If you’ve never heard of colloidal silver before, your first thought is probably “what is colloidal silver?”, or maybe it’s, “what’s a colloid?”. Even if you’ve been around for a while, it can be good to refresh yourself on what colloidal silver really is. Cheap products are often sold as “colloidal silver” when they aren’t even colloids at all, so it’s good that everyone knows what colloidal silver really is.
What is Colloidal Silver?
First we have to answer, “what’s a colloid?”. That’s really key to understanding the difference between true colloidal silver and cheap wannabes. Here’s the thing—you already know all about colloids, even if you didn’t know the word. After all, everyone knows what milk is, whether they drink dairy, almond, or soy. And milk’s the perfect example of what a colloid is—it’s particles suspended in a liquid. Because those particles are suspended, not dissolved, milk is opaque—the suspended calcium is able to reflect light, making the milk appear white! (You’re probably more familiar with the concept of dissolved particles in liquids: like when adding sugar or salt to water—it disappears, and the water stays clear!).
So what is colloidal silver? Now you can figure it out from the name—it’s particles of silver suspended in a liquid (water). And just like milk, a true colloidal silver will be more opaque than clear—those suspended silver particles are going to reflect a silvery-gray light.
What Isn’t Colloidal Silver?
And now that you know “what is colloidal silver”, you can easily identify cheap, less safe products that want to be sold as colloidal silver. The key word is “colloidal”, after all! Many products sold as “colloidal silver” are actually ionic silver, meaning silver that’s dissolved in water, not suspended.
Here’s something else you should know when you define “what is colloidal silver”: those silver particles are pure, unionized silver. That’s how they’re able to be suspended in water, and not dissolved.
Ionic silver is missing an electron so it’s happy to dissolve in water, creating a solution (which you can quickly identify by how see-through the liquid is!). Although these products are sometimes marketed as colloidal silver, they are in fact ionic silver solutions. And because they’re inferior and less stable, they often have to be sold in glass. While they try to make that seem fancy, those products are just hiding their own weakness!
Pure colloidal silver is just silver and water—so one more thing to keep in mind is that anything with other additives, whether natural like citrus or an added chemical or stabilizer—isn’t a pure colloidal silver (if it’s not just ionic silver with additives).
What is Colloidal Silver vs. Ionic Silver Solutions?
Now that you know what a colloid is and what is colloidal silver and isn’t colloidal silver, you need to know what those differences mean to you.
One is that true, pure colloidal silver is very stable with a long shelf-life, while ionic silver (as mentioned above) needs more careful handling so that it stays in solution. Because ionic materials are more reactive, there’s more of a chance of contamination.
And according to tests on cells, this impacts how these two different products work as supplements, too. A true colloidal silver will move freely through cells and the body, while ionic silver will be looking to “pair off”, and, according to studies, will cluster on the outside of cells rather than move freely. Knowing what is colloidal silver is very important if you’re going to take it as a supplement!
What is the Best Colloidal Silver?
Now that you know the basics, here’s taking our understanding of “what is colloidal silver” one step further: the best colloidal silver uses only pure water, and pure, non-ionized silver particles.
Those silver particles are actually nano-sized, or very small. Smaller is better, because their mobility through the body matters. And more is better—colloidal silver is not harmful (baring rare silver allergies), so it’s better to have more in your capful than less (and having to take more!), especially when you need a boost.
What is Colloidal Silver Used For?
For hundreds of years, colloidal silver has been taken as a dietary supplement to boost the immune system. It’s well-known for supporting the healing of skin and minor wounds. In studies, nano silver can beat most pathogens, from viruses and bacteria to fungi and small amoebas. A DOD study even found that it can beat Ebola.
More than that, It’s been used to help extend the shelf-life of foods pre-refridgeration, to extend the safety of catheters in hospitals, and to help keep hospitals and other important places sterile (some companies offer a service coating everything in nano silver to help prevent the spread of disease in places like hospitals and daycares). Companies have been known to coat diaper bags, gym equipment, and more with nano silver to prevent odor, disease, and extend the life of food in your fridge.
What is Colloidal Silver Used With?
Colloidal silver is used as a supplement, but it can also be used on skin and bandages, in neti pots and sinus bulbs, and in a nebulizer.