Ultimate Colloidal Silver Manual

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is "What's the difference between true colloidal silver, nanosilver and ionic silver?"

This question is largely spurred by websites promoting the erroneous idea that there's only one kind of colloidal silver – which they refer to as "true colloidal silver" – and that all other forms of colloidal silver are somehow inferior to it in antimicrobial effectiveness.

Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. And I'll document that for you step-by-step, directly below. Here are the basic scientific facts the purveyors of "true colloidal silver" don't want you to know...

To understand the differences between so-called "true colloidal silver," nanosilver and ionic silver you first have to grasp the simple fact that the term "colloidal silver" is an umbrella term covering many different types of liquid antimicrobial silver products, such as:

  • Ionic silver – extremely small, positively charged atoms or molecules of silver in a colloidal suspension

  • Metallic silver – bare metal silver particles averaging 100 nm or larger, in a colloidal suspension

  • Nanosilver – bare metal silver particles averaging less than 100 nm in size, in a colloidal suspension

  • Mild Silver Protein – bare metal particles of silver complexed with denatured protein such as casein, in a colloidal suspension

  • Silver Citrate – ionic silver complexed with citric acid, in a colloidal suspension

While there are some pretty big differences between each of these forms of colloidal silver, the main thing to remember is that they're all "colloidal" in nature.

That is to say, they're all composed of relatively small particles of one form of silver or another, suspended homogenously and indefinitely in water. They're not dissolved in the water. They're tiny, submicroscopic particles of silver suspended in the water.

What makes each of these forms of colloidal silver different is how they're produced and how they work inside the human body.

So in the remainder of this article we're going to examine those two crucial factors carefully. But for the sake of time, we're only going to look at the two most popular forms of colloidal silver, i.e., the ionic form and the metallic form.

The Differences Between
Ionic Silver and Metallic Silver

The two main types of colloidal silver vying for the spotlight today are the ionic form, and the metallic form. And it's around these two forms of colloidal silver that most of the controversy swirls. So we'll take a good hard look at the differences between these two forms of colloidal silver, below.

The ionic form of colloidal silver is the most common form sold in health food stores today.

Indeed, it's been the #1 best-selling form of colloidal silver for over 100 years, and it continues to be the bestselling form of colloidal silver to this very day.

The metallic form of colloidal silver is the second most common form sold in health food stores today. It can also be referred to as nanoparticle silver, but only if the metallic silver particles it's composed of are less than 100 nm in size on average.

Metallic Silver Facts

Let's examine the metallic form of colloidal silver first:

This form of colloidal silver is also often erroneously referred to by internet marketers as "true colloidal silver".

It's important to note, however, that the term "true colloidal silver" is a completely made-up term. It cannot be found anywhere in the scientific or medical nomenclature. That's because it's an advertising gimmick, and not an actual recognized medical or scientific term.

In fact, a friend of mine who's been the research director of a pharmaceutical firm for years often challenges people to find the term "true colloidal silver" in any reputable medical textbook or clinical reference work. He even offers to buy them a gallon of their favorite brand of "true colloidal silver" if they can produce such a reference.

But he's never been taken up on the challenge because there's simply no reference to "true colloidal silver" in any of the standard recognized medical or clinical reference texts in the entire world.

In short, there's simply no such thing as "true colloidal silver". Clinical researchers won't even use the term in their clinical studies because they don't want to be laughed out of the room.

So for the sake of clarity and scientific accuracy we'll continue to use the correct nomenclature and refer to the so-called "true colloidal silver" as the metallic form of colloidal silver, or nanosilver.

The metallic form of colloidal silver is generally manufactured through a chemical process in which a silver compound such as silver nitrate or silver acetate is chemically reduced until there's nothing left but tiny, bare metal particles of elemental silver suspended in water.

But metallic silver can also be manufactured through a high-voltage A/C process in which extremely high voltages of electricity up to 25,000 volts are used to force tiny particles of elemental silver to disassociate (i.e., break loose) into water from a larger silver rod or bar.

Another less-often-used method for producing the metallic form of colloidal silver is to take finely ground-up elemental silver and add it to water while sonicating it (i.e., mechanically agitating the silver particles) in order to bring it into a colloidal suspension.

The bottom line is that no matter how you produce the metallic form of colloidal silver, when you drink it you're drinking tiny particles of bare metal elemental silver. It would be the same as if you could use your knife to whittle raw silver particles off a silver coin, only the silver metal particles in the metallic form of colloidal silver are much smaller, of course.

Ionic Silver Facts

Now let's examine the ionic form of colloidal silver:

The ionic form of colloidal silver is almost always produced through a low-voltage D/C electrical process, rather than being chemically manufactured, ground up and mechanically sonicated or disassociated with from elemental silver using high-voltages of electricity.

What happens is that a current of low-voltage electricity is passed through two pure silver rods immersed in pure distilled water. As the electrical current passes through one of the silver rods, hydrogen and hydroxide ions are produced making the distilled water slightly conductive – just enough to allow the electrical current to flow through the water toward the other silver rod.

As this process gradually accelerates, submicroscopic silver ions (i.e., tiny atomic and molecular particles of pure silver) are slowly liberated into the water from one of the silver rods, where they're suspended by a positive electrical charge.

These tiny atomic and molecular particles of silver act as electrolytes, allowing the electrical current to flow even more strongly between the two silver rods, liberating even more silver ions in the process.

Unlike the metallic form of colloidal silver, these are not tiny particles of bare metal elemental silver. Instead, they're tiny, electrically-charged atomic and molecular particles of silver – which is to say, they're silver particles missing an electron.

Physically, the missing electron and the resulting positive electrical charge is the only thing that distinguishes these silver particles from bare metal elemental silver particles.

Indeed, it's that missing electron that allows the tiny silver ions to carry their positive electrical charge, which does two things:

1) Makes the silver far more biologically active inside the human body against pathogens, and...

2) Makes the silver and far more bio-available (i.e., easier for the body to absorb and utilize).

I'll explain why this is true, in-depth, throughout the remainder of this article. But simply put, the ionic form of colloidal silver is the most readily bio-available and bio-effective form, which is exactly why it's been the #1 best-selling form of colloidal silver for nearly 100 years.

You may not realize it, but the ionic form of colloidal silver is the same naturally occurring form of silver found in food plants such as wheat, edible mushrooms, edible sea vegetables (Nori, Kombu, Wakame, Arame, Hijiki, Dulse) and others.

You see, plants absorb minerals from the ground or from the water through their root systems or other nutrient intake systems. And they quickly convert these minerals into their ionic form.

Why? Because it's the ionic form that's the most readily bio-available...the most biologically active...and therefore the most useful and beneficial in the body for both humans and animals that eat the plants.

So Mother Nature makes sure that minerals are in their most bioavailable form in our food plants, so we'll get the most out of them, nutritionally speaking, when we eat them.

Were this not true, there would be little positive benefit whatsoever from eating plants in order to obtain the minerals our bodies need to function. We could just eat dirt instead, and consume our minerals in their elemental (i.e., metallic) form. But the human body is simply not equipped to use the elemental form of silver very well.

Instead, nature has decreed that the human body utilizes minerals – including silver – in the ionic form, which, again, is exactly why Mother Nature has her food plants convert minerals into the ionic form.

So when you use the ionic form of colloidal silver, you're using the same form that occurs naturally in food plants. In other words, minerals in their ionic form are the way Mother Nature intended for them to be ingested.

A Brief Review

To briefly review, when you ingest the metallic form of colloidal silver (i.e., nanosilver, or so-called "true colloidal silver"), you're ingesting tiny, bare metal elemental silver particles in a colloidal suspension.

