Silver compounds have been used as medicine since the late 1800’s and have been used as a treatment against infections by hundreds of thousands of individuals in the United States. Silver is a natural mineral in the same class as zinc, chromium, cobalt, copper, iron, magnesium, molybdenum, vanadium and zinc which are important for health maintenance. Humans naturally ingest from 22 to 300 mcg of silver per day from natural sources in food and water (1,2). Levels of silver vary in foods with the highest reported levels being in immune boosting mushrooms with up to 5mg/kg of silver. There is evidence that silver is a natural critical component of our immune system and that low tissue levels associated with a dietary deficiency may result in a relatively weakened immune system, making one more prone to infection. (3,4,5) The modern versions of colloidal silver (oligodynamic silver) are shown to have little or no toxicity (3,4,5,6,7,10,11,12,14,26).
There are several distinct forms of silver compounds, which include silver-salts, silver-proteins and colloidal silver. Colloidal silver is a very small particle (0.001-0.1 micron) that remains suspended in water without forming an ionic solution. In contrast, a solution of silver-salt is one in which the silver remains dissolved in ionic form in water, which is significantly more reactive than colloidal silver and can be toxic at high doses when compared to the extremely small risk of toxicity from the use of colloidal silver. In addition to being more reactive than colloidal silver, silver salts and silver proteins are excreted much more slowly than the smaller colloidal silver particles and can accumulate in the tissues. Such accumulation does not occur with colloidal silver.
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved silver compounds for clinical use and various versions have been formulated by compounding pharmacies. Silver nitrate is used in the eyes of newborns to prevent blindness. Concentrated silver nitrate is used topically on mucus membranes to stop bleeding. Silver sulfadiazine is used for the treatment of burns and to prevent sepsis or bacterial infection in severe burns. Silver formulations have also been used in hundreds of various infections and other conditions including pneumonia, tuberculosis, STD’s, eczema, meningitis, erysipelas, Mediterranean fever, corneal ulcers, conjunctivitis and septicemia (3,7,10).