Marketed as a remedy for a range of health problems, colloidal silver is a solution of tiny silver particles suspended in a liquid base. It's typically taken orally, but some products are sprayed, applied to the skin, or injected into a vein.
Silver had been used in medicine for centuries, touted as a cure-all for everything from tuberculosis and arthritis to herpes and cancer. Even today, many alternative practitioners believe that colloidal silver offers health benefits by supporting immune function and preventing or treating infections, both common and severe.
Manufacturers of colloidal silver often broadly claim that their products are capable of stimulating the immune system and helping the body heal itself. Proponents believe that the supplement can aid in wound healing, improve skin disorders, and either prevent or treat diseases like flu, pneumonia, herpes, eye infections, shingles, cancer, and AIDS.
Many of these claims have been supported by test tube studies in which colloidal silver has been shown to exert powerful antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory effects. What the studies fail to show is what happens outside of the test tube.
When ingested, colloidal silver has the potential to cause toxicity and, in rare cases, death. Moreover, there remains little evidence that silver exerts the same antimicrobial properties when internalized.
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