And when you ingest the ionic form of colloidal silver, you're ingesting tiny, submicroscopic atoms and molecules of silver – also known as ionic silver particles – that have been electrically liberated from bare metal silver into a colloidal suspension.

In spite of what's been said on the internet, both metallic silver suspensions and ionic silver suspensions are "colloidal silver". After all, they're both composed of tiny particles of silver suspended homogenously and indefinitely in a liquid solution.

The big difference between the two is that the metallic form of colloidal silver is composed of tiny, bare metal particles of elemental silver, while the ionic form of colloidal silver is composed of tiny positively-charged atomic or molecular particles of silver that have been liberated from metallic silver using low-voltage electricity.

Both are "colloids", with the bare metal elemental silver suspension being a metallic colloid, and the ionic silver suspension being a colloidal electrolyte (due to the electrically charged atomic and molecular particles of silver).

This is why both forms – metallic and ionic – have been universally called "colloidal silver" for the past 100-plus years, until only recently when purveyors of the metallic form began claiming only theirs could be called a "true colloid". It's a great marketing gimmick. But scientifically speaking, the claim is a farce.

The metallic silver suspensions are colloids. And the ionic silver suspensions are colloids.

Again, one is a colloidal suspension of tiny metal particles of silver. And one is a colloidal suspension of tiny electrically-charged ionic particles of silver just like you’d find naturally in edible plants.

The Truly Important Distinction

Now here's the truly important distinction you need to understand:

It's the tiny, submicroscopic silver ions (i.e., positively charged atoms or molecules of silver) that give ALL forms of colloidal silver their infection-fighting properties.

In fact, ALL reputable experts agree that silver ions are the biologically active, infection-fighting "specie" of silver, while bare metal elemental silver particles have almost no infection-fighting qualities of their own except to the extent that they shed silver ions when they come into contact with acidic bodily fluids or highly-oxygenated body tissues.

For example, here's a quote from Britain's top expert on antimicrobial silver, Alan B.G. Lansdown, author of Silver In Healthcare: Its Antimicrobial Efficacy and Safety in Use, which is considered to be the definitive textbook for doctors on the medical use of silver:

"Metallic silver is inert in the presence of human tissues but ionizes in the presence of moisture, body fluids, and secretions to release the biologically active Ag+".

Alan B.G. Lansdown, A Pharmacological and Toxicological Profile of Silver as an Antimicrobial Agent in Medical Devices, Advances in Pharmacological Sciences, Vol. 2010, Article ID 910686

As you can see, Dr. Lansdown agrees that the silver ion (also known as Ag+) is the biologically active, infection-fighting form of silver, and that metallic silver is basically inert except to the extent it begins to shed silver ions in the body when it comes into contact with certain bodily fluids.

Here's another quote; this one from Microbe Wiki, the online encyclopedia of all things microbial:

"In order for silver to have any antimicrobial properties, it must be in its ionized form. Silver in its non-ionized form is inert, but contact with moisture leads to the release of silver ions."

Microbe Wiki, Silver As An Antimicrobial Agent

That's pretty darned clear, I think you'll agree. Silver must be in the ionized (i.e., ionic) form in order to kill pathogens.

If silver is in its non-ionized form (i.e., metallic elemental silver) it can only kill pathogens to the extent it begins to shed silver ions when it comes into contact with acidic bodily fluids. This simple fact is recognized throughout both science and industry. For example, here's another quote, this one from an industry source:

"Metallic silver is relatively unreactive. However, when exposed to aqueous environments some ionic silver (Ag+) is released...

...the principle activity of silver is as a result of the production of silver ions within an aqueous matrix."

Technical White Paper: Antimicrobial Activity of Silver, Industrial Microbiological Services Ltd., September 2005

And here's another expert quote, this one from top Rice University researchers who have studied the question of metallic versus ionic silver extensively:

"Scientists have long known that silver ions, which flow from nanoparticles when oxidized [i.e., when they lose an electron – ED] are deadly to bacteria.

But scientists have also suspected silver nanoparticles themselves may be toxic to bacteria, particularly the smallest of them at about 3 nanometers.

Not so, according to the Rice team that reported its results this month in the American Chemical Society journal Nano Letters.

In fact, when the possibility of ionization is taken away from silver, the nanoparticles are practically benign in the presence of microbes."

Rice University News, "Ions, Not Particles, Make Silver Toxic to Bacteria", quoting Pedro Alvarez, George R. Brown Professor and chair of Rice's Civil and Environmental Engineering Department

And quoting directly from the Abstract of the actual Rice University study, titled "Negligible Particle-Specific Antibacterial Activity of Silver Nanoparticles", which was published in the July 5, 2012 issue of the journal Nano Letters:

"For nearly a decade, researchers have debated the mechanisms by which AgNPs [i.e., silver nanoparticles] exert toxicity to bacteria and other organisms.

The most elusive question has been whether the AgNPs exert direct "particle-specific" effects beyond the known antimicrobial activity of released silver ions (Ag+).

Here, we infer that Ag+ [i.e, silver ions – ED] is the definitive molecular toxicant.

We rule out direct particle-specific biological effects by showing the lack of toxicity of AgNPs [i.e., metallic silver – ED] when synthesized and tested under strictly anaerobic conditions that preclude Ag(0) oxidation and Ag+ release.

In other words, when the researchers took away the ability of the metallic nanosilver to shed silver ions, the metal particles were no longer toxic to bacteria. It is only when metallic silver (i.e., nanosilver) is able to shed silver ions that it can kill bacteria.

Again, that's brand new research by top clinical researchers from Rice University. But it's been known for over half a century that metallic silver is biologically inert – meaning it has no antimicrobial qualities of its own except to the extent it sheds biologically active silver ions.

But it's backed up by tons of previous research. In January 2009, in the journal Quanta, researcher S.M. Foran wrote in an article titled "Therapeutic Properties of Silver: An Historical and Technical Review":

"Neutral silver [i.e., metallic silver – ED] does not have the microcidal nature that silver does in the ionic state. The charge of the ion is necessary in facilitating electron displacement in microbes...

...Reduced or neutral silver [i.e., metallic silver – ED] have no known medical value. These include silver salts, silver compounds and colloids that are created without ions...

...These produces will still provide some benefits if there are silver ions present, but most of them have difficulty achieving biologically meaning concentrations of Ag+"

And in their technical white paper "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Use of Silver in Wound Therapy", Systagenix Wound Management (one of the world's largest providers of wound care products for hospitals and doctors) wrote:

"Silver can exist in 'elemental' or 'ionic' form. Silver ions are also referred to as 'Ag+' or 'silver cations'.

All silver-containing products, whether elemental or ionic, achieve their antimicrobial effect via the action of silver cations (i.e., silver ions)."

In other words, the silver can be in the elemental metal state, or it can be in the ionic state, but there's no way for it to kill pathogens except in the ionic state. The elemental metal form has to convert to the ionic form in order to work. It has to shed silver ions in the presence of pathogens, or it's otherwise benign.

If you'd like to learn more about this critical point, take a moment to read my extensively-documented article, "Experts: It's the Silver Ion that Gives Colloidal Silver Its Antimicrobial Power".

In that article, you'll find dozens of quotes from bona-fide clinical research and medical experts going back half a century or more and documenting the fact that the silver ion (i.e., ionic silver) is the biologically active, infection-fighting "specie" of silver, and that metallic (or elemental) silver, even in its nanoparticle form is biologically inert against pathogens except to the extent it sheds silver ions.

So here's the key to understanding the controversy over the ionic form of colloidal silver versus the metallic form of colloidal silver (which is erroneously referred to as "true colloidal silver"):

When you ingest the metallic form of colloidal silver, in order for these tiny particles of bare metal elemental silver to be effective in the human body they must first be converted by the body into the ionic form of silver.

