Many have benefited from colloidal silver (CS) over the years, some even learning how to make it and opening small businesses for its production and sale. But large pharmaceutical companies have not considered colloidal silver as a viable product owing to its long history and consequent difficulty to patent.
Notwithstanding its proven use as an antimicrobial agent, most colloidal silver manufacturers and distributors have little or no understanding of the laws governing the pharmaceutical industry and make outlandish and unsubstantiated claims about various versions of the product, for which they cannot provide evidence or proof when challenged to do so. Another (and perhaps more disturbing) aspect is that most CS manufacturers do not know what they are making. An internet investigation to ascertain production methods being used revealed that one company, for example, produced CS by placing two silver electrodes in a solution and then ran a low voltage electrical current across the electrodes. It then claimed, in its advertising, that the product is not produced by an electrolytic process. Such statements will not earn the respect of relevant scientists, pharmacists or major governing bodies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) or the Medicines Control Council of SA (MCC).
The term ‘colloidal silver’ covers a wide range of silver-based preparations ranging in strength from 5 ppm (parts per million) to 750 000 ppm. These can be made electrolytically or chemically, and some of the strong solutions can be harmful. Many contain caustic silver nitrate, which could explain the reluctance of some doctors to use CS as they associate it with high strength silver compounds. Notwithstanding, products containing high silver concentrations are registered as scheduled drugs with the FDA and MCC. This report is based on ionic colloidal silver at strength below 25 ppm. 
Some products sold as colloidal silver are ionic silver products and not true colloids, the most common of which are silver hydroxide and silver oxide. Certain manufacturers questioned about this claimed they did not manufacture silver hydroxide and that their solution consisted only of pure silver+ ions and distilled water, which begs the question: what balances the positive (+) charge of the silver+ ions?
It is possible to produce genuine colloids, the most common of which is silver chloride. Although silver chloride has therapeutic value, it is unstable and, within three days, around 98.4% of the silver flocculates and settles at the bottom of the container. Other allegedly ‘pure’ silver products need a chelating agent or gel to hold them in suspension, which often hinders the mobility of the silver ions. Clumps of non-ionic silver particles also form colloids.
From observation and in vitro tests, true colloidal and ionic silver have proved therapeutically beneficial and many products are known to contain both types of silver.
Silverlab colloidal silver is manufactured according to the Hippocratic Oath principle that regimens are prescribed for the good of patients and are based on ability and judgment, without intending harm to anyone: ‘I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients, according to my ability and my judgment, and never do harm to anyone.’ 
Silverlab Ionic Colloidal Silver
The full scientific name for Silverlab Ionic Colloidal Silver is Electrically Isolated Ionic Silver Hydrosol, produced by using a unique, specialised electrolytic method. It is a water soluble ionic silver solution ranging in concentration from below 0.1 ppm to 25 ppm and is not bonded to other chemicals or proteins. Silverlab CS is manufactured at 18 ppm and its low silver concentration, powerful characteristics (oligodynamic)  and zero causticity/toxicity make it perfectly safe to use.
The antimicrobial agent in the product is known to be free silver ions. To achieve this effect, silver ions must be available in solution at the microbial surface. Efficacy depends on the aqueous concentration of these ions. Silver ions appear to kill pathogenic micro-organisms instantly by blocking the respiratory enzyme system (energy production) as well as altering microbe DNA and the cell wall. They also appear to block T cell (TCR) receptors on the HIV virus and to stop the HIV RNA from unravelling.
The Toxicity, Safety, Efficacy and Pharmacology of Colloidal Silver
The extracts below are taken from credible sources available to governing bodies. Source names appear in the Reference Notes section at the end of the article.
Adverse effects: symptoms of poisoning stem from the corrosive and caustic nature of silver nitrate. A 75% (instead of 1%) solution of silver nitrate applied to newborn infants by mistake had an ill effect. 
Results revealed no clinical abnormalities, macro-pathological abnormalities or micro-pathological abnormalities in any of the test groups. No animals died during the studies.
In water, at concentrations sufficient for bactericidal activity, silver does not impart taste, colour or odour and has no apparent detrimental effects on mammalian cells.
