Copyright © 2011,2012,2013 William Peters,

Here are some of the more common myths about colloidal silver and how its made.

1) Silver kills 650 kinds of organisms
False: While it has been shown to be effective against a wide variety of pathogens, there is no recorded documentation anywhere in the scientific literature proving or even suggesting that that number is 650. This is just folklore and sales hype perpetuated by companies that are trying to sell product. There are 1407 human pathogens according to the Center For Infectious Diseases at the University of Edinburgh. It is highly probable that colloidal silver would be effective against most of the bacteria and virii but silver has been tested against very few of these.

2) Pathogens cannot become resistant to silver.
False: There are recorded instances of bacterial strains which are resistant to silver5,6. Therefore this claim is proven false. Some strains of Klebsiella pneumonia1, Salmonell, and Ecoli2 are resistant, proving that organisms can and do become resistant. Some colloidal silver sites claim that pathogens cannot ever become resistant to silver because silver suffocates the pathogen. Obviously, just one example of a silver resistant bacteria falsifies that claim. The way to make pathogens resistant is to introduce them to low levels of a substance so that the weakest die off, and the strongest are selected to survive. Eventually, the remaining pathogens are all the strongest and resistant.

3) Ionic silver cannot cause argyria because it is the smallest particle size and cannot “get stuck”
False: Ionic silver can react with sulfur and selenium compounds in the body to produce non-soluble particles which are larger than ions and become immobile. Scanning electron microscope studies of argyria victims show that the silver stuck in the skin is silver sulfide and silver selenide resulting from ionic silver.3

When ionic silver (silver oxide) is consumed, it undergoes a chemical reaction with stomach acid and turns into silver chloride. Silver chloride is photosensitive… it can be used to make photographic film, and turns from white to black on exposure to light. Silver chloride will react chemically with sulfur or selenium compounds in the body which becomes silver sulfide or silver selenides, which are both insoluble compounds. Metallic silver (true colloidal silver) has very low reactivity with stomach acid, and thus does not create the compounds which are found in the skin of argyria victims.

4) Electric current pulls tiny pieces of silver from the electrodes to create colloidal silver.
False: This claim is made by people unknowlegeable in chemistry and physics. The electricity creates free silver ions on the surface of the positive electrode which chemically reacts with hydroxide ions in the water. This creates silver hydroxide which dissolves in the water and floats away from the electrode. The only compounds which can be made from silver and pure water without further chemistry or heat are silver hydroxide and its decomposition product of silver oxide. If salt is present, then silver chloride will also be produced.

5) Both electrodes must be pure silver.
False: The negative electrode can be any metal. The negative electrode repels anything that could react chemically with it, and instead attracts silver from the positive electrode. Only the positive electrode contributes any material to the solution. This is the basic electroplating process. (It is also why only the positive battery wire in a car corrodes.)

6) Silver strengthens the immune system.
False: Antibiotics do not strengthen the immune system. Silver does nothing except kill pathogens, and it does this without modifying any part of the immune system.

7) Silver is a nutritional supplement:
False: The human body has zero requirement for silver, and taking small doses of silver as a supposed nutritional supplement only increases the chances of bacteria and virii becoming silver resistant. The reason colloidal silver is sold commercially as a nutritional supplement is because that is the only way it can be sold without violating FDA regulations. IE: it is illegal to sell it as a treatment or cure for any disease.

8 ) Ionic Silver (Clear like water) is more effective than Metallic Silver (Yellow color)
False: Recent tests by accredited labs show that metallic silver is often more effective.
“Interestingly, AgNP’s have been shown in a variety of cases to be more toxic to bacteria and fungi than free ions (Choi et al., Fabrega et al., 2008; Lok et al., 2006)”4
To see why this may be so, see this article.

9) You can measure the strength of Colloidal Silver with at TDS meter:
False: TDS meters are calibrated to read a mix of ions commonly found in ground water, and do not even read salt solutions correctly. Since ppm is the weight of one substance in another, a TDS meter would have to be specially calibrate to read Silver Oxide, and could not read true colloidal silver at all since true colloidal silver is not ionic. For a more in depth discussion, see this article.

10) Colloidal Silver does not kill off beneficial gut bacteria
False: Of course it does. Silver cannot distinguish good bacteria from bad, just as no other antibiotic can. The feces in the human digestive tract is about 60% bacteria by weight, and there are 10 times more bacteria than cells in the human body. So while colloidal silver can kill off beneficial gut bacteria, a few milligrams of silver is not enough to substantially alter the amount even if all of the silver consumed targeted only gut bacteria.

1) Antimicrobial Agents And Chemotherapy, Jan. 1986, p. 165-167
2) FEMS Microbiology Reviews, Volume 27, Issue 2-3, pages 341–353, June 2003
3) Silver in Healthcare: Its Antimicrobial Efficacy and Safety in Use By Alan B. G. Lansdown
4) Advances in Applied Microbiology Vol. 77 By Allen I. Laskin, Geoffrey M. Gadd, Sima Sariaslani
5) Gentamicin- and silver-resistant pseudomonas in a burns unit, K BRIDGES, A KIDSON, E JL LOWBURY, M D WILKINS
6) Mechanism of resistance to silver ions in Klebsiella pneumoniae. P Kaur and D V Vadehra


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