Colloidal Silver: Miracle Cure or Dangerous Hoax?

I’ve been suffering from an ear ache for about 6 months.  I’ve been to doctors and have been given a different diagnosis by nearly every one.  I’ve been told it is a  hormonal imbalance, TMJ, deep infection, collapsed tubes, sinusitis, etc etc etc.  The bottom line is that no one really can get to the bottom of what is bothering my poor ears!

In my frustration, I’ve turned to searching for natural remedies.   I’ve had suggestions ranging from Vitamin C to grapefruit seed extract to sticking a clove a garlic in my ear.  But the one suggestion that keeps popping up is Colloidal Silver.

The benefits and risks of taking colloidal silver are difficult to pin down.  One side says that it is a miraculous curing agent that has been used for decades.  Others say it is a dangerous substance that can cause all manner of problems to your body.

So what is the truth?  I’ve embarked on a quest to find the answer.

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Colloidal Silver is a compound that consists of silver particles suspended in liquid.  It is sold in a variety of solutions with varying degrees of silver to liquid ratios, and is also frequently created at home with devices that can be purchased online built by the user.

Advocates of Colloidal Silver make claims that range  from its antibiotic capabilities to its ability to cure cancer and AIDS.  The truth may fall somewhere inbetween.

In the early 1900s, Colloidal Silver was prominantly used as a “cure-all” for its antibiotic qualities.  With the advent of drugs like penicillin and sulfamilinide, CS took a back seat.   Starting in the early 90s, CS began to see a resurgance in popularity.  The FDA roundly refutes any claims made by those selling or recommending the compound, but it is still legal to sell.

It is illegal, however, for manufacturers to make claims about its curing properties. CS advocates claim that this is part of a concerted effort on the part of the Governemnt and the Pharmaceutical companies to oppress the medicinal silver market, promoting instead FDA approved antibiotics.  While the FDA claims there is no evidence to support the medicinal qualities of silver, it did not stop them from approving Curad bandages from placing silver in its product.  Curad uses the silver as a topical inhibitor of infection.

As we look at Colloidal Silver, I’d like to simply present both cases.  Admittedly, it is difficult to find web sites that advocate CS without promoting a specific brand, which causes some question regarding claims.  I’ve done my best to find sites that are neither beholdent to the FDA nor a particular brand of CS.

COLLOIDAL SILVER: PROS

According to HerbalRemedies.com:

Contemporary Studies

Laboratory tests in 1988 by Larry C. Ford, M.D., UCLA School of Medicine, and other researchers showed that destructive bacteria, virus and fungus organisms are killed within minutes of contact with simple metallic silver. While studying regeneration of limbs, spinal cords and organs in the late 1970s, Robert O. Becker, M.D., author of The Body Electric, discovered that silver ions promote bone growth and kill surrounding bacteria he recognized a correlation between low silver levels and sickness. He said silver deficiency was responsible for the improper functioning of the immune system. Dr. Becker’s experiments conclude that silver works on the full spectrum of pathogens without any side effects or damage to the body. He also states that silver does more than kill disease-causing organisms. Burn patients and even elderly patients notice more rapid healing. All strains of pathogens resistant to other antibiotics are killed by silver. The March 1978 issue of Science Digest, in an article, “Our Mightiest Germ Fighter,” reported: “Thanks to eye-opening research, silver is emerging as a wonder of modern medicine. Resistant strains fail to develop. Moreover, silver is virtually non-toxic. “The article ended with a quote by Dr. Harry Margraf, a biochemist and pioneering silver researcher who worked with the late Carl Moyer, M.D., chairman of Washington University’s Department of Surgery in the 1970s: “Silver is the best all-around germ fighter we have.”

***Most hospital burn units use silver compounds as a primary source to combat germs and infection.

***As previously mentioned, some companies selling adhesive bandages are now using silver in their gauze as infection inhibitors.

***Claimed to be effective in treating Acne, Athlete’s Foot, Blood Poisoning, Burns, Candida, Colitis, Conjunctivitis, Dermatitis, Dysentry, Excema, Gastritis, Gonorrhea, Herpes, Hepatitis, Infantile Diseases, Impetigo, Keratitis, Leprosy, lesions, lyme disease, Pymphagitis, Malaria, Pluerisy, Phneomonia, Psoriasis, Pruritis Ani, Ophthalmia, Ringworm, Rhiritis Rosacea, Scarlet Fever, Seborrhea, Septicemia, Shingles, Staph Infection, Strep Infections, Stomach Flu, Toxemia, Herpes Virus, Ulcers, Strep, Tonsillitis, Trenchfoot, Tuberculosis, Virus Warts, Whooping Cough, Yeast Infections.