The critical effect observed is cosmetic only, with no associated adverse health effects.
Argyria, the critical effect upon which the RfD (oral Reference Dose) for silver is based, occurs at levels of exposure much lower than those associated with other effects of silver.
There are no known severe toxic reactions. Argyria is the only acknowledged effect of silver and is characterized as a cosmetic problem only. According to the EPA IRIS report, it requires an accumulation of between 2-4 g of silver for Argyria to manifest. The report assumes an oral retention factor of 0.04, which means 4% of ingested silver is retained. They based their assessment on a total intake of 25 g of silver during the lifetime of a 70 kg male, with a 4% retention, resulting in 1 g total body silver after 70 years. Based on this, they worked out the RfD or daily reference dose as 0.014mg/kg/day for a 70 kg male, equivalent to 98 micrograms/day for a 70 kg male.
A heavy metal is a member of an ill-defined subset of elements that exhibit metallic properties, which would mainly include the transition metals, some metalloids, lanthanides, and actinides. Many different definitions have been proposed—some based on density, some on atomic number or atomic weight, and some on chemical properties or toxicity. The term heavy metal has been called a ‘misinterpretation’ in an IUPAC technical report, due to the contradictory definitions and its lack of a ‘coherent scientific basis’. There is an alternative term: ‘toxic metal. . .’ (Ref. 5)
Classification of toxic metals in the internet resource Wikipedia reveals no reference to silver, which is not found in this category and, consequently, not classified as a toxic metal.
Silver is nontoxic.
Silver is nontoxic.
(Ref. 8, 31)
There is little, if any, toxicity.
In May 1989 the EPA suggested that drinking water levels of silver be not more than 1.142 mg/I.
No studies were located regarding death in humans or animals after inhalation exposure to silver or silver compounds.
No studies were located regarding death in humans or animals after oral exposure to silver or silver compounds.
No adverse events (AE) associated with the use of colloidal silver have been reported to the FDA.
It is also used as argentum metallicum in homoeopathy.
Silver may be used in drinking water in concentrations up to 0.1 ppm (0.2 mg per 2 litres per day).
Bioburden level determination of ionic colloidal silver at 19ppm:
- Aerobic count per 100 ml zero
- Yeast per 100 ml zero
- Moulds per 100 ml zero
- Bioburden level zero
Complies with sterility test (USP27) 14 days.
Whereas ionic silver inhibited pathogenic bacteria tested at 1.2 ppm and killed all pathogenic bacteria tested at 2.4 ppm, ionic silver did not inhibit or kill any of the strains of probiotic.bacteria tested even at 9 ppm.
Concentrations of colloidal silver up to 30 ppm have no inhibitory effect on molasses-based Effective Microorganism (EM) fermented products.
Low concentrations of silver ions are antibacterial.
Silver protein solutions have antibacterial properties, due to the presence of low concentrations of ionised silver, and have been used as eye drops and for application to mucous membranes. (Ref. 1)
The contact of the bacterial cell with silver zeolite, the consequent transfer of silver ion to the cell and the generation of reactive oxygen species in the cell are involved in the bactericidal activity of silver zeolite. In this study, it was concluded that silver ions play an important role for the bactericidal action of silver zeolite.
Vegetative cells of the three Bacillus species were not inactivated after 24 hrs of contact with uncoated stainless steel; in fact, viable counts of B. anthracis Sterne and B. subtilis 168 were observed to increase slightly. In contrast, vegetative cells were inactivated by at least three orders of magnitude by 24 hrs of contact with Ag (ionic) antimicrobial-coated stainless steel.
This work examined the efficacy of different forms of silver as a bactericidal agent against Escherichia coli. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) for Ag (ionic) was observed to be between 0.1 mg Ag/l and 0.05 mg Ag/l following a 24-hour incubation period at 25°C. A MIC for colloidal metallic silver (Ag0) was not observed up to a total silver concentration of 82 mg Ag/l (82 ppm) – the highest concentration evaluated. These findings suggested cationic Ag(I) or Ag(I) complexes were responsible for the bactericidal activity of silver. It is therefore the ionic form of silver that is bactericidal.
