The Complete Guide to Colloidal Silver


Colloidal silver contains pure silver flakes that are microscopic in size. The flakes are normally suspended in certain liquids such as demineralized water among others and the product is sold commercially.

Colloidal silver has previously been touted as a wound dressing and an antibacterial agent. Some people have gone further to say that this product can work more effectively than most medications and heal a cold faster. It has also been said that it can treat HIV or cancer.

Amidst all the above rumors, does colloidal silver actually boost the immune system? Is it really safe for daily use? To find out the answers to these questions, keep reading.

Colloidal Silver Types

There generally are three categories of products that use “colloidal silver” as their marketing pillar. They are:

Ionic Silver. Ionic silver solutions are products that contain silver ions as the primary compound of their silver content. This product is not real colloidal silver despite the fact that it is usually marketed as colloidal silver. It is the most liked product in this list as it doesn’t cost much to produce. However, the major setback about it is that it simply doesn’t boast of the same benefits that real colloidal silver boasts of.

Silver Protein. Gelatin is usually added to products that are protein-based. This allows the large silver particles to remain suspended. In terms of popularity, this product is the second after ionic silver. All that is required to make it is some water and silver protein powder. Mix the two and you have your product. Similar to ionic silver, it is also marketed as colloidal silver. This, however, doesn’t mean that it is the real thing. For use by humans, the product is not as effective as the real colloidal silver. You will also not experience the benefits that accompany the real colloidal silver.

True Colloidal Silver. The real silver colloids do not have any traces of additives. This includes proteins since the larger percentage of the silver content is made up of minute silver particles.

Is Colloidal Silver Safe?

Colloidal silver is one of the most popular products that are used for general health purposes. However, in 1999 and also in 2009, the U.S FDA (Food and Drug Administration) issued a report saying that colloidal silver did not have any clear health benefits like some people had claimed. They also added that evidence to support the contrary was non-existent. What was shocking in the report was that there was some evidence which showed the potential risks of using colloidal silver.

Another body, The National Institute of Health, also supports the FDA. They say that taking colloidal silver actually contributes to deteriorating of long-term health since it does not promote healing or improve immunity.

However, this opinion could change at some point in the future. This is because clinical trials to determine the use of negatively charged particles as well as colloidal silver are ongoing.

How Does Colloidal Silver Work?

It’s said that colloidal silver has some effects, especially when it is placed on a wound or when it is ingested orally. These effects may be antiseptic and antibacterial.

The exact working of colloidal silver is still unknown. However, previous research has suggested that it usually damages the cell membranes of bacteria by attaching itself to proteins on their walls.

This gives proteins a passage into the cells where they can create interference with the metabolic processes of the cell, damage its DNA and consequently lead to the death of the particular cell.

The effect of colloidal silver is dependent on the characteristics of the silver particles. Particularly, their size and shape. Their concentration in a particular solution also affects their effectiveness.

A small number of big particles cover a less surface as compared to a big number of small particles. Consequently, a solution containing more silver nanoparticles, of a smaller size of particles, will tend to release a larger number of silver ions.

Once the silver particles come into contact with moisture, in this case, body fluids, they release silver ions.

It is believed that silver ions are the biologically active component of colloidal silver. They give the colloidal silver its medicinal properties. It is important to note that despite its various benefits, the products arising from colloidal silver are not usually standardized and ingesting them may cause some serious side effects.

Colloidal solutions available in the market have different methods of production. They also vary widely in the size, as well as the number of silver particles that they contain.

Colloidal Silver Risk and Complications

Oral ingestion of colloidal silver is not recommended. This is because colloidal silver builds up in the body tissues over a long period and it may lead to a condition called argyria. This is a condition which causes your skin and mucous membrane to have a grayish appearance.

What’s scary about agyria is that it is not reversible. However, it’s not a dangerous condition and it is referred to as being benign. Skin discoloration is, of course, not a side effect that anyone would want to have. Absorption of specific drugs by the body is also affected by the use of colloidal silver. These drugs include thyroid deficiency medication and antibiotics.

