Colloidal silver is a mineral. Despite promoters’ claims, silver has no known function in the body and is not an essential mineral supplement. Colloidal silver products were once available as over-the-counter drug products, but in 1999, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruled that these colloidal silver products were not considered safe or effective. Colloidal silver products marketed for medical purposes or promoted for unproven uses are now considered “misbranded” under the law without appropriate FDA approval as a new drug. There are currently no FDA-approved over-the-counter or prescription drugs containing silver that are taken by mouth. However, there are still colloidal silver products being sold as homeopathic remedies and dietary supplements.
There are many Internet ads for the parts of a generator that produces colloidal silver at home. People who produce colloidal silver at home will likely not be able to evaluate their product for purity or strength. There are many products that are far safer and more effective than colloidal silver.
Despite these concerns about safety and effectiveness, people still buy colloidal silver as a dietary supplement and use it for a wide range of ailments. Colloidal silver is used to treat infections due to yeast; bacteria (tuberculosis, Lyme disease, bubonic plague, pneumonia, leprosy, gonorrhea, syphilis, scarlet fever, stomach ulcers, cholera); parasites (ringworm, malaria); and viruses (HIV/AIDS, pneumonia, herpes, shingles, warts).
Colloidal silver is also used for lung conditions including emphysema and bronchitis; skin conditions including rosacea, cradle cap (atopic dermatitis), eczema, impetigo, and psoriasis; and inflammation (sometimes due to infection) of the bladder (cystitis), prostate (prostatitis), colon (colitis), nose (rhinitis), stomach (gastritis), tonsils (tonsillitis), appendix (appendicitis), and sinuses (sinusitis).
Other uses include treatment of cancer, diabetes, arthritis, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, leukemia, hay fever and other allergies, trench foot, and gum disease.
Colloidal silver is also used to prevent flu, H1N1 (swine) flu, and the common cold.
Some women take colloidal silver during pregnancy to aid the baby’s growth and health as well as the mother’s delivery and recovery.
My dad takes colloidal silver for his health, but is it safe?
Colloidal silver isn’t considered safe or effective for any of the health claims manufacturers make. Silver has no known purpose in the body. Nor is it an essential mineral, as some sellers of silver products claim.
Colloidal silver products are made of tiny silver particles suspended in a liquid — the same type of precious metal used in jewelry, dental fillings, silverware and other consumer goods.
Colloidal silver products are usually marketed as dietary supplements that are taken by mouth. Colloidal silver products also come in forms to be injected or applied to the skin.
Manufacturers of colloidal silver products often claim that they are cure–alls, boosting your immune system, fighting bacteria and viruses, and treating cancer, HIV/AIDS, shingles, herpes, eye ailments and prostatitis.
However, no sound scientific studies to evaluate these health claims have been published in reputable medical journals. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration has taken action against some manufacturers of colloidal silver products for making unproven health claims.
It’s not clear how much colloidal silver may be harmful, but it can build up in your body’s tissues over months or years. Most commonly, this results in argyria (ahr–JIR–e–uh), a blue-gray discoloration of your skin, eyes, internal organs, nails and gums. While argyria doesn’t pose a serious health problem, it can be a cosmetic concern because it doesn’t go away when you stop taking silver products.
Rarely, excessive doses of colloidal silver can cause possibly irreversible serious health problems, including kidney damage and neurological problems such as seizures. Colloidal silver products may also interact with medications, including penicillamine (Cuprimine, Depen), quinolone antibiotics, tetracycline and thyroxine (Levothroid, Levoxyl, Synthroid) medications.
Brent A. Bauer, M.D. Aug. 05, 2014
Colloidal silver can cause irreversible side effects.