Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.
Argyrol®, electro colloidal silver, electro-colloidal silver, ionic silver, ProAg catheter, silver protein, silver protein solution.
Colloidal silver is a suspension of submicroscopic metallic silver particles in a colloidal base. Long-term use of silver preparations can lead to argyria, a permanent condition in which silver salts deposit in the skin, eyes, and internal organs. The skin can often appear ashen-gray due to the deposition of the silver salts. Argyria has been mistaken for cyanotic heart disease.
Today, colloidal silver is not generally recognized as safe or effective. However, some researchers believe that it has antibacterial properties, which may warrant further studies. Despite the lack of scientific evidence, colloidal silver is most commonly used as a natural antibiotic or healing agent. It is either applied to the skin or ingested as a drink to promote healing or to combat disease.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken action against several colloidal drug companies, including Web site advertisers, for making unsubstantiated claims for their product. Colloidal silver products are usually marketed as dietary supplements. Therefore, the manufacturers do not need to go through the same rigorous approval processes as drug companies.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
No available studies qualify for inclusion in the evidence table.
*Key to grades:A: Strong scientific evidence for this use; B: Good scientific evidence for this use; C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use; D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work); F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.
Acne, allergies, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, arthritis, athlete's foot, biofilm, bladder inflammation, blood purification, boils, burns, cancer, cholera, colds, colitis, conjunctivitis (pinkeye), dermatitis, diabetes, diarrhea, diphtheria, ear infections, eczema, flu, food poisoning, gastritis, genital herpes, gonorrhea, hepatitis, herpes, HIV/AIDS, impetigo (bacterial skin infection), leprosy, leukemia, lupus, Lyme disease, malaria, meningitis, pneumonia, prostatitis (enlarged prostate), psoriasis (chronic skin disease), rheumatism, ringworm, scarlet fever, shingles, skin cancer, sore throat, stomach ulcers, syphilis, tonsillitis, tuberculosis, typhoid, ulcers, warts, whooping cough, yeast infections.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (18 years and older)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for colloidal silver in adults.
Children (younger than 18 years)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for colloidal silver in children.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to silver. Allergy to silver protein has been reported.
Side Effects and Warnings
Colloidal silver is likely unsafe when taken by mouth or applied to the skin. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a final rule in August 1999 establishing that all over-the-counter (OTC) drug products containing colloidal silver ingredients or silver salts for internal or external use are not Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) and effective and are misbranded. This rule was issued because colloidal silver has been marketed for many serious disease conditions. Colloidal silver may also cause kidney damage, stomach distress, headaches, fatigue, and skin irritation.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Colloidal silver is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
Interactions with Drugs
Insufficient available evidence.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Insufficient available evidence.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Brentano L, Margraf H, Monafo WW, et al. Antibacterial efficacy of a colloidal silver complex. Surg Forum 1966;17:76-78. View Abstract
Chang AL, Khosravi V, Egbert B. A case of argyria after colloidal silver ingestion. J Cutan Pathol 2006 Dec;33(12):809-11. View Abstract
Fujimoto T, Sainoo T, Kamisaka M. [Silver-protein allergy]. Jibiinkoka 1970;42(1):33-36. View Abstract
Gulbranson SH, Hud JA, Hansen RC. Argyria following the use of dietary supplements containing colloidal silver protein. Cutis 2000;66(5):373-374. View Abstract
Isenberg S, Apt L, Yoshimuri R. Chemical preparation of the eye in ophthalmic surgery. II. Effectiveness of mild silver protein solution. Arch Ophthalmol 1983;101(5):764-765. View Abstract
McKenna JK, Hull CM, Zone JJ. Argyria associated with colloidal silver supplementation. Int J Dermatol 2003;42(7):549. View Abstract
Mirsattari SM, Hammond RR, Sharpe MD, et al. Myoclonic status epilepticus following repeated oral ingestion of colloidal silver. Neurology 2004;62(8):1408-1410. View Abstract
Okan D, Woo K, Sibbald RG. So what if you are blue? Oral colloidal silver and argyria are out: safe dressings are in. Adv Skin Wound Care 2007;20(6):326-330.
Parker WA. Argyria and cyanotic heart disease. Am J Hosp Pharm 1977;34(3):287-289. View Abstract
Spratt DA, Pratten J, Wilson M, et al. An in vitro evaluation of the antimicrobial efficacy of irrigants on biofilms of root canal isolates. Int Endod J 2001;34(4):300-307. View Abstract
White JM, Powell AM, Brady K, et al. Severe generalized argyria secondary to ingestion of colloidal silver protein. Clin Exp Dermatol 2003;28(3):254-256. View Abstract
Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.
March 22, 2017