If the doctor prescribes an antibiotic for your bacterial infection, the prescription will not be as effective as it normally is if you take colloidal silver at the same time. This means that your bacterial infection will not go away soon if you take colloidal silver.

Using colloidal silver during pregnancy as an alternative to certain flu and cold drugs carries some risk of its own. This is because clinical trials are yet to produce evidence that colloidal silver is actually beneficial to developing babies. Since research is still ongoing, colloidal silver cannot be recommended just yet.

Colloidal Silver Benefits

In 1996, Samuel Etris and Richard Davies of the Silver Institute released a report which stated that there are three main ways through which colloidal silver helps to heal the body:

Catalytic Oxidation. Silver naturally attaches itself to the oxygen molecules which react with a group that surrounds the viruses and bacteria referred to as sulfhydryl (H) groups. Cellular respiration, which is a life-preserving cellular process, is affected. Cellular respiration is defined as a collection of reactions and processes that are metabolic in nature which occurs inside the cells of the organisms. Their function is to release waste products after converting biochemical energy from its nutrient form into ATP (adenosine triphosphate).

Reaction with Bacterial Cell Membranes. Respiration blocking effect also occurs when silver ions attach themselves directly to the cell membranes of the bacteria.

Binding with DNA. Colloidal silver is known to enter the DNA of bacteria. Pseudomonas aeruginosa has been known to contain up to 12% of silver. It still remains unclear how the colloidal silver makes its way into the DNA, while at the same time keeping the hydrogen bonds that hold the lattice together intact. The source of this information continues to say that colloidal silver prevents the unwinding of DNA. This is usually a vital step in cellular replication.

Health Benefits

Colloidal silver has numerous benefits to the body, including lots of medical uses. This is mainly because it has a direct effect on the cellular respiration that happens in our bodies. The medical literature generally supports eight healing properties of colloidal silver.

Antibacterial and Antimicrobial. First, colloidal silver boasts of an unbelievable ability to control superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics. Larry C. Ford, MD, came up with a long list of more than 650 pathogens that were decimated in minutes after they were exposed to very small amounts of silver. He documented this in the 1980s while he was still working at the UCLA Medical School.

Unlike the modern antibiotic prescriptions, colloidal silver doesn’t create an immunity or resistance to the organisms that it kills. Enough emphasis cannot be laid on this point. this is especially after the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) released a report stating that in the US, more than 2 million people suffer illnesses that are caused by infections which are resistant to antibiotics annually. Moreover, the deaths arising from these infections are about 23,000. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine published a study supporting ionic colloidal silver as an antimicrobial agent with a broad spectrum of effects against both anaerobic and aerobic bacteria. Its effect on fungi was, however, not as pronounced.

Wound Care/Skin Health. According to Robert O. Becker, MD, colloidal silver usually stimulates healing in some soft tissues like the skin. In 2012, Pharmacognosy Communications, in a research article, recommended specifically that there are certain preparations of colloidal silver that should be considered for use in treating thrush, periodontitis, burns and other conditions.

For instance, since colloidal silver is a potent anti-fungal, it can be used to treat Tinea capitis, more commonly referred to as ringworm. This condition, which manifests as scaly patches that are round in shape, is caused by a fungus which takes up residence on the skin; specifically, the top layer. The condition is highly contagious and it is spread through skin contact and clothing, among other contaminated materials.

Psoriasis and eczema are just some of the many skin conditions that colloidal silver works on. It repairs tissue that has been damaged by burns and also has a soothing effect on scrapes. In a study that was conducted by the Journal of Family Medicine and Care, superficial pellet gun wounds were successfully dressed with a nanogel that was created from colloidal silver. Such gels that are based on silver nanoparticles are increasingly becoming popular and are being used for both chronic and normal wounds.

The usage of silver as a dressing and treatment for wounds came to a stop after the invention of antibiotics. However, its popularity began increasing in the 1960s and its usage began once again. Recovery from burns, in many people, was aided by SSD, which was a combination of sodium sulfadiazine and silver nitrate.

