Colloidal Silver Frequently Asked Questions

What is colloidal silver?

Colloidal Silver is a solution of extremely fine submicroscopic particles (.015 - .005 microns) of pure silver suspended in water by a positive electric charge on each particle. The particles remain suspended throughout the solution because these positive-charged particles repel each other with a greater force than gravity can exert upon. A powerful germicidal, silver is an exceptional metal in that it is non-toxic to the human body, but lethal to over 650 disease-causing bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, and molds; while conventional pharmaceutical antibiotics are typically effective against only 6 or 7 types of bacteria. Some new strains of bacteria classified as MDR (Multiple Drug Resistant) have proven to be resistant to all pharmaceutical antibiotics, but not to colloidal silver due to different germicidal mechanisms of deactivation.

How does colloidal silver work?

Richard Davies and Samuel Etris of The Silver Institute, in a 1996 monograph entitled The Development and Functions of Silver in Water Purification and Disease Control, discuss three mechanisms of deactivation that silver utilizes to incapacitate disease-causing organisms. They are Catalytic Oxidation, Reaction with Cell Membranes, and Binding with the DNA of disease organisms to prevent unwinding.

Catalytic Oxidation: Silver, in its atomic state, has the capacity to absorb oxygen and act as a catalyst to bring about oxidation. Atomic (nascent) oxygen absorbed onto the surface of silver ions in solution will readily react with the sulfhydryl (-S-H) groups surrounding the surface of bacteria or viruses to remove the hydrogen atoms (as water), causing the sulfur atoms to form an R-S-S-R bond; blocking respiration and causing the bacteria to expire. Employing a simple catalytic reduction/oxidation reaction, colloidal silver will react with any negative charge presented by the organism's transport or membrane proteins and deactivate them.

Reaction with Bacterial Cell Membranes: There is evidence that silver ions attach to membrane surface radicals of bacteria, impairing cell respiration and blocking its energy transfer system. One explanation is based on the nature of enzyme construction: Specific enzymes are required for a given biochemical activity to take place. Enzyme molecules usually require a specific metallic atom as part of the molecular matrix in order to function. A metal of higher valance can replace a metal of lower valance in the enzyme complex, preventing the enzyme from functioning normally. Silver, with a valance of plus 2, can replace many metals with a lower, or equal valance that exhibit weaker atomic bonding properties.

Binding with DNA: Studies by C.L. Fox and S.M. Modak with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a tenacious bacteria that is difficult to treat, demonstrated that as much as 12% of silver is taken up by the organism's DNA. 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.

How should one use colloidal silver?

Colloidal Silver may be taken orally or topically; applied directly to the skin. It can be used vaginally, anally, atomized or inhaled into the nose or lungs, and dropped into eyes. Liquid silver as well as new gel formulations, may be applied directly to the skin. A few drops on a Q-Tip or Band-Aid may be used to disinfect any wound or sore. Liquid silver can also be injected.

Dosage: A conservative approach would be to start with 1 or 2 teaspoons once or twice a day. Children could use proportionally smaller doses. For colds and flu symptoms, one or two tablespoons 3-6 times daily frequently will speed recovery. For mouth infections, frequently rinse the affected area for at least 6 minutes before swallowing. Overdosing should not be of concern, even if recommended doses are exceeded. If, after a few days of use, one experiences a de-toxification effect in the form of feeling sluggish or mild aches, increase water consumption to speed the eliminations of toxins and taper back the silver dosage to match the rate of toxin elimination. It is safe for pregnant and nursing women and is known to aid the developing fetus in growth. It will not generate free radicals or interfere with enzyme activity. It has no reaction with other medications.

Are there any dangers or side effects?

The Environmental Protection Agency's Poison Control Center reports no toxicity listing for Colloidal Silver. Regular ingestion of colloidal silver can act as a second immune system by assisting the body in the war against invading micro-organisms. Unlike pharmaceutical antibiotic which destroy beneficial enzymes, colloidal silver leaves these tissue-cell enzymes intact.

Colloidal Silver, if used sensibly, is completely non-toxic and will not harm the immune system in any way. Critics of colloidal silver will often warn that regular consumption of colloidal silver might lead to Argyria, a bluish/ grey discoloration of the skin. Dr. Bob Beck debunks this statement as a scare tactic by pro-pharmaceutical interests. Dr Beck has indicated that Argyria is caused by silver compounds, such as silver nitrate, silver sulfate, silver sulfadiazine, etc., and not micro-particles of pure elemental silver. Apparently, silver colloids are mostly absorbed in the upper gastrointestinal tract, since colloidal silver does not seem to adversely affect friendly bacteria in the lower intestines. Silver can be toxic to nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, but is normally prevented from entering those areas by the blood-brain barrier. Silver has not demonstrated any evidence of carcinogenic activity.

