The term “colloidal silver” covers a diverse range of related products that have been in use as anti-microbial agents since at least the late 1800’s. Some were produced by electrolysis and some were produced chemically. It remained in use as the primary such product until about 1938 when penicillin was developed as a more economical method of fighting germs in the human body. Since its initial development, colloidal silver has been primarily silver particles suspended in water.
The definition of the word “colloid” has two distinct meanings that should be remembered. The Chemistry definition of “colloid” is, “a system in which finely divided particles are dispersed within a continuous medium (such as water) in a manner that prevents them from being easily filtered or rapidly settled.”
There are also Physiology and Pathology definitions of “colloid” from that have a completely different and unrelated meanings to the Chemistry definition. The Physiology definition is, “the gelatinous product of the thyroid gland, consisting mainly of thyroglobulin, which serves as the precursor and storage form of thyroid hormone.” The Pathology definition is, “a gelatinous material resulting from colloid degeneration in diseased tissue.”
The word “colloid/colloidal” may be used to refer to both gelatinous and non-gelatinous based products. The Chemistry definition could be applied to both kinds of products, but using the Physiology and Pathology definitions could only be generally applied to gelatinous/protein based products and even that is a stretch unless you ignore the fact that they are specifically referencing product of the thyroid gland and diseased tissue.
The only known potential negative side effect of “colloidal silver” has been that with heavy and prolonged use of gelatinous based silver products, a cosmetic condition called Argyria may develop. According to the World Health Organization (WHO 1993) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency silver poses no toxic effect and that extreme overuse may cause this cosmetic condition. (USEPA 1992, 2001) It is believed that these gelatins/proteins greatly increase the chance that silver may be deposited under the epidermal layer of the skin. Imagine placing a handful of BBs or marbles in a bowl of water; they will immediately sink to the bottom of the bowl. …But if you place those same objects in a bowl of Jell-o, they will not sink to the bottom as readily.
These gelatinous additives are only required where the silver particle size is too large to stay suspended in only water. One of the primary silver sources has been silver nitrate, which tends to be comprised of very large silver particles, hence the need for a gelatin base to keep it suspended. With methods utilizing some of the original, but improved, electrolysis principles, it is no longer necessary to use gelantinous or protein bases to keep the silver particles suspended. If the silver particle size is small enough, they will stay suspended by Brownian Motion indefinitely in simply deionized/distilled water, greatly reducing or eliminating most concerns of developing Argyria. This doesn’t mean that it is OK to drink large quantities of silver and water for prolonged periods; there may well be some level of too much silver, but it is unknown. Every consumable food, drink, supplement and drug probably has some level where it may cause adverse effects. A few aspirin will relieve a headache, but consuming a bottle can cause death.
Although silver is found throughout nature, its occurrence is still rare enough to give it semi-precious value. Silver is the most chemically active of the “noble” metals and is harder than gold but softer than copper. It is usually stable in pure air and water but tarnishes when exposed to sulfur, hydrogen sulfide or ozone. Because of its softness and known health properties silver was used for food and drink vessels, jewelry and as a medium of monetary exchange. Evidence of silver mining has been found in Asia Minor and the Aegean Sea area as far back as 3000-4000 years B.C.