Colloidal Silver Myth #1. Colloidal Silver and Cancer.

Misconception #1: Colloidal silver causes cancer.

There is no statistically significant scientific evidence that links the ingestion of colloidal silver with an increased risk of cancer. In fact, some evidence to the contrary was presented in an article for pet lovers, “Natural Anti-Cancer Protocol for Dogs and Other Animals,” by researcher Tony Isaacs.

The article commends colloidal silver for its curative effects on fatty tissue cancers in pets. The article also suggests silver as a treatment for and preventative against parvovirus. Colloidal silver also shows some effectiveness in treating pet joint problems such as arthritis. Perhaps future studies will show this effectiveness in humans too. In fact there are some studies showing that silver is effective against cancer. One example of a study showing “antiproliferative” (read anti-cancer) effectiveness is the one named Anti-proliferative activity of silver nanoparticles; PV AshaRaniM Prakash Hande* and Suresh Valiyaveettil; BMC Cell Biology 2009, 10:65

There are several mechanisms by which silver can prevent or treat cancer.

Again as described elsewhere, we are only talking here about spherical, uniform silver particles of a certain diameter considered safe. They are safe and when coated they are even safer!

However, it is only natural that other type of metal particles – of different sizes or “spiky” shapes, are likely to produce chronic irritation and a possibility of promoting cancer.

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Colloidal Silver Myth #2. Nanosilver damages environment.

Misconception: Nanosilver damages the environment.

The overall answer is that this is simply not true, and here’s why: In theory, if an enormously, vast amount of nanosilver particles were simultaneously dumped on every ton of soil all over the world (such as 28.5 quarts per ton of soil), there could possibly be some environmental damage, albeit not much. What really happens is that the infinitesimal amount of nanosilver that does makes its way into the environment quickly aggregates (clumps), and these larger pieces of silver metal do not harm the environment.

Most of the silver nanoparticles that end up in the environment are easily tied up by the sulfur compounds existing in the soil. The sulfur neutralizes and easily binds particles rendering them incapable to produce further damage.

The concerns related to silver or gold nanoparticles in the environment are vastly overblown.

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Colloidal Silver Myth #3. Colloidal Silver and the Immune System.

Misconception: Colloidal silver can improve or strengthen the immune system.

Like all antibiotic treatments, colloidal silver is not capable of much influence on the immune system. Antibiotics kill bacteria, they don’t “stimulate” the immune system.  The only immune help the body gets is that because they kill bacteria, the immune system has less bacterial load to kill, therefore is less overwhelmed when killing the remainder of the pathogens. However, any direct immune system boost is minimal at best.

In addition, just like all other antibiotic treatments, some silver can affect the amount of good bacteria inside the body, such as in the gut, but the reduction is not substantial. There are known colloidal silver brands like ours that are shown to IGNORE beneficial bacteria of the gut. Anyway, colloidal silver 10 nm is so small that it passively diffuses or is absorbed quickly, far before it reaches the beneficial bacteria situated much lower in the intestinal tract. Most ionic silver interacts with stomach acid and is absorbed as silver chloride.

Nevertheless, it is recommended that those partaking of colloidal silver treatments pay close attention to proper nutrition.

It is worthy to note, also, that some recent research indicates that silver nanoparticles may boost TLRs (toll like receptors – which are protein receptors in the plasma membrane of macrophages), which are involved with the human immune system; however, much more research needs to be done before conclusive results can be determined.

In conclusion colloidal silver may be of some indirect help or may ease up the work of the immune system, but it does not directly improve or strengthens it.

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Colloidal Silver Myth #4. Colloidal Silver Kills all Bacteria.

Misconception: All bacteria can be killed by colloidal silver.

At the moment, not every bacteria has been studied, and new strains come into existence every day. What can be said is that colloidal silver has proven effective against a very wide range of common bacteria.

Most pathogenic bacteria, especially bacteria with cell walls are rapidly destroyed. It is believed that the mechanism somehow involves blocking of essential enzymes by covalent binding of silver to the sulfur or amino groups.

