Today, when you talk about dietary supplements containing silver, you are talking about “colloidal silver”, which is the FDA generic classification for virtually all silver solutions. Colloidal simply means “particles suspended in water”. There are all kinds of forms of silver solutions that are quite different from each other, all with unique and ambiguous names and definitions.
Likewise, there are theories as to why each one works better than the other. Unfortunately, most of these theories seem quite convincing, and yet also seem diametrically opposed to others. Most people would take the position that much is unknown with regards to how colloidal silver works, the mechanisms of action, as well as admitting there is very little existing data regarding the products that exist, the technologies with which they are made, or how effective they are as dietary supplements.
Colloidal Silver vs Silver Hydrosol vs Ionic Silver
Traditional colloidal silver of the past now seems somewhat old school, and it has been replaced with new hydrosol technologies that are now marketed without even mentioning the word “colloidal” on their bottle or advertising. In fact, the vast majority of all silver solution sold in America is manufactured and marketed as silver hydrosol.
Silver ions are atoms or molecules (as opposed to particles composed of hundreds of thousands of atoms) which are chemically dissolved in water. Ionic silver is not the same as metallic silver nanoparticles. For example, metallic silver is not water soluble (does not dissolve in water) but ionic silver is water soluble (it does dissolve in water).
Technically speaking, a silver ion is an atom or atom cluster of silver that is missing one electron. It is the outermost electrons of an atom that determine the physical properties of matter. Take away one electron from a silver atom and you get a silver ion which is water soluble.
Suffice it to say, generically, that all silvers will have some mix of particles (colloids) and ions (positively charged atoms or molecules). Most silver purchased today, similar to Accelerated Silver, contains significant quantities of ionic silver content in addition to silver particle content.
Which Is the Most Effective Form of Silver?
There currently exists much debate as to which is most effective: silver particles or silver ions.
There are serious advocates for the superiority of ionic silver who present theories and data to support their position. There are also serious advocates for the superiority of particle (colloid) silver who also present theories and data to support their position. The colloidal silver category as defined by the FDA encompasses both ionic and particle forms of silver solution, and due to the lack of quality peer review and scientific consensus, definitive statements regarding which forms of colloidal silver are most effective do not seem possible at this time.
How Has Colloidal Silver Been Used?
First, let’s go way back into antiquity before the advent of Nano silver, Ionic silver, colloidal silver with 500 PPM or 2000 PPM, and all of the other variations of present day colloidal silvers.
Uses of Silver for Healing in Ancient Times:
Hippocrates, the “father of medicine,” wrote that silver had beneficial healing and disease fighting properties. He promoted silver for tissue repair and wound healing.
Ancient Greeks used silver vessels for water purification, and pioneers trekking across the globe used it keep their water safe and prevent dysentery, colds, and flu by placing silver dollars in their wooden water casks and milk containers to delay spoilage. Settlers in the Australian outback also added silverware in their water tanks to prevent spoilage.
In the Middle Ages, silver spoons were given by wealthy parents to babies. They believed that those “born with a silver spoon in their mouths” benefited from silver’s purifying and antibiotic properties. To this day, it is a tradition in some families to give silver spoons to babies! My grandmother gave me one for each of my children, and at the time I had no idea why!
In European folk medicine, it was believed that wearing silver rings may help ward off illnesses, while mixing silver powder with plants was used to help alleviate rabies, nosebleeds and edema (swelling caused by trapped fluid in the body’s tissues). Colloidal silver was also used to help alleviate various health conditions and diseases such as epilepsy, stomach ulcers and mental illnesses.
Uses of Silver From the 1800’s Through Today:
Silver was deemed as one of the few antimicrobial treatments available before the discovery of antibiotic drugs. By the 1800s, silver nitrate was used to treat wounds and skin ulcers. It was discovered that using fine silver wires for sutures helped heal repaired flesh.
During the times of “America’s Old West”, silver coins were put into drinking water barrels for protection against water-borne illness. In addition, silver was used to treat syphilis during the Civil War. During the 1880s, they used silver nitrate in newborn infants eyes to prevent post-delivery infections.
Colloidal Silver was first discovered in the 1890’s. By the 1930s, Colloidal silver was the favored choice of physicians for strengthening the immune system and supporting the body’s own healing process. Colloidal Silver was also adopted as a treatment for infections during the World War I battles. However, medicinal usage of colloidal silver declined with the arrival of antibiotics shortly thereafter.
Even NASA Used Silver. During the mid-1960s, Johnson Space Center created a lightweight generator to distribute silver ions into the drinking water aboard Apollo spacecraft to kill bacteria. Later, in 2015 NASA approved the use of a silver-based water purification system aboard the International Space Station.
And today, Silver based Sulfadiazine has been deemed the standard of care in burn centers worldwide since 1968. Silver is everywhere, in all different forms from Colloidal silver to Ionic silver to nano silver to silver hydrosols. Silver is experiencing a resurgence as people become more educated on the importance of natural holistic health and the dangers of antibiotics and prescription drugs.