In other words, they have to shed silver ions. They do this when they come into contact with acidic bodily fluids or highly-oxygenated tissues. This, in turn causes the metal particles to liberate silver ions into the surrounding area. It's a far slower and less effective process than simply ingesting silver ions.

In other words, for the metallic form of colloidal silver to work, it has to be broken down and converted inside of your body into the ionic form of silver, i.e., into those tiny components of silver we call silver ions.

But when you ingest the electrically-generated ionic form of colloidal silver, there's no conversion process needed. Your body does not need to break it down any further, because it's ALREADY in the biologically active, infection-fighting form – the same naturally bio-available form you'll find it in, in plants.

With the ionic form of colloidal silver, you're ingesting tiny, submicroscopic, electrically-charged atoms and molecules of silver, called silver ions. Silver ions are the "bioactive" form of silver that are so useful in the human body because they're so deadly to pathogens.

Which One Works?

The bottom line is this: Technically speaking, either form of colloidal silver – ionic or metallic – work. Both have powerful antimicrobial qualities.

But...in order for the metallic form of colloidal silver to kill pathogens it has to undergo a gradual conversion process inside the human body. It has to come into contact with acidic bodily fluids or highly oxygenated tissues and then start shedding silver ions, which are what actually kill the bacteria.

On the other hand, when you ingest the electrically-generated ionic form of colloidal silver no conversion is necessary. It's ready to work immediately because it's already in the biologically active, infection-fighting state.

In short, both of them work just fine.

But the metallic form (i.e., the so-called "true colloidal silver") works much slower, and far less efficiently, because the tiny bare metal particles it's composed of are inert (i.e., have no antimicrobial activity on their own) and have to undergo that gradual conversion into silver ions inside the human body before they can even begin to work against pathogens.

For further documentation, see this article from Rice University researchers demonstrating that the metallic (i.e., nanoparticle) form of silver is biologically inert, and cannot kill pathogens unless it sheds biologically active silver ions.

Electrical Charges

As long as we're delving this deeply into the science behind colloidal silver, I suppose I could also explain that ionic silver works best against pathogens because it carries a positive electrical charge, while metallic silver (or nanosilver) carries no electrical charge at all.

This is very important to understand. In science, it's well known that like electrical charges repel each other, and opposite electrical charges attract each other.

And since bacteria tend to carry a negative electrical charge on their cell wall, positively-charged silver ions have a strong affinity for them.

You see gram positive bacteria carry a negative electrical charge on their cell walls thanks to the presence of teichoic acids linked to either the eptidoglycan or to the underlying plasma membrane. These teichoic acids are negatively charged because of presence of phosphate in their structure.

And gram negative bacteria have an outer covering of phospholipids and lipopolysaccharides, with the lipopolysaccharides imparting a strongly negative charge to the surface of the bacterial cell wall.

So thanks to the positive electrical charge on silver ions, a very strong affinity exists between them and gram positive and gram negative forms of bacteria. In short, the silver ions are strongly attracted to bacteria. But metallic silver does not carry this same electrical attraction, because it does not carry an electrical charge.

The bottom line, as Albert T. McManus, M.D., Chief of Microbiology, Institute of Surgical Research at Fort Sam Houston Army Burn Center in Houston, Texas has observed:

"...conversion of metallic silver to silver ions is necessary for efficacy" and "the silver ion will react with any negative charge presented by a pathogen's transport or membrane proteins and deactivate them."

In short, because silver ions are missing an electron, they're positively charged, which causes them to be attracted to the cell wall of the pathogens at which point they then begin to destabilize the cell wall and disrupt cellular metabolism of the pathogen.

As clinical researcher Eric Rentz states in his retrospective study of silver, published in the Journal of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine:

Microbial cells "selectively bond only with Ag+ [i.e., ionic silver – ED]."

And as researcher S.M. Foran wrote in an article titled "Therapeutic Properties of Silver: An Historical and Technical Review", which was published in the January 2009 issue of the journal Quanta:

"Neutral silver [i.e., metallic silver – ED] does not have the microcidal nature that silver does in the ionic state. The charge of the ion is necessary in facilitating electron displacement in microbes..."

So again, it's the SILVER ION that gives silver all of its infection-fighting properties. And it's largely the positive electrical charge held by the silver ion that makes silver's biocidal properties possible.

Metalic silver does not carry this crucial positive electrical charge. So it does not seek out, bind to and destroy pathogens like ionic silver does. It can only destroy pathogens to the extent that it converts to the ionic form of silver in the human body, which generally happens on a very gradual basis in the presence of acidic bodily fluids or highly oxygenated tissues – a much slower and less effective process. Never let anyone tell you differently.

Now You Know...
Now you know why the ionic form of colloidal silver has been the world's #1 best-selling form of colloidal silver for over 60 years.

The ionic form of colloidal silver sells better, because it works faster and more efficiently in the human body than the metallic form (i.e., nanosilver, or so-called "true colloidal silver") which is composed of nothing but tiny bare particles of elemental silver metal that cannot even begin to kill microbes until they start shedding silver ions.

So the question of the day is this:

Why even bother to ingest a colloidal silver solution consisting of bare metal silver particles that need to be converted into silver ions inside the human body, when instead you can ingest a colloidal silver solution consisting of pure silver ions that need no conversion at all?

Stomach Acid Nonsense

Now, of course, the purveyors of the metallic form of colloidal silver will tell you that the ionic form of colloidal silver simply doesn’t work against pathogens in the human body.

They claim – erroneously, of course – that this is because silver ions easily get tied-up in the gut by hydrochloric acid (i.e., stomach acid) and are thereby converted to silver chloride and neutralized.

And they claim that only their metallic form of colloidal silver can possibly work inside the human body, because it doesn’t get tied-up in the gut by stomach acid, but instead is absorbed through the gastrointestinal barrier and ends up in the blood where it's carried into the body's cells, tissues and organs.

But if that little bit of marketing claptrap were true, then the metallic form of colloidal silver – the so-called "true colloidal silver" – could not possibly work either.

After all, as I've demonstrated repeatedly in this article, for the metallic form of colloidal silver to work in the body, pathogen-killing silver ions must be liberated from the bare metal silver particles.

And that conversion from metallic silver to ionic silver can only take place in the presence of acidic bodily fluids or highly-oxygenated tissues.

Of course, stomach acid is highly acidic. That's why they call it stomach acid. So, metallic silver begins shedding silver ions as soon as it comes into contact with stomach acid.

But if ionic silver is tied-up and neutralized in the gut by hydrochloric acid, then the silver ions being shed by metallic silver particles inside the stomach would also become tied-up and neutralized by stomach acid.

And in such a case, neither form of colloidal silver could possibly kill pathogens inside the human body, because it's the silver ion that's the biologically active, infection-fighting "specie" of silver. The silver ion, and only the silver ion, kills pathogens.

So the purveyors of the metallic form of colloidal silver shoot themselves in the foot every time they make the claim that silver ions get tied up in the gut by stomach acid and are thereby turned into silver chloride and neutralized.

Again, if this were true the effectiveness of their own product would be equally neutralized once ingested, since it begins shedding silver ions in the gut in reaction to stomach acid, and indeed, is completely dependent upon shedding silver ions in order to work against pathogens.

"Well, Steve," you might say, "what if the metal particles are absorbed across the gastrointestinal barrier and into the bloodstream, and only then begin to shed silver ions?"

