Posted: 29 Dec 2014 07:00 AM PST
Google 'colloidal silver' and you'll get nearly 2.4 million results. There's a lot of products, information, and mis-information out there. Here's a simple guide to help you understand the different names, types, and key factors to find the best colloidal silver product for you. But before I get to that, perhaps you're wondering whether or not colloidal silver works. Well, listen to major health authorities and they'll give you a resounding no. That's in spite of the fact that cultures around the world have used silver for over 2,000 years to protect against harmful organisms.
Colloidal Silver History
As recently as the 1920s, colloidal silver was used medicinally to fight infection. In the 1800s and early 1900s, silver coins would be dropped in milk to keep it from spoiling. Infants have been fed with silver spoons for centuries as a protective health measure. The only problem with silver is that it's an element and not a patentable substance. That means Big Pharma can't make money on it, and you'll find when Big Pharma can't make money on a medicine, central governments generally oppose it.
The fact is, silver's been used since before the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans. In the 21st century, technology has made silver safer and even more available as an alternative to pharmaceuticals. Here's what you should know before you buy colloidal silver.
What Does Colloidal Mean?
Colloidal could be considered an alternative name for 'particle.' This is because a true colloidal silver product will contain silver particles. Ideally, you want to look for products containing nanoparticles. More on that in a moment. Three types of products are often sold as colloidal silver. These are ionic silver solutions, silver protein solutions, and true colloidal silver. Here's an overview of each:
Ionic Silver Solutions
These products contain both silver particles and silver ions. As a general rule, about 90% of these solutions are ionic silver. Ionic silver solutions may also be called monatomic silver, silver hydrosol, or more recently covalent silver.
Silver Protein Solutions
These solutions contain metallic silver particles and a protein binder. They may be labeled as Silver Protein or Mild Silver Protein. Silver particles in these solutions are generally large which is why they require a protein like gelatin. The need for a protein increases the danger of bacteria contaminating the solution. Because of the large size of the silver particles, a solution containing silver protein may not be safe and could lead to a condition known as argyria.
True Colloidal Silver
Silver nanoparticles make up the majority of true colloidal silver. More than 50% of the silver content will be silver particles with the remaining 20-49% of silver being ionic silver. What is the difference between a silver ion and a silver particle? A silver particle, or nanoparticle, is usually a complete atom of silver. This differs from a silver ion, which is a silver atom with an extra electron gained when it binds to a water molecule.
Be Wary of Labels: How to Identify a Safe Colloidal Silver Product by Color
Ionic silver and true colloidal silver solutions vary from clear to a dark color. The darker the color, the higher the concentration of silver particles which block light trying to pass through the solution. But you need to be wary of dark solutions. Silver protein solutions range in color from an amber hue to a dark, almost black color. If you're not sure by the color, shake the product. A silver protein produces a foam that will last for several minutes after being shaken.
What Particle Concentration is Best?
Particle concentration doesn't determine the effectiveness of a product, but it can help clue you in on the type of product it is. Ionic silver and true colloidal silver generally contain in the range of 3 to 20 ppm (parts per million). Silver proteins contain 30 ppm up to 20,000 ppm. Concentrations at this level are not considered safe.
Particle Surface Area
What makes a colloidal silver product effective is its surface area. The greater the available surface area, the greater amount of surfaces of harmful organisms that can be contacted. To illustrate this, think of a silver dollar. A silver dollar contains roughly 27 grams of silver with a surface area of about 28 square centimeters. Break up all the silver particles into their atomic form, and the surface area of all those silver particles can be measured in acres!
Can You Make Your Own Colloidal Silver?
It's true you can buy your own generator and make home-made colloidal silver solutions. First, you should never make a silver solution using silver salts or silver proteins. Issues such as contamination, the silver particles being too big and ineffective, and argyria are common concerns.
As for the generators–while you could attempt to make your own solutions at home, there are certain considerations you should take into account. You'll need to invest the time and money to get the equipment and learn how to use it. You'll also need to ensure a sterile environment. Most importantly, you'll need to ensure the purity of the colloidal silver product.
Do you use colloidal silver? What have been your experiences? Please let us know in the comments!
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
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