Did you know that some people ingest silver in the name of health? Yes, silver, as in the lustrous metal. I, for one, had never heard of this before, so I decided to look into it!
Colloidal silver is typically ingested by natural remedy users who are looking to improve their health and immune response. However, the actual effectiveness is heavily debated in the scientific world. The word colloidal refers to a mixture in which microscopic particles are distributed within another substance. Colloidal silver is therefore a mixture of small suspended particles of silver within a diluted solution. Colloidal silver products are often administered through nasal mists or throat sprays, while others apply it directly to their skin as a topical cream or lotion. Furthermore, some brands, such as Sovereign Silver, sell bio-active products that are catered towards immune support. One interesting property of silver is that ions are released from the main particle of silver when it comes into contact with moisture or liquids, such as those found within the human body. It is in this way that silver may be “biologically activated.”
Colloidal silver was historically used to treat numerous ailments, however, this was prior to current scientifically recognized and approved antibiotic treatment development. Regardless, users still claim there are a variety of reasons to administer colloidal silver, choosing to replace scientifically proven medicinal options like antibiotics with colloidal silver in an attempt to treat certain infections caused by viruses, bacteria, and fungi, or even going to the extremes of administering colloidal silver in an apparent attempt to reduce the effects of lyme disease and tuberculosis. It is unclear how colloidal silver would actually reduce the symptoms or treat any of these ailments, but there are a few conjectures suggesting that differing size in the particle of silver may be used to address different health concerns throughout the body. However, ingesting high levels of silver commonly leads to a health risk called argyria, which comes with the symptoms of the skin turning bluish grey in color caused by a buildup of the foreign, unnecessary substance in the body. Many online health resources and medical professionals advise against using these nanoparticle silver products, due to lack of evidence that it will improve health, with more evidence suggesting its possible dangers, and overall lack of regulation of these products.
Many studies are still being conducted in order to ascertain the effectiveness of nanoparticles of silver used in health care. One study suggests that the most important characteristics of silver nanoparticles that affect its antimicrobial potential are the particle size, shape, charge, concentration within a solution, and its colloidal state. Nanoparticles of silver may prove to have antimicrobial properties due to its ability to adhere to and penetrate microbial cells, produce free radicals, and disrupt important cellular processes within the microbe. However, the same study suggests serious dangers when silver nanoparticles are exposed to human cells, including “cytotoxicity, genotoxicity, and inflammatory response” that can damage or destroy human cells and endanger personal wellbeing. The conclusion of the study emphasises that more research is needed in order to determine the true potential of silver nanoparticles in medicinal use, and suggests that bioengineering of these particles may be necessary in order to be used safely within the human body.
There are numerous question marks surrounding the effectiveness of colloidal silver, and rightfully so – there are not too many well known studies that have been conducted on this substance. The studies that have been completed suggest users should proceed with caution. For example, one study suggests that “clear concerns are emerging regarding the overuse of nanosilver and the potential for bacterial resistance to develop,” suggesting that silver is not an alternative to typical antibiotics administered by a medical professional, and emphasizing the possible dangers associated with its use.
I sincerely advise you to remain aware when looking into using colloidal silver. Please refer to medical, peer reviewed studies and understand the possibly harmful side effects of silver ingestion in order to make an educated decision on whether or not colloidal silver products are something you would like to try. Overall, I am glad I looked into this product and concept, as we learn something new every day! I hope to see more studies conducted in the future in order to determine once and for all the possibilities that silver particles may hold for our health and wellbeing.