Interesting question. Aside from the fact that it physically can't happen that way due to the hydrochloric acid in the stomach which starts the process of liberating silver ions from the metallic silver in earnest, there's another problem, as well. Here it is:

The "true colloidal silver" people make the following claim on their own website: "If some ionic silver were ever able to get into the bloodstream it would encounter a large supply of chloride ions owing to the fact that the blood serum is rich in sodium and potassium chloride, again, quickly forming silver chloride."

So if that's true, then metallic silver particles releasing silver ions in the bloodstream would also have their effectiveness completely neutralized, because the released silver ions would be neutralized as they formed silver chloride.

Do you see how the "true colloidal silver" people continue to shoot themselves in the foot over and over and over again with their spurious claims?

In just a moment, I'll show you exactly how silver ions manage to get through the harsh chemical environment of the gastrointestinal tract, and the bloodstream, and make it into the cells, tissues and organs of the human body where they can work their magic against pathogens.

But first, here's a big surprise for you:

A Big Surprise...

While the so-called "true colloidal silver" people continue to make the claim that ionic silver gets tied-up in the gut and neutralized by hydrochloric acid, recent clinical research demonstrates that it's actually their metallic form of colloidal silver that gets tied-up in the gut and neutralized by hydrochloric acid.

In fact, this has been demonstrated clinically, time and time again, most recently by researchers from the University of Nevada in cooperation with scientists from the EPA's Office of Research and Development.

In their clinical study, these researchers "exposed silver nanoparticles to synthetic human stomach fluid to see how ingested nanoparticles could be altered by the stomach's very acidic environment."

According to the researchers:

"A variety of analytical methods showed that nanoparticles formed large aggregates and produced silver chloride when exposed to stomach fluid.

Changes in nanoparticle physical form and surface chemistry that occur in the stomach may affect how much silver will be absorbed across the gastrointestinal barrier."

In short, the researchers discovered that metallic silver nanoparticles (i.e., nanosilver, or so-called "true colloidal silver") formed large clumps and began converting to silver chloride when exposed to stomach acids.

The researchers surmised that because of this, the human body would likely have significant trouble absorbing and utilizing metallic nanosilver particles.


Of course, that's just the opposite of what the "true colloidal silver" people will tell you. They claim that metallic silver will not interact with stomach fluids, and that therefore it's easily absorbable into the body from the gastrointestinal tract.

They further claim that it's the ionic form of colloidal silver that gets tied up in the gut and cannot make past the gastrointestinal barrier. But the only evidence they produce for their claims is from their own in-house lab.

No independent clinical research backs up their claims. Quite the opposite, in fact – most truly independent clinical research destroys their claims.

Even the infamous Brown University clinical study on argyria, conducted in August 2012, found that metallic nanosilver was "not terribly likely to make it from the GI tract to the blood..." but that silver ions shed by the metal nanosilver in reaction to the acidic environment of the stomach were "easily absorbed into the bloodstream". Again, that's the exact opposite of what the purveyors of "true colloidal silver" claim.

Indeed, the Brown University researchers found that:

"...nanosilver corrodes in stomach acid in much the same way it does in other acidic environments.

Corrosion strips silver atoms of electrons, forming positively charged silver salt ions. Those ions can easily be taken into the bloodstream..."

So in light of these studies and others like them, it would seem that the purveyors of the metallic nanosilver products which they erroneously call "true colloidal silver" are either ignorant of the actual science, or not always completely honest with their customers.

That's probably a gross understatement.

The Problem With Simulated Studies

Nevertheless, while the above two studies are fascinating because they further document the fact that metallic nanosilver by itself is basically worthless except to the extent that it sheds silver ions in the body, both studies were nevertheless based upon simulated body systems, i.e., they used simulated stomach acid, simulated blood, simulated tissues, simulated skin, etc.

And in such clinical simulations, no matter how close these researchers can come to the real thing, they still can't reproduce the dynamic biological milieu of the human body, with all of its chemical complexities.

I say this for a very specific reason.

After all, in spite of the simulation studies, it's abundantly clear from real-life experience as well as from clinical experience that both forms of colloidal silver – the ionic form and the metallic form – work effectively against pathogens inside the human body.

So please don't think I'm trying to say that metallic silver doesn't work. I'm not. I'm just demonstrating that their claims against ionic silver are based on fantasy, deception or gross misunderstanding of the colloidal science.

Indeed, there's tons of clinical documentation for the effectiveness of the metallic form of colloidal silver. And there's tons more clinical documentation for the effectiveness of the ionic form of colloidal silver.

There's also thousands upon thousands of real-life human and animal anecdotal accounts demonstrating the effectiveness of both forms of colloidal silver.

What's more, this broad spectrum of evidence for the effectiveness of both forms of colloidal silver stretch back over a period of more than 100 years. So how can this be?

How can both forms of colloidal silver work against pathogens in the human body if metallic silver gets corroded by stomach acid, forming clumps and turning into silver chloride (as the University of Nevada and Brown University clinical studies clearly demonstrate), and if ionic silver gets turned into silver chloride in the stomach and is neutralized (as the purveyors of the metallic form of colloidal silver claim)?

Thankfully, there's a very simple, often overlooked answer...

The Metalloprotein Transport System:
The Final Piece of the Puzzle

Both forms of colloidal silver – the metallic silver form and the ionic silver form – demonstrate broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity in the human body for one reason, and one reason only:

It's because the human body has a very effective transport mechanism for safely escorting silver ions through the harsh acidic chemical environments encountered inside the human body and into the cells, tissues and organs where they can work against pathogens that colonize and cause illness and disease.

And it's this transport mechanism – known as the Metalloprotein Transport System – the clinical researchers simply can't duplicate in their simulated studies.

I've written about the Metalloprotein Transport System many times. So if you'd like, you can read more extensively about it in my article titled "Metalloproteins – the Body's Transport Mechanism for Ionic Silver".

The upshot of the matter is this: Without the Metalloprotein Transport System, neither the ionic form of colloidal silver nor the metallic form of colloidal silver could possibly work inside the human body.

After all, the ionic form of colloidal silver is composed largely of pure silver ions. And the metallic form of colloidal silver is completely dependent upon conversion to silver ions inside the body in order to demonstrate any antimicrobial activity whatsoever.

So both forms would ultimately be neutralized by acids or chloride ions not just in the stomach, but elsewhere in the body as well.

But substances called metalloproteins protectively bond with silver ions and then escort them through the harsh chemical environment of the gastrointestinal tract and into the bloodstream where they’re carried safely into the cells, tissues and organs of the human body before being released to work their magic against pathogens.

And that's why both form of colloidal silver work well in the human body.

You see, metalloproteins are produced inside the human body in direct response to the presence of metallic ions. This is true for silver ions, zinc ions, copper ions or any other metallic mineral ion.

So when you ingest ionic silver, your body will immediately begin to produce metalloproteins such as metallothionein to escort those silver ions through the harsh chemical environment of the stomach, and into the deeper reaches of the body.

And when you ingest metallic silver, the same things happens, but far more slowly. As the metallic silver particles come into contact with acidic bodily fluids beginning in the GI tract, these metal particles begin shedding silver ions, just as the above studies have documented.

And it's at that point the body will start producing the metalloproteins needed to escort those silver ions through that harsh chemical environment and into the bloodstream, organs, tissues and cells of the body where pathogens colonize.

Researchers can't simulate that in a study, because it's too difficult to simulate the rich biochemical milieu of the human body in its entirety.

They can't coax a simulated body system – with simulated blood, simulated stomach acid, simulated tissues and simulated skin – to produce metalloproteins in response to the presence of silver ions.

But the human body, of course, is quite capable of doing so. It's not a simulated system. It's the real deal. And in the human body, metalloproteins are always produced in response to the presence of metallic ions such as silver, zinc, copper and others.

