When Dr. G.L. Rohdenburg published an article in 1915 on the benefits of colloidal silver in treating tumors, he likely had no idea that this product would have such staying power. Nearly 100 years later, colloidal silver is used by some as a dietary supplement, decongestant and a treatment for all kinds of ailments and illnesses.
Although colloidal silver has been called a cure-all, its healing properties, as reported by the companies that manufacture the supplement and its related products, haven’t been published in reputable medical journals [source: Zeratzky]. It’s really not known if colloidal silver cures ailments, and the side effects include everything from seizures and kidney damage to fatigue and skin irritation.
So what is this mysterious metal, and what does it do? Is it even a real metal, and how well does it work? And should people be concerned about the side effects?
First things first: yes, colloidal silver really is silver, or at least, a silver residue of sorts. A colloid is a particle of some substance, broken down and mixed into or suspended in liquid [source: Merriam-Webster Online]. Colloidal silver is mostly microscopic bits of silver floating in water or some other gelatinous goo.
Silver is naturally found in food and water, and when recommended by a physician, the typical dosage of colloidal silver is about one teaspoon. Due to the lengthy list of side effects and relatively sparse information on what this product can actually do for you, you won’t find many health experts promoting the substance.
Colloidal Silver Benefits
Colloidal silver is not a new alternative medicine. In fact, in the last century, people who could afford colloidal silver used it to remedy several different health issues. Colloidal silver’s popularity as a kind of antibiotic peaked in the 1920s and 1930s. But with time and the ever-increasing science behind medicine, we came to use different antibiotics that had proven effects. Yet proponents of colloidal silver products feel that just because we have, as a society, access to more updated medicine that doesn’t mean that colloidal silver no longer retains its benefits [source: Today’s Women and Health].
Colloidal silver is found still in medicine today, especially in medications that are used to combat fungus in the body. It also has a very powerful potential when used to kill disease, viruses and other harmful bacteria. Specifically, many people claim that when they take colloidal silver, it helps to improve their immune system’s ability to fight against colds and flu viruses [source: Valentino].
People often claim to use colloidal silver to soothe burns, repair skin and tissue damage, and to treat scars. Other skin issues that might be helped by colloidal silver include rashes, sties and acne [source: Today’s Women and Health].
Colloidal silver is purported to be easily digestible and therefore easily absorbed into the internal organs that need it most. This ease of absorption helps the benefits of colloidal silver work fast [source: Valentino]. Proponents claim that this property of colloidal silver is most important when it comes to strengthening the immune system [source: Today’s Women and Health]. As with any form of medicine, alternative or not, it is important to weigh its benefits against its side effects. Continue reading to uncover the side effects of taking colloidal silver.
Colloidal Silver Side Effects
Despite the supposed pros of taking a bit of silver with your cereal each morning, there are drawbacks, too. One potential side effect is a condition called argyria, which causes your skin to turn blue or blueish-gray [source: Celizic]. Whenever you come into direct contact with a released element or chemical, it can affect you depending on how much contact you have with it and for how long. In the case of people who have consumed colloidal silver for an extended period of time, argyria is sometimes the result [source: ATSDR].
When taken orally, colloidal silver can also wreak havoc on proteins and make other medicines less effective. For pregnant women, colloidal silver poses risks to the unborn child, as fetal abnormalities may develop due to its use [source: Sloan-Kettering].
In 1999, the Food and Drug Administration ruled that any and all over-the-counter products that contained colloidal silver were not to be regarded as safe or effective. The FDA also reported that products containing colloidal silver — which claimed to treat diseases including HIV, AIDS, cancer, tuberculosis and more — were to be considered misbranded [source: FDA].
Although there may be two sides to the colloidal silver story, one of the additional effects that health officials worry about with colloidal silver is that those who use it will begin to rely on it as a cure-all instead of seeking real medical treatment. With potentially false promises being made about this substance, both the Federal Trade Commission and the FDA have cracked down on Web sites that report cure-alls in the form of colloidal silver [source: Winter].
BMSS Addendum: I recently experienced a toothache on one of my molars and found that my gums were very sensitive, so I looked into holistic treatments to find a remedy for my pain. One such remedy is colloidal silver.
Upon researching colloidal silver, I found numerous testimonies to its effectiveness, yet colloidal silver is not recognized by the FDA as being either safe or effective. That, alone, gave me reason to believe that colloidal silver was a beneficial remedy.
I gargled a mouthful of colloidal silver for 10-15 minutes, 3x a day and within 4 days, the toothache was completely gone! Since that experience, I am sold on colloidal silver.
Reported benefits of colloidal silver include:
- promotes a healthy immune system
- improves the immune system
- powerful antibiotic, antibacterial, anti-parasitic, and antimicrobial
- topical antiseptic and antifungal
- fights the common cold and virtually all strains of the flu
- is easily digestible and absorbed
- no known contradictions to medications
- few and limited side effects (namely argyria which causes your skin to turn bluish-gray)
- can be used to relieve eye irritation
- purifies water
- has been used to treat sun spots, candida, dental infections, MRSA infections and urinary tract infections
How to make your own colloidal silver
In the following video, Dr. Bob Beck shows you how to make your own colloidal silver.
I haven’t tried this process yet but you can probably find colloidal silver at your local health food store or online at Amazon, which is where you can find the brand that I use, Silver Biotics, which costs significantly less ($23.49 USD) than buying locally ($49.99). That being said, always try to buy locally from non-major corporate conglomerates!