Colloidal Silver Benefits, Uses, Dosage & Side Effects
Colloidal Silver is a broad-spectrum antibiotic effective against viral, bacterial and fungal infections. Silver is used treating several infections and diseases since ancient times. In Ayurveda, silver is used in form of Bhasma named as Rajat Bhasma or Chandi Bhasma since 5000 years. In the Western world, Colloidal Silver is used as antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal medicine.
Colloidal silver is a liquid solution obtained after electrolysis. During this process, the pure, metallic elemental silver is suspended in distilled water.
Phytochemistry (Chemical Composition)
Colloidal silver is a solution of water that contains nanometer-sized particles of silver. The silver content of the solution is expressed as milligrams of silver per one liter of water (mg/L) or parts per million (ppm). The silver content is in the form of suspended particles and is divided into 2 forms: silver nanoparticles and ionic silver.
Ionic silver is an atom of silver having a missing electron. Silver nanoparticles are tiny particles of silver having a size of about 1 nm to 100 nm. The difference between ionic silver and silver particles is ionic silver is water soluble while the silver particles are not water soluble.
There are three forms of Colloidal Silver that are widely used for commercial purposes as given below:
Ionic Silver solution
The vast majority of Colloidal Silver products labelled so fall into this category. They have a low level of manufacturing complexity. The silver content in these products comprises of silver ions as well as silver particles.
Usually, 90% of the silver content in Ionic Silver solution is in the form of ionic silver and about 10% is in the form of silver particles. The silver ions are obtained after electrolysis and described as “dissolved silver.” The Ionic Silver solution is clear like water. It may have a slight yellowish tint.
The silver protein products consist of a combination of the metallic silver particles and a protein binder. It can be produced easily by adding water to the silver protein powder.
True Colloidal Silver
This the least prevalent form of the colloidal silver products. It has a high level of manufacturing complexity and hence, a high cost of production.
The majority of the silver in the true colloidal silver solution is in the form of silver particles. It usually contains more than 50% of the particles with about 20% to 49% of silver ions.
How to Make Colloidal Silver
The preparation of Colloidal Silver involves connecting 2 pieces of silver to a source of electricity such as a battery and setting them to rest in a container of water. This results in the particles of silver being shed from the source and getting suspended in the water as the electricity tries to run between the silver pieces. The materials needed for making Colloidal Silver are as follow:
- Power Source: A power source from 3 to 4 batteries is needed depending on the amount of Colloidal Silver needed to be produced.
- Leads: A lead is needed to connect the batteries to the silver.
- Silver: two separate pieces of silver containing a minimum of 99.9% silver should be chosen. The use of silver plates and sterling silver should be avoided as these materials may contain other elements such as copper or nickel that can be toxic.
- Distilled Water: The cleanest sources of water must be used for the preparation of colloidal silver. It should not contain any particulate matter. However, it is best to use distilled water for the purpose.
- Current Regulator Diode: A Current Regulator Diode is needed to regulate the flow of current between the pieces of silver.
- Containers: A container is needed to hold distilled water. The container should preferably be made of glass, as plastic does not preserve the suspension for a longer period of time. Another container is needed to store colloidal silver once it is formed. Since Colloidal silver is sensitive to light, it must be stored in an amber-colored glass container.
The process of making Colloidal Silver is as follows:
Step 1: The 9-volt batteries are connected in series by joining the positive terminal of one battery to the negative terminal of the second one and so on.
Step 2: Alligator clips are attached one each to the open positive terminal on one side, and the open negative terminal on the other side. At the end of the alligator clip, which is connected to the negative terminal, the current regulator diode is clipped in. Then, another alligator clip is attached to the other side of the diode.
Step 3: Connect the two pieces of silver to these two leads, and set them in the water. It is advisable to let them rest along the side and the bottom of the container without letting them touch each other as it may lead to short circuit. Also, it is important to ensure nothing other than the 2 silver pieces go into the water.
Step 4: Depending on the volume of the container, it may take a few hours for the solution to be sufficiently saturated with the silver particles.
Step 5: The Colloidal Silver is considered to be ready when the water has a yellowish tint to it. The Colloidal Silver solution, thus obtained, can be stored in an amber-colored container.
How to ensure the high quality of the Colloidal Silver product?
