Let’s face it, if someone gave us a vile filled with a magic potion that would fix all our problems, would we even give it a second thought before drinking it? After all, we’re all always on the look for “the cure” that does everything without considering the repercussions. Colloidal silver is one such concoction that people consume without knowing that it might be doing more harm to their health than good.

Known for its antibacterial properties, colloidal silver is a product containing microscopic flakes of real silver and is suspended by demineralized water. This product is usually sold as a dietary supplement with companies marketing it off as a “cure-all.” According to sellers, this is the magic potion that can eliminate allergies, boost your immune system, treat diseases like HIV/AIDS, and, surprisingly enough, it can even cure cancer.

Let me guess, too good to be true? You’re on the right path.

As popular as colloidal silver is, what is little known about this product is that it can cause health issues if consumption is prolonged. It is unclear how much intake of colloidal silver can cause problems but if taken for a long period of time, the silver flakes in the product can start building in your body’s tissues. In turn, this can cause a condition known as argyria which results in a blue-gray color of the skin, eyes, nails, internal organs—you name it.

Although argyria doesn’t pose as a serious health condition, you still wouldn’t want to walk around looking like Violet from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. In fact, after consuming large amounts of silver, the discoloration of the skin does not go away even if you have stopped taking the product. The use of colloidal silver can also rarely, but potentially, cause health defects such as kidney damage and neurological problems, noticeable with seizures.

It is true, however, there have been some recent findings that suggest that colloidal silver makes a good topical ointment for treating open wounds. A 2007 study suggested that dressings that contained silver were more effective in preventing infection than products that make the same claims. In fact, The National Institute of Health also supports the claims of colloidal silver being safe as a topical treatment.

But while it may have some protection against infection, there is little to support the “miracle cure’s” claim to protect against diseases. In fact, since 1999, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has indicated a lack of evidence that colloidal silver has health benefits in eradicating or preventing disease. The FDA has also taken action against some manufacturers who had been making false claims regarding this “miracle product”.

And still, colloidal silver can also often be found in skincare products such as Omorovicza’s Silver Skin Tonic or Heritage Stores’ Colloidal Silver Soap. Many people use these products for their “anti-aging” and “anti-acne” properties. But some studies have shown that with the continual use of these products, the skin can absorb the silver particles in them causing the same problems that oral consumption of colloidal silver will—which is argyria.

If taken with other medication such as antibiotics, colloidal silver can also limit their absorption by the human body making them ineffective. Pregnant or nursing women should also steer clear of this product if they want to use it as an alternative to, for instance, flu medication as there has been no research that deems colloidal silver safe for fetal development.

Although magical ingredients that heal all your worries away are usually hard to come across, you need to keep in mind that most manufacturers are making these claims without any clinical proof. As done with colloidal silver. And as always, remember that before taking any sort of oral medication, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional first and do your proper research.

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  • Tayyaba Rehman

    Born and raised in Pakistan, Tayyaba completed her MPhil degree in English Literature from Kinnaird College, Lahore in 2019. She strongly believes in the humane treatment towards all animals and equality amongst humankind. She also loves listening to the same song on repeat for days, watching reruns of New Girl and spending time with her cats.