Colloidal Silver: The Natural Alternative to Antibiotics
Most of us have heard about Colloidal Silver at some point and have heard about its amazing antibiotic properties. It can keep wounds clean, it can clear up a cold, it can boost your immune system, it can even be used on the eyes and ears! We've also heard the bad, though, that it can turn you purple and make you sick.
The question is, is all of this hype actually true?? Well, the short version is, YES!
We have provided several studies linked at the end of this article for you supporting the statements made.
Now for the long version...
Colloidal Silver has been proven by science many times that it is very effective at killing bacteria, viruses, and even fungi (1,2,3). Panáček and colleagues stated that silver at very small particle size (25nm) had “high antimicrobial and bactericidal activity against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, including highly multiresistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus,” and that a very low concentration was needed to exhibit antibacterial effects. It is an all-around impressive antimicrobial! It has been used for centuries in medicine as an antibacterial in hospitals, but in everyday life as well (4). Silverware is not just named for its colour, these utensils used to be made of silver to fight off harmful microbes since there was no modern antibacterial or antifungal agents! Even silver coins were dropped into milk to prolongue the shelf life before refrigerators. Colloidal Silver can be applied externally to open wounds to kill possible infectious agents, but it can also be taken internally and in the ears and eyes to get rid of a cold or associated infection.
But how does it do this, and why does silver kill microbial cells but not body cells?
As a Biologist and studying Clinical Nutritionist, I always have to know how things work to believe them, so let's go through the modes of action.
Silver works in three ways to kill microbes:
- Silver inhibits metabolism of bacterial cells by binding several enzymes, which means the cells can't breathe or produce energy, which they obviously need to live (6).
- Silver ions react with microbial cell membranes, “disrupting the structure of the cell membrane and inhibiting the normal budding process due to the destruction of the membrane integrity (5).” Essentially, the cell membranes start to fall apart.
- Silver literally binds microbial DNA to prevent it from multiplying, which means that the infectious microbes can't make more of themselves (7).
All in all, silver is pretty amazing! Colloidal silver can also work together with prescribed antibiotics to aid in their activity and help reduce resistance. This means that you and your pet could take less antibiotics but get more bacteria-fighting action out of them when combined with colloidal silver. Another interesting fact about silver nanoparticles is that it is selective toward bad bacteria in the body.
The Benefits of Colloidal Silver
Here is a brief overlook at some of the things its Antibacterial, Antiviral, and Anti-fungal properties can be used for:
- For Cleaning Wounds and Skin
Keep wounds, burns, skin conditions, hotspots, ringworm (a fungal infection) and other open sores clear of bacteria and other infectious agents (8).
- Eye and Ear Infections
Ear and eye infections can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or all of the above, which are all killed by silver nanoparticles (9). It is a good option when you do not know if an ear infection, for example, is caused by bacteria or by fungus.
Its anti-inflammatory abilities are not often discussed, but it has been shown in recent studies that silver can decrease inflammation and swelling, which can increase healing (10)!
The great thing about Colloidal Silver is microbes take longer to develop resistance or immunity to it, unlike conventional antibiotic drugs (11). This means those antibiotic-resistant superbugs have nothing to defend themselves against the wrath of silver nanoparticles.
- Respiratory and Urinary Tract Infections
These types of infections are very common in cats that use poor quality clay litters that are full of dust. The Colloidal Silver would be ingested to treat these infections to work from the inside out (12).
Let's address the bad rap associated with Colloidal Silver...
Everyone has heard the story of the purple man on Dr. Phil talking about how he turned colour because he drank colloidal silver every day. Yes, this can happen... if you make it incorrectly and drink way too much! Colloidal Silver itself is pretty simple, it is literally silver particles suspended in water. However, there are a lot of people claiming you can make it with a car battery and a ring or something similar. This will make a very poor quality, impure concoction with little benefit. You want the particles of silver to be extremely small – just nanometres wide – in order to be absorbed and utilized effectively, and to not cause possible side effects. This ineffective way of making colloidal silver also typically makes ionic silver, which means the particles are charged. In true colloidal silver, the silver is in particles, not ions, making it less likely to go into body cells. The metals used to make colloidal metals need to be at least 99% pure and the water needs to be pure as well in order to ensure quality of the silver in the final colloidal. When you take very large quantities of ionic silver, such as a few cups every day, it can build up your skin cells, kidney, and liver, and although it does not typically cause harm, it can turn the cells a blue-purple tinge, a condition called argyria. This condition is mainly cosmetic and rarely has medical side effects (13). To give you an idea of just how much colloidal silver you would need to drink in order to have any side effects whatsoever, a study done in rats (14) demonstrated that you would have to drink at least 81L at once to show even minor side effects of a good quality colloidal silver. Make sure if you are buying silver it is from a reputable source that is using proper equipment and metal purities!
Of course, we recommend our own Colloidal Silver, from Earth MD. We use 99.3% pure metals, reverse osmosis water, and a good quality machine to make our 20ppm Colloidal Silver, with small particle sizes and no ionization for maximum effectiveness and safety!
(1) Silver Colloid Nanoparticles: Synthesis, Characterization, and Their Antibacterial Activity, https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jp063826h
(2) Antiviral activity of silver nanoparticles synthesized by fungal strain Aspergillus niger, https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Narasimha_Golla3/publication/222102689_Antiviral_activity_of_silver_nanoparticles_synthesized_by_fungal_strain_Aspergillus_niger/links/0fcfd4febef4761fad000000/Antiviral-activity-of-silver-nanoparticles-synthesized-by-fungal-strain-Aspergillus-niger.pdf
(3) Effects of Colloidal Silver Nanoparticles on Sclerotium-Forming Phytopathogenic Fungi, http://www.koreascience.or.kr/article/JAKO200909659862395.page
(4) Silver as biocides in burn and wound dressings and bacterial resistance to silver compounds, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10295-006-0139-7
(5) Antifungal activity and mode of action of silver nano-particles on Candida albicans, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10534-008-9159-2
(6) The effect of silver ions on the respiratory chain of Escherichia coli, https://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/pdf/10.1139/m74-135
(7) Mechanistic Basis of Antimicrobial Actions of Silver Nanoparticles, https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2016.01831/full
(8) Effects of Silver on Wound Management, https://www.wishgranted.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Extended-Care-Product-News.pdf
(9) Benzyldimethyl[3-(miristoylamino)-propyl]ammonium chloride stabilized silver nanoparticles (Argumistin™) in medicine: results of clinical trials for treatment of infectious diseases of dogs and perspectives for humans, https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/ejnm.2016.8.issue-4/ejnm-2016-0018/ejnm-2016-0018.xml
(10) Antimicrobial wound dressing and anti-inflammatory efficacy of silver nanoparticles, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0141813014000890
(11) The increasing use of silver-based products as antimicrobial agents: a useful development or a cause for concern?, https://academic.oup.com/jac/article/59/4/587/677868
(12) Antibacterial potential of silver nanoparticles against isolated urinary tract infectious bacterial pathogens, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13204-011-0031-2
(13) A Pharmacological and Toxicological Profile of Silver as an Antimicrobial Agent in Medical Devices, https://www.hindawi.com/journals/aps/2010/910686/
(14) Twenty-Eight-Day Oral Toxicity, Genotoxicity, and Gender-Related Tissue Distribution of Silver Nanoparticles in Sprague-Dawley Rats, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/08958370701874663?scroll=top&needAccess=true