Colloidal Silver: Examining The Negative Claims

October 15, 2010

If you’ve ever looked into using Colloidal Silver, you’ve probably run across a bunch of people swearing it cured a disease they spent years fighting and that doctors were confounded by, you might run into people saying it eased or more quickly alleviated a common illness, and then you might find those decrying colloidal silver as a toxin, as something that will turn you blue and that has no health benefits (just like many other natural or alternative remedies, depending on the source of the criticism).

Before looking more closely at Colloidal Silver, there are a few general observations I want to make:

  1. Although it’s easy to find different studies that say different things (and in fact many studies aren’t reliable), there’ve been a few notable headlines in the last few years, saying things like statins (used for prevention of stroke, etc.) and knee surgery (intended to treat osteoarthritis) are no more effective than placebos. Since one of the main criticisms against alternative medicines is that they are no better than a placebo, the de-facto acceptance of expensive, side-effect laden main stream medicine seems irrational.
  2. When used judiciously, and when consumers make informed choices (as many who choose holistic and alternative approaches to their health are seeking to do, rather than accept something, even alternative/traditional medicine without question) there is very little risk or harm in many alternative medicines.

Now, there are many attacks against colloidal silver; regarding silver in general (many studies look at silver nitrate and other derivatives as they were also historically used) there is no data showing adverse health effects of silver ingestion in humans.

The only criticism that bares singling out for addressing is that some people have developed argyria from silver ingestion. First, given the number of people taking or exposed to silver (more on that below) this is a very rare occurrence, and has never been reported by people using a true colloid. Second, it’s only a cosmetic effect, much like turning orange from beta-carotene, only it requires laser surgery to remove. Unlike the side-effects of many main-stream drugs, this will not harm your physical health.

Finally, the reason most people using colloidal silver aren’t at risk for argyria is that the particles are small enough that the majority of them pass through the body without accumulating. This may not be true for all things branded “colloidal silver” (do it yourself types, cheaper knock-offs), but it’s easy to do a little product research before you buy.

Do you know what’s in your tap water? If your main source of drinking water is tap water, then you’re probably consuming between 2-5 grams (a couple of pennies) of silver per year. Unlike colloidal silver, which is designed to 1) have optimal bioavailability (which gives it its benefits) and 2) pass through of the body, the silver in your tap water is a mixture of larger silver particles and silver compounds. If you’re afraid of argyria, there’s more reason to be afraid of tap water than colloidal silver.

For more on what makes Colloidal Silver special (particle size, bioavailability) Click Here

What other concerns do you have about the use of colloidal silver and other natural/alternative remedies? What do you think about the campaign against colloidal silver, both by big companies and other small health-oriented companies?

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