The body eliminates excess silver via the metallothiones. These ubiquitous proteins, first characterized in 1957, have the property of binding with heavy metals, such as silver, into metal-thiolate-cluster structures which aid in transportation, storage, and elimination of nonessential trace metals which enter the body.

How much research has been done on colloidal silver?

Silver has been used as a germicide for thousands of years. Ancient texts, including Pliny the Elder's great tome, Natural History, Book 23 (78 A.D.) discusses the extraordinary wound healing capacity of silver slag as an ingredient in plasters. The German obstetrician, Franz Crede, observed in 1884 that up to 79% of blind children in various orphanages and institutions were born to mothers who, at the time of the child's birth, had venereal disease. He found that a 1% solution of silver nitrate dropped into the eyes of newborns, reduced the incidence of VD-caused blindness to less than 0.2%. More recently, colloidal silver was tested at the UCLA Medical Labs. Its Report states that " The silver solutions were antibacterial for concentrations of 1 million organisms per ml of Streptococcus pyogenes, Staphylococcus aureus (which in now resistant to Vancomycin, the strongest pharmaceutical antibiotic available, Ed.) , Neisseria gonorrhea, Gardnerella Vaginalis, Salmonella Typhi (responsible for salmonella food poisoning and Typhus, Ed.) , and other enteric pathogens; and fungicidal for Candida albicans (the common yeast infection, in vaginitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Ed.), Candida globata, and M. Furfur."

Dr Robert Becker, M.D., author of The Body Electric and Crosscurrents found that silver caused cells to dedifferentiate and re-differentiate in the process of regenerative healing. " What we had actually done was rediscovered the fact that silver killed bacteria, which had been known for centuries...when antibiotics were discovered, clinical uses for silver as an antibiotic were discarded" Becker said in a 1995 interview with Bio/Tech News.

Extensive research into the curative properties of silver has been conducted for many years at the Upstate Medical Center, Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y. under the direction of Dr. Becker. The experiments concluded that silver works on a wide range of bacteria, without any known side-effects or damage to the cells of the body. Becker discovered that the silver was doing something more than just killing disease-causing organisms: It was also causing major growth stimulation of injured tissues. Dr. Becker concludes that the presence of the silver ion may help to regenerate tissue, eliminate old or cancerous cells, and any other diseased or abnormal tissue condition.

Dr. Henry Crooks (author, Use of Colloids in Health-Disease) found that silver in the colloidal state is highly germicidal, quite harmless to humans and absolutely non-toxic. From his bacteriological experiments with silver he concluded, "I know of no microbe that is not killed in laboratory experiments in six minutes."

Dr. Bjorn Nordenstrom, of the Larolinska Institute, Sweden, has successfully used silver as a component in his cancer treatments for many years. Dr. Leonard Keene Hirschberg, A. M., M. D. (John Hopkins) states, "Speaking generally, the colloidal metals are especially remarkable for their beneficial action in infective states." Dr. Richard L. Davies, executive director of the Silver Institute, which monitors silver technology in 37 countries, reports: "In four years we've described 87 important new medical uses for silver. We're just beginning to see to what extent silver can relieve suffering."

Finally, Peter Lindemann reports in his 1997 article, Colloidal Silver, A Closer Look that a study conducted in part by the Institute of Microbiology in Rome, Italy and published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology (Dec. 1992), stated that "Pure electro-colloidal silver out- performed silver nitrate, silver chloride, and silver sulfadiazine as a broad spectrum germicide. For all classes of bacteria, fungus, and mold samples tested, pure electro-colloidal silver worked better, and at much lower concentrations. They concluded that any additives reduced the effectiveness of the pure silver ion; the silver salts being as much as 100 times less effective."

What is the FDA's standpoint on colloidal silver?

Since colloidal silver was in common use as an antibiotic prior to 1938 when the FDA was created, its use was grandfathered-in and not subject to FDA approval. Many promoters of colloidal silver had ballyhooed a 1991 letter authored by the FDA which they said (at the time) that they would not attempt to control colloidal silver as long as its uses were confined to pre-1938 published protocols. However, the growing popularity of colloidal since 1991, has created pressure from threatened pharmaceutical interests to get the FDA to regulate the availability of colloidal silver.

As a result, today the FDA is attempting to subvert the grandfather clause and is seeking to gain approval status over the use and production of colloidal silver on the outrageous premise that since colloidal silver has proven to be such an effective broad spectrum germ fighter in its ability to cure new strains of bacteria (not in existence in 1938), that its use should be subject to their jurisdiction! It's clear to anyone who examines the subject, that the FDA is a champion for the pharmaceutical industry and on their behalf attempts to suppress the use of cheap, non-patentable, natural, alternative therapies at every opportunity. Silver, after all, is merely a metal. It's a harmless element of Nature. What business does the FDA have in attempting to regulate its use?