Colloidal Silver – What is colloidal silver?
Colloidal silver is a stable dispersion of small silver particles (less than ~100 nm) in a liquid (most often water).
What color is colloidal silver?
Due to particles scattering and absorption of radiation in the visible electromagnetic spectrum, silver colloids (or sols) are typically yellow. The more concentrated the dispersion, the more intense the color. Products that are not colored do NOT either do not contain colloidal silver or the concentration is extremely low. Almost all transparent silver products on the market contain silver nitrate and nitrates produce cancer.
How can you know if a solution contains particles?
A narrow laser beam sent through the solution will become visible (this is called Tyndall effect). If the laser beam is not visible, no particles are present.
What sizes or shapes do silver particles come in?
They are usually spherical but they can also be like platelets. The dimensions vary from ~2 nm to 100 nm.
What if the particles are too small or too big? What is the optimum size?
If particles are too small, they tend to aggregate making the dispersion unstable and thus creating problems with long term storage. If they are too big (above ~ 35- 40nm) they tend to be trapped in various body tissues/organs (like in a sieve).
Do you need metallic colloidal silver to have an antimicrobial property?
No, it is not the particle that is responsible for the antimicrobial effect. It is the ionic silver resulting from the dissolution of metallic silver and oxidation of silver atoms to Ag+ ions. For this reason, one can also use silver salts (like silver nitrate for example) for antibacterial applications. However, nitrates are not only carcinogen but also represent an inefficient method as they do not provide a slow release of silver ions in the environment targeted as small silver particles do.
Does the size and shape of the particles affect the antibacterial effect?
Only in a minor way. Smaller particles have a high surface energy (low curvature) which allows a faster dissolution of the metal and a more rapid increase in the concentration of Ag+ ions responsible for the antimicrobial effects. For s similar size, shape plays a minor impact on how rapidly the needed silver ions concentration is attained.
By what mechanism is the antimicrobial effect achieved?
It is believed that the silver ion interacts with the sulphur containing functional groups in the molecules of bacteria blocking metabolic pathways and reproduction mechanisms. Other mechanisms proposed by some companies like resonant frequency killing bacteria are not true.
Does colloidal silver work for nonbacterial agents, like viruses, parasites or fungus?
Experiments and studies show that they do work as well on these infectious agents.
How can one make colloidal silver?
Among other routes, it can be made by reduction of salts with reducing agents (like ascorbic acid) or by generating silver atoms in water through an electric arc.
Can someone use this silver for drinking?
It is not recommended because the particles may clump together in the digestive tract to form larger entities that get trapped in the different organs.
Is this when people become grey?
Yes, it is like the photographic silver exposed to light. Ingesting too much silver leads to accumulation of silver in the body in form of various organic salts. When exposed to light these salts are reduced to metallic silver giving the skin the darker color. However, to reach this level one has to ingest a very large amount of silver. There are only few cases reported and the grey color is the only issue. They have no other health problem due to silver unless one ingests exaggerated amounts and chokes with it.
Can you prevent this grey color and silver trapping in the body from happening?
By using right particle size not exceeding 5-20 nm, coating them so that they do not clump together (as in high quality colloidal silver) and using the right amount can prevent this problem. The coating has to be specially designed not to be toxic and to allow ions to diffuse into the solution. This special coating also offers stability of the dispersion in time.
What is the right ppm in order to have the antibacterial effects?
Again, the antibacterial effects depend on the concentration of ionic silver established in the surrounding solution. It all depends on the size, shape, and time of contact. There is no clear proven number on this matter. Different product specialists can recommend different ppm concentrations for different products and their applications.
What is silver hydrosol?
It is basically another name for colloidal silver.
For more information on Medical uses of silver you can check here.