Silver 101

Silver has been used medicinally for more than 2,000 years and it has played an integral role in safeguarding human health. Ancient Greece, Egypt, Macedonia, Phoenicia and Rome used silver to keep the immune function strong. Hippocrates, the "father of medicine," wrote in his medical texts that silver had beneficial healing and anti-disease properties. He praised silver for its tissue repair and wound healing abilities.

Ancient civilizations also learned that silver bestowed powerful anti-microbial effects. For instance, the Phoenicians stored water, wine and vinegar in silver bottles to prevent spoiling. In America's Old West, it was common practice to drop silver coins into drinking water barrels for protection against water-borne illness.

In the 1930s, Colloidal silver was the preferred choice of physicians for empowering the immune system and supporting the body's innate healing process. However, with the advent of antibiotics, the popularity of silver declined.

Silver is a natural element. It can be found in whole grains, edible and medicinal mushrooms, mammalian milk, spring water, sea water and tap water. Researcher F. Gallyas proved that silver is an essential trace element for the nervous system, as there are receptor sites for silver in myelin neural tissue.

Today, as consumers seek out more natural ways to support their health and well-being, silver is experiencing a resurgence and Natural Immunogenics is leading the way with unparalleled silver, copper and gold products for both internal and external use.

The Silver Marketplace

We know there is a lot of misinformation out there concerning colloidal products. Conflicting claims, misleading phrases and inadequate reference materials make it difficult for consumers to educate themselves and make informed choices when it comes to Colloidal silver products.

Claims about Colloidal silver products being a cure-all for everything from colds and flu to AIDS to MRSA infections and cancer are illegal. The FDA prevents manufacturers of supplements from claiming their products can be effectively used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Doing so would classify the dietary supplement as a drug, and drugs require prior FDA approval, often following clinical trials. [See what we can't say and why]

Irresponsible marketing makes it more difficult for consumers to distinguish high-quality silver supplements made by responsible manufacturers from inferior products produced by less reputable companies. Government regulators, at the insistence of consumer groups (who are oftentimes funded by pharmaceutical interests) point to these "bad apples" as a reason why all Colloidal silver products should be removed from the market.

Types of Silver

Because of the known benefits of silver, there are a multitude of Colloidal silver products marketed with different claims about their attributes. A colloid is a substance which contains suspended microscopic particles.

Silver is a heavy metal, but is not classified as a toxic heavy metal. However, all metals can be toxic, just as all elements may be toxic at certain levels - even water. As with anything that has a Toxicity profile, one should only take the amount required to achieve a therapeutic effect. One would never take a 20 gram tablet of aspirin, so why would one take a 5,000 ppm silver product? In fact, with metals, the oligodynamic effect discovered in the late 1800s showed that certain metals, at extremely low concentrations, exerted much greater activity than at higher concentrations.

There also exist many forms of silver. (Similarly, there are many forms of chlorine: i.e. sodium chloride, as in table salt, free chlorine, like you put in the pool, or chlorofluorocarbons, which deplete the ozone layer, among others.) Most have different physical and chemical properties, giving them entirely different efficacy and Toxicity profiles; the body metabolizes them differently, and absorbs, distributes and eliminates them via different pathways or methods. Their uses and applications vary, as a result.

Some common forms of silver marketed as ingestible dietary supplements under DSHEA in the USA or for topical applications include:

TERM

DEFINITION

CHEMICAL NAME

EXAMPLE

TOXICITY

PARTICLE SIZE, CHARGE

REMARKS

Colloidal silver

A suspension containing silver particles plus silver ions.

When homemade, a typical do-it-yourself product without control of materials, Concentration or composition

Silver, Ag
CAS-RN 7440-22-4

Homemade
Typical concentration:
1-20,000ppm

Low to medium; highly variable

Variable Particle size (10-1000nm), average 8-12% charge

The most common and cheapest form, involving a mixture of ions, particles, and neutral/precipitate silver; unknown concentration/form

True colloidal silver

A marketing term with no scientific definition; implies completely suspended silver and no ionic silver

Silver Ag
CAS-RN 7440-22-4

Typical concentration:
3-200ppm

Low to medium; highly variable

Variable Particle size (range 1-1000nm), average 8-12% charge

A completely suspended silver is unstable, as it reacts readily with atmospheric gases

Ionic silver

 A solution containing silver ions with a charge (+1)

Silver Ion Ag+, usually added as a salt, such as silver nitrate

Silver nitrate
CASRN 7761-88-8
Typical concentration:
1,000-10,000ppm

Concentration-dependent; Toxicity rises with concentration

No particles; High percent charge

Still used in medicine, i.e. to prevent blindness in newborns

Silver protein

Ionic or Colloidal silver with a protein added for stability

Added proteins are typically egg albumin, casein from milk, or soy based.
CAS-RN 09015-51-4 - MSP

