Silver: Antibacterial Antiviral & Antifungal04.10.2012
by Life Enthusiast Staff
Silver has been used for fighting germs and preventing infections for centuries, and is now (again) becoming a popular form of alternative medicine as an antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal.
With this increasing popularity comes controversy: many questions with not always reliable answers.
There are limits on what science can prove, so we take care to honestly present facts and claims, discerning what we know, what we suspect, and what we just don't have a clue about.
Here are a few factors contributing to the controversy.
Claims of Benefits of Colloidal Silver
Enthusiasts of alternative healing methods make claims that silver can heal conditions that are often not treatable with conventional medicine. They claim safe and natural qualities over pharmaceuticals, and far more effective than drugs. While this can be true, some groups with economic interests could feel threatened. The main point is the use of silver as an antibiotic: the microbial creatures cannot develop a resistance to silver, which is the case with yeast based antibiotics. Our latest threat, MRSA or methicillin resistant staphyllococcus aureus, can cause serious trouble - no known antibiotic can stop it, and its spread is on the rise.
Threatening to the Pharmaceutical Industry
Because it's a naturally occurring element, silver is not easy to patent, so it cannot be "owned". This places silver in the controversial realm of alternative medicine, often subject to unwarranted attacks that some feel is a result of pharmaceutical economic interests and governmental support of them.
Cosmetic Side-Effect from Overdosing
Taking too much silver can cause a harmless but undesirable skin discoloration called argyria: the skin becomes blue or bluish-grey colored. But one would have to consume vast quantities over an extended period of time to see this result. It can come about by taking tenfold dosage for many days. Still, this condition fuels the controversy.
Our society tolerates many harmful and some cancer-causing substances that damage us internally and without visible effects. We tend to tolerate this more readily than visual disfiguration. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, this can overshadow scientific rationality, and scare people away from personal experience to prove silver's effectiveness. Nobody wants to look like a Smurf ...
Ionic and Colloidal... Difficult to Prove Area of Science
Previously, the most common products on the market were "colloidal silver", but recently the term "ionic silver" has been introduced. The claims on each type of silver are controversial, with not enough rigorous research behind the claims.
Colloid by definition means molecules suspended in a solution, although even well respected scientific texts do not consistently agree on some details. Ionic by definition means atoms that are missing an electron (it has a plus-one electrical charge), or have an extra electron (negative electrical charge).
The currently accepted idea is that silver's efficacy to kill germs and heal comes from silver ions. Because watching interaction of ions with cells is very difficult, our understanding of the exact mechanism of action is far from conclusive. Many conflicting claims have been made with little scientific evidence.
The questions of safety and efficacy are frequently argued with respect to ionic silver versus colloidal silver, and also with respect to colloidal silver that is partly ionic versus all or mostly silver particles or metal (atoms or molecules, not ions).
Ionic silver is the new standard.
It's now established that ionic silver is the form of silver that is a powerful agent for killing germs and healing. The term colloidal silver is used less commonly in recent years.
Silver ions probably require a delivery system to be absorbed.
Because silver ions tend to bind with substances in your mouth and gut before reaching your blood for absorption and use, a delivery system is required. The ions don't last very long, so they must be carried into your system before being released for absorption and use.
Colloidal silver probably works by releasing silver ions.
One presumption is that colloidal silver has effectiveness because it releases silver ions in your body. And it's at the precise moment when a silver ion gains or releases an electron that it has this antimicrobial effect.
Only your direct experience matters.
Right now, all this is beyond the realm of modern medical science, to state for certain whether colloidal silver works by releasing silver ions, whether the germ-killing occurs when an ion gains or releases an electron, or whether the introduction of silver ions into your body with a delivery system is more effective than just free silver ions.
Personal Experience May Be The Best Proof
The following information is from users' personal experience, for you to use to make up your mind.
Silver will affect all single cell organisms within your body.
Use a probiotic supplement to rebuild your intestinal flora during and after the use of silver products.
You can take a large dose in the short term as needed for an infection, but consider it in the context of your overall lifetime exposure to heavy metals.
For the first signs of a sore throat, cold, flu or sinus infection (or anything of the sort), it seems the sooner one starts to take silver, the better by far. About 80% to 90% of people who used it the first day say that symptoms are better within half a day, and don't end up being sick (even if everyone in the office or home has a severe flu for two weeks).
Many take 8 to 12 sprays in the mouth/throat, every 1 to 4 hours (or 3 to 4 drops in the mouth, taking it straight and letting it absorb across the walls of the mouth).
Frequency seems to help (silver has a short "biological half-life") and apparently just a few doses is usually all it takes. But to be sure and aggressive, many use it for half to a full day, or for as many days as it takes, depending on whether they started at the beginning of symptoms, or if it's already a full-blown cold or flu. Most say that certainly takes longer. Many say they start seeing a lot of improvement quite quickly, but once the condition has really taken hold there's little chance of it going away completely in just a day or so.
For lung infections, a sprayer allows silver to be inhaled as with an inhaler. Users will typically empty the lungs by exhaling as if blowing out a candle, then continue to pump the spray towards the throat while inhaling deeply until the lungs are full and the chest is expanded. Then hold the breath with the mouth shut for a few seconds, and exhale and breath normally. They often repeat this a few times right away, and will do this every 1 to 4 hours as they may feel the need.
If there is a sinus infection, ear infection, eye infection, or any topical condition like poison ivy or acne, etc., many seem to feel the best approach is to tackle it locally and topically as well as systemically, internally and orally.
For instance, with a sinus infection they might take a number of sprays orally in the mouth and also use the dropper for nose drops. Some people like to use a pump spray in their nose instead, though that can be a bit awkward, while a dropper can be used for nose drops by simply inhaling or "snorting" a dropperful into the nostril by holding the opposite nostril shut while inhaling and simultaneously squeezing the rubber bulb sharply. Someone might inhale one or two dropperfuls in each nostril, and they might do that every 1 to 4 hours. Many users report that just one or two times in a day for local and internal use is usually enough to do the trick, but they may use it more often just to be sure.
It seems that with all conditions, the amount is not most important, a little more or a little less is not going to matter much. The frequency is much more important than quantity. Users typically say it's more beneficial to use it every 1 to 4 hours (as long as they feel the need) than it is to use a large amount once.