Minimum inhibitory concentration of ionic colloidal silver 19 ppm, manufactured by Silverlab, according to its standard protocol: ionic silver, 19 ppm In Mueller-Hinton broth.
Staphylococcus aureus inhibited at 1.2 ppm and killed at 2.4 ppm
Pseudomonas aeruginosa inhibited at 1.2 ppm and killed at 2.4 ppm
Escherichia coli inhibited at 2.4 ppm and killed at 4.7 ppm
Proteus vulgaris inhibited at – and killed at 2.4 ppm
Our experiments showed that the contact antimicrobial activity of Ag (e) (electrically isolated silver) was superior to that of AgNO3 against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, C. albicans, and a filamentous mycete. Even though Ag(e) and Ag+, from inorganic salts, have similar, apparently membrane-related activities, the microbicidal activity of silver is significantly ion-influenced. Anodic silver ions are very effective agents at low concentrations, without any detrimental effect upon normal mammalian cells, and the concentrations needed to inhibit the bacteria in in vitro experiments have been confirmed by clinical data. Our experimental results confirm the potential of Ag (e) for use as a preservative; this anion-free preservative system might show a reduced interference with the other materials used in most formulations.
Effects of ionic colloidal silver 19 ppm on Candida albicans, manufactured by Silver Lab according to its standard protocol:
Candida albicans killed 99.9% in 15 minutes.
The product displays activity against Candida albicans in a dose-dependent manner.
Documents intravenous mild silver protein in three HIV patients, with dramatic viral load reduction.
Mild silver protein inhibits HI Virus replication on T cells.
Overt cell death is not evident with both cell lines (irrespective of ionised Ag concentration).
It appears that cell proliferation is decreased in the presence of the ionised silver, which implies a cytostatic effect rather than a cytotoxic effect.
Regular application of the product directly onto lesions may lead to eventual death of tumour cells if the cellular proliferation is inhibited long-term.
Lack of toxicity to these cell lines may also be seen as a positive confirmation of the lack of general toxicity by the ionised Ag preparation used in this study.
The cytotoxic effect of ionised Ag was most pronounced on MOLT-4 and K562 cells, increasing the dead cells to 53% and 83% respectively at a final concentration of 4.503 ppm. Although Jurkat and HL60 cells were less sensitive to the effects of ionised Ag, its influence was still noteworthy.
Ionised Ag had a potent effect on non-stimulated PBMCs, when one would have expected the opposite since these cells are not proliferating. We cannot conclude whether the oral intake of the product will demonstrate the same anti-cancer activity because the in vitro results cannot be extrapolated to in vivo situations: metabolic transformation of the product, oral uptake, etc. However, it remains an interesting product to consider for further research.
The results obtained clearly show the anti-inflammatory action of ionised Ag in vitro. At a final concentration of 4.503 ppm (25%) ionised Ag was able to inhibit the production of IL-6 and TNF-α around 5 times compared with the stimulated control. This anti-inflammatory activity was still demonstrated at a final Ag concentration of 1.126 ppm (6.25%) and inhibited the release of the cytokines by a factor of 3.
These results indicate a potential clinical use of the product to control tissue damage in chronic inflammatory conditions.
The electrically generated silver ion solution exhibited good bactericidal efficacy against S. aureus and E. coli.
These findings suggest that the use of the silver ion solution may have valuable applications in various fields, such as the manufacture of household appliances and medical devices.
The bactericidal effects of silver have been known since the mid-1800s.
Given contact times on the order of hours, silver has been shown to be somewhat effective as a disinfectant against coliforms and viruses.
Silver’s antimicrobial effect has been demonstrated in numerous applications against different types of microorganisms. The bactericidal efficacy of silver is through its binding to disulfide or sulfhydryl groups in cell wall proteins. Silver also binds to DNA. Through these binding properties, metabolic processes are disrupted, leading to cell death.
EFTEM observations demonstrated that the silver ion readily infiltrates the interior of E. coli, contrary to the early hypothesis that it resides initially in the cell membrane area. Furthermore, 2-DE and MALDI-TOF MS indicated that the expression of a ribosomal subunit protein, as well as that of some other enzymes and proteins, is affected by the silver ion. The present results demonstrate, for the first time, that one of the major bactericidal functions of the silver ion is its interaction with the ribosome and the ensuing inhibition in expression of the enzymes and proteins essential to ATP production.
