Colloidal silver is made from the mineral silver. Also sometimes called “silver salts,” it’s a supplement touted as a homeopathic remedy. It contains the same small silver particles that are used in many common consumer goods.
Is colloidal silver good for you? The answer is no. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not recommend colloidal silver for any health condition. This is because it’s not proven to be a safe or effective treatment.
It’s a Contaminant
Some minerals are essential for healthy body function. These include:
Like any mineral, silver builds up in the body. Unlike those essential for your health, silver can have dangerous side effects. The human body treats silver like it treats lead: as a contaminant. While it’s considered safe to wear silver jewelry and use silver utensils, taking silver supplements is not recommended.
Not Recommended by the FDA
Colloidal silver may also be marketed as:
- mild silver protein
- silver proteins
- silver chloride, cyanide, iodide, oxide, or phosphate
- strong silver protein
If you see any of these ingredients on a supplement label, then you know the product contains colloidal silver. Some products are simply labeled as “silver.”
In 1999, the FDA banned over-the-counter colloidal silver products, but that doesn’t mean silver salts are gone for good. Silver is still sold in the form of supplements, which are available online and at natural health stores. The FDA has even filed lawsuits against some of these companies. The only product that is approved by the FDA is a prescription burn cream called silver sulfadiazine, which contains only trace amounts of silver.
Common Uses of Silver Salts
Colloidal silver is most commonly used as a topical treatment. It’s sometimes taken orally or by injection, which can increase your risk for dangerous side effects.
Colloidal silver is sometimes used in the homeopathic treatment of:
- eye problems
Currently, there are no published results supporting any benefits of colloidal silver.
Dangers of Silver
Even essential minerals, such as calcium, build up in your body overtime. When you take colloidal silver, the product can accumulate in body tissues and have permanent side effects.
The most common side effect of colloidal silver is a skin condition called argyria. It causes permanent blue and gray spots on your skin. You can’t reverse the discoloration after you stop taking silver salts.
Colloidal silver also can cause:
- drug interactions
- kidney damage
- liver disease
- vision problems
Skip the Risk of Colloidal Silver
Given some of the side effects of traditional medications for such conditions, it’s understandable that you may want to seek a more “natural” form of treatment. While not all supplements are off the table, silver is one to avoid.
Supplements are increasingly included in conventional medicine. However, it’s important that all substances used for your health undergo extensive studies. The lack of evidence to support the efficacy of colloidal silver makes this a poor choice. Dangerous side effects aren’t worth the risk for a supplement that’s not clinically proven to treat any condition.