Study: Silver Boosts Effectiveness of Antibiotics By Up to 1,000 times!

The news media has been awash lately with stories about a brand new clinical study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, in June 2013, which concluded that antimicrobial silver can be used to boost the effectiveness of antibiotic drugs against drug-resistant bacteria by up to 1,000 times.

But is this actually “new” information? Or is it old news?

I suppose it really doesn’t matter, because it’s helping bring the infection-fighting qualities of colloidal silver back into the public limelight again, and awakening the general public to its powerful healing attributes. But here’s the real scoop on the story you won’t get anywhere else…

Steve Barwick is a researcher and a journalist who has focused on the attributes of colloidal silver for many years. The following article is a summary of his research on silver as an antibiotic. All of the links in the article are to his website.  (Disclaimer: Silverlab Healthcare does not endorse or promote the manufacturing of kitchen -top colloidal silver.)

In April I wrote an article titled Colloidal Silver Boosts the Effectiveness of Antibiotic Drugs, in which I covered all of the main studies up to that point demonstrating that colloidal silver and other forms of antimicrobial silver, when added to antibiotic drugs, tends to boost their effectiveness many times over.

For example, I pointed out the 2006 study conducted at the Department of Microbiology/Molecular Biology at Brigham-Young University, which found that numerous antibiotic drugs that had previously lost their effectiveness against drug-resistant pathogens suddenly regained their full effectiveness when colloidal silver is used in conjunction with them.

What’s more, I pointed out another study from the Andalusian Center for Molecular Biology & Regenerative Medicine in Spain, which concluded:

“The synergetic effect of silver nanoparticles with antibiotics has been studied combining silver nanoparticles with different antibiotics including ampicillin, kanamycin, erythromycin and chloramphenicol against gram positive and gram negative bacteria. The antibacterial activities of these antibiotics increase in the presence of silver nanoparticles against gram positive and gram negative bacteria.”

And I pointed out the study published in Academic Journals, titled “Antibacterial Efficacy of Colloidal Silver Alone and In Combination With Other Antibiotics on Isolates from Wound Infections,” which concluded that “colloidal silver had a significant additive effect on many antibiotics tested.”

Also, close to seven years ago, on the Colloidal Silver Cures MRSA website, I pointed out another study titled “Synthesis and Effect of Silver Nanoparticles on the Antibacterial Activity of Different Antibiotics Against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.”

This study concluded that the effectiveness of antibiotics like penicillin G, amoxicillin, erythromycin, clindamycin, and vancomycin were all increased in the presence antimicrobial silver.

On that same website I pointed out that since the antibiotic drugs tested had previously lost their effectiveness against the drug-resistant pathogens, these studies clearly demonstrate that the silver was the deciding factor in the deaths of the deadly pathogens!

Critics of Adding Silver to Antibiotics

I’ve also pointed out that there are critics of the idea of adding antimicrobial silver to antibiotic drugs.

These critics claim that silver actually interferes with the absorption and effectiveness of antibiotics.

Indeed, these critics – including,, and even Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D. who must be going soft in his old age – generally regurgitate the warning from the FDA’s 2009 Consumer Advisory Bulletin, which states:

“…the use of silver-containing dietary supplements may interfere with the body’s absorption of some drugs, such as quinolone antibiotics [ciprofloxacin (Cipro), norfloxacin (Noroxin), ofloxacin], tetracycline antibiotics, thyroxine, and penacillamine (Cuprimine).”

But in reality, there appears to be no documented evidence whatsoever for this claim. At least, the FDA can’t provide any.

In fact, when I filed a Freedom of Information Act Request with the FDA, asking them to document their claims that ingesting colloidal silver could interfere with the absorption of the stated antibiotic drugs and other types of drugs, they had to admit they had no evidence whatsoever for their claims!

Silver Back in the Limelight

Now, as you’ll see in just a moment, major news media from around the world are reporting the results of the latest clinical study on silver’s ability to dramatically boost the effectiveness of antibiotic drugs.

And they’re reporting it as if this study constituted brand “new” information that’s rocking the medical establishment.

Truth be told, however, as I’ve pointed out above, the medical establishment has long since been aware of the fact that colloidal silver by itself is highly antimicrobial in nature, and that silver in any form tends to boost the effectiveness of antibiotic drugs, often many times over.