Resistance to silver, while possible, is very difficult and requires many mutations within the cells. Many bacteria have not been able to survive in the presence of silver for long periods of time. Some bacteria, especially the bacteria of intestinal flora, however, can survive and even manufacture silver nanoparticles out of an ionic environment; these bacteria are generally resistant to silver toxicity, as they have developed a mechanism to cope and safely deal with silver ions.

As described above, surprisingly (or maybe not) bacteria that can cope well and even manufacture silver nanoparticles are the same as those found in the lower digestive tract. Some of these beneficial bacteria and fungi are: Aspergillus fumigatus, Penicillium[ajc1]  species, Bacillus sp., Brevibacterium casei, Corynebacterium, L. fermentum, Enterococcus faecium, Lactococcus, Lactobacillus, Streptomyces hygroscopicus, E. coli, A. niger, and Enterobacter.

The bacterial development of silver resistance consists mainly of two mechanisms: the accumulation and storage of silver (generally redox chemistry); and the active efflux pump, which sends the silver ions out of the cell.

So yes most pathogenic bacteria and viruses are killed by silver, while most beneficial bacteria are preserved. This property alone makes colloidal silver superior to antibiotics.

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Colloidal Silver Myth #5. Colloidal Silver is Harmful to the Human Body.

Misconception: Colloidal silver is harmful to the human body.

Anything can be harmful to the human body if it is taken in a high enough quantity. Intelligent moderation is often the key to safety. Previous chapters of my book discussed reliable research that shows conclusively that professionally made colloidal silver taken in appropriate quantities does not harm the liver, the kidneys, or the nervous system, nor has there been a body of significant evidence to show damage to the body in general.

The rare, few cases of argyria, while perhaps visually unsightly, have no other negative effect.  The cases of argyria were always a result of indiscriminate ingestion of immense quantities of non-uniform, non-coated colloidal or ionic silver which was self-manufactured, or manufactured in shady, questionable conditions.

Keep in mind that in vitro studies of spherical silver nanoparticles showed no harm to cells if their sizes were kept between 10 and 30nm.

However, asymmetric and angled nanoparticles (triangles or star-shaped) may become locally harmful for many different reasons.

So you have to be careful what you buy, what you ingest and from where.

Well, like everything else, it seems!

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Colloidal Silver Myth #6. Colloidal Silver Must Be Harmful to Human Cells.

Misconception: Since colloidal silver is harmful to bacterial cells, it must also be harmful to human cells.

Available studies indicate that colloidal silver is not harmful to human cells, even though it is harmful to many bacterial ones. It appears that the human body has a different metabolism, different enzymes, and uses thiol groups differently. Also, the human body has several ways of neutralizing and eliminating silver particles and ions once they have done their job. One way to neutralize silver ions in the body is to place the silver ions into so-called “biological containers”. Another way is to bind them to certain biological fibers and sulfur proteins that render the silver ions virtually ineffective and inactive.

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Colloidal Silver Myth #9. Best and Highest Surface Area Particles.

Surface Area

The metal concentration in ppm expresses the weight of the metal versus the weight of the liquid in which it is suspended. Particle concentration can be a very confusing measurement when comparing colloidal silver products, because colloids with very large particles can have a high concentration of metal (ppm) but a very low particle surface area.

Some websites claim that concentration (ppm) by itself does not determine colloidal effectiveness and that only the particle surface area does. However, that is not the truth. When one is talking about catalytic or chemical effectiveness the surface area of the particles is important indeed. However, antimicrobial effectiveness is granted via the slow, gentle release of silver ions from a particle core, not by the surface area.

Colloidal silver effectiveness is not, in any meaningful way, dependent on particle surface size. A higher surface size will likely release more silver ions in solution; however, this is rather insignificant, as even a few ions released by lower surface particles are, by far, more than enough for antimicrobial properties.

Moreover one cannot talk about “surface are” unless the surface is solid. Small clusters of atoms are considered dissolved, not solids, so from 1.5 nm and below the surface area concept as it relates to chemical reactivity of the service changes dramatically.

