New supplements are popping up all the time. Many of them come with extreme health claims of how they can cure cancer, make bald heads grow hair again, and turn your skin into gold. Okay, I havent actually seen a product with a claim that it gives you the Midas touch, but there is another precious metal that many companies distribute: silver.

In fact, silver is not a new treatment. It has been used by healers for hundreds of years. Up until recently, it was prescribed for a variety of skin conditions, viruses, and bacterial imbalances. Now it is widely available as a nutritional supplement and topical treatment. But while it may have some health benefits, silver is not for everyone, and quality can vary amongst different brands.

Supplements containing silver have come under scrutiny for their claims to be able to cure anything, while actually being potentially dangerous. But according to a large body of research, certain preparations of silver can be quite beneficial, if they are of the proper dosage and quality.

What is Colloidal Silver?

True colloidal silver is a suspension of submicroscopic silver particles in purified water. It is grey-ish or blue-ish in color (not clear or black). Colloidal silver contains 50 to 80 percent silver particles, which are small enough to provide a lot of surface area and not harm the body. It is this small size that makes true colloidal silver safe for consumption, and the high concentration that makes it effective.

Potential Benefits of True Colloidal Silver

Colloidal Silver kills germs by binding to and destroying proteins in invasive bacteria. It has been shown to have the ability to kill antibiotic resistant microbes like the bird flu and SARS, and even multiple drug resistant pathogens like MRSA. It also can increase the effectiveness of antibiotics against some organisms that are usually resistant, as well as more tame microbes like staph infections.

This means that it can be effective in helping to prevent all forms of flu, the common cold, allergies, and certain types of cancer. It is also useful in the treatment of skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis. Internally, it can help treat inflammation caused by infection, diseases of the colon and respiratory system, chronic fatigue syndrome, immune disorders, yeast infections, and bacterial infections.

Colloidal silver can destroy bacteria without doing damage to the human body (in the proper dosage). It also does not make the bacteria stronger the way some antibiotics can.

It is important to note that these health benefits came from true colloidal silver, not silver protein or ionic silver.

Know Your Silver

There are three types of silver available as supplements. Only one of them is actually colloidal silver. The other two are less expensive, and may be toxic or simply ineffective.

~ Ionic Silver

The most common type of silver sold as colloidal is actually ionic silver. Ionic silver is usually clear, and has a much lower particle surface area. It is not usually dangerous in small dosages, but it also does not usually provide the health benefits the manufacturers may claim. Ionic silver can still be useful for topical applications, since it does have some anti-microbial properties. But when taken internally it usually becomes so diluted as to be ineffectual.

You can tell if your colloidal silver is actually ionic by adding table salt to a bit of it. If the solution turns whitish, that means the silver ions are mixing with the sodium ions, and it is not true colloidal silver.

~ Silver Protein

The other type of silver marketed as colloidal is silver protein. Silver protein contains large pieces of metallic silver with a protein binder to keep the pieces from separating and falling to the bottom of the jar.

You can tell if you have silver protein (even if it is labeled as colloidal) by shaking the jar. If it produces a foam that stays above the liquid, then it is a protein product.

Silver protein products are dangerous. Because the particles are so large, taking silver protein can cause argyria, severe discoloration. Agyria can cause the skin, nails, gums, and conjunctiva (membrane over the eyes) to take on a permanent blue or gray tint. There is no known cure for argyria. Silver protein can also cause disruptions in the liver, kidneys, and nervous system.

~ True Colloidal Silver

The rarest and most expensive, true colloidal silver can be hard to come by. The best way to ensure that you have true colloidal silver and are taking the correct amount is to work with your health care provider to choose the proper brand and dosage of colloidal silver for your needs.

Colloidal silver is a powerful health ally that offers powerful anti-microbial protection. It should not be a just in case type of supplement, but rather used to treat specific ailments. It also needs to come from a reputable, high-quality brand and be taken in appropriate doses.