What is a Colloid?

March 24, 2020

The Tyndall Effect Shows a True Colloid

Your highschool science curriculum may or may not have covered “what is a colloid”? Depending on what you studied, it may not have come up—or discussing colloids may not have been a central point, just an aside. 

Still, it’s easy enough to learn, and it opens up the discussion about colloidal supplements. What is a colloid? What is a colloid made from? What are colloidal supplements, and why do people take them?

Don’t Get Ripped Off: Why It’s Important to Know “What is a Colloid?”

This isn’t just a curiosity—it’s important to know what a colloid is! Many products are sold as colloids, so you should be able to tell which are actually colloids, and which are using the term “colloid” as a marketing word.

So—what is a colloid? It’s a suspension of particles in a liquid. 

But that suspension is a little like being dissolved, because it’s stuck in place. It’s not suspended the way a toy might sink-float half way down to the bottom of the pool. You can’t scoop out the suspended particles, either, like dirt floating around water. It’s a more “stuck” sort of suspension of tiny particles. And reflecting light is the key way to identify a proper colloidal suspension.

Once you know what a colloid is, you’ll see that you run into colloids all the time!

Colloidal Minerals: What is a Colloid vs. Solution?

Luckily—you can tell what is a colloid and what isn’t at a glance. Because particles are suspended, they reflect light, making the liquid opaque—milk is a good, familiar example of a colloid. Dissolved particles (like when you add sugar to your coffee or tea) disappear into the liquid, creating a solution. Some solutions are sold as colloids, but if you know what is a colloid you can tell at a glance they aren’t!

Colloids come in lots of colors, it just depends on what’s dissolved. Milk has lots of calcium, so it’s bone white. Colloidal silver is silvery (a dark gray-blue color). Colloidal gold catches the light to reflect a gold/red/orange color.

To tell what is a colloid vs. what isn’t a colloid, you can do a quick home experiment.  The Tyndall Effect is what happens when you shine a light on a colloid. Shine a light on water and the beam will go straight through, but a colloid will bounce the light off all its particles, creating an illuminating effect and lighting up almost like a lantern.

Try the experiment for yourself with a bottle of MesoSilver or MesoGold—the whole bottle will light up (although the plastic will also reflect some light).

What is a Colloid That’s Been Damaged?

While colloids are usually very stable, some things can destroy the colloidal suspension.

With mineral colloids, for example, freezing will affect the liquid but not the particles, causing the particles to fall out of suspension to the bottom of the container.

Contamination can also destroy a colloid. Normally, basic practices like not drinking directly from a container and using a tight sealing lid prevents contamination that might cause problems.

Most colloids are stable for a long time and do not require much special care or an expiration date.

What is a Colloid Made From?

Colloids can be made from lots of ingredients—milk, as you know, is full of fat and nutrients, for example.

A colloid can be made of any particles that can be suspended (stuck) in any liquid.

Let’s look closer at what is a colloidal supplement:

What is a Colloid Supplement?

A good example of colloidal supplements are mineral colloids. They’re very simple examples of colloids at just two ingredients—a mineral, and water.

Colloidal silver, colloidal gold, colloidal copper, etc., are just pure nanoparticles suspended in pure water. Two things, one suspended in the other.

But when talking about what is a colloid, it’s important to note those particles are not ionic. Ionic particles will dissolve in water, creating a clear solution!

What is a Colloid Taken For?

Like any supplement, a colloid is taken for support. It may replace or replenish missing nutrients, especially important micronutrients, or it may offer support in other ways.

Colloidal silver is taken to support their immune system, either daily or as a boost when needed. It’s also often used to support skin as it heals, especially from burns and small wounds.

Colloidal gold is taken as mind support; it’s reported to boost focus, concentration, and more. It’s also used to support joint health in cases of arthritis.

Colloidal copper is used as skin support, and as a supplement colloidal copper may support firm, healthy tissue throughout the body.

There are other colloids to explore and discover which is the right colloid, or group of colloids, for you.

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