You’ve heard of colloidal silver and may even have personal friends, relatives, or co-workers who have told you they are using colloidal silver with good results. As someone looking for alternative treatments to keep yourself and your family safe, colloidal silver is on your radar or at least is something you’ve heard about. You may have even thought about learning how to make a colloidal silver generator yourself even though you still have tons of questions such as:
- What is Colloidal Silver?
- How does Colloidal Silver work in your body?
- Does Colloidal Silver really treat bacterial, viral, and fungal infections?
- What’s Needed to Make My Own Colloidal Silver Generator?
- How Exactly Do I Make a Colloidal Silver Generator?
- Why Is Concentration of Colloidal Silver Important?
- Is Colloidal Silver Safe?
What is Colloidal Silver?
Colloidal silver is a solution made up of extremely tiny particles of silver that is suspended in a liquid, typically distilled water. Particle size can vary but some cannot be seen by the naked eye and thus are measured in nanoparticles (NP).
Colloidal silver is an ancient remedy that was commonly used prior to the development of antibiotics as a catch-all treatment. Colloidal silver has recently become a more popular alternative therapy, especially by those who consider themselves preppers, those looking for alternatives to antibiotics, and herbalists interested in expanding their ability to offer DIY or non-pharmaceutical treatments.
Colloidal silver use for health benefits is extremely controversial. There are unlimited individual narratives claiming positive results from colloidal silver use. But actual laboratory testing regarding colloidal silver in humans, appears to be nonexistent. The only current evidence of potential effectiveness of colloidal silver against bacterial, fungal, and viral infections has been in laboratories. For more detailed study information see lists at the end of this article.
How Does Colloidal Silver Work?
The exact way that colloidal silver works is unknown but it said to have broad antiseptic and antibacterial properties. It is believed that colloidal silver attaches to proteins in the walls of bacteria cells causing damage that enables silver ions to disrupt the metabolic processes of the bacteria. This disruption damages the DNA of the cell, resulting in its death. Laboratory testing has shown this process of disruption and bacteria cell death and has indicated colloidal silver can disrupt viral processes and inhibit fungal growth as well.
How to Measure Colloidal Silver Concentration
According to several different laboratory studies, the effects of colloidal silver are different based on the shape and size of the silver particles as well as the level of silver concentration in the final solution and of course the frequency of the dosage. Concentration of colloidal silver is measured in parts per million and ranges from 10 parts per million up to more than 1000 parts per million.
If you intend to learn how to make your own colloidal silver generator, it is absolutely critical to know the concentration level of your final result. It is also vital to know the concentration level (in parts per million) of any colloidal solution you use.
You cannot accurately monitor your risk for metal poisoning and other serious side effects that can occur if you don’t KNOW the concentration of your colloidal silver. If you are making your own colloidal silver solution, you can purchase a TDS 3 meter which will indicate the concentration of silver particles in the final solution.
If you purchase colloidal silver please do your research on the company and manufacturer and understand that the making of colloidal silver is not something that is standardized or regulated by the FDA. In fact, as you’ll see later in this article, the FDA has banned use of colloidal silver in OTC medications and has issued warnings to numerous companies it feels were making unsubstantiated claims.
What is Colloidal Silver Used For?
Again, I was unable to find any studies indicating effectiveness of colloidal silver, other than in laboratory testing. This testing does seem to support the claims that colloidal silver has antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties. Recent research does seem to be much more supportive of colloidal silver for health reasons, including potential breast cancer treatment.
In addition to laboratory testing, there are unlimited narrative reports from individuals indicating that colloidal silver solution is being used to treat everything from a sore throat to more serious illnesses such as HIV and cancer. The issue with these narrative reports in my opinion is that none of them seem to talk much about the concentration levels of the colloidal silver they are using.
We’ve already indicated above that concentration level of your colloidal silver as well as size and shape of the particles can impact whether or not it has any effect. Colloidal silver also seems to work a little differently depending on what it is up against (bacterial, fungal, viral).