Now, here's the interesting part:

When using the ionic form of colloidal silver, the metalloprotein "escort" process starts immediately, because it's the silver ion that stimulates the body to produce metalloproteins in the first place.

But when using the metallic form of colloidal silver, the process is far more gradual due to the fact that it takes a while for the body to start converting metallic silver particles into silver ions, en masse.

This is why some clinical studies have demonstrated that it takes significantly longer for metallic silver to kill pathogens than it does for ionic silver.

The $64,000 Question

Finally, I ask you to put your thinking cap on for just a second and ask yourself this simple question:

If it were true that only elemental metals could survive the harsh acidic environment of the GI tract, and that ionic metals "can't last more than a few seconds in the body" as the so-called "true colloidal silver" people claim, then how does the human body absorb and utilize minerals from the food plants we eat, since they're all in the ionic form, and they all end up in the stomach in contact with stomach acid?

If the "true colloidal silver" people were correct in their assertions that ions can’t exist in the presence of stomach acid for "more than a few seconds", then it follows that human body could not absorb and utilize minerals from food plants at all, for the simple reason nature has those plants convert all minerals, including silver, to the ionic form.

That fact that our body does indeed absorb and utilize ionic minerals from plants is all of the evidence you need that the "true colloidal silver" people are being awfully disingenuous (to put it mildly) when they say ionic silver "can't work in the human body".

Now please don't get me wrong, by any means. I'm not against the metallic form of colloidal silver or its metallic silver counterpart, nanosilver. I've documented in this report why both of them work, as well as how they work.

But I'm not going to deny the science behind colloidal silver just to make people feel better about their choices. And I'm not going to allow shifty marketers to get away with twisting the science all out of proportion to make one colloidal silver product sound superior to all others, when nothing could be further from the truth.

My advice to colloidal silver vendors is that they should allow their products compete in the open marketplace based upon their merits, and not upon "weird science" from their in-house labs that simply can't be backed up by valid and competent independent clinical research.

People will come back time-and-time again to purchase products that actually work. And if your colloidal silver product works, people will enthusiastically promote it for you, both online and among their own families and friends.

But if you lie to them about the science, then skepticism about all of your claims inevitably kicks in. And the old saying "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me," will eventually take its toll on your product sales as truth comes to light.

The Ion/Particle Debate

As long as we're still in learning mode, let's take this one step further.

It's important to note that some colloidal silver marketers, in an attempt to make their product appear superior, would lead you to believe that an ion is not a particle, and that therefore the ionic form of colloidal silver cannot really be considered "colloidal" in nature, because there are supposedly no "particles" in it.

This is ridiculous, of course. Just think it through for yourself. An ion is simply a particle of bare metallic silver that's missing an electron. That's it. Taking away an electron from a particle of silver does not change the fact that it's a particle of silver any more than taking away a person's big toe changes the fact the person is a human being. It's just a particle of silver missing an electron, i.e., an ionic particle. Simply put:

  • Metallic silver is composed of silver particles that are not missing an electron (and thus are biologically inactive/inert against pathogens).

  • And ionic silver is composed of silver particles that are missing an electron (which gives them a positive electrical charge and makes them biologically active against pathogens).

But don't just believe me. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry defines an "ion" like this:

"An atomic or molecular particle having a net electric charge."

You can't get any simpler or more accurate than that.

The IUPAC is the recognized world authority in chemical terminology and nomenclature. It's even informally referred to as the "Gold Book", because it's considered to be the gold standard for scientific definitions. And its definitions are applicable to ALL fields of science.

Of course, you'll have some of these "true colloidal silver" people tell you "Yes, I know what the Gold Books says, but that definition doesn't apply to my product because it has special physical properties not covered in the Gold Book."

All I can say is in response to that little bit of silliness is please chuckle softly when they make that claim. Don't laugh too hard. Say something like "Well, bless your pointed little head", and avert your eyes as if you're embarrassed for them.

The IUPAC further states that colloid components include ionic particles. It even refers to the "colloidal ion".

So any colloidal silver marketer who would lead you to believe that an ion is not a particle and therefore cannot be part of a "true colloid" (or more accurately spoken, a true colloidal suspension) is either uninformed or attempting to deceive you with semantics.

In short, if you absolutely have to use the term "true colloidal silver", at least do so with the understanding that ionic colloidal silver is every bit as much "true colloidal silver" as the metallic form of colloidal silver claims to be.

In fact, ionic silver is even more so, because it's already in the biologically active, infection-fighting form, whereas metallic colloidal silver has to be converted inside the body into the biologically active, infection-fighting form in order to kill pathogens.

Again, they both work against pathogens. It's just that the metallic form works far more slowly inside the human body because it has to be converted to the biologically active, infection-fighting "specie" of silver (i.e., ionic silver) before it can be of any benefit whatsoever.

One Last Bit of Nonsense Debunked

Finally, let me address one more piece of nonsense being promulgated by colloidal silver marketers. I know you're tired. You've had to take in quite a lot in this long article. So I'll be as brief as possible, I promise.

I'm talking about the people on the internet who claim that ionic silver is not effective inside the human body unless you first add a reducing agent to it, like powdered dextrose, in order to turn it into "true colloidal silver" (i.e., metallic silver) before drinking it.

This is where I lift my head to the sky and make a loud, disgusting pirate noise: Arrrggghhh!

Why in the world would anyone bother to convert ionic silver back into metallic silver before drinking it, knowing that your body is just going to have to convert it back to ionic silver for it to be effective against pathogens?

It's like saying, after you’ve prepared tomato soup for lunch that you have to convert it back to whole tomatoes before you can eat it. Or after you've boiled potatoes for dinner you have to convert them back to raw potatoes before eating them. There’s just no sense in it. It's a gimmick, pure and simple.

As I've stated over and over again:

  • Ionic silver is the biologically active, infection-fighting form of colloidal silver. If it's not ionic, it cannot kill pathogens.

  • Metallic silver is biologically inert. It has zero effect against pathogens in the human body, until it gets converted to ionic silver by shedding silver ions in the presence of acidic bodily fluids.

Every reputable clinical expert on silver acknowledges that fact. So repeat that to yourself over and over and over again until it's so ingrained in your brain that no one can ever dislodge it again with their ridiculous gimmicky ideas and silly notions.

If you've got ionic silver, you've got silver that's already in its active, infection-fighting form. If you convert it back to metallic silver from whence it came, your body will simply have to convert it back to ionic silver when you ingest it. So why not just ingest the ionic silver? Anything else is just plain stupid.

Look, there's plenty of money to be made in colloidal silver gimmickry. And there are plenty of people willing to part you from your hard-earned money with those gimmicks.

I'll just suffice it to say, there's no need on the face of God's green earth to convert your ionic colloidal silver to metallic colloidal silver. All you're doing is making it work slower in the body, because once you chemically convert it back to metallic silver and ingest it in its metallic form, it then has to be gradually converted back to ionic silver in the body order to be effective against pathogens.

I've already explained that process numerous times throughout the course of this article. And I've demonstrated that the human body is designed to use silver (and all other minerals) in their ionic form rather than their elemental metal form. I've repeated it until I'm blue in the face, and the blue color is not because of argyria, it's because of exasperation with all of the nonsense being promulgated on the internet about colloidal silver.

I've even shown that the human body has a special transport mechanism for escorting silver ions through the harsh chemical environment of the gastrointestinal tract and into the bloodstream, tissues, organs and cells of the body where pathogens like to colonize.

So I'll suffice it to say this:

If someone tells you that you have to buy their magic pixie dust and add it to your ionic colloidal silver suspension in order to turn it into "true colloidal silver"... smile politely while hiding your wallet, and walk quickly away in the other direction.