Silver ions are not particles of metallic silver. Silver particles consist of several hundred or thousands of silver atoms clustered together which have the physical properties of metallic silver. Silver ions do not have the physical properties of metallic silver. A silver ion is a single atom of silver that is missing one orbital electron. Since the outermost orbital electrons of atoms determine the physical properties of matter, the missing electron causes dramatic changes in the physical properties. For example, metallic silver is not water-soluble, but silver ions are and cannot exist without water or some other solvent. Because the physical properties of silver particles and ions are so dramatically different, the terms cannot be used interchangeably.

What most silver experts miss is that there is a constant release of occasional ions from a particle made of thousands of silver atoms. Thus, only one atom in a few thousand becomes an ion and is released from the particle, a type of shedding.

Colloids are silver particles in suspension, not silver ions in solution. To make a true colloid is a complicated, complex, costly process. It is no mystery why most producers choose to make ionic silver instead and simply call it colloidal silver. Thankfully, more consumers are educating themselves about this deception, as well as all of the misleading information out there, and more and more are learning this simple test: If it looks like water, it is ionic silver, not a true silver colloid.

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Colloidal Silver Myth #10. “Authority in Colloidal Silver Field.”

Advertising Claim: “Our products have been endorsed by Drs. X and Y, leading health professionals.”

Are Drs. X and Y really leading health professionals? Don’t take anyone’s word for it, as your health can depend on it. Today, it is easy enough to Google someone to find information about them. If the so-called doctor is truly a leader in his or her field, they will likely appear often in online searches, on various sites. You should find articles, their own website, or stories about them attending or presenting at conferences. You may even be able to find their CV/résumé. If you find no mention of the alleged doctor or expert anywhere else online, they may not be reliable, if they even exist at all. Moreover, if the website you are reading makes false claims about their experts, they are likely making false claims about their products as well. In general, is it advisable to independently check as much information as you can. You may be surprised at just how much you can verify or not by simply searching the Internet.

The size of silver nanoparticles can be analyzed with appropriate instruments and will give a spike on a resonant frequency. Even if a doctor endorses the product, it is a chemist who typically produces it. Low-quality products are made by low-quality chemists, and high-tech products of exceptional quality are rare almost unheard of.

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Colloidal Silver Myth #11. Glass Bottles

Misconception: Since glass bottles are classier than plastic ones, the products in them must be of a higher quality.

In the packaging world, glass is often used to maintain product stability. Items that are in no danger of becoming unstable are most often packaged in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic, a type of polyester. Many fruit juices, bottled water, and soft drinks are packaged in PET. In fact, the highest number of beverage bottles manufactured globally are PET.

True colloidal silver does not require any help from its packaging to remain stable. As a result, many products are stored and shipped in PET bottles.

Ionic silver solutions and other mixtures masquerading as colloidal silver are often unstable in the presence of visible light, which will cause the photosensitive products to deteriorate, sometimes rather quickly. Amber-colored glass are used to shield such photosensitive products from visible light, thereby increasing their shelf life. Thus, products stored and shipped in amber bottles tend to be of the lowest quality.

“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.”

Colloidal Silver Myth #12. “Our Product Has Angstrom (subnano) Size, Colloidal Silver.”

Advertising Claim: “Our product has Angstrom (subnano) size colloidal silver”.

They are not real colloids. They are likely solutions of silver salts, or ionic silver. One Angstrom is 0.1 nm, a tenth of a nanometer. Angstrom size particles mean particles less than 1 nm in size. The probability of someone producing stable angstrom size silver particles is slim to none, almost impossible. This performance would be at the frontiers of heavily scrutinized peer review science (quantum dots) and would bring attention from the scientific world quickly. If someone would prove the existence of stable sub-nano silver particles they will certainly publish this finding or experiments in prestigious peer-review scientific articles and will be recognized in their scientific field as a major contributor. For someone to claim it on the internet without any credible proof is stretching the believability factor to say the least. Hey, let’s say it as it is: they are lying!

