What is Colloidal Silver?
The term colloidal silver is used for solutions in which tiny particles of silver are suspended. They are so tiny that a normal filtering process will not remove them from the solution. The size of such tiny silver particles is termed as nano particles. Nano silver particles are less than 100 nm in size and are not visible to the naked eye.
The natural question that arises is why silver particles would be suspended in a solution? The reason for this is their medicinal properties. Silver is not just a precious metal to adorn. It also has properties that can counter bacteria and viruses thus combating various illnesses and diseases. This is also one reason why the rich and wealthy people used silver utensils to eat food and drink water.
How Colloidal Silver Works?
As per research, colloidal silver attaches itself to the proteins on the walls of the cell of the bacteria. This leads to damage to the cell membrane which in turn kills the cell. This happens when the silver ions pass through this broken cell membrane and attacks the metabolic process of the bacteria. It damages the DNA of the cell and causes the cell to eventually die.
This entire process of attack on bacterial cells depends upon the size of the silver particles, its concentration in the solution.
A large number of small particles have a better effect than a small number of large sized particles. The smaller the particles, the faster is the process of release of silver ions. The silver ions release from silver when the metal comes in contact with moisture. The moisture in our body is imparted by the fluids of our body.
However, colloidal silver can also pose threat like serious disadvantages to the health of your body This is especially true for commercial silver. This article will discuss the advantages as well as disadvantages of colloidal silver.
Benefits of Colloidal Silver:
1. Anti bacterial properties:
There weren’t any antibiotics back in history. People were yet treated off their diseases that were caused due to bacteria. Colloidal Silver can be given credit for that. Before the advent of antibiotics, people utilized the anti bacterial properties of silver metal to ensure treatment of common diseases.
Even today, colloidal silver is added to healthcare products, anti bacterial ointments, creams used for dressing of wounds, etc.
2. Anti Viral Effects:
The proponents of colloidal silver have been claimed to provide anti viral functions as well. As per studies conducted in scientific laboratories, different kinds of nano silver particles can kill different types of diseases caused due to viral attacks.
3. Anti fungal properties of colloidal silver:
When colloidal silver was suspended to a test tube containing strands of a fungus, the silver ions defeated the fungal strands. This proves that colloidal silver has anti fungal properties. It can hence be used for applicative purposes for treatment of various kinds of skin problems.
4. Treatment for Strep Throat
Colloidal Silver is an effective treatment for strep throat but only for short term. Consuming it for a longer duration may cause some side effects. You can use it as a gargle, and it would work on killing the bacteria present in your throat.
Is colloidal silver safe?
As per what is written above, colloidal silver has anti bacterial, anti viral and anti fungal properties. However, this is not held or believed by all doctors and is hence not a universally considered phenomenon of colloidal silver. The three limitations of colloidal silver are as under:
1. As long as the anti bacterial property of colloidal silver is concerned, the same has not been tested on humans. There is a risk associated to the consumption of colloidal silver to your body which makes it of limited use to treat bacteria.
2. Even though it may be popularly believed that colloidal silver has anti viral effects, its role in this respect has not been scientifically verified. Studies provide limited evidence that colloidal silver fights viruses and hence there is no evidence regarding the same.
3. It is easy to fight and hinder the growth of a fungus in test tube. If colloidal silver could kill a fungus in a laboratory, it is not necessary that it would do the same in a non controlled condition. Hence, this property too has limited support and application in the real life scenario.
Health Risks and Side Effects of Colloidal Silver:
Very small amount of silver is present in the environment. The environment includes drinking water, food as well as the air we breathe. Silver in such small amounts is not harmful to our body. However, consuming silver could lead to serious health hazards.
Silver is a metal and even the tiniest amount of this metal can cause problems in digestive system. Ingesting silver can cause a disease known as argyria. Argyria is a disease that causes the skin to become blue grey in colour. This happens due to deposits of silver under the skin. Silver is deposited in the skin due to increased consumption of silver metal.
People who either work in a place that has an exposure to silver or consume foods that contain silver are at a high risk of having this disease.
Besides skin, silver can also get accumulated in the liver, intestines, kidney and other organs. Where ever the silver particles accumulate, they damage that particular organ. Argyria is a disease that strikes persons who take silver over a long period of time, in a continuous cycle. Their exposure to silver never really stops.
Different people experience different health hazards on consumption of silver and it is difficult to ascertain each health problem. Applicative use of colloidal silver is less damaging for your skin than ingesting the same. That way you can be relieved it is not causing any danger to the organs of your body internally. However, remember that your skin can also absorb silver when applied to your body.
So if you apply a cream with contents of colloidal silver to treat your wound, your skin in that particular region may develop argyria which will lead to the skin turning to bluish grey in colour. There are people who are allergic to silver. They cannot wear silver jewelry because of an allergy. This condition may be very rare but it is present among few people.
Colloidal silver was used in olden days. However, it has limited application in recent times due to associated health risks.