Harmful effects of Ionic Silver Hydrosol
Silver has been known to have magical antibacterial action since the days of yore. Ability of the biologically active silver ion (Ag+) to irreversibly damage key enzyme systems in the cell membranes of the pathogens, gives it its antiseptic properties. Ionic Silver Hydrosol (also known as colloidal silver), as the name suggests, is a suspension of silver ions in distilled water; and is used as herbicide for effectively eliminating bacteria as well as viruses.
However, many consumers and physicians are concerned about the potential side effects and drug interactions of this increasingly popular supplement.
Adverse Reactions of Ionic Silver Hydrosol
Large accumulation of colloidal silver in the skin and mucous membranes leads to an irreversible condition called argyria, a bluish-gray discoloration of the skin.
Application of silver nitrate gels on burns can cause methemoglobinemia. Further, its high concentration can also lead to systemic toxicity; and in some other cases may also cause seizures and severe kidney damage.
Reactions with other antibiotics
Colloidal silver can also react with sulfhydryl groups of certain enzymes (to form hemisilver sulfides), thus rendering them ineffective. When taken orally, silver interacts with and reduces the potency of certain antibiotics like tetracycline, quinolone, and penicillamine.
Development abnormalities in the foetus have also been reported in cases when colloidal silver was administered during pregnancy. It is also believed to cause arteriosclerosis (hardening of arteries), and may eventually lead to myocardial infarction.
How unsafe is Ionic Silver Hydrosol?
Even while we talk about the possible adverse effects of Ionic Silver Hydrosol consumption, it may be prudent to point out that small doses – that can mostly be taken as supplements - are not necessarily bad for health, but as pointed earlier, may even be beneficial given the antiseptic and healing properties of silver. Infact, body reacts appropriately to even marginally higher dosage by excreting the excess silver and it is only beyond a certain level of accumulation that the harmful effects start appearing.
How much is too much?
In the above context, it may be useful to note what the acceptable level of silver dosage is, when administered orally. This stands at between 5 to 14 µ-gm/day per kg weight of an adult (as published by EPA). Based on this estimate, an average person (weighing about 70 kg) and drinking 2 lt of water in a day is likely to intake about 200 µ-gm of silver, while her typical daily diet would have another 90 µ-gm.
As can therefore be easily concluded, the daily requirement of silver dosage is nearly met through water intake and a normal diet consisting of natural resources. Given this, one should take into account that while silver is not necessarily bad for health if consumed in moderation, the case for taking Colloidal Silver supplements may be a weak one – and infact may even have adverse effects, if taken in excess!