dermatitis in test animals. (source)
• Disrupts bacterial biofilm (a slimy shield that hides bacteria from antibiotics) in bacterial sinusitis in test animals. (source)
• Provides an environment toxic to cancer cells. (source)
• Fights against Vibrio cholera and a dangerous strain of E. coli. (source)

The Takeaway

Go ahead and use colloidal silver for minor external infections or internally to disrupt the bacterial process. But DON’T exceed the recommended daily dosage, DON’T use it for an extended period of time, and DON’T expect it to cure serious, major diseases, for which you should ALWAYS consult your doctor regarding any and all nutritional supplements.

About Kim Robson

Kim Robson lives and works with her husband in the Cuyamaca Mountains an hour east of San Diego. She enjoys reading, writing, hiking, cooking, and animals. She has written a blog since 2006 at kimkiminy.wordpress.com. Her interests include the environment, dark skies, astronomy and physics, geology and rock collecting, living simply and cleanly, wilderness and wildlife conservation, and eating locally.

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