Mild Silver Protein (MSP)
Typical concentration:
50-10,000ppm

Medium; Depends on exact composition

Variable Particle size (50-2000nm), 10-20% charge

Addition of protein may reduce potency of silver significantly

Silver hydrosol

Pure mixture of silver in suspension and solution, with the highest charge ratio

Shorthand description of this mixture is Ag(n)+1
CAS-RN: 1191942-51-4
INCI: 20786

Sovereign Silver
Typical concentration:
10-23ppm

Extremely low

Particle size more than 99% under 2nm, with average 0.8nm, 98% charged

An extremely pure form of colloidal silver, appropriately called silver Hydrosol to distinguish it from other forms of colloidal silver

Homeopathic silver

A specially made formulation containing immeasurably low amounts of silver, achieved by dilution and succussion

N/A

Argentum Nitricum, Argentum Metallicum
Typical concentration:
practically immeasurable

None

N/A

In the USA, efficacy of Homeopathic Medicines is evaluated by the HPCUS. It is outside the scope of the FDA. Once efficacy is established, substances are listed by the HPUS and/or different Materia Medica, such as Clarke, Boericke, Kent, among others.

Silver compounds

A compound is a substance formed when two or more chemical elements are chemically bonded together. In a silver compound, one of the elements must be silver

Varies depends on the specific compound.

Silver sulfadiazine

Depends on the specific compound. Can be high

N/A

Some are widely used in medicine still, including for the treatment of severe burns

* above numbers and representations are general in nature.

 

What distinguishes Bio-Active Silver Hydrosol from the rest of them?

Colloidal silver is the generic term for all supplement forms of silver containing substances that include particles in suspension. But this does not tell you anything about species, Particle size, Particle charge or the purity.

Silver generators are often used to produce low quality poorly defined homemade colloidal silver (with greater potential for causing argyric reactions), of mostly unknown purity, concentration, Particle size and Particle charge. It is the most rudimentary form of colloidal silver, yet equally effective than more toxic forms of silver without the same Toxicity profile.

Bio-Active Silver Hydrosol is a mixture of suspended silver nanoparticles averaging 0.8nm in size, and dissolved silver ions. It is not to be confused with "ionic silver" which means, by definition, that the product should be comprised entirely of silver ions. A Silver Hydrosol is composed of only 2 ingredients: 99.999% pure silver and USP 23 grade pharmaceutical purified water, with more than 98% positively charged silver content. It represents a unique blend of the most active and effective Species of silver (positively charged silver ions and positively charged silver nanoparticles or clusters) at such low Concentration as to present no fear of toxicity. A Bio-Active Silver Hydrosol has the smallest particles and highest charge ratio of any Colloidal silver product, and so represents the ultimate refinement of the Colloidal silver category.

Silver Hydrosol is not "true colloidal silver" either, meaning the solution should be 100% particulates. Scientifically, 100% particulate silver would be totally unstable, as particles react with atmospheric gases, and so the product decomposition would begin immediately upon opening the bottle. The term "true colloidal silver" is a marketing term with no basis in science to distinguish it from other Colloidal silver products.

Ionic silver is a solution of silver that does not necessarily contain silver particulates. Ionic silver is effective, but has a significantly higher Toxicity index than Colloidal silver or Silver Hydrosol, and contains a limited number of ions available for interaction. Recent literature has illustrated the fact that silver particles actually operate as a reservoir for further ions, which are emitted from the Particle as it interacts with atmospheric gases.

Silver protein is a silver compound, and includes ingredients that compromise purity (addition of a casein or soy protein to keep the silver in solution), and has a significantly higher Toxicity index. Although the body knows how to eliminate silver (and other metals), silver compounds and complexes are known to be more difficult to excrete, and so present greater risk of bio-accumulation. In the US, some silver proteins are considered Drugs by the FDA.

There are other forms of silver besides those mentioned above, but one is trading increased Toxicity for reduced efficacy, and so there is little reason to expound further upon them.

Silver Hydrosol as a raw material in the manufacture of cosmetics:

Silver Hydrosol carries its own INCI name: 20786

INCI stands for International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients. The INCI system was established in the early 1970's and the list is maintained by the Personal Care Products Council. INCI names are used in the United States, the European Union, China, Japan, and many other countries, for listing ingredients on cosmetic product labels.

With few exceptions, the INCI labeling names in all countries are the same. Silver Hydrosol was assessed for its finesse and lack of toxicity, the latter being the most critical aspect of product safety correlated to the product's intended usage: to be applied onto the skin, mainly the face, which is exposed to UV light.