For the more science inclined of you an atom of silver is about 0.3 nm. A silver ion is 0.3 nm.

Now, silver atoms can clump together but not in random order. They start to form clusters of a very definite number of atoms like 4-5, 9, 27, etc, so-called “magic numbers”. In another word, a cluster of 4-5, or 9 atoms is much more stable than one of 6 or 7 atoms. Moreover, an aggregate of 27-35 atoms barely gets to .07-0.8 nm or 8 Angstroms. These are the so-called atomic nucleus or clusters and are NOT considered particles. There is a special chemistry field dedicated to atomic clusters. If you heard of “quantum dots” this is what they are talking about. These clusters are immensely unstable and reactive with one another and with the environmental impurities or proteins. To claim that out of a few atoms in a cluster instead of reacting with proteins instead they are stable and also liberate 1 atom or ion at a time is ludicrous. Remember, even when clusters shed atoms, it is not one by one to give individual ions, because they have to stay within the constraint of the “magic numbers”  determined by attraction forces. Therefore,  they shed 4,5, or more atoms clusters, in other words, the clusters, form, and un-form continuously, but not by one atom at a time.

A 3-4 nm particle will have likely thousands of atoms and a 10 nm particle tens of thousands of atoms. They regularly shed a few ions per thousand atoms, a number more than enough to have an antibacterial effects.

The clusters become particles and become visible when the clusters become particles, meaning they grow to a few hundred atoms, which happens around 1.5-2 nm diameter. In general small clusters dissolved in solution form bigger ones by clumping through a process named “ripening”.

Particles smaller than 1 nm cannot exist by themselves, unless stabilized by a ligand. Even if this is the case they are not ions anymore, therefore are not having antibacterial properties.

A silver atom has a diameter of 2.9 Angstroms or 0.29 nm, roughly a third of a nanometer. In order for silver particles to have sizes less than 1 nm (~ 3 atomic diameters), they would have to be clusters of silver atoms containing between 4 and 15 atoms. Such small clusters of a few silver atoms are way too unstable due to their high energy.

There are just a few reports published of such silver clusters published (for example by A. Henglein in Berichte der Bunsengesellschaft für physikalische Chemie 05/2010; 94(5):600 – 603. DOI: 10.1002/bbpc.19900940513). They are usually produced in very restrictive and difficult experimental condition (intense radioactive excitation in exotic closed reactors for example). Even then those particles cannot be seen, their presence ONLY being detected based on specific absorption plasmon bands at 360-390nm.

The lower the number of silver atoms in a particle the higher their energy is and their potential to interact with another cluster or with the environment is increased by orders of magnitude. At such low numbers of atoms in a particle, the said particles cannot and are not stable due to their high potential energy. They behave more like a fluid cluster stealing clusters of atoms from each other and constantly changing their size and shape in an attempt to lower their energy.

Only when the particles reach several hundred and ideally thousands of silver atoms they become stable in time dispersed in water. When this happens the particles are typically above 5 nm in size.

There are two accepted methodologies to prove the existence of dispersed silver nanoparticles. One is by showing the plasmon resonance spike by spectrometry. The other is direct visualization. With all the advances of science, there are not too many electron microscopes capable to effectively observe Angstrom size particles at this time.

Direct visualization usually is achieved by using the scanning electron microscope (SEM) but SEM cannot visualize particles less than 1 nm as the resolution of the method is typically above 1.0 nm. More sensitive is the Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) or Field emission (FESEM). Very good (and very expensive) TEM instruments have typically a resolution of ~0.7 nm, or 7 Angstroms. Claiming that one can really detect objects of a size similar to the limit of the instrument resolution (7 Angstrom resolution and 7 Angstrom particles or less) is like saying that is easy or even possible for you to see in detail a nonfunctioning pixel on a TV or computer from a distance.  It is simply not credible.

Additionally, if someone wants to visualize Angstrom-size particles using TEM they absolutely need to deposit the particles on a conductive substrate. That alone can cause false images when the high energy electron pass through both particles and substrate. Basically, at 1 nm resolution, one does not know if they see the particles in question or they see substrate structures/artifacts.