The highest quality of colloidal silver is produced by the non-chemical or electro-colloidal method in which water and the silver particles have been colloided or dispersed within so that they are bound to each other by the electric current.
The ideal color of the high-quality colloidal silver is golden yellow. A darker color indicates a presence of larger silver particles, which may collect at the bottom of the container and hence, are not truly colloidal in nature.
Also, if a solution contains a trace element other than silver, it is considered inferior in quality. Such a solution needs to be shaken to have a uniform appearance.
If the product necessitates storage in a refrigerator, it indicates the presence of ingredients that could spoil the solution. Colloidal silver having a higher concentration of silver is not considered safe. Also, the antimicrobial action of the colloidal silver having a higher concentration of silver is not very effective. The safe and effective range of silver concentration in the Colloidal silver should be about 3 to 5 parts per million.
Colloidal silver is widely used for the treatment of several disorders. It is believed to affect the breathing processes of the single-celled organisms by interfering with the oxygen metabolism enzyme in them. Hence, it is commonly used in the treatment of infective disorders. It also supports the functions of the immune system and ensures destruction and elimination of the pathogens.
- Soporific (Sleep inducing)
Therapeutic Indications of Colloidal Silver
Colloidal Silver is beneficial in following health conditions.
Internally, Colloidal Silver is taken to treat following diseases:
- Common Cold
- Sinusitis (Due to Viral Infection)
- Bubonic plague
- Lyme disease
- Scarlet fever
- Sinusitis (Due to Bacterial Infection)
- Stomach ulcers
- Sinusitis (Due to fungal Infection)
- Acute headache
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Atrophy of brain
- Disturbed motor or sensory functions of the brain
- Memory loss
- Nystagmus (Involuntary movements of the eyeballs)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Wallenberg’s Syndrome
Diseases of Lungs & Airways
- Upper respiratory tract infections
- Cradle cap (dermatitis of the scalp)
- Gum disease
- Hay fever
- Lupus chronic fatigue syndrome
- Trench foot
Use of Colloidal Silver in preventive medicine
- Swine (H1N1) flu
- Common cold
Local Application of Colloidal Silver
Colloidal Silver is applied directly to the skin in following conditions:
- Eye infections
- Fungal infections
- Skin infections
- Staphylococcus infections
- Throat infections
Colloidal Silver Benefits and Uses
Colloidal Silver can be used in the management of infective disorders. It can also help to reduce the risk of bacterial and viral infections. The use of this solution is beneficial in the treatment of breast cancer.
Colloidal Silver for Chronic Rhinosinusitis
Colloidal Silver can help to relieve the symptoms of chronic rhinosinusitis. It also prevents the condition from worsening by protecting the body against infections. It is a common condition that is characterized by an inflammation and swelling of the nasal passages and cavities or sinuses around the same.
This disorder interferes with the drainage of mucus from the nasal cavities resulting in its buildup. Hence, the patients develop symptoms like nose block, pain and tenderness over the sinuses, and headache. The symptoms of this condition last for about 12 weeks. Colloidal Silver can help to provide relief from these symptoms.
How Does Colloidal Silver Work in Chronic Rhinosinusitis?
Colloidal Silver helps to control the symptoms of chronic rhinosinusitis by acting as an antimicrobial agent. It is highly effective against most strains of bacteria and viruses.
It has the ability to destroy the bacteria by acting as a catalyst. It also disables the enzyme responsible for the facilitation of the actions inside their cells. This enzyme is required by the anaerobic bacteria, yeast, viruses, and molds for their survival. The inactivation of this enzyme by Colloidal Silver renders them unable to survive resulting in their destruction.
Colloidal Silver also prevents the pathogens from replicating. It creates an environment that is unfavorable for the pathogens to survive and reproduce. These actions of Colloidal Silver help in preventing the complications associated with chronic rhinosinusitis.
Research studies for the use of Colloidal Silver in Chronic Rhinosinusitis
The use of Colloidal Silver in the management of chronic rhinosinusitis was evaluated during research. The aim of the study was to assess the safety and effectiveness of Colloidal Silver solution in the management of a Staphylococcus Aureus Biofilm in a sheep model.
The study was focused on finding an effective alternative to treating infections in the light of growing incidences of complications caused due to antibiotic resistance.
In the safety study, a 30-ppm colloidal silver solution was administered to the test group and normal saline was administered to the control group. The solutions were used to flush the sinuses for 14 days.