Love-Hate Relationship

Before we take a quick look at what the worldwide news media is saying about this new study on silver’s ability to boost the effectiveness of antibiotics drugs, please keep in mind that the orthodox medical establishment seems to have an ongoing “love-hate” relationship with silver.

They love it, because it works so darned well, and has so much infection-fighting potential, particularly in its ability to boost the effectiveness of their expensive antibiotic drugs which now largely fail to kill drug-resistant pathogens.

But they hate it, because it’s a substance the average Joe has easy access to (in the form of colloidal silver), and doesn’t generally need a doctor’s prescription in order to obtain and use.

So they’re hard-pressed to figure out a way to patent it, monopolize it, and market it as a high-ticket drug item.

After all, when you and I can simply drive over to our local health food store and pick up a bottle of colloidal silver for twenty bucks (ZAR80.00), who needs some over-priced new silver-laced antibiotic drug from Big Pharma?

But now that the medical establishment is decidedly losing the battle against antibiotic-resistant pathogens, this new study seems to indicate that drug researchers are at least willing to take another good, long look at silver.

Don’t Be Fooled

Don’t be fooled, however:

One of the lead researchers on the new study, Jim Collins, a biomedical engineer at Boston University, has already stated that “…other researchers might now attempt to find non-toxic compounds that mimic silver’s bacteria-weakening mechanisms.”

Indeed, in an interview with another news media outlet, he stated, “We’re also encouraging people to look at what features of silver caused the helpful effects, so they can look for non-toxic versions.”

In other words, now that they’ve demonstrated how silver boosts the effectiveness of the medical establishment’s failing antibiotic drugs, they can start looking for other substances that “mimic silver’s bacteria-weakening mechanisms” and have similar “helpful effects.”

So the likelihood is that they may still have no intention whatsoever of incorporating antimicrobial silver into their failing antibiotic drugs.

They may, in reality, be looking to find a chemically synthesized substance they can patent, which would duplicate the ability of silver to boost the effectiveness of antibiotic drugs.

What the News Media is Saying

Nevertheless, the news media appears to be ecstatic about the new study, which of course is good to see.

Here are a few quotes from the various news articles I’ve seen so far:

From a news article in prestigious Scientific American (re-printed from the journal, Nature), we learn that the study authors discovered that it’s the silver ion that helps increase the efficacy of antibiotic drugs against drug-resistant bacteria, by breaking down the cell wall of the bacteria to allow more of the antibiotic drug to penetrate.

This, of course, is nothing new. I’ve written about it years ago in this article, titled, “Experts: It’s the Silver Ion That Gives Colloidal Silver It’s Antimicrobial Power.”

Nevertheless, as stated in the Scientific American news article:

“Like werewolves and vampires, bacteria have a weakness: silver.

The precious metal has been used to fight infection for thousands of years – Hippocrates first described its antimicrobial properties in 400 bc – but how it works has been a mystery.

Now, a team led by James Collins, a biomedical engineer at Boston University in Massachusetts, has described how silver can disrupt bacteria, and shown that the ancient treatment could help to deal with the thoroughly modern scourge of antibiotic resistance.

…Collins and his team found that silver – in the form of dissolved ions – attacks bacterial cells in two main ways:

It makes the cell membrane more permeable, and it interferes with the cell’s metabolism, leading to the overproduction of reactive, and often toxic, oxygen compounds.

Both mechanisms could potentially be harnessed to make today’s antibiotics more effective against resistant bacteria, Collins says.”

Of course, silver’s ability to break down bacterial cell membranes and interfere with the bacteria’s metabolism is most definitely not a new discovery. It’s been known for decades, actually.

As reported in the 2008 study, Nanotechnology In Medicine and Antibacterial Effect Of Silver Nanoparticles:

“Nanoparticles mainly in the range of 1-10 nm attach to the surface of the cell membrane and drastically disturb its proper function, like permeability and respiration.”

As Dr. Murray J. Height, Ph.D., and Chief Technology Officer of the Silver Nanotechnology Working Group pointed out several years ago:

“All silver-based antimicrobials act against bacteria through the action of silver ions. Silver ions interact with bacteria cells through three mechanisms: 1.) Damage cell membranes, 2.) Displace Ca2+ and Zn2+ ions, 3.) Interact with sulphur, oxygen or nitrogen.”