How does colloidal silver kill pathogens? The following are some theories:
- Silver particles are an oxidising catalyst and, as such, oxidise and kill pathogens.
- Silver interferes with the microbe’s respiration.
- Silver ties up, or disables, the sulphur in the microbe.
- Silver shorts out the electrostatic fields in the cell.
Most of the above would not apply to viruses, though. Instead, the possibilities for disabling viruses are:
- Silver particles are an oxidising catalyst and oxidise the virus killing it.
- Silver causes the virus DNA or RNA to revert to being undifferentiated and is disabled without the proper expression for that host.
- Silver repairs the broken segment of the DNA of a virus, making it complete but no longer a functional virus which, by design, has an incomplete DNA.
Medical literature shows that a variety of viruses have been successfully treated with silver-based drugs. However, ‘silver salts’, and/or inferior silver preparations, lack the bio-availability, active silver content, and safety needed to be effective. State of the art, electrolytically produced oligodynamic Ag+, however, offers distinct advantages and versatility of use over older and cruder formulations. Possessing much smaller, sub nanometre-sized particles, greater electrical potential and lower concentrations, it is more bio-available than other formulations. Efficacy against the SARS-related coronavirus, for example, may be enhanced when nebulized Ag+ is inhaled. This should achieve swift reduction of viral loads, especially in the early stages. Moreover, there is no known toxicity for oligodynamic Ag+ in humans. The only known mechanism of resistance also appears to play no role, notwithstanding the mutability of the coronavirus. Therefore no functional barrier to the virotoxic effects of oligodynamic Ag+ may be expected, regardless of the rapidity or variety of mutations.
Like bacteria and fungi, infectious viral organisms may have multiple susceptibilities when encountering oligodynamic Ag+. On the other hand, evidence suggests that oligodynamic Ag+ will not interfere with normal white blood cell (WBC) activity, and may even enhance WBC activity. Feng, et al. concluded that oligodynamic Ag+ offered profound immune benefits because of its ability to intervene with select bacteria in three key ways almost simultaneously. Central to all three is the ability of oligodynamic Ag+ to denature (dose-dependent permanent inactivation) essential microorganisms’ protein and DNA.
One type of essential protein maintains the integrity of the cell’s membrane and boundaries. Once the membrane becomes unstable, the cells begin to rupture.
Simultaneously, the smallest sizes of Ag+ may more easily penetrate the membrane pores of bacteria. Once penetration occurs, life-essential enzyme reactions governing cell metabolism go into partial or full arrest.
As the silver further penetrates the most interior recesses of the cell, the genetic building blocks (nucleic acids) of the germs are paralysed, ending the ability of the invaders to replicate.
Delivery of active Ag+ is the key to success. Providing that delivery of oligodynamic Ag+ to the viral foci is accomplished, the effective dosage level of pure oligodynamic Ag+ is essentially medically benign to human cells. As Berger, et al. concluded, oligodynamic Ag+ generated electrically at target tissue area is observed to be very effective immune intervention at low concentrations, yet appears to cause no harm to normal mammalian cells.
The comprehensive reports above provide clear, unambiguous evidence that Silverlab Ionic Colloidal Silver is an effective treatment against many disease-inducing microbes, as well as being perfectly safe to use. Scientifically manufactured and administered according to recommended dosages, its inherent powerful medicinal qualities can provide complementary or alternative treatment for many ailments and diseases. Silver has long performed a vital role in the human body but modern chemical-ridden foods, such as fruit and vegetables, have resulted in a serious decline of silver content, which research has warned as dangerously unhealthy because of the link between the body’s falling silver levels and illness. Mankind is urged to consider its use, not only for its therapeutic value but as a tonic and prophylactic.
Preamble to Notes
Tests undertaken by the following reference sources, cited in Reference Notes, used ionic colloidal silver 18 ppm or 19 ppm, manufactured by Silverlab, according to its standard protocol:
- Martindale Pharmacopeia, 34th edition, p. 1746.
