The body doesn't naturally produce silver, so it isn’t a vitamin and mineral. It doesn't matter if you don't have enough silver, or if you aren't getting enough.
It is present in small amounts in water and food supplies, as well as in the air we breathe.
One small study found no benefits to a colloidal-silver nasal spray for treating chronic, recalcitrant rhinosinusitis. While silver compounds can still be used externally as antiseptics in preparations, there is a growing interest to use the colloidal form orally as an alternative medicine. Although in vitro studies have shown anti-tumor effects (8), there are no human data to support oral colloidal. Despite the lack of evidence, oral colloidal silver is being promoted as a treatment for AIDS, cancer, diabetes, and other diseases. Silver deposition can occur in the skin and mucous membranes over time, leading to irreversible conditions such as argyria. This condition is characterized by bluish-gray-gray-black pigmentation. Other adverse effects include seizures (6). Coloidal silver can cause developmental abnormalities in the foetus and should be avoided by pregnant women (1).
Topical colloidal-silver products claim to be germ-fighting and antimicrobial. This claim is supported by at least one clinical study. Some studies have shown promise for silver nanoparticles in dressings and bandages.
It is not known what the real risks are of ingesting nanoparticles that may be found in colloidal silver products.
In suspension, silver is inelastic and can bind with proteins. Silver compounds can form hemisilver sulfuric sulfides that contain sulfhydryl group, which inactivates enzymes. The ability of silver to bind amino and carboxyl, as well as phosphate, and imidazole group (1) is also possible. Research has shown that silver can accumulate in the liver of rats and binds to various tissues and basal membranes. It can also alter the activities of glutathione peroxidase, lactate dehydrogenase, and the peroxidation membrane lipids.
The EPA has created a dosing reference chart that suggests that you shouldn't consume more than 5 micrograms of silver per kilogram. This applies to oral, topical and environmental.
If you are taking silver-containing food supplements or working in an area that is exposed to high amounts of silver, you're most at risk for developing argyria.
Coloidal silver should be avoided by pregnant women as it can cause developmental abnormalities in fetuses (1).
The healing of skin injuries can also be promoted by colloidal silver. A 2007 study found that silver-containing wound dressings provide a better barrier to infection than other products with similar claims.
Argyria refers to a condition where the skin turns a blue-gray due to the buildup of silver metal particles. Silver deposits can also be found in the liver, kidneys, and other organs (16).
Colloidal silver is made up of silver particles suspended within a liquid. This is often made by homemade generators. Silver medicinals were used to treat conditions such as epilepsy, gonadotrophia, and colds until the middle of the 20th century. In recent years, safer treatments have replaced silver. It is not considered an essential mineral and has no physiological function. It can denature proteins by binding to their reactive group and inactivate enzymes by forming the hemisilver sulfur sulfides with the enzymes' sulfhydryl chains (1).
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), most people are already being exposed to silver every day from their environment.
The theory is that in order to develop argyria you would need to consume silver compounds for a prolonged period. The exact amount and time period that could put you at risk are unknown (16).
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned colloidal silver companies that they were marketing false claims about their products helping to prevent or treat the coronavirus disease COVID-19 (15).
Some cosmetics and acne treatments use colloidal silver as an ingredient. It is sometimes used in eye drops to prevent conjunctivitis among newborns.
These particles could be more easily absorbed into your cells, and may even cross the blood-brain barrier. They are therefore considered to be a potential health risk ((6)).
Although the size of silver particles in colloidal Silver can vary, some are small enough to be called "nanoparticles". They are smaller than 100 nm and therefore invisible to the naked eye (1).
It doesn't pose any risk of argyria as long as it is applied topically in small quantities.
However, colloidal silver is unsafe because of the unknown environmental and health hazards.
It is claimed by its advocates that it can be used to treat all types of infections and diseases, from the common cold to cancer.