Okay. One last time, I'll summarize the facts for you. And then I'm done with this topic.

To Sum It Up

Although there are many forms of colloidal silver, you have two main forms vying for the spotlight today. They're the ionic form of colloidal silver and the metallic form (which is often erroneously referred to as "true colloidal silver").

  • The metallic form is largely composed of bare metal particles of elemental silver in a colloidal suspension. This form is also referred to as "nanosilver" when the metallic silver particles average less than 100 nm in size.

  • The ionic form is largely composed of tiny, electrically-charged atomic and molecular silver particles in a colloidal suspension. These are known as silver ions, and they're the same biologically active form of silver you'll find naturally in plants such as wheat and mushrooms.

  • All recognized scientific, clinical and medical research experts agree that the ionic form of silver is the biologically active, infection-fighting form, and that the metallic form only works against pathogens to the extent it's able to shed silver ions.

  • Both forms of colloidal silver – the ionic form and the metallic form – work against pathogens inside the human body. But the ionic form works because it's already in the biologically active, infection-fighting state, and the metallic form works only to the extent it's converted inside the human body to the ionic form.

  • Finally, the body has a built-in mechanism for escorting positively-charged silver ions through the harsh chemical environment of the stomach and into the cells, tissues and organs of the body where pathogens colonize. It's called the Metalloprotein Transport System, and without it no form of colloidal silver could possibly work inside the human body because all forms of colloidal silver are dependent upon silver ions to work against pathogens.

(And this is true for ALL metallic minerals in the body, not just silver. All metallic minerals must be converted into the ionic form so the Metalloprotein Transport System can protect them from the harsh chemical environment of the body and transport them into the organs, tissues and cells where they provide nutrition and perform other functions as well. This is why Mother Nature makes that conversion for us, for example, when plants absorb metallic or elemental minerals from the ground and convert them to the ionic form.)

All right. I've explained the science inside-out.

And unlike the "true colloidal silver" people who base the majority of their claims on "research" conducted in their own in-house lab and which has never been confirmed through independent, unbiased research, in this report I've demonstrated through independent university-level clinical research conducted by unbiased researchers with no axes to grind that the ionic form of colloidal silver is hands-down the most effective form.

And why is the ionic form of colloidal silver the most effective form? It's because the silver ion is the active, infection-fighting "specie" of silver, whereas the metallic form of silver has no infection-fighting qualities whatsoever, except to the extent it sheds silver ions.

I've also amply demonstrated why the "true colloidal silver" people are full of bat stink with their spurious claims about ionic silver being rendered ineffective in the human body by "chloride ions" or "hydrochloric acid".

And I've explained why the body's Metalloprotein Transport System makes all of those silly claims moot since it's the system through which all metallic ions – including silver ions – are safely transported through the harsh chemical environment of the GI tract and into the blood, organs, tissues and cells of the body where pathogens colonize.

When using the ionic form of colloidal silver, the metalloprotein "escort" process starts immediately, because it's the silver ion that stimulates the body to produce metalloproteins in the first place.

But when using the metallic form of colloidal silver, the process is far more gradual due to the fact that it takes a while for the body to start converting metallic silver particles into silver ions, en masse.

Finally, I've explained that ionic silver works best against pathogens in the human body because, unlike metallic silver, it carries a positive electrical charge, while bacteria carry a negative electrical charge, causing silver ions to have a strong affinity for both gram negative and gram positive bacteria.

So if you've absorbed the above information with even a moderate degree of understanding, you can feel confident that you now understand more about colloidal silver than 99% of people, including most of the self-appointed online "experts".

Yours for the safe, sane and responsible use of colloidal silver,

Steve Barwick
Steve Barwick, author
The Ultimate Colloidal Silver Manual

Copyright © 2016. All rights reserved. No reproduction without the expressed written permission of the publisher. Published by Life & Health Research Group, LLC., P.O. Box 1239, Peoria, AZ 85380-1239. For more information on colloidal silver see www.LifeandHealthResearchGroup.com








Important Note and Disclaimer: The contents of this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The author, Steve Barwick, is a natural health journalist with over 30 years of experience writing professionally about natural health topics. He is not a doctor. Therefore, nothing stated in this website should be construed as prescriptive in nature, nor is any part of this website meant to be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. Nothing reported herein is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The author is simply reporting in journalistic fashion what he has learned during the past 20 years of journalistic research into colloidal silver and its usage. Therefore, the information and data presented should be considered for informational purposes only. Readers should verify for themselves, and to their own satisfaction, from other knowledgeable sources such as their doctor, the accuracy and reliability of all reports, ideas, conclusions, comments and opinions stated herein. All important health care decisions should be made under the guidance and direction of a legitimate, knowledgeable and experienced health care professional. Readers are solely responsible for their choices. The author and publisher disclaim responsibility and/or liability for any loss or hardship that may be incurred as a result of the use or application of any information included in this website.

Copyright 2016 | Life & Health Research Group, LLC | PO Box 1239 | Peoria AZ 85380-1239 | All rights reserved.

 

Meet the Author
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Steve Barwick is author of The Ultimate Colloidal Silver Manual (547-pages), the world's #1 best-selling book on the infection-fighting qualities of colloidal silver and its many uses. He's also the moderator of the popular Colloidal Silver Secrets Community page on Facebook. For over 30 years Barwick has been a respected natural health journalist by trade, andhas researched colloidal silver from a journalistic perspective for over 20 years.


"Steve Barwick is one of the greatest writers in the realm of colloidal silver... He's done a lot to promote the awareness of colloidal silver, to debunk the myths and to get good information out to the public."

...I've been reading his stuff for a long time... He's become quite a voice and a champion for disseminating good information about colloidal silver ... silver therapeutics ...silver medicinals...

He cuts through a lot of the garbage that the governmental and pharmaceutical complex uses to sway everybody from silver. He's one of my heroes out there...So hats off to you, Steve."

– Robert Scott Bell, The Robert Scott Bell Show


 

Why Ionic Silver Rules...

Ionic silver is the #1 most popular form of colloidal silver in the world today because, simply stated it's the most effective form.

Here's what the experts have to say about the powerful infection-fighting qualities of ionic silver:

"The antimicrobial properties of silver are due to the silver ion..."

– Romans, I.B. 1954. Oligodynamic metals. In Antiseptics, Disinfectants, Fungicides, and Chemical and Physical Sterilization. Philadelphia, Lea & Febiger, 388-428.

"Silver ions are bactericidal, antifungal, protozoicidal, and active against herpes simplex virus."

– Russell, A.D., et al. 1994. Antimicrobial activity and action of silver. Progress in Medicinal Chemistry, 31, 351-370.

"...the microbicidal activity of silver is significantly ion influenced."

– Simonetti, N., et al. 1992. Electrochemical Ag+ for preservative use. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 58(12), 3834-3836.

"To be bactericidal, the silver must be available as a solution, and the efficacy of the solution is dependent on the concentration of silver ions present in the solution...silver is effective against a broad range of antibiotic-resistant organisms, which is expected because silver has been regularly found to be effective against antibiotic-resistant organisms".

– Wright, J. Barry, Lam, Kan, and Burrell, Robert E. 1998. Wound management in an era of increasing bacterial antibiotic resistance: a role for topical silver treatment. American Journal of Infection Control, 26(6), 572-577.