Vitro antibacterial activity is provided by application of a coating of silver to specialized foam, as an integral component of a wound vacuum system. This contributes to the better healing of chronic venous stasis wounds by preparing them for skin grafting.

Pink Eye/Ear Infections. Caused by a viral or bacterial infection, pink eye is a mucous membrane that usually covers the eyelid lining as well as the eyeball. The membrane is usually inflamed and is highly infectious. Prompt action against this bacteria and virus can be taken using colloidal silver.

After applying it to the infected eye, the infected cells are picked up by tiny silver colloids by electromagnetic attraction, after which they are sent into the bloodstream where they are eliminated.

Though ear infections might be fungal or may also be caused by various classes of bacteria, the modern antibiotic prescription drugs are designed to fight particular classes of bacteria.

This means that colloidal silver will be effective regardless of the cause of your infection, while prescription antibiotics might prove to be useless.

Antiviral. The benefits of colloidal silver may be experienced as anti-viral for conditions and diseases like pneumonia, herpes, HIV/AIDS, warts, and shingles. Colloidal silver has been listed as one of the fastest ways to stop viruses by Dr. Martin Hum of the Institute for Optimum Nutrition.

Colloidal silver works by suffocating the virus. It can also reduce the HIV activity in AIDS patients. Colloidal silver has also been documented to have some effect on the virus that causes hepatitis C.

Anti-Inflammatory. Colloidal silver also has some awesome effects on inflammations. To prove this, the National Institute of Health tasked its researchers to study the effects of treating inflammations with colloidal silver. The results were quite astonishing; inflamed skin in pigs was back to its normal form after just 72 hours of colloidal silver application. On the other hand, skin that was not treated with silver did not heal after the same period of time.

What the general population has known anecdotally for many years is only being reflected by ongoing research. This is that colloidal silver speeds up healing, reduces swelling and boosts cell recovery.

Sinusitis. Colloidal silver is used widely as a control for sinus infections. It can also be used as a nasal spray. This is according to a study that was conducted last year. The findings were published in the International Forum for Allergy and Rhinology.

You can either apply colloidal silver directly into your nose and allow it to drain through the throat by tilting your head backward or you can add a few drops in a “neti pot.” Colloidal silver can kill Staph aureus.

Recent research suggests that some hidden infections that are caused by pathogens could be the major cause of respiratory inflammation that is associated with asthma and some common allergies. Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections are also destroyed by colloidal silver. This could be the main reason why patients suffering from bone allergies feel amazing relief after taking colloidal silver.

Cold/Flu. Some people claim that colloidal silver acts as a vaccine against all types of flu. These include the common cold, as well as the swine flu.

Clinical trials that can prove this has been quite a few, however. The NIH, in 2011, took 100 children all aged 11 years and below who were suffering from nasal congestion and the common cold. They were separated into two groups; the first group was treated with saline solutions while the second was put under colloidal silver and beta-glucan treatment. Both groups experienced benefits from their respective treatments. However, 90% of those that were treated with colloidal silver recovered completely.

Pneumonia. The effectiveness of modern drugs in fighting bronchitis and pneumonia is continuously becoming limited. Though antibiotics are the first medications to be administered in case of pneumonia, they rarely do anything to help once the disease becomes viral. What’s nice about colloidal silver is that it provides relief regardless of the pathogen affecting you.

Colloidal silver is remarkably effective in treating bronchitis and pneumonia once it is ingested internally. The more effective and efficient way of utilizing this product is simply breathing it into the lungs.

By breathing it directly into the lungs, colloidal silver counters the pathogens that cause pneumonia or bronchitis ‘in person.’ It clears the lungs quite fast and one is usually back to normal within a couple of days. This is the same way that a respiratory support works.

The most effective method of utilizing colloidal silver is using a nebulizer. You will need one teaspoon that you will use for 10 to 15 minutes thrice in a day.

Different Forms of Colloidal Silver?