So, since direct visualization is generally out of question the only other way for the “scientists” on the internet to claim “Angstrom “-size is to show a clear, well-defined plasmon resonance band below 380 nm. The spectrum of clusters should be even lower, in the 340-350 nm range.

Since they are not providing any of the above types of clear scientific evidence, we conclude that their claims to Angstrom sized silver particles are nothing but bogus made by fake “scientists” that have little understanding of what real science is.

“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.”

Colloidal Silver Myth #13. “Fancy Commercial Names.”

Commercial Names

Many products claiming to be colloidal silver or angstrom silver or angstrom-sized silver particle colloids are, in fact, mostly ionic silver solutions. Despite this, their labels and advertising never mention ionic silver or specify the total percentage of silver in their product, silver ions versus silver particles. Many different terms are using to describe ionic silver products, in an attempt to obfuscate the truth: monatomic silver, silver hydrosol, covalent silver, and silver water.

Monatomic silver  is another advertising term commonly used to describe ionic silver solutions. Claims for monatomic silver products describe their particles as single atoms of silver. Single-atom particles cannot exist due to van der Waal’s force of mutual attraction, which would cause single atoms to be drawn to each other to form particles consisting of clusters of atoms.

Silver hydrosol is yet another term being used to sell ionic silver products. The definition of hydrosol is a colloidal suspension in water. Therefore, silver hydrosol describes colloidal silver. However, products advertised in this way are actually ads for ionic silver products that are typically 95 percent ionic silver.

Covalent silver is the latest entry in the ionic name game. When you read the detailed description for covalent silver, you will find that the term refers to silver ions.

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Colloidal Silver Myth #14. Ionic Silver Particles.

“Ionic Silver Particles” = Misleading Information

Some ionic silver describe their properties in terms of silver particles, attempting to confuse the reader into believing in the existence of ionic silver particles. There is no such thing!

There are either “silver particles” (silver nanoparticles) or “ionic silver”, but “ionic silver particles” do not exist, there is NO SUCH THING, this term is pure figment of an overheated imagination. The distinction between silver particles and ionic silver (from salts)  is crucially important.

The product that uses this terminology on its label is mostly ionic silver, not silver particles. In fact, most of these products only contain an average of 1 to 10 percent of their silver content in the form of silver particles, with the majority of 80 to 99 percent in the form of ionic silver. These products are toxic and unsafe but promoted as a scientific breakthrough!

“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.”

Colloidal silver myth #15. Bioavailability of ionic silver

Bioavailability of ionic silver

Advertising claims made for ionic silver products describe them as highly bioavailable, but nothing could be further from the truth. The Merck handbook makes it clear that bioavailability is the “amount of unmodified drug that reaches the systemic cycle”. To be bioavailable, the absorbed substance must reach systemic circulation in unaltered form. Since silver ions are highly reactive, they form compounds quickly in the body and therefore cannot remain unchanged. It is the highly reactive nature of silver ions that provides for their antimicrobial properties, but also causes the rapid formation of compounds and prevents the further existence of silver ions in the human body. Since silver ions cannot exist in the human body, their bioavailability is practically non-existent. Silver compounds such as silver chloride in the bloodstream do not provide useful antimicrobial properties.

The mutual attraction of Van der Waal prevents the existence of colloids with single atom particles. The probability of the existence of single-atom colloids is practically zero. This statement also applies to the claims for monatomic colloids of other metals, such as gold, copper, zinc, platinum, palladium, rhodium, etc.

Colloidal silver myth #15. Bioavailability of ionic silver

Bioavailability of ionic silver

Advertising claims made for ionic silver products describe them as highly bioavailable, but nothing could be further from the truth. The Merck handbook makes it clear that bioavailability is the “amount of unmodified drug that reaches the systemic cycle”. To be bioavailable, the absorbed substance must reach systemic circulation in unaltered form. Since silver ions are highly reactive, they form compounds quickly in the body and therefore cannot remain unchanged. It is the highly reactive nature of silver ions that provides for their antimicrobial properties, but also causes the rapid formation of compounds and prevents the further existence of silver ions in the human body. Since silver ions cannot exist in the human body, their bioavailability is practically non-existent. Silver compounds such as silver chloride in the bloodstream do not provide useful antimicrobial properties.