***Non addictive with little or no side effects (see cons for a rebuttal of this statement)

***silver is a natural trace element already found in all organically grown fruits and vegetables.

***can be purchased easily from any health food store, or made at home.  Watch the video below on how to make colloidal silver yourself. (We do not necessarily endorse the instructions below. This video is simply shown as an example of how colloidal silver is home brewed by some people.)

 

The Web Site Colloidalsilversecrets.blogspot.com sites an interesting study:

One of the most dramatic of the earlier purification tests occured in 1976 in a 20,000 gallon swimming pool in Nebraska. There was no disinfectant of any kind in the water. Fifty gallons of municipal sewage plant effluent was placed into the pool. That produced a dangerous concentration of 7,000 e. coli bacteria cells per 100 milliliters (half a cup) of water.


Contents of the pool were pumped through a tank containing alternating anodic and cathodic silver electrodes for disinfection. Within three hours the pool was entirely free of e. coli bacteria and the water contained only 3.2 parts of silver per billion parts of water — an amount that is completely safe for humans.

 

The most recent claim I can find about CS is that it could be effective in fighting off Swine Flu (2009 H1N1). The following sites lay out those claims:
I’ve even been able to find a video that addresses a connection between Swine Influenza and CS.  It was posted by a YouTube subscriber who claims to have cured himself of Swine Flu using Colloidal Silver.

COLLOIDAL SILVER: CONS

There are many sites dedicated to debunking the healing claims of Colloidal Silver.  The opponents, not the least of whom being the FDA, say that there is no scientific evidence whatsoever that CS has any disease fighting qualities.

In 2002, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) claimed that there were no legitimate medical uses for colloidal silver and no evidence to support its marketing claims. Given the associated safety risks, the TGA concluded that “efforts should be made to curb the illegal availability of colloidal silver products, which is a significant public health issue.

Opponents also point to the misleading claims by CS merchants that most people suffer from a “silver deficiency”.  The truth is, silver is not an essential nutrient for the human body.

While anti-silver claimants do admit that studies have proven CS has anti bacterial qualities, they maintain that there is a big difference between a culture in a lab and the human ingestion of a substance.

The biggest case made against Colloidal Silver, however, is its ability to cause a disease known as argyria,  a condition in which silver salts deposit in the skin, eyes, and internal organs, and the skin turns ashen-gray or blue.  There are a few real life cases of people suffering from this disease due to their use of silver.  In fairness, I must add that CS advocates claim that this side effect is extremely rare, and usually only appears in people who partake in way too much CS, far beyond the recommended dosages.  Nevertheless, argyria is a real condition, as evidenced in the following video of the “blue man”.

There is also the story of Rosemary Jacobs, who started taking Colloidal Silver at age 11 via nose drops for allergies.  By the age of 14, her skin had noticeably begun to change colors.  She attempted to remove the coloration with dermabrasion, but maintained her gray skin tone.  She is now a staunch advocate against the use of silver products.  You can see her entire story here: http://rosemaryjacobs.com/

 

rosemary-jacobs-silver

Rosemary Jacobs in 1978 just before she received treatment for her condition Photo: BARCROFT


Conclusion:

At the end of my research, I can honestly say that I am completely torn.  I cannot say which argument satisfies me more.  With the thousands or perhaps millions of people who are currently taking colloidal silver without incident, I am fairly certain that cases like “the blue man” must be from over consumption as well as topical usage.  However, I am leary of some claims of CS in its somewhat opportunistic usage of emerging diseases to sell more product.  This blame lies mostly with the manufacturers, but as I made clear at the beginning of this post, it isn’t easy to find a web site that isn’t in some way promoting a specific brand.

What do you think?  Have you taken colloidal silver?  Heard any stories, good or bad?  Please leave your comments regarding your own experience with colloidal silver.

sources:

http://www.gordonresearch.com/Presentations/GRI_mar07/articles/promising_cure.html

http://colloidalsilversecrets.blogspot.com/2009/04/colloidal-silver-and-swine-flu-7.html

http://www.naturalnews.com/010038.html

http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/PhonyAds/silverad.html

http://www.herbalremedies.com/readmorabcol.html#2

http://rosemaryjacobs.com/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/2687985/Woman-who-turned-silver-warns-of-dangers-of-internet-medicines.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colloidal_silver

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