Among data provided to assess product safety were a Phototoxicity study, results of which clearly demonstrate that there is no possible risk of Argyria associated with Silver Hydrosol at dosages as high as 1000 mcg/mL. The study is available upon request. [see Relative Toxicity by General Species of Silver]

Some Facts

  • One cannot make Colloidal silver without the presence of silver ions; in other words, all Colloidal silver contains some ionic silver
  • Ionic silver may or may not contain particles (although particles of some kind are also ubiquitous)
  • Since ancient times, the silver Ion has been known to be effective against a broad range of microorganisms
  • Particles have been found to act as a reservoir for the further release of ions (when reacting with atmospheric gasses)
  • Suspended (particulate) silver is generally less stable than ionic silver (and will have a shorter shelf life)

Choosing the Right Silver

Species:

According to the medical literature, positively charged silver ions and positively charged silver nanoparticles are the most active Species of silver. Therefore, make sure these Species make up the bulk of the silver product you are buying.

Particle size (bio-availability):

The smaller the particle, the easier it is for the body to absorb and eliminate. This also results in more particles and more surface area available for interaction.

Charge (bio-activity):

Make sure to look for a brand that has a very high content of charged silver. The higher the percentage of charge translates to a higher level of biological interaction.

Concentration:

When a silver product contains the most active Species of silver, coupled with the smallest Particle size and most amount of positively charged silver, then a safe low Concentration of 10 ppm is all that you will ever need. Higher concentrations (in ppm, or parts per million) only lead to increasing toxicity.

pH:

pH neutrality is important in helping the body maintain a natural state as silver particles are absorbed. Choose a silver product that is as close to pH neutral (pH 7.5) as possible

Packaging:

Due to plastic Toxicity and leaching issues, Colloidal silver products should only ever be bottled in glass.

Safety & Toxicity

Maintaining Safe Dosage Levels

The most common misconception about silver's use as a dietary supplement is that it is neither safe nor effective. This is in direct contradiction to the many known benefits of silver, which are even acknowledged by and employed as sanitizing methods by federal and regulatory agencies.

A common claim is that silver poses risks of Argyria, although we dispel that myth. Contrary to this claim, there is a well-known 120-year History of Safe Use of Silver. Additionally, we have compiled the largest single database on silver and published papers on its physical and chemical properties, applications, safety and toxicity, efficacy, metabolism and so much more, which you can explore in our Knowledge Library.

As with any prescription medication or dietary supplement, the success of silver Hydrosol as an immune* supplement depends on correct usage.

Reaching toxic levels of silver can lead to Argyria

The only toxic reaction reported by the ATSDR (among other federal agencies) from silver exposure is Argyria, which is explained below:

Argyria (Greek: ἄργυρος argyros silver + -ia) is a non-toxic, benign cosmetic condition caused by the ingestion of silver salts, silver compounds or silver dust which then react with ultra-violet light and results in a bluish coloration within the skin or sclera.

The most common cause is from excess silver salts accumulating in and around sudoriferous glands (perspiration glands). The skin serves as an alternative route of elimination of silver salts when the conjugation rate and/or elimination rate in the liver slows while dealing with large doses of silver or when the liver itself is compromised.

The potential for an argyric reaction to occur is directly related to the anion associated with the silver rather than the silver itself, thus a nitrate salt has a higher potential than a chloride and a chloride salt has a higher potential than a hydroxide.

Argyria may be found as generalized argyria or local argyria. Argyrosis is the corresponding condition related to the eye. Argyria may stem from inhalation exposure in work environments creating silver dust, from prescribed medicines using a silver mineral salt or an organic silver salt, or treatment of extensive burns with silver sulfadiazine. The most common event stems from homemade preparations, which attempt to make "colloidal silver" in water containing halides, especially chlorine. Silver chloride has a dull white color as it forms in water. Silver chloride is currently the most common salt associated with cases of argyria.

Individuals with pre-existing metal Toxicity issues, liver issues and/or chronic nutritional insufficiencies are the most susceptible to potential argyric reactions from silver salts.

Argyria has mostly been found to be a permanent condition, although some cases reported of reversal have been reported using Q-switched and laser technologies, as well as chelation and other therapies.

Silver Hydrosol has never been reported to cause a single case of Argyria.

The risks and Toxicity associated with silver have always been attributed to extreme quantities of silver arising from silver salts or silver compounds and inhaled silver powder, none from oligodynamic silver. By definition, it would be functionally impossible for oligodynamic silver to achieve Toxicity levels, as determined by the Environmental Protection Agency (see charts below or http://www.epa.gov/iris/subst/0099.htm).*

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Drug Registry (ATSDR) has established a Lethal Dose (50) of 100 mg/kg of ingested silver (in mice). Sovereign Silver (at 10ppm, or 10mg/L potency), delivers 50 mcg (0.05mg/L) of silver. Maximum dosage is 7x/day, so 7 x 50mcg = 350 mcg (0.35mg). To reach the LD50, an average 70kg individual would have to ingest 700 liters (70kg x 100 mg/kg) of silver Hydrosol in one day.