- Daan Goosen, ’90-day toxicity study performed on Sprague rats at a dose of 14ml/kg per day with 18 ppm ionic colloidal silver manufactured by Silverlab Colloidal Silver,’ La-Bio Research, Tshwane University of Technology, 30 April 2009.
- Michael A. Butkis, Michael P. Labare, Jeffrey A. Starke, King Moon and Mark Talbot, ‘Use of Aqueous Silver to Enhance Inactivation of Coliphage MS-2 by UV Disinfection,’ Applied and Environmental Microbiology, May 2004, Vol. 70, pp. 2848-2853.
- US Environmental Protection Agency, Integrated Risk Information System, Silver (CASRN 7440-22-4), last revised 12 January 1996.
- Wikipedia, Heavy metals (chemistry), accessed 18 October 2010.
- Wikipedia, Toxic metals, accessed 18 October 2010.
- American Biotec Labs.
- World Health Organisation, ‘Silver in Drinking-water – Background document for development of WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality,’ Geneva (2003).
- Professor Helen R. Buckley PhD, School of Medicine, Temple University, 2 February 1995.
- FDA, Public Health Service, Centre for Drug Evaluation and Research, File F99-22589, 3 November 1999.
- South African Bureau of Standards Commercial, ‘Bioburden Level Determination performed on Ionic Colloidal Silver 19 ppm,’ (November 2005).
- South African Bureau of Standards Commercial, ‘Sterility of Ionic Colloidal Silver 19 ppm,’ (October 2005).
- Ian McQueen, IDM Laboratory & Engineering Services, ‘Effects of Silverlab Ionised Silver 18 ppm on a variety of Probiotic Bacteria,’ (May 2010).
- Vinny Pinto, ‘Effects of Ionic Colloidal Silver on Probiotic, life-giving microbes,’ Fermentation with Syntropic Anti–oxidative Microbes (2004).
- Yoshinobu Matsumura, Kuniaki Yoshikata, Shin-ichi Kunisaki and Tetsuaki Tsuchido, ‘Mode of Bactericidal Action of Silver Zeolite and its comparison with that of Silver Nitrate,’ Applied and Environmental Microbiology (July 2003), Vol. 69 (7), pp. 4278-4281.
- Belinda Galeano, Emily Korff and Wayne L. Nicholson, ‘Inactivation of Vegetative Cells, of Bacillus anthrasis, B. cereus, and B. subtilis on Stainless Steel Surfaces Coated with an Antimicrobial Silver- and Zinc-Containing Zeolite Formulation, Applied and Environmental Microbiology (July 2003), Vol. 69, pp. 4329-4331.
- Butkus, M.A. (US Military Academy), Labara, M.P. (US Military Academy) and Edling, L. (GeoTrans Inc., USA), ‘The efficacy of silver as a bactericidal agent: advantages, limitations and considerations for future use,’ Vol 1ss, pp. 407-415.
- South African Bureau of Standards Commercial, ‘Minimum Inhibitory Concentration of Ionic Colloidal Silver 19 ppm,’ (December 2005).
- N. Simonyeti, G. Simonyeti, F. Bougnoi and M. Scalzo, ‘Electrochemical Ag+ for Preservative Use,’ Applied and Environmental Microbiology (December 1992), Vol. 58, pp.3834-3836.
- South African Bureau of Standards Commercial, ‘Effects of Ionic Colloidal Silver on Candida albicans,’ (December 2005).
- Professor Patrick Bouic, ‘Effects of Ionised Silver 18 ppm on Candida albicans,’ Synexa Life Sciences (June 2007).
- Dean, W. et al, ‘Reduction of Viral Load in Aids Patients with Intravenous Mild Silver Protein: 3 Case Studies,’ Clinical Practice of Alternative Medicine (2001).
- Professor Patrick Bouic, ‘Effects of Ionised Silver 18 ppm on 2 Melanoma cell lines,’ Synexa Life Sciences (July 2007).
- Professor Patrick Bouic, ‘Effects of Ionised Silver 18 ppm on 4 cancer types and PBMCs,’ Synexa Life Sciences (July 2007).