"Beginning in 1973, in vitro studies demonstrated that such ions were an effective antibiotic with a very broad spectrum and favorable quantitative evaluations compared with synthetic antibiotics... The failure of other nontoxic metal ions to produce a similar alteration with the same electrical parameters strongly indicates that the electrically generated silver ion is the agent responsible for the observed cellular changes... Healing rates in these wounds are significantly accelerated and are accompanied by enhanced healing of the bone, soft tissue, nerve, and skin, with replacement of missing tissues by histologically normal tissues... The responsible agent for these cellular effects is believed to be the electrically generated silver ion".

– Becker, Robert O. 2000. Effects of electrically generated silver ions on human cells and wound healing. Electro- and Magnetobiology, 19(1), 1-19.)

"Silver ions were more effective at inhibiting bacteria than platinum, gold, copper and stainless steel ions."

– Spadaro, J.A., et al. 1974. Antibacterial effects of silver electrodes with weak direct current. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 6(5), 637-642.)

"The Ag+ filler showed significantly more antibacterial activity than the control filler without silver ions... The findings indicate that the antibacterial effect is due to silver ions released from the Ag+-containing filler." (Yamamoto, Kohji, et al. 1996. Antibacterial activity of silver ions implanted in silicone dioxide filler on oral Streptococci.

– Dental Materials, 12: 227-229.

"It has been shown shown that the ionic portion of a colloidal silver protein is the germicidal component."

– Sollman, Torald, and J.D. Pilcher 1924. Organic, protein and colloid silver compounds: Does the "colloidal silver" become available as antiseptic? Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine. 10:38-42.

"...the bactericidal power of CS (colloidal silver) is due to the silver ion."

– Uegaki, Shingo. 1930. Influence of the blood constituents on the bactericidal power of colloidal silver. Japanese Journal of Experimental Medicine. 8: 573-613.)

"Silver is a disinfectant for non-spore forming bacteria at concentrations about 1000 times lower than the levels at which it is toxic to mammalian life. ...The ionic form of silver is necessary."

– British Columbia Ministry of Environment, Ambient Water Quality Criteria for Silver, Environmental Protection Department, February 19, 1996

"In the present paper we show that silver ions inhibit the respiratory chain of E. coli. The most sensitive site of inhibition was between the bcytochromes and cytochrome a. A further site of inhibition was located between the site of substrate interaction with the respiratory chain and flavoprotein."

– "The Effect of Silver Ions on the Respiratory Chain of Escherichia coli," P. D. Bragg and J. D. Rainnie, Department of Biochemistry, University of British Columbia

"...conversion of silver to silver ions is necessary for efficacy."

– Albert T. McManus, MD, Chief of Microbiology, Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, Army Burn Center, United States Army Institute of Surgical Research

"Ionic silver, although technically a colloidal, does seem to offer more beneficial properties than the traditional colloidal silver. Ionic silver can be generated by electrolyzing the silver metal or dissolving silver compounds and appears to have superior antimicrobial activity.

One of the reasons for this, in addition to the charge of the particles, might be that "silver ions in solution offer a greater surface area because of the fact that they are individual atoms, not clusters of atoms as seen in a colloid." This means that "they react more quickly and readily," and since they "are relatively smaller than colloidal particles, they will penetrate more rapidly and effectively."

...The term oligodynamic only applies to "charged silver particles", or ions (Ag+). Neutral silver (Ag) does not have the microcidal nature that silver does in the ionic state. The charge of the ion is necessary in facilitating electron displacement in microbes. It is the charge that "effectively yanks electrons away from a molecule...weakening the molecular bond and rendering it susceptible."

In his retrospective study of silver, published in the Journal of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine, Eric Rentz indicates that microbial cells "selectively bond only with Ag+ [i.e., ionic silver – ED]..."

...the safety of oligodynamic silver (Ag+) is firmly established: it "is not... toxic to the immune, cardiovascular, nervous, or reproductive systems [and it] is not considered to be carcinogenic."

On the contrary, Ag+ [i.e., ionic silver – ED] manifests all of the therapeutic benefits that have been historically established for silver. The toxicities noted above are directly connected with silver products that contain "reduced or neutral silver [which] has no known medical value." These include silver salts, silver compounds, and colloidals that are created without ions...

...These products will still provide some benefit if there are silver ions present, but most of them "have difficulty achieving biologically meaningful concentrations of Ag+..."

...The importance of this must not be overlooked. The fears expressed by the FDA concerning the toxic effects of silver can only apply to those products that contain non-oligodynamic forms of silver, not those that are ionic (Ag+)."

– S.M. Foran, Therapeutic Properties of Silver: an Historical and Technical Review

"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."

– Handbook of the Hospital Corps of the United States Navy, 1953

"All silver-based antimicrobials act against bacteria through the action of silver ions (Ag+). The effect of silver ions against microorganisms is well established and is referred to as the oligodynamic effect. Silver ions interact with bacteria cells through 3 mechanisms:

1. Damage cell membrane

2. Displace Ca2+ and Zn2+ ions

3. Interact with sulphur, oxygen or nitrogen

Silver ions are active against a broad range of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Unique qualities of silver ions are: Low risk for bacteria resistance, effective in very low concentrations, no human toxicity"

– Dr. Murray J. Height, Ph.D, Chief Technology Officer, HeiQ Materials, Silver Nanotechnology Working Group

"It is the silver ion (Ag+) that provides silver with its unique recognition as the healthful metal. Its bactericidal activity is unique because though this ion breeches walls of bacterial cells, it does not do so to mammalian cells. This selectivity, which remains unclear, was perceived during ancient times leading to its universal use."

– Samuel F. Etris, The Silver Institute, writing in Silver Compounds

"It has been suggested that the number of pathogens killed relates directly to the number of silver ions present... The research data confirmed that it is not the total amount of silver in suspension, but the total amount of ionized silver in solution, that determines effectiveness."

– Environmental Health Foundation, Silver for Human Health

"...the principle activity of silver is as a result of the production of silver ions within an aqueous matrix...Silver ions interact with a number of components of both bacterial, protozoal and fungal cells. Toxicity to microbial cells is exhibited at very low concentrations..."

– Technical White Paper: Antimicrobial Activity of Silver, Industrial Biological Services, Ltd.

"Silver compounds are employed for their antiseptic and germicidal action on bacteria. The effectiveness of such preparations is due largely to the free silver ions. The higher the concentration of free ions the greater will be the germicidal effect."

– Germicidal Efficiency of Some Silver Compounds Tested by the Improved Tissue-Culture Method, D.C. Foord, W.A. McOmie and A.J. Salle, May 1938 vol. 38 no. 4 572-574, Experimental Biology and Medicine

"The germicidal action of a specified amount of silver was found to be related to the concentration of silver ions rather than to the physical nature of the silver from which the ions were originally derived".

– Chambers, Cecil W., Proctor, Charles M., and Kabler, Paul W. 1962. Bactericidal effect of low concentrations of silver. Journal of the American Water Works Association, 208-216.

"Silver can exist in "elemental" or "ionic" form. Silver ions are also referred to as "Ag+" or "silver cations". All silver-containing products, whether elemental or ionic, achieve their antimicrobial effect via the action of silver cations (i.e., silver ions)."

– Systagenix Wound Management 2011, January 2011 Edition, Silver White Paper, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Use of Silver in Wound Therapy, Sharon Lindsay, Systagenix

"Silver's exact antimicrobial mechanism is unknown. It has been determined yet, however, that the free silver ion is the active agent, with evidence that silver's antibacterial activity is directly proportional to the amount of silver ions released."

– Proceedings of the International MultiConference of Engineers and Computer Scientists 2008, Vol II, IMECS 2008, 19-21 March 2008, Hong Kong, Electrolysis of Nano-Silver Suspension Into Ionic Form Via Membrane Electro-Osmosis Process

"The antimicrobial action of silver or silver compounds is proportional to the bioactive silver ion (Ag(+) released and its availability to interact with bacterial or fungal cell membranes. Silver metal and inorganic silver compounds ionize in the presence of water, body fluids or tissue exudates.