As the silver authority Goetz stated as far back as 1940, "In view of practical applications it appears that silver is best suited as an oligodynamic material because of the extremely slight solubility of most of its salts, which fact renders it almost impossible for large concentrations of silver ions to occur in higher life organisms."* [Goetz A et al. The Oligodyanmic Effect of Silver. In: Addicks L, ed. Silver in Industry. NY: Reinhold Publishing Corp, 1940:401-429]

Natural Immunogenics Corp. has taken great care in establishing the safety of its silver Hydrosol products, and has not only relied upon good guidance from the EPA on dosage amounts, but we have also employed independent third party experts to confirm product safety.

Why 10 ppm?

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has, for health purposes, established a daily oral reference dose for silver over a 70-year study.

Safe: 350 micrograms (mcg)
Critical: 980 micrograms (lowest observed adverse event level)

Concentration

Tsp. once a day

Power dose 5-7 times daily

10 ppm

50 mcg

250-350 mcg

25 ppm

125 mcg

625-875 mcg

50 ppm

250 mcg

1,250-1,750 mcg

100 ppm

500 mcg

2,500-3,500 mcg

250 ppm

1,250 mcg

6,250-8,750 mcg

500 ppm

2,500 mcg

12,500-17,500 mcg

1,000 ppm

5,000 mcg

25,000-35,000 mcg

2,000 ppm

10,000 mcg

50,000-70,000 mcg

Source: www.epa.gov ---- IRIS Report ---- Silver

* These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.

Making Your Own Colloidal Silver

Making Your Own Colloidal silver (homemade)

Homemade Colloidal silver is very easy and very cheap to make The materials are easily sourced and you can make gallons for dollars. However, you are flying blind, and that's never good when addressing your health.

Let's start with the most basic - what type of water you use.

The purest water you can get is distilled, but that's not nearly as pure as the water we start with, which is USP23 or USP-24 Pharmaceutical Grade Purified water. Another name for this level of purity is WFI - water for injection, or ultra-pure deionized water. Silver wants to react with anything it can in the water, especially once you rip an electron off! Having ultra pure water is critically important, so the silver doesn't react until it is in your body.

Next let's address the active ingredient: silver.

Everyone uses 99.9% or 99.99% pure silver, but we demand the very finest silver possible. We have 99.999% pure silver fabricated for us, and then verify the purity by third party assay. How do you know the silver you get is pure - do you get a certificate of analysis from a reputable third party laboratory, fully accredited to perform the assay? Are you certain the other 0.01% isn't composed entirely of the heavy toxic metals, like mercury, cadmium, aluminum, lead, hexavalent chromium and arsenic..? We check for everything, exhaustively.

Control measures. What control measures?

We monitor everything in our manufacturing process with constant in-process testing, but you have precious little to monitor at home, except for the color of the liquid you're making. We monitor numerous attributes in production, ensuring a consistent output and quality, batch-to-batch and year-to-year. Prior to release we again test almost a dozen different parameters to make sure you get the same high quality product out of each and every bottle, with accurate dosage information and consistent results.

How much is too much? Know your concentration.

What Concentration of silver do you have in your liquid? Concentration is critical, since you are working with a [heavy] metal. The only Toxicity ever documented from the use of Colloidal silver is a permanent blue/gray discoloration of the skin, known as Argyria, which has happened only as the result of consuming homemade forms of Colloidal silver or concentrated forms of silver products (100 ppm or higher), or exposure to inhalation of silver dust, among others. Most companies that sell Do It Yourself Colloidal silver kits recommended a TDS Meter (Total Dissolved Solids) to measure concentration, but a TDS meter is never appropriate for measuring the Concentration of a Colloidal silver product.

What form of silver are you getting?

Since there are no process- or quality controls when making homemade silver, and no analytical laboratory to perform analyses, how do you know what ratio of charge your silver has? Since the positively charged silver Ion has been determined to be the most effective form of silver - i.e. silver that carries a charge, and not elemental (or neutral) silver - how much of yours possesses a charge? The more charge it has, the less silver you need. Also, is your silver mostly ionic or particulate? What is the Particle size and distribution, and what degree of flocculation (aggregating) exists? Aggregation can mostly only be seen with specialized equipment, and is a strong indicator of product stability. Your body has a different way of processing silver, depending on its form, some are easier and yet others are more difficult to excrete.

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