What Does “Colloidal” Mean?

April 30, 2020

What does “colloidal” mean? It’s an important question—knowing what a colloid is ensures you get something safe and effective when looking at products with “colloid” in the name. Unfortunately, over the years, there have been products that use the name “colloid” without really selling a true colloid—or they sell an unnecessarily impure colloid!

Light shines through a colloid.

Let’s look at what pure colloids are, why some products aren’t colloids at all or are less pure, and how you can tell them apart!

Knowing what does “colloidal” mean can help you to choose a better product, and avoid the fakes!

So, What Does “Colloidal” Mean?

“Colloidal” refers to something being a colloid, especially if it could be in another form.

A colloid is a suspension of one thing in another. Milk is a colloid, but when you dissolve sugar in water, that’s a solution.

What does “colloidal” mean, then? Let’s look at colloidal silver as an example:

Colloidal silver is a suspension of silver nanoparticles in water. That’s it, just pure nanosilver particles suspended in pure water. 

Silver nanoparticles can exist in other ways, though, too: silver nanoparticles are used to coat medical devices, and are applied to environmental surfaces to prevent germ growth, and are even used in creams and medicines. But those aren’t colloidal silvers, instead, those nanosilver particles are sometimes stabilized in different ways.

What “colloidal” means is a level of purity when it comes to something like nanosilver.

What DOESN’T “Colloidal” Mean?

Colloidal supplements have been around for a longtime and are known for their quality, so some things are called “colloidal” when they really aren’t, just to try and grab the association! Sometimes they’re colloids, but not pure colloids. Once you know what does “colloidal” mean, make sure you know about similar things! 

A solution is when one thing is dissolved in another. A solution is not a colloid, even though it might also say the ingredients are “just” silver and water, or otherwise compared to a colloid. 

Let’s keep looking at colloidal silver as an example.

If it’s a solution, then it’s a different type of silver we’re talking about: ionic silver! Ionic silver means a charged particle (missing an electron) and will be attracted to other charged particles, quickly becoming a compound (silver plus something else). Or, as seen in in vitro experiments, it will cluster around certain elements in the body.

Answering what does “colloidal” mean, it doesn’t automatically mean purity. You might see something that is a colloid, but has other ingredients that might be considered “impurities”, depending on your use. If you’re looking at colloidal supplements, than be strict about what does “colloidal” mean, and expect the purity a colloid is capable of delivering!

What Does “Colloidal” Mean for Supplement Quality?

Still looking at colloidal silver as an example, as said above, nanosilver can be present and used in many things, and in lots of ways. But when we ask “what does ‘colloidal’ mean”, we’re likely talking about supplements.

Colloidal silver is just silver nanoparticles suspended in water. Pure, NOT ionic silver nanoparticles in pure water.

That means control, and quality. Ionic silver is less useful, and potentially less safe. There are no other ingredients to worry about with a true colloid. 

A colloid is an easier, safer, all around better way to supplement certain things into your diet.

What Does “Colloidal” Mean: Choosing the Right Supplement

Once you know what does “colloidal” mean, you can spot a colloid right off. Particles suspended in water will be visible (you can’t see through milk, but you can stir in a lot of sugar or salt to water and still see through it!). And with a colloid, those particles will reflect light in all directions (a beam of light won’t shoot straight through, it will scatter to all sides).

For example, colloidal silver is a blue-gray color. Colloidal gold is a red orange. But ionic solutions are clear! Make-it-yourself fake “colloids” will either dissolve (ionic), float (especially if you’re instructed to stir up the grit) or clump.

Knowing “what does ‘colloidal’ mean” allows you to choose the best quality supplement, so you can have better value, better quality, and a true, pure colloid.

Use your knowledge of “what does ‘colloidal’ mean” and choose the best colloidal silver or colloidal gold.

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