Colloidal Silver and Cancer

Medically reviewed by Yamini Ranchod, PhD, MS on November 15, 2017Written by Alex Snyder on November 15, 2017

Colloidal silver as a cancer treatment

Sometimes people with cancer turn to alternative treatment methods, in addition to chemotherapy and other traditional cancer treatments, to improve their chances of beating the disease.

One popular but unproven cancer treatment is colloidal silver supplements.

Marketed as a treatment for immune support, colloidal silver claims to have cancer-killing properties. There is no scientific evidence to support these anecdotal claims.

What is colloidal silver?

Colloidal silver is a popular silver supplement. To create the supplement, pure silver ions are suspended in purified water.

Before antibiotics, people would use silver to “kill” viruses and bacteria. Preparations of silver were popular as nose drops and throat sprays.

Prior to 1938, silver was widely used to treat or prevent a variety of diseases including cancer. After modern antibiotics were invented, silver quickly became obsolete. The medical community no longer recommends silver for medical treatment.

However, some retailers today promote colloidal silver as a powerful antimicrobial and disinfectant agent. Some market it as a cure-all for conditions like:

Health risks

While silver has been used medicinally for thousands of years, the modern medical community does not consider colloidal silver safe or effective.

This is partially because silver is not an essential nutrient and has no known purpose in the body. Colloidal silver can also cause poor absorption of some drugs. Topical silver may have some medical uses, such as in the treatment of burns or skin infections. There are no approved oral drugs containing colloidal silver.

The most serious health risk associated with consuming silver is the risk of developing argyria. Argyria is a condition that causes your skin to turn grey or blue, and is usually permanent. This happens when silver particles affect cell pigmentation.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, colloidal silver isn’t safe or effective for treating any disease or condition. The risk of using silver products exceeds any unsubstantiated benefit.

Research on colloidal silver and cancer

People who believe colloidal silver works argue that there hasn’t been enough research yet to uncover the benefits of using it. However, past research shows no positive connection between silver and human health.

To date, there are no good quality studies on the health benefits of taking colloidal silver.

Colloidal silver and cancer

Colloidal silver’s cancer-killing claims stem from the misguided belief that the mineral is a “near perfect antibiotic,” as homeopathic practitioner Robert Scott Bell put it. He told the Los Angeles Times in a 2009 article that the substance has “no known bad side effects” and silver can kill any bacteria or virus.

However, there is no evidence colloidal silver has antimicrobial properties.

Outlook

There is no scientific proof that colloidal silver can be used to treat cancer.

Still, online testimonials show people believe in the healing power of this supplement. Silver has historically been used as a treatment for some health conditions, but can have serious side effects.

Until more research is conducted, it is not recommended to take colloidal silver supplements to treat cancer.

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