The mutual attraction of Van der Waal prevents the existence of colloids with single atom particles. The probability of the existence of single-atom colloids is practically zero. This statement also applies to the claims for monatomic colloids of other metals, such as gold, copper, zinc, platinum, palladium, rhodium, etc.

Colloidal Silver Myth #16. Monatomic Silver.

Another Name for Ionic Silver

Without exception, laboratory analysis of products claiming to be monatomic colloids have shown that they are, in fact, ionic solutions. Products claiming to be monatomic colloidal silver are ionic silver solutions, just as products claiming to be monatomic colloidal gold are ionic gold solutions.

Because hundreds of ionic silver products are on the market, how does one distinguish them? In the business of colloidal silver, the answer seems to be the use of terms that are not really technical or scientific at all, but instead sounds “scientific” to the average, misinformed consumer.

Monatomic” colloidal silver is one such a term. It is typically explained in impressive detail on websites that promote monatomic silver products, but it is really just a marketing term used to hide the truth: What is being sold is an ionic silver solution, just like hundreds of others.

Virtually all ads for monatomic colloidal silver describe the product as being as clear as water. This is one of the distinguishing characteristics of ionic (salt-derived) silver.

 

The Reality of Monatomic Silver

 

Monatomic silver cannot actually exist for the reasons described in the articles about clarity. Atoms of silver, meaning ions of silver are very reactive. Monoatomic neutral atoms of silver have such a high potential energy that they form clusters instantly.

Products advertised as monatomic colloidal silver are actually ionic silver solutions. Not all, but many such products have also been found to contain fairly high concentrations of nitrate (NO3), which means they contain either nitric acid or nitrates. High concentrations of NO3 are present in some products as a byproduct of the method used to produce them. Neither nitric acid or nitrates should be ingested or applied topically as they are known cancerigens. As far as we can tell, the only reason products claim to be monatomic is to avoid the truth that the products are ionic solutions and not colloids at all. In other words, the term “monoatomic silver ” is pure marketing hype, designed to mislead the buying public.

“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.”

Colloidal Silver Myth #17. Comparison of Colloidal Silver Products.

How To Compare Colloidal Silver Products

Because there is no accepted standard for reporting the contents of colloidal silver products, producers report the properties of their products in various ways.

You cannot compare ionic silver¹ with colloidal. When comparing colloidal silver within its category, it is best to consider particle size, uniformity, stability, coating, and particle concentration. These properties are verifiable with accurate instruments.

The abnormal but common practice is to report total silver and nothing else. One problem with this is that it lumps silver particles and ions together in a single value, and this is entirely misleading.

Total silver means nothing.

You can compare ionic silver (from salts) between them, you can compare colloidal silver between different colloidal silver products but you cannot compare ionic with colloidal silver. It is like apples and oranges.

If you have silver ions (from salts) their ppm concentration and the salt of origin (nitrate, chlorine, etc) are the only terms of comparison between them.

If you have an ionic silver product then you may have a ppm, but that is debatable as extremely low ppm are ok to be used outside the body. Inside the body, they tie up immediately in the stomach forming silver chloride. After, silver chloride produces unfortunate and dangerous chain reactions, protein denaturation, acidity, and toxicity.

If you have colloidal silver and you want to compare different colloidal silver products then the criteria are: particle size (ideal 10-20 nm), ppm, uniformity of particles, coating, ligands, etc.

When you compare products, proof is required to verify claims. The accepted standard of proof is usually UV-Viz spectroscopy with evaluation of the plasmon band spike. This will prove the particles existence and the degree of uniformity. Sometimes electronic microscopy is used, but there needs to have proper calibration, scale has to be present and correct and many other details.

“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.”