And as pointed out in the medical textbook by silver researcher Alan B. Lansdown, Silver in Health Care: Antimicrobial Effects and Safety in Use, published in 2010:

“The antimicrobial action of silver or silver compounds is proportional to the bioactive silver ion released and its availability to interact with bacterial or fungal cell membranes.”

Finally, as I pointed out in my article “Experts: It’s the Silver Ion That Gives Colloidal Silver Its Antimicrobial Power,” the Handbook of Hospital Corps of the United States Navy stated way back in 1953:

Silver compounds have a wide variety of uses as caustics, astringents, antiseptics, and germicides. Their activity resides in the silver ion, which is a protein precipitant [in that] it is toxic to bacteria by precipitating the protein in the bacteria protoplasm.”

So while it’s good to see the media touting the findings of this new study, it’s almost laughable to call much of the information derived from the study “new.” It’s actually been known since the 1950’s, and even before that.

Next, from an article on, carried by the Daily Mail news website, we learn that the new study demonstrated “just a small amount of silver” made pathogens up to 1,000 times more sensitive to penicillin.

What’s more, the study demonstrated that silver actually boosts the effectiveness of the antibiotic tetracycline against E. coli bacteria:

“A new study from Boston University revealed that adding silver to antibiotics enhanced the drugs’ abilities to fight off lethal infections in mice.

Through their tests, the team showed that just a small amount of silver made E. coli bacteria between 10 and 1,000 times more sensitive to commonly prescribed antibiotics, such as penicillin.

Most importantly, the researchers showed that silver helped the antibiotic tetracycline fight a previously resilient strain of E. coli.

This signified that the combination of silver and antibiotics could be used to resensitize antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.

‘Overall, what we show is that small amounts of silver, non-toxic levels, can be used in conjunction with commonly used antibiotics to treat persistent infection and to treat bio-film based infections, which are problematic for medical implants,’ Collins said.”

Well, that’s quite fascinating, especially since the antibiotic drug tetracycline, mentioned in the third-to-last paragraph of the Fox News article excerpt above, is one that the FDA claims is inhibited by silver.

Of course, it would hardly seem that tetracycline could be inhibited by silver, if silver increases this drug’s effectiveness against drug-resistant strains of E. coli, as the new study demonstrated.

Perhaps this is why the FDA could not produce any evidence or documentation of their claims that silver inhibits the absorption of tetracycline, when I asked them for it.

According to an article about the new study on, the researchers found even more interesting information about silver’s abilities to kill the microbes:

The study also found that silver increased the efficiency of Vancomycin, an antibiotic that isn’t known to kill gram positive bacteria…

…Interestingly, silver treated bacteria weren’t able to produce a biofilm and didn’t turn dormant. Usually it takes several rounds of antibiotics to kill bacteria that become dormant…

…Researchers even tested various doses of silver compounds that could kill the bacteria.

They found that the amount of silver required to make bacteria more sensitive to antibiotics would not cause any harm to human tissues. Oral or injectable silver could be used in humans, they said.

Amazingly, most critics of colloidal silver claim it can’t possibly work when orally ingested. This, of course, flies in the face of decade’s worth of successful oral use of colloidal silver by literally millions of people worldwide.

But now we have top researchers from Boston University claiming oral use of silver will not only work (in terms of boosting the effectiveness of antibiotic drugs), but such small amounts are needed that it “would not cause any harm to human tissues.”

What’s more, the researchers found that when silver is used, the bacteria aren’t able to produce biofilms, which are like fortified colonies the bacteria hide in to escape the lethality of antibiotic drugs.

This, too, of course, is not “new” information. It’s long been known that silver ions can prevent or even destroy bacterial biofilms (see 2005 study here).

So while there is some new information one can glean from the study, in reality much of what the researchers “discovered” has been known for a long time.

One Thing Missing In This Study

One thing you might have noticed in all of this hoopla, of course, is that there’s been no mention whatsoever made of the fact that numerous studies have demonstrated that colloidal silver can kill these pathogenic microorganisms all by itself, without the concurrent use antibiotic drugs!