In the efficacy study, the frontal sinuses were flushed with the strains of Staphylococcus Aureus. Later, the sinuses were administered either Colloidal Silver solution or saline topically. Colloidal silver was administered in varying concentrations of 5 ppm, 10 ppm, 20 ppm or 30 ppm for 5 days.
The blood silver level, biochemical parameters, and full blood counts were analyzed in the efficacy and safety studies. The sinus tissues were also harvested for the ciliary structure analysis and histological examination in the safety study.
Biofilm biomass quantification by COMSTAT 2 software and FISH (Fluorescence in Situ Hybridization) technique were performed in the efficacy study. The results were analyzed through the appropriate statistical tests.
It was found that the sheep treated with Colloidal Silver had a significant decline in the Biofilm biomass. The biochemical parameters and blood counts were also normal in the test group. This study proved that the topical use of Colloidal Silver could exert an effective Antibiofilm effect in Staphylococcus Aureus and thus, help in the management of chronic rhinosinusitis. (1)
Colloidal Silver for Wounds
The use of Colloidal Silver can help in the faster healing of wounds. It promotes the natural repair processes of the body and prevents infections. The topical application of Colloidal Silver is common for treating traumatic wounds of the skin and surgical wounds.
How Does Colloidal Silver Work in Wounds?
The primary action of Colloidal Silver in promoting wound healing is to inhibit the infection at the affected site. Infections can result in pus formation and delay the healing processes. An infection can also lead to swelling and ulceration. The use of Colloidal Silver is recommended to prevent these complications and ensure proper healing of the wound.
It works by supporting the functions of the immune system. It enables the immune system to fight against the bacteria responsible for causing infections. This allows the skin cells at the injured site to regenerate without any hindrance and allows for the faster bridging of the gap at the affected site.
Research studies for the use of Colloidal Silver in Wounds
The antimicrobial potential of Colloidal Silver that could help in the healing of wounds was evaluated during scientific research. The study was also aimed at investigating the efficacy of the silver nanoparticles at inducing an anti-inflammatory effect and promoting the processes of wound repair.
During research, the powdered silver nanoparticles were prepared by the addition of AgNO3 to an alkali-dissolved starch, which was later precipitated with ethanol. The aqueous suspension of silver nanoparticles was prepared from the powdered nanoparticles by the methods of dispersion and dilution with water.
This solution was used for wound dressing by treating cotton fabrics with varying concentrations of the aqueous suspensions. It was found that the cotton fabric containing a higher concentration of the aqueous suspension of silver nanoparticles was more effective against several species of organisms than the lower concentrations.
The results of this study proved the potent healing abilities of Colloidal Silver that could help in the treatment of wounds. The results were comparable to that of the commonly used topical antibiotic medication, Dermazinc cream.
Also, the anti-inflammatory effect of the nanoparticles of silver was comparable to that of Indomethacin, which is a commonly used Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drug. These findings support the use of Colloidal Silver for the dressing of wounds. (2)
Colloidal Silver for Breast Cancer
Colloidal Silver possesses anticancer properties, which can help in the management of breast cancer. It is the most common form of cancer among women. The common signs and symptoms of breast cancer include a lump in the breast or the armpits, a discharge of blood from the nipples, inverted nipple, dimpling of the skin overlying the breast, pain in the breasts, soreness of the nipple and swelling of the lymph nodes in the armpit or neck.
The risk of breast cancer is higher in the women who have had an early puberty or late menopause. Women having a family history of breast cancer are also more likely to suffer from it. Women who have not breastfed are at a higher risk of developing this condition.
Colloidal Silver can help in treatment and prevention of this condition. It prevents the growth and spread of the cancer cells. Colloidal Silver can reduce the risk of mortality associated with breast cancer. It ensures faster recovery of the patients and prevents relapse of breast cancer in the future.
How Does Colloidal Silver Work in Breast Cancer?
Colloidal Silver helps in the treatment of breast cancer by producing a cytotoxic effect on the abnormal cells. The anticancer potential of Colloidal Silver can also be attributed to its ability to induce apoptosis.
It destroys the cancer cells thus limiting the growth of the cancer mass. It also prevents the spread of cancer cells to the surrounding and distant organs.