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) estimates that a good portion of the population is exposed to silver daily in their environment. Silver does not occur in the body naturally and it is also not a mineral. You don’t have to make sure to get a daily dose of silver or to make up for the times that you are not exposed to it.

According to the EPA, one should not be exposed to more than 5 micrograms of silver for every kilogram they weigh, be it oral, environmental or topical.

The most common form of commercial colloidal silver is a liquid tincture. It is available in most health stores. For application on the skin, one can also buy it as a powder. It is also possible to make your own colloidal silver at home. You will need a special machine, though.

Colloidal Silver and Cancer

In addition to traditional cancer treatments and chemotherapy, most cancer patients tend to turn to other methods of treatment in order to increase their odds of beating the diseases.

Colloidal silver supplements are just one of these alternative treatments, though they remain unproven.

Though colloidal silver is marketed as a treatment for immune support, there are claims that it has properties that kill cancer. There is still no evidence that can support these claims. They remain anecdotal.

The claims that colloidal silver can kill cancer cells arise from the common misconception that silver is an almost perfect antibiotic. Robert Scott Bell, a homeopathic practitioner, puts it that way. In an article back in 2009, he said that colloidal silver does not have any known negative side effects and that it can kill any virus or bacteria.

Evidence of antimicrobial properties, however, does not exist.

Silver into Our Bodies?

This is simple. Silver, along with other minerals, enters the body through the food that you eat, which in turn come from the organic soil. There is an abundance of living organisms in the soil whose function is to break down the soil components to make sure that minerals are available for the plants in an assimilable form. Therefore, we get silver as a natural mineral occurring in plants that are grown organically.

Eating foods from chemically grown plants, like most are grown today, does not guarantee us of the sufficient amount of minerals that our bodies require so that they can keep functioning at an optimum level. This is because the soil in chemically grown plants does not contain living organisms that break down the soil components. Mineral deficiency thus develops. Assimilation of silver by our bodies decreases with age. Thus a silver deficiency develops. This may lead to cancer and other dangerous diseases as well as impaired immune systems.

Dr. Robert Beker noticed a relationship between sickness and low levels of silver in the body. People who were deficient in silver got sick more frequently and they had countless cases of flu, fever, cold and other illnesses. He blamed poor functioning of the immune system on low levels of silver. He also said that although silver works on quite a number of bacteria, there are no side effects whatsoever on body cells and that it also stimulates the fast growth of any injured tissues.

The History of Silver Use

Though silver is still widely used in medicine, most health experts say that colloidal silver has many benefits as a cure-all. You might have, at some point, wondered what all the hype is all about and whether colloidal silver is actually safe and also effective. Let’s settle that right now, shall we?

Silver’s antimicrobial benefits are widely recognized by conventional medicine. For instance, to prevent bacterial interference, most of the medical device companies use silver to coat their devices. Newborns used to be given silver nitrate eye drops by some health facilities in order to prevent gonorrhea infections in the eyes. Moreover, many studies have revealed that combinations of silver with other compounds, silver gauze, and silver solutions are also quite effective in treating burn wounds in the hospitals.

Like most traditional medicines, there is still no scientific evidence to support some of the claims that are made about colloidal silver. This explains why some of the uses of colloidal silver remain controversial to date.

With the continued increase in antibiotic resistance, silver is slowly making a strong comeback as an anti-microbial with a broad range of uses. Though it is considered safe for human use, it is important to stay informed about colloidal silver with regard to its effectiveness and safety, and the effects of excessive use, both to the environment and to us as well. Read lots of studies to keep yourself updated.

Is Colloidal Silver an Alternative to Antibiotics?

Colloidal silver still has some side effects that are associated with common antibiotics though it may be the only option to these antibiotics. This reason has helped me to keep my ingestion of colloidal silver in check since evidence suggests that there are side effects of using it for long periods of time or even using it regularly.