See for example, this study, and this study, and this study, and this study, and this study, and this study and this study and dozens of other clinical studies and reports at this link.

Indeed, the researchers in this new study appear to have studiously avoided testing the antimicrobial silver by itself against the same pathogens they tested the silver and antibiotic drug combinations against.


Could it be because the medical establishment fears that if the general public becomes aware that antimicrobial silver is indeed this effective against pathogenic microorganisms, they’ll flee from the use of potentially toxic antibiotic drugs altogether and embrace colloidal silver in its place, costing Big Pharma billions of dollars in annual profits?

What the Experts Say About Colloidal Silver

As Dr. Joseph Weissman, M.D. board certified immunologist and Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of California Medical School has stated:

“Today, many antibiotics are losing the battle with germs.

Fortunately, the best germ killer, which was discovered over 2,000 years ago, is finally getting the proper attention from medical science – natural silver.

I sincerely recommend that everyone have electrically generated colloidal silver in their home as an antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal agent.”

And as Harvard-educated Dr. Jonathan Wright, M.D. has stated:

“Colloidal silver just might be the next germ-fighting wonder drug. And not just for the serious threats making headlines: It’s also effective against bacterial infections like strep throat, viruses like the flu, and fungal infections like Candida.

No matter how much a germ mutates, it can’t change enough to escape the damaging effects of colloidal silver.

And in the process, the silver doesn’t harm human tissue or kill off the good bacteria in the intestine the way antibiotics and other medications do.”

And as author Zane Baranowski, CN, has stated:

“Silver is one of the most universal antibiotic substances. When administered in the colloidal form, it is for all practical purposes non-toxic.

Silver has been proven to be effective against hundreds of infectious conditions.

It has tremendous anti-microbial power; the history of safe and successful colloidal silver use is extensive, and the number of current health professionals and individuals that successfully utilize colloidal silver to reduce the length and severity of infectious disorders is growing exponentially.”

And as Dr. Nenah Sylver, Ph.D. has so astutely pointed out:

“Companies that sell colloidal silver or the equipment to make it are forbidden by the FDA to tell their customers about colloidal silver’s healing properties.

Interestingly, this has not stopped major pharmaceutical companies from producing other silver products that are approved for medical purposes.

These products include silver gels, for cuts, burns and wounds (silver sulfadiazine cream, a compound, is extensively used); silver coated bandages, widely and successfully used in hospital burn units; and various silver compounds, for other purposes.

The existence of these products makes it difficult for government agencies to deny the health benefits of silver any longer.”

And as Dr. Ron Leavitt, Ph.D., of the Department of Microbiology at Brigham Young University has stated:

“The data suggests that with the low toxicity associated with colloidal silver, in general, and the broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity of this colloidal silver preparation, this preparation may be effectively used as an alternative to antibiotics.”

And as best-selling author Dr. James Balch, M.D. has stated in his book, Prescription For Nutritional Healing:

“Topically, colloidal silver can be used to fight fungal infections of the skin or nails and to promote the healing of burns, wounds, cuts, rashes, and sunburn.

It can be used on toothaches and mouth sores, as eye drops, and as a gargle to fight tooth decay and bad breath.

It can also be used as sterilizer and can even be sprayed on air-conditioning filters and air ducts and vents to prevent germs from growing.”

And as Byron J. Richards, CCN (Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist) and author of Fight for Your Health: Exposing the FDA’s Betrayal of America, has stated:

“Colloidal silver is the product the FDA and many mainstream medical people love to hate.

…Their worst nightmare is people taking colloidal silver to combat the H1N1 swine flu – the nightmare for them is that it might actually work.

…The high efficacy in the use of silver to kill bacteria and fungus is not in question by anyone. This does not mean it kills every type of bacteria or fungus. And in the ones it does kill it does not mean it kills all of them.

It simply means that the antibiotic properties of silver are quite potent – and the risk to human health in terms of toxicity is negligible. This is a far better risk/benefit profile than commonly used antibiotics.”

Do YOU Have Access to Colloidal Silver?

Silverlab ionic colloidal silver is available at Health Shops, Pharmacy Dischem and some Clicks store