There are many studies that illustrate the powerful benefits of colloidal silver. The silver appears to be a natural antibiotic that prevents against several infections. It's thought that the silver disables a necessary enzyme that bacteria, fungi and other viruses require to survive by inhibiting their oxygen metabolism. The microorganisms are literally suffocated by the silver. This results in infection fighting and tissue healing properties. However, scientists have also discovered some alarming side effects of colloidal silver that makes some doctors very uneasy about recommending for any sort of use.
Historical Benefits and Uses
Up until 1938, colloidal silver was a household treatment for a variety of infections. Many older persons can remember their parents and grandparents using the silver as a sort of cure-all antibiotic to help heal cuts, lacerations and abrasions. Early researchers even verified these antibiotic properties and further promoted its widespread use. However, research on the silver was abandoned after 1938 for the new and financially lucrative market of pharmaceutical drugs.
Robert O. Becker, M.D., author of the famous book, The Body Electric, made colloidal silver immensely popular in the late 1970s when he elaborated on how silver ions promoted the growth of bones and killed surrounding bacteria. The silver left normal tissue intact but disabled the oxygen metabolism enzyme of many types of foreign invaders. Dr. Becker reported that the silver is able to kill over 650 microorganisms.
Additionally, recent research was performed on a population referred to as the Hunzas from the Hunza valley, in the northern part of Pakistan. The Hunzas attracted a large amount of attention when their existence was discovered because of their supreme health. The Hunzas regularly lived beyond 120 years of age and western scientists desired to uncover the key to this longevity. Multiple factors are theorized to contribute to the health of the Hunzas, one of which was the high concentrations of colloidal silver in their water supply and soil. However, the reasons behind how silver may relate to longevity are unclear, and many scientists review this study with a critical eye.
Additional Benefits of Colloidal Silver
Since the silver is reported to kill hundreds of types of common bacteria, it's regularly used as an antibiotic to prevent against and fight infections. Silver is likely effective at treating these types of conditions:
- Open sores
- Bug bites
- Stuffy nose
- Sore throat
- Several other non-apparent low-grade, general body infections
Other benefits of colloidal silver and methods of use include:
- Eyes drops for infants since it does not destroy tissue cells like other antiseptics
- As deodorants, since foreign bacteria usually cause body odor
- A topical surface cleaner for use on kitchen and bathroom surfaces
- To purify water; add one tablespoon per gallon
A Word of Caution
While most scientists do acknowledge that colloidal silver does have significant antibiotic properties, some of these same scientists think that the claims about what the silver can do are exaggerated. They say that it's often used to treat certain ailments without enough in-depth research to indicate its true effectiveness for those ailments. This may not be such a big deal if the silver had no side effects, but this is not the case. Several documented cases show that prolonged contact with colloidal silver or too much of the silver can cause argyria. Argyria is a staining of skin and mucous membranes produced by silver deposition of different shades of gray. The discoloration most often noted is a blue-gray tint - essentially too much silver can make your skin blue. What's more unsettling is that exactly how much silver it takes to do this is not known and varies from person to person.
Overall, colloidal silver has antibiotic properties used to naturally prevent and treat many infections. However, it's likely that some clinicians, product manufacturers and retailers have expanded the scope and effectiveness of the silver without supporting research. Given the side effects, it's not a supplement one should consume haphazardly.