Bacterial Resistance and Gut Damage

Two independent studies conducted recently on rats and mice found that the gut microbiota of those that were fed with colloidal silver experienced a disruption in the gut flora. Another study that focused on the digestive tissue also found that ingestion of colloidal silver caused damage to the gut cells.

While the resistance of bacteria to silver salt has been known for a long period, another study showed that it is possible for bacteria to develop a resistance to colloidal silver after exposure for many generations.

Environmental Concerns

Silver salts and silver nanoparticles create some environmental concerns due to their wide range of uses. As it stands, the concentration of silver nanoparticles in the environment is approximately one out of a thousand of the dose that would be considered toxic to marine animals such as fish among others.

Rather than dumping them into the sea, silver nanoparticles are currently present in sewage sludge that’s normally used in landfill. This creates a risk where they can find their way back into our foods and consequently into our bodies. We may understand how colloidal silver affects the bacteria in our gut but we are still yet to fathom how it affects the general health of bacteria. The same applies to other microorganisms found in our environment. Since we do not know the exact relationship between our health and that of the soil, we should be careful with it and preserve it.

Colloidal Silver as an Immune Support Nutrient

The exact amount of colloidal silver that is required to destroy any bug remains unclear. Modern research, however, suggests that at 10-40 ppm concentrations, most pathogenic organisms will die. Some may require up to 60 ppm for them to die.

Whether or not specific colloidal silver products can destroy any virus remains a mystery. A few published studies suggest that silver, indeed, has some anti-viral properties. The studies indicate that the replication of the virus that causes viral hepatitis B is severely affected by silver. Colloidal silver also binds directly to HIV-1, therefore, preventing it from binding to body cells, as well as inhibiting replication of the monkeypox virus. It also destroys the herpes simplex virus, rendering it totally harmless. Another benefit is that it reduces, by a significant amount, the number of smallpox virus. All of this is just preliminary evidence of the working of colloidal silver. Scientists believe that colloidal silver has the ability to bind with viral particles directly, thus preventing them from further replication or binding with cells of the human body. More research is definitely needed, especially on the seasonal flu. This could prove to be of great benefit to the general public. It’s shameful, however, that our government fails to recognize the importance of such research.

I don’t recommend the use of colloidal silver for an extended period of time or as a preventive product for daily use. When taken daily, colloidal silver causes an imbalance of flora in the gut, though it will not be as worse as that of antibiotics. This is because colloidal silver kills yeast as well. You will have to take GI support and some acidophilus if you intend to take colloidal silver on a daily basis for a long period of time.

When this product is used as directed by the doctor, it is non-toxic. It should also not be used for more than two weeks. Understanding that nothing is guaranteed is also important when using colloidal silver. Once you have a full grasp of this information, my opinion is that you try out colloidal silver once a new bug is on the onset.1-2 teaspoons taken 4 times a day is enough. You can also spray it up your sinuses with a nasal spray bottle.

Research has shown that following the above instructions will get rid of the bug completely more than 7 out of 10 times. If you don’t get to experience that benefit, well, it simply didn’t work for you.

My experience with colloidal silver has shown me that there is a 50/50 chance of colloidal silver providing the relief that you require while taking the product for two weeks, 1 tsp for 4 times a day.

Colloidal silver is simply a tool in the immune system. There are many options to consider if a bug arises and colloidal silver is one of them. However, consult your doctor for more advice on the how to take the same. From personal experience, I would recommend that you should have a bottle of this product at hand for emergency purposes. I have also observed that colloidal silver provides relief from many viral infections including the flu. Its effectiveness against the H1N1 swine flu is still unclear. Time will definitely tell. I will be eagerly waiting for that discovery.


Though there has been lots of research on colloidal silver, evidence still differs greatly from the research. It is also not regulated by the FDA and therefore, anyone claiming that it’s a miracle cure for certain illnesses like HIV and cancer is not guided by clinical proof. There still exist many options for better living and preventing diseases.

Check to see that colloidal silver will not affect any medications you are currently taking if you decide to use it. You should stop using colloidal silver immediately should any side effects arise such as skin discoloration or nausea.

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