The silver ion is biologically active and readily interacts with proteins, amino acid residues, free anions and receptors on mammalian and eukaryotic cell membranes.

– Silver In Health Care: Antimicrobial Effects And Safety In Use, Current Problems in Dermatology, 2006;33:17-34.

"In order for silver to have any antimicrobial properties, it must be in its ionized form (Lok et al., 2007; Rai et al., 2009). Silver in its non-ionized form is inert (Guggenbichler et al., 1999), but contact with moisture leads to the release of silver ions (Radheshkumar and Munstedt, 2005). Thus, all forms of silver or silver containing compounds with observed antimicrobial properties are in one way or another sources of silver ions (Ag+); these silver ions may be incorporated into the substance and released slowly with time as with silver sulfadiazine, or the silver ions can come from ionizing the surface of a solid piece of silver as with silver nanoparticles."

– Microbe Wiki, Silver As An Antimicrobial Agent

"The antimicrobial affect of SDS-CS [Spark Discharge System Colloidal Silver] on Staphylococcus aureus was studied. The results show that CS solutions with an ionic silver concentration of 30 ppm or higher are strong enough to destroy S. aureus. In addition, it was found that a solution's antimicrobial potency is directly related to its level of silver ion concentration."

– Medical Engineering and Physics, 2008, Oct; 30(8):948-52, Colloidal silver fabrication using spark discharge system and its antimicrobial effect on Stapylococcus aureus

"Scientists have long known that silver ions, which flow from nanoparticles when oxidized, are deadly to bacteria.

But scientists have also suspected silver nanoparticles themselves may be toxic to bacteria, particularly the smallest of them at about 3 nanometers.

Not so, according to the Rice team that reported its results this month in the American Chemical Society journal Nano Letters.

In fact, when the possibility of ionization is taken away from silver, the nanoparticles are practically benign in the presence of microbes, said Pedro Alvarez, George R. Brown Professor and chair of Rice's Civil and Environmental Engineering Department."

Rice University News, "Ions, Not Particles, Make Silver Toxic to Bacteria"

"Metallic silver is inert in the presence of human tissues but ionizes in the presence of moisture, body fluids, and secretions to release the biologically active Ag+ (i.e., ionic silver)."

– Alan B.G. Lansdown, A Pharmacological and Toxicological Profile of Silver as an Antimicrobial Agent in Medical Devices, Advances in Pharmacological Sciences, Vol. 2010, Article ID 910686

“Silver is also either ionic (it carries a positive electrical charge) or non-ionic (has no electrical charge). In order for silver to be biocidal – meaning it can interact with bacterial cell tissues and reduce harmful microorganisms in a wound -- it must be in an ionic form. Ionic forms of silver are indicated by plus signs (+), meaning the form contains a positive charge.”

– A Closer Look at Silver, Exciton Technologies, Inc.; Heather L. Orsted, RN, BN, ET, MSc; Carla Spina, PhD Chem.; Edie Attrell, RN, BN, ET, IIWCC; Chester Ho, MD; Lindsay Kalan, PhD and David H. Keast, BSc, MSc, Dip Ed, MD, CCFP, FCFP

“…an inert lump of silver isn’t going to do much. To be effective, it must first ionize. Research has shown that it’s silver in its ionic (Ag+) and not elemental form that is antibacterial.

An atom of silver has a neutral charge; we need to ionize it – take away a negatively charged electron – to transform it into its positively charged ionic form. Silver-based antibacterial surfaces must release silver ions directly into the pathogenic environment to be effective.”

– Rohan Shirwaiker, Assistant Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at North Carolina State University, Silver Shines as Antibacterial for Medical Implants

“In metallic (elemental) form, silver is unreactive and cannot kill bacteria. To become bactericidal, silver atoms (denoted as Ag or Ag0) must lose an electron and become positively charged silver ions (Ag+ ).

Elemental silver ionises in air, but ionises more readily when exposed to an aqueous environment such as wound exudates.

…Silver ions are highly reactive and affect multiple sites within bacterial cells, ultimately causing bacterial cell death. They bind to bacterial cell membranes, causing disruption of the bacterial cell wall and cell leakage.

Silver ions transported into the cell disrupt cell function by binding to proteins and interfering with energy production, enzyme function and cell replication.

Silver ions are active against a broad range of bacteria, fungi and viruses, including many antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE).”

– Wounds International Expert Working Group, 2012, (a working group featuring 12 experts from the fields of medicine, wound healing, geriatric care, hospital care, pharmaceutical sciences, trauma surgery, burn care, infection control and nursing)

“There is an ongoing debate over whether silver nanoparticles inherently possess toxicity, or if microbial toxicity is dependent on leached Ag+ ions from nanoparticles.

To clarify this issue, we utilized XANES/EXAFS analysis to assess the fine structure of silver particles present within Bacillus subtilis cells treated with 100 ppm of silver nanoparticles.

This data strongly suggests that in aqueous solutions, silver nanoparticles leach off positively charged silver ions, which subsequently enter bacterial cells and are oxidized to form Ag2O [silver chloride – ED].

If silver nanoparticles entered cells directly, it would have been possible to detect spectra corresponding to the Ag standard.

To the best of our understanding, this is the first study to directly analyze silver particles present within bacterial cells treated with silver nanoparticles, and the results indicate that positively charged silver ions are primarily responsible for silver nanoparticle microbial toxicity.

...our results support the theory that silver nanoparticles exert microbial toxicity through the release of positively charged silver ions that subsequently penetrate into bacterial cells.”

– The Antimicrobial Properties of Silver Nanoparticles in Bacillus subtilis are Mediated by Released Ag+ Ions, PLOS-One, December 15, 2015

“The antibacterial form of silver is the ions. Minute sub-particles [of metallic nanosilver – ED] continuously emit a sufficient number of positively charged ions. These destroy the enzymes of the bacteria, destabilize the cell membrane, the cell plasma or the cell wall and prevent their reproduction. The bacteria do not survive this concentrated attack.”

- International Food Resource Journal in 2011, “A study on the minimum inhibitory concentration and minimum bactericidal concentration of Nano Colloidal Silver on food-borne pathogens”

“This study aimed to investigate the effectiveness of silver in ionic and nano [i.e., metallic -- ED] form as antimicrobial toward a panel of L. monocytogenes isolates…The relation between the sensitivity assay and the amount of ions at the tested time points, in both cases (AgNPs and AgNO3) suggests that ions are the more effective elements exerting antibacterial activityOur study suggests that L. monocytogenes is sensitive to silver and that the efficacy is linked to ionic release.”

- Frontiers in Microbiology, March 7, 2016, “Silver as Antibacterial Toward Listeria monocytogenes”

“Given the very limited gastrointestinal absorption of metallic nanoparticles of similar size in other studies in rodents, we assert that most silver detected in patient blood samples is ionic, with no evidence that intact silver nanoparticles are either absorbed into circulation through the human digestive tract, or attached to blood components (e.g., proteins, platelets and cells).”

-- Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine, October 2014, “In vivo human time-exposure study of orally dosed commercial silver nanoparticles”

The bottom line is that silver ions flat out rule.

That's not to say other forms of colloidal silver – such as particulate, or metallic silver, or silver proteins, or silver citrate, etc. – are ineffective. They aren't.

But they are only effective to the extent that they release silver ions. The more silver ions they release, the more effective they are.

So the next time someone tries to tell you ionic silver is "ineffective", show them these quotes from the experts and watch 'em squirm.

 

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