- Professor Patrick Bouic, ‘Anti-inflammatory activity of Ionised Silver 18 ppm,’ Synexa Life Sciences (July 2007).
- Woo Kyung Jung, Hye Cheong Koo, Ki Woo Kim, Sook Shin, So Hyun Kim and Yong Ho Park, ‘Antibacterial Activity and Mechanism of Action of the Silver Ion in Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli,’ Applied and Environmental Microbiology (April 2008), Vol. 74, pp. 2171-2178.
- Nadia Silvestry-Rodriguez, Kelly R. Bright, Donald C. Slack, Donald R. Uhlmann and Charles P. Gerba, ‘ Silver as a Residual Disinfectant to Prevent Biofilm Formation in Water Distribution Systems,’ Applied and Environmental Microbiology (March 2008), Vol. 74, pp. 1639-1641.
- Mikihiro Yamanaka, Keita Hara and Jun Kudo, ‘Bactericidal Actions of a Silver Ion Solution on Escherichia coli, Studied by Energy-Filtering Transmission Electron Microscopy and Proteomic Analysis, Applied and Environmental Biology (November 2005), Vol. 71, pp. 7589-7593.
- John Marshall Dudley, ‘The Chemical and Physical Basis of the Therapeutic Value of colloidal forms of silver,’ from a colloidal silver research paper.
- Eric J. Rentz, DO COMM CNMO, ‘Viral pathogens and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome: Oligodynamic Ag+ for Direct Immune Intervention,’ Journal of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine (June 2003), Vol. 13 (2), pp. 109-118.
- John Barltrop, MA PhD DSc and Dr R.C. Renlund, ‘Toxicity of Mild Silver Protein,’ 27 January 1995.
- Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry, US Public Health Service, Toxicological Profile for Silver (December 1990).
 As manufactured and distributed by Silverlab and also generally referred to as Electrolytically Isolated Silver (EIS), Oligodynamic Silver, Hydrosol of Silver, Nano Silver, Positively Charged Ionic Silver or Colloidal Silver.
 Published 25 October 2010.
 For generations silver has been used for its antimicrobial properties to prevent and treat a variety of diseases, most notably infections. The Food and Drug Administration has approved silver solutions since the 1920s for use as antibacterial agents.
 Denotes parts of silver per million parts of water.
 The Hippocratic Oath is an oath taken by doctors swearing to practice medicine ethically. It is widely believed to have been written by Hippocrates, traditionally regarded as the father of western medicine, in the late 5th century BC.
 Oligodynamic – powerful in small quantities.
 As Silverlab Ionic Colloidal Silver is classified as a complementary medicine, the company makes no strong medical claims for its efficacy, stating frequently on its packaging ‘may help with. . .’ But this should not be construed the company suggests the product is ineffective.
 A 1% solution is equivalent to 10 000 ppm, and a 75% solution is equivalent to 750 000 ppm.
 Taken from a 90-day study performed on Sprague rats at a dose of 14ml/kg per day using Silverlab 18 ppm CS, which is equivalent to a 71 kg person drinking 90 litres of CS over a 3-month period.
 To reach 1 gm of accumulated CS, one must consume 1 388 litres of Silverlab Colloidal Silver at 18 ppm, which would place one at around a quarter of the way to the 2-4 g maximum. By contrast, only 2.5 litres of a 1% (10 000 ppm) solution would take a 70 kg man to the same level of retained silver. The World Health Organisation (WHO) conservatively recommends not more than 10 g total intake in a lifetime, equivalent to 555 litres of 18 ppm colloidal silver.
 ‘Silver preparation. . . effective in inhibiting and killing strains of candida albicans and cryptococcus neoformans from 0.7 ppm in vitro.’ Professor Helen R Buckley, School of Medicine, Temple University, 2 February 1995.
 Equal to 1.142 parts of silver per million parts of water – or ppm.
 Effective Microorganisms are a mixture of probiotic microbes including lactic acid bacteria, actinomycetes and phototropic non-sulphur bacteria.
 The only side effect would be symptoms of detoxification that may include headache and sluggishness in the body for a few days. This effect is known as the Jarisch Herxheimer Reaction.