What is colloidal silver? Until the introduction of antibiotics in the 1940s, silver was used as a natural antibiotic with potent antibacterial properties.
Today, colloidal silver is trace element mineral supplement found at many pharmacies and health food stores.
However, insert “colloidal silver” into a search engine and you will find lots of conflicting information on the matter.
Some sources cite a U.S. Food and Drug Administration ruling saying that colloidal silver isn’t safe or effective and that there is no supportive scientific evidence.
Other people claim that there are multiple colloidal silver benefits.
Types of Colloidal Silver
Colloidal silver is a solution with nanometer-sized particles of suspended silver. The silver content is expressed numerically in parts per million (ppm). There are a few silver products marketed as “colloidal silver,” which is why it’s important to distinguish between them, as they each have different effects.
1. Silver Protein
Silver protein–based products contain gelatin to keep large silver particles suspended, and they are produced through the addition of water to silver protein powder. Although it’s labeled as colloidal silver, silver protein is less effective and does not contain the same benefits of colloidal silver in its true form.
2. Ionic Silver Solution
Ionic silver contains products with silver ions, and these products are also marketed as colloidal silver. However, like silver protein, ionic silver is also not true colloidal silver.
3. True Colloidal Silver
True colloidal silver is free from salts, protein, and other additives, and contains 99.999% pure nanometer-sized silver particles and purified water. The better colloidal silver products are also packaged in non-leaching glass bottles, which will guarantee its purity throughout its shelf life; colloidal silver should never be placed in plastic bottles. It’s important to note that brand matters when it comes to colloidal silver. Most colloidal silver products only contain 10% charged silver, but better brands such as Sovereign Silver contains 98% positively charged silver.
How Colloidal Silver Benefits Work
Does colloidal silver work? There are a lot of conflicting opinions out there, so it’s important to understand how colloidal silver works.
1. Binding with DNA
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a common bacterium that can cause diseases in humans. Studies have found that up to 12% of silver has been found in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. In other words, silver can enter bacterial DNA, and it does so without destroying the hydrogen bonds and it prevents the DNA from unwinding.
2. Catalytic Oxidation
Silver attaches to oxygen molecules, and reacts with the sulfhydral (H) groups that surround viruses and bacteria. This is thought to help block cellular respiration, a life-preserving cellular process. Cellular respiration is a series of metabolic processes and reactions in cells which convert energy from nutrients into adenosine triphosphate before releasing waste products.
3. Bacterial Cell Membrane Reaction
Silver ions can directly attach to the cell membranes of bacteria, and can produce a similar cellular respiration–blocking effect.
8 Colloidal Silver Benefits
What is colloidal silver good for, exactly? Here are eight beneficial colloidal silver uses.
1. Helps Control MRSA
It’s estimated that over 650 different disease-causing pathogens can be destroyed by colloidal silver.
Colloidal silver is well known as a natural antibiotic. MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a type of bacterial infection that is resistant to various antibiotics including methicillin, penicillin, and amoxicillin. MRSA and other antibiotic-resistant (1) infections kill about 23,000 Americans every year. MRSA symptoms include small red bumps that often look like insect bites, boils, spider bites, and pimples. In the 1980s, UCLA Medical School researchers cited over 650 different disease-causing pathogens destroyed by colloidal silver. Unlike prescription antibiotics, colloidal silver does not create immunity or resistance to the organisms being killed.
2. Ear/Eye Infections
Colloidal silver can be effective against ear and eye infections.
Ear and eye infections can be caused by bacteria or fungi. However, prescription antibiotics only treat specific classes of bacteria. Colloidal silver can be effective regardless of the cause of the ear or eye infection.
3. Wound/Skin Care Healing
Colloidal silver is considered effective against skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, ringworm, and tissue damage from burns.
A study published in the journal Pharmacognosy Communications in 2012 (2) found that the antiseptic activity of certain colloidal silver preparations may be useful for periodontitis, thrush, burns, boils, abscesses, and other conditions. Of the 12 colloidal silver preparations examined in the study, 10 showed antimicrobial activity. Colloidal silver is considered effective against skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, ringworm, and tissue damage from burns.
4. Prevents Cold and Flu
The antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of colloidal silver can help prevent the common cold and flu.
The antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of colloidal silver can help prevent the common cold and flu, including the swine flu. An Italian study in 2011 (3) randomly assigned 100 children under 12 with colds and nasal congestion to two groups: one treated with saline solution and another with a beta glucan and colloidal silver solution. Although both the saline and the colloidal silver groups benefited, 90% taking colloidal silver fully recovered.
5. Treats Other Viruses
The antiviral properties of colloidal silver can help treat several viral infections.
The antiviral properties of colloidal silver can help treat several viral infections such as HIV/AIDS, warts, herpes, and shingles. Also, anecdotal evidence suggests that colloidal silver is effective against hepatitis C.
6. Reduces Inflammation
Colloidal silver may be able to boost cell recovery, increase healing and decrease swelling.
Research is beginning to support the anti-inflammatory effects of colloidal silver. Researchers from the University of Alberta have studied the effects of inflammation in pigs being treated with colloidal silver. After 72 hours, the pigs treated with colloidal silver had near-normal skin, while the other groups remained inflamed. The results were published in the journal Nanomedicine in 2008 (4). As a result, colloidal silver may boost cell recovery, increase healing, and decrease swelling.
7. Treats Sinusitis
Colloidal silver spray may help control sinus infections such as sinusitis.
A study published in the International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology in 2014 (5) found that colloidal silver spray can help control sinus infections such as sinusitis. Colloidal silver is specifically used to destroy Staphylococcus aureus. Try adding a few drops of colloidal silver into a neti pot, or applying colloidal silver directly into your nasal cavity. Tilt your head back to let your nose drain down the throat. Colloidal silver is also thought to treat other respiratory inflammatory conditions including asthma and allergies.
8. Fights Bronchitis and Pneumonia
Colloidal silver is considered effective as respiratory support against bronchitis and pneumonia,
Colloidal silver is considered effective as respiratory support against bronchitis and pneumonia, whether the cause is bacterial or viral. A nebulizer is the most effective way to get colloidal silver into the lungs. Use a teaspoon’s worth three times daily for 10 to 15 minutes to treat pneumonia or bronchitis.
Other Health Benefits
Colloidal silver may have other benefits. It’s thought to destroy waterborne parasites, and it can also treat other digestive problems such as diverticulitis, bloating, abdominal pain, gas, indigestion, and acid reflux. There may also be colloidal silver benefits for cancer.
Dosage and Use of Colloidal Silver
It’s important to know how to use colloidal silver. This will depend on the condition it’s treating.
- For skin conditions, two to five drops can be applied to the skin.
- For wounds, one to two drops can be applied to a bandage.
- For pink eye, one to two drops can be applied to the eyes.
- Use a full eyedropper (orally) for immune support.
- For sinusitis or other respiratory conditions, five drops can be applied to a neti pot or used in colloidal silver spray.
Colloidal Silver Side Effects
There are both colloidal silver benefits and side effects. Although there is limited research supporting colloidal silver benefits and risks, some reports suggest that colloidal silver may cause poor absorption of certain drugs. That said, you may hear that colloidal silver causes an irreversible condition called argyria that turns eyes and skin permanently grey or blue. However, this is caused from the misuse of cheaper products marketed as colloidal silver, such as silver protein or ionic silver, not true colloidal silver.
It’s also important to note that due to the antibacterial properties of colloidal silver, this natural remedy should be supplemented with probiotics to ensure a proper microflora balance in the body.