Colloidal silver is silver suspended in droplet form, in distilled water. It is called a suspension of silver particles, in a liquid medium. It is used as a herbicide, which effectively eliminates bacteria as well as viruses. This article is about its side effects in humans. It is extensively used in alternative medicine therapies. The element silver does not have a large metabolic role in the human body. Therefore, excess consumption causes many side effects.
There is very less documented and proven evidence of the benefits and side effects of colloidal silver, used in alternative medicine. There has been no comprehensive testing of the side effects. The results of some tests are mixed. That is, the effectiveness of the colloidal silver based alternative medicines has been inconclusive.
The Food and Drug Administration has banned companies from advertising colloidal silver based medicines for the treatment of any illnesses. It is currently marketed as a dietary supplement, based on dubious claims of structure enhancement.
Colloidal Silver Benefits
The benefits are not widely documented. It was used as an ingredient in oral and eye drops, as an effective deterrent to microbes like bacteria and viruses. However, after some harmful side effects were seen, their use in allopathic medicines was stopped. Colloidal silver water is claimed to be the most effective germicide. It has been used as an ingredient in a lot of alternative medicines. It is extensively used in the Ayurveda system of alternative medicine, in subtle amounts.
Claims of this supplement being a less harmful alternative to antibiotics are unsubstantiated. Medical companies that manufacture colloidal silver based medicines promise all sorts of benefits from anti-aging effects, cancer cure, to enhancement of tissue growth. However, all these claims too, are without any evidence of proven clinical tests. So, as far as I know, its benefits for humans are hearsay and therefore, as good as unknown. People who go for these alternative medicines are warned that they can consume them at their own risk.
Its dosage in dietary supplements should be strictly taken, as per instructions provided by the manufacturers.
Colloidal silver intake in excess amounts, leads to a disease called Argyria. Silver has minimal metabolic function and is normally excreted out of the body, if consumed in excess. However, sometimes, excess silver starts getting deposited in the tissues of inner organs of the body, causing Argyria. This happens because the excess is beyond the capacity of the body to excrete. Argyria causes a permanent skin color change to blue or bluish gray. There are two classified types of Argyria. One is generalized and other is localized Argyria.
Cosmetic laser therapy has been effective in removing the gray skin coloration. Otherwise, it was a permanent and irreversible condition. Argyria has been mainly reported to be caused by colloidal silver, combined with proteins. There is no evidence of Argyria being caused by protein-free colloidal silver intake.
Excess intake of this supplement can also cause arteriosclerosis, that is the hardening of arteries, that may eventually lead to a heart attack. Silver deposition on inner organs causes permanent damage and also compromises the immune system. Some neurological problems like seizures, as well as gastric problems have also been reported.
Colloidal silver, in reaction with drugs like quinolones, thyroxine, penacillamine, and tetracyclines can cause harmful side effects. So, pregnant women and people in general should avoid taking it, as the chances of silver toxicity are high.
Think before you fall for the tall promises of alternative medicine product companies. Garner as much information as you can about such alternative treatments, before you go for them.
Disclaimer: This article is for reference purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for the advice of a certified medical practitioner.