There has been much discussion as to whether or not colloidal silver is bioavailable. As the word implies, bioavailability is determined by the following:

  • how much of a substance enters the systemic circulation (bloodstream) and is, therefore, available to do the work intended
  • at what rate (how fast) this happens

Bioavailability depends on several factors: the form of administration, the frequency, and the treatment dosage. Treatments given orally encounter several filters before they even get near the bloodstream. The first is the intestinal wall. Next is part of the liver. Both of these sites do their best to metabolize (change the form of) the treatments. Thus, a less-than-optimum amount of the treatment will reach the bloodstream after the liver, resulting in lower effectiveness.

Other factors have to do with the individual. A person’s age, sex, weight, and genetic phenotype all have a bearing on bioavailability. So, too, is the level and frequency of the individual’s physical activity. Stress levels, other physical disorders, and gastrointestinal (GI) surgery can also play a part. Gut disorders like leaky gut syndrome, in which the connection between intestinal cells loosens, can alter the absorption of any ingredient. The health of a patient’s skin is also part of the equation. Research using the electron microscope has found that nanosilver can pass through human skin. Skin that is damaged in some way allows up to 400 percent more silver to pass through.

Another factor is the environment into which the nanosilver is deposited. Scientists at the University of Helsinki, Finland were interested in learning about the toxicity of nanosilver to aquatic ecosystems. They examined the effects of nanosilver on two common crustaceans in both natural and artificial fresh water. The researchers selected Daphnia magna, a type of water flea, and Thamnocephalus platyurus, a type of fairy shrimp. The results indicated that water conditions do affect bioavailability. Natural water often contains other substances, such as sulfides. It may also be home to high levels of minerals; this is often known as hard water. All the items present in natural water create conditions for lower bioavailability. Artificial water, in this sense, is typically cleaner; as a result, bioavailability is higher in artificial fresh water.

The above information paints a rather complex picture: Bioavailability is not a constant. Rather, it varies according to a variety of external environmental conditions (outside the organism), as well as internal ones.  

While it would be nice to aim for some sort of uniform bioavailability, in which the same dosage of colloidal silver will produce the same results in each patient, this is most likely not possible. A more realistic scenario is a set of general guidelines per medical condition (bacterial infection, virus, etc.) with some tweaking room, depending on the situation. We must also realize that the usual absorption and metabolism issues pertain to complex large molecules rather than tiny metal spheres.

We are postulating here that nanoparticles are small enough to slip into the spaces between cells and be sucked in easily, like grains of fine sand through a porous sponge with large holes. It is likely and possible that, due to the small size and the high solubility factor triggered by the high surface area, the transport through the gastrointestinal tract begins in the stomach. Depending on many factors that can influence transport, however, we believe that a considerable amount of a nanoparticle solution is rapidly passed through the stomach wall like water through sand. The remainder of this evenly dispersed solution that is not quickly absorbed in the stomach will be absorbed in the first area of the small intestines, thus never having a chance to encounter the beneficial intestinal bacteria located in the latter part of the small intestine and the large intestine. This is a good explanation as to why colloidal silver does not destroy beneficial bacteria in the human body. Bowel disturbance and disruption of the beneficial organisms’ balance are seldom reported, if ever, considering the number of willing consumers of colloidal silver.

Another factor to consider is that the intercellular spaces are, more or less, on the order of magnitude of 50nm.[1] This explains why nanoparticles of 35nm or less can easily travel between cells and, in general, are much safer than bigger nanoparticles, which are ingested by cells called macrophages.

The bioavailability of colloidal silver is very high because, as explained above, the small particles slip through tiny spaces between cells, as opposed to uncoated particles and ionic silver, which is very chemically reactive and sticks to tissues. Ionic silver attaches to cellular structures and functional groups, modifying cell structures, including DNA. Those in excess can go farther and dislodge deeper structures. There could be many unwanted chemical chain reactions until a few ions escape in the bloodstream, where they will continue with further chain reactions. The dose of ions is usually a trillion times the number of particles and is not as gentle as the suspended colloidal particles. Thus, bioavailability is much higher in colloidal silver.

“This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”


[1] http://jcb.rupress.org/content/116/6/1487.full.pdf