Research studies for the use of Colloidal Silver in Breast Cancer
The antitumor potential of Colloidal Silver was assessed during a scientific study. The aim of the research was to determine whether colloidal silver could produce a cytotoxic effect on the MCF-7 breast cancer cells. The study was also focused on finding the mechanism of cell death induced by Colloidal Silver.
During this research, the MCF-7 breast cancer cells were treated with varying concentrations of Colloidal Silver for 5 hours at 5% CO2 atmosphere and a temperature of 37°C. The viability of the treated cells was assessed by the trypan blue exclusion method.
The mechanism of cell death was evaluated through the detection of mono-oligonucleosome with the help of an ELISA kit. The TUNEL assay was also performed to investigate the mechanism of cell death. The production of NO and the activities of LDH, NO, Gpx, CAT, SOD and the total antioxidants were evaluated by colorimetric assays.
The results of this study showed that Colloidal Silver could produce a dose-dependent cytotoxic effect in the MCF-7 breast cancer cells. It was found to work through the induction of apoptosis. It also decreased LDH and increased SOD activities significantly. However, it did not produce any favorable effect on the production of NO, and the CAT, Gpx, and total antioxidant activities in the breast cancer cells.
This study proved that Colloidal Silver could be used as a potential alternative agent for the management of breast cancer. (3)
Colloidal Silver for Viral infections
Colloidal Silver is commonly used in the treatment of viral infections. It can be used to treat the mild infections like common cold as well as severe infective conditions like AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). It can also be used to treat the viral infections like pneumonia, warts, herpes, and shingles.
How Does Colloidal Silver Work in Viral infections?
Colloidal silver helps to treat viral infections by reducing the activities of the pathogens. It has been found to arrest the breathing processes in the viruses. It can reduce the activity of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in the patients suffering from AIDS.
Research studies for the use of Colloidal Silver in Viral infections
The antiviral action of silver nanoparticles has been proved during research. The study was aimed at evaluating the efficacy of Colloidal Silver in inactivating murine norovirus (MNV), adenovirus serotype 2 (AdV2), and bacteriophage ϕX174. It also addressed the concern about the release of silver nanoparticles into the environment, which could lead to an adverse effect of the human health and ecological balance.
These organisms were exposed to Colloidal Silver for a varied duration of time such as 1 hour, 3 hours, and 6 hours at 25°C. The antiviral effect was analyzed by real-time TaqMan PCR and plaque assay. The findings of this research proved that Colloidal Silver could help to deactivate the virus thus eliminating the infections.
It also showed that the antiviral potential of Colloidal Silver was safe as it caused a minimum release of the nanoparticles into the environment. Hence, its use was found to be safe even from the point of view of preventing pollution and maintaining the ecological balance. (4)
The antiviral properties of Colloidal Silver against HIV-1 have been proved during another research. The silver nanoparticles were proven to exert a strong antiviral activity against HIV-1 at a non-cytotoxic concentration. The study was aimed at investigating the mechanism underlying the HIV-inhibitory activity of Colloidal Silver using a panel of several in vitro assays.
The results suggested that silver nanoparticles exerted a potent anti-HIV activity at the early stage of the replication of the virus. It was believed to work as a virucidal agent or an inhibitor of the viral entry. It was found that the silver nanoparticles bound to gp120 thus preventing the CD4-dependent fusion, virion binding, and infectivity.
This action of Colloidal Silver proved it to be an effective virucidal agent against the laboratory strains, T and M-tropic strains, clinical isolates, and resistant strains of the virus. Besides, it also showed that silver nanoparticles could inhibit the post-entry stages in the life cycle of HIV-1.
It was conducted that these properties of Colloidal Silver could be beneficial in the management of AIDS. It was found to work as a broad-spectrum agent that was not prone to inducing resistance and hence, could be used as a prevention measure against a wide range of circulating strains of HIV-1. (5)
The usefulness of Colloidal Silver in the management of simplex virus and human parainfluenza virus has been proved. Research aimed at evaluating the interaction between the silver nanoparticles and these viruses showed that the nanoparticles underwent a size-dependent interaction with human parainfluenza virus type 3 and herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2.
It showed that the silver nanoparticles were capable of reducing the viral infectivity by blocking the interactions of the virus with the cell depending on the zeta potential and size of the nanoparticles. These research findings prove the usefulness of Colloidal Silver in the management of viral infections. (6)