Ineffective Anti-Cancer Remedies: Colloidal Silver

From the January 2006 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

The term "colloidal" means the particles are very small so that they disperse evenly into the medium. The promoters of colloidal silver make some fantastic claims. They claim silver is a needed mineral by the body, that it extends life span, and that it protects against cancer. They claim that mineral deficiencies lead to a weakened immune system and cancer. Colloidal silver supplements also are heavily advertised as powerful antimicrobials and immune system stimulants, capable of curing up to 650 different diseases. Machines are even marketed on the internet so people can make their own colloidal silver at home.

At one time, silver products were useful as germicides, but they've been replaced gradually by less toxic and more effective antibiotics. (Not that antibiotics are not toxic too, but at least their toxicity is recognized, and they are not sold as a health food.) Clearly, anything with the ability to kill living bacteria in our body must be pretty toxic. It always amazes me that alternative enthusiasts think that toxic natural substances that have the ability to kill bacteria or cancer cells in cell culture are healthful for us to consume.

The main reason why the use of colloidal silver was halted by the medical profession was its severe and sometimes irreversible side effects. Colloidal silver accumulates in the body's tissues and causes a disfiguring skin condition called argyria. Skin pigmentation, especially around the nose and mouth, turns bluish, permanently. Those affected have been described as looking like corpses suddenly come to life. The Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) set by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is 0.01 mg/m3 for all forms of silver. Besides argyria and argyrosis (graying of the whites of the eyes), exposure to soluble silver compounds may produce other toxic effects, including liver and kidney damage, irritation of the eyes, skin, respiratory, and intestinal tract, and damage to blood cells and nerves.1

1. Drake PL, Hazelwood KJ. Exposure-related health effects of silver and silver compounds: a review. Ann Occup Hyg 2005; 49(7):575-85.
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John Gilpin - December 14, 2006 7:37 PM

This passage contains a number of opinions, but it cites only one article. The point of that article is precisely to point out that the PELs for different forms of silver should be different. The key word in the passage above is "soluble" in "soluble silve compounds" in the final sentence. The cited article states flatly that, "Metallic silver appears to pose minimal risk to health."

This is not to defend anyone's notions about using colloidal silver to combat cancer. To me, ideas like that are goofy, and indeed the only time I have seen that one is in the passage above.

On the other hand, to induce argyria by use of colloidal silver would require extreme internal overdosing.

In a time when hospital-generated skin infections are appearing in the general community, a topically harmless antibiotic of known effectiveness that does not require a prescription may have a level of value that should not be casually dismissed. Among its desirable properties is that microbes cannot become resistant to it.

Peter Fuhrman - October 27, 2010 1:01 AM

There is so much EVIDENCE of the benefits of using colloidal silver, that I can only assume that this article is nothing more than political posturing, dis-information, or just not enough study and knowledge upon this very crucial subject.
Contrary to the article above.....
W.H.O. claims that silver is completely safe and non-toxic.
Most airlines use it,NASA as well.
Many a doctor has had great success, in spite of the words to the contrary.
It is big pharma that is pushing the strings trying to put a stop in knowing or receiving a cheap, effective remedy off the market, just so they can pump their drugs and injurious healing techniques.
Even some Universities have proven with science the effectiveness of colloidal silver.
It would bode well for doctors to do much research in this area. Maybe then, the health care system will not be so expensive and ineffective.

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