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Colloidal Silver

Find a professional for Colloidal Silver in Los Angeles

Colloidal silver refers to microscopic particles of silver that are held in a liquid suspension. A colloid is technically defined as particles which remain suspended without forming an ionic, or dissolved solution. The broader commercial definition of colloidal silver includes products that contain various concentrations of ionic silver, silver colloids, ionic silver compounds or silver proteins in purified water. Colloidal silver with concentrations of 30 parts per million (ppm) or less are typically manufactured using an electrolyte process, whereas colloidal silver with higher concentrations of 50 ppm or more are usually either silver compounds such as silver chloride and silver iodide or are solutions that have been bound with a protein to disperse the particles.

Prior to 1938, colloidal silver was widely used by physicians as a mainstream antibiotic. It was produced by pharmaceutical companies under various names, including Protargol. But the electro-colloidal production process was costly and the pharmaceutical industry developed fast-acting, less-expensive sulfa drugs and penicillin. Silver nitrate solutions were introduced by Crede in 1880 to protect newborn infants' eyes from infection, but have largely been replaced by antibiotic ointments since 1978. This silver nitrate is a solution of a silver salt, not a suspension of colloidal silver. Silver-based cremes have been used in burn centers for more than 100 years. Colloidal silver can be used to keep drinkable water potable over a long period. Concentrations of colloidal silver at 5 parts per million or higher have been found to kill numerous infectious bacteria. Colloidal silver has been approved by the EPA as a disinfectant for hospitals and medical centers. Colloidal silver might kill bacteria by inhibiting the expression of enzymes and other proteins essential to ATP production.  It can be expected to have similar effects on human enzymes.

Long-term intake of silver products may result in a condition known as argyria, one symptom of which is a blue or gray discoloration of the skin. It occurs when sunlight interacts with silver deposited in the skin, in the same way that silver particles in photographic film darken when exposed to sunlight. It can occur both via ingestion of silver, or through topical application of silver to the skin. While generally considered permanent, some have claimed to have reversed it.  Death from argyria has been reported from as little as four months use of oral colloidal silver, and cases of kidney damage, stomach distress, and headaches have been reported, as well as cases of brain and nerve damage.  An FDA "Talk Paper" references silver ingredients and silver salts that includes silver proteins, silver chloride and silver iodide. They claim that the use of these "gelatinous" silver solutions have resulted in cases of argyria. Advocates claim that almost all known cases of argyria resulted from use of highly concentrated silver compounds such as silver oxide, silver nitrate or silver chloride and not the electrolyte-manufactured solutions, which contain only ionic and colloidal silver and typically comprise silver concentrations of 30 ppm or less.

The term, "colloidal silver", has been used inaccurately by some to advertise products which are solutions of either silver salts, or proteins bound with silver. This misrepresentation contributes to over-all confusion about the term "colloidal silver". In order for a mixture to be a true silver colloid, the silver atoms must be tiny metallic particles suspended in a liquid. Confusion around colloidal silver is increased by the fact that there is more than one manufacturing process, and that these lead to a number of significantly different products that have differing properties, all of which go by the name "colloidal silver".

Preparations called 'colloidal silver' include:

    * Electrolytic silver (most common method used today)
    * Ground silver (standard form of colloidal silver pre-World War II)
    * Electrolysis of salt solution (produces a yellow product)

See also the Healthnotes article.

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