Test tube studies demonstrate the ability of colloidal silver to kill a variety of bacteria which has resulted in the development of medical equipment, wound dressings, and topical wound creams. Products containing silver are being used by the medical community in pre and post surgery care where risk of infection due to low immune system is high.
The effectiveness of colloidal silver against bacteria when taken orally however, has not been tested in humans due to associated risks. See this 2014 study on colloidal silver and antibacterial properties and other studies at the end of this article for more suggested reading.
There is limited laboratory testing indicating that colloidal silver can halt the progression of some fungi strains which means there is a possibility for it to be effective against things such as athlete’s foot and other fungal related infections.
Colloidal silver advocates claim its been used to fight against:
- Wound infection
- Low immune system
- Post surgery infections if allergic to antibiotics
- Lymphatic infections
- Hepatitis C (also use liver supporting herbs to restore liver back to health)
- E Coli
- To alleviate pharyngitis
- Sinusitis treatment
- Staphylococcus Aureus (bacteria often found on skin and in respiratory tract)
- Lyme Disease
- Inhibit and Reduce Infectivity of HIV/Aids
- Anthrax Contamination
- Sore Throat
How Is Colloidal Silver Used?
- Use as a cleanser or spray directly on wounds
- Spray topically on skin or made into cream and applied topically
- Integrated into post-surgery wound dressings
- Ingested orally as a dietary supplement
- Use as a nasal spray
What is Needed to Make a Colloidal Silver Generator?
- Glass Jar with a Lid
- Source of Low DC Voltage (approximately 30-volt power supply / 5 to 8 amps)
- Pure Copper Wires with Alligator Clips
- Pure Distilled Water (Great Value Brand at Walmart is a good one)
- 12-gauge Pure Silver Rods, Silver Discs, or Silver Bullion Bars (must be pure .999% non-alloyed silver)
- Electric Motor (Optional for stirring)
- Laser Pointer (Optional for checking presence of Tyndall Effect)
- TDS 3 Gauge (tells
Removing Any Potential Impurities
Clean the jar using a clean paper towel dampened with rubbing alcohol or quality vodka. Do not use soaps. Soak silver rods or bars in distilled vinegar nearly saturated with salt, then rinse with distilled water. It’s critical to prevent impurities from getting into the solution as these unknown particles could be harmful. True silver particles will be a shade of gray. If you see black spots, it’s most likely your distilled water contained impurities and you should try another brand or consider double distillation of the water.
Attach the rods protruding through the lid of a glass jar leaving enough of the rod above the lid to attach the alligator clips. If you do not use a lid for your jar, the alligator clips or copper wire holding the silver plates or bars must not touch the water in the jar.
The long end of the rods or bottom half of the silver plates or bars should protrude down into the glass jar. Fill the jar partway with distilled water. DO NOT USE tap water for this process. The amount of water you use and the distance between your silver rods or plates will determine the concentration level of your solution.
Ideally, you want silver rods or bars close together, but not close enough to touch, for a more concentrated solution. If using a lid, screw the lid onto the jar, and attach the alligator clips to the wires which should be attached to the power supply. Alternatively, you can also use 9 volt batteries as a power supply, aim for close to 30 volts total.
Watch for wispy strands or a cloudiness to begin coming from the rods or plates of silver. Use the laser pointer to test for the Tyndall effect (see next section). If using power supply after approximately 3 hours’ time, disconnect the power supply and wipe any silver oxide from the rod or plates and then continue. Check again for Tyndall effect which when present indicates you have a colloidal solution.
Watch for hydrogen gas bubbles to begin forming on the negative iode. After 3 hours and 45 minutes test again for presence of stronger Tyndall Effect. Solution will be clear and colorless with some larger pieces on the bottom. Ideally, a 20 parts per million solution should turn pale yellow after 24 hours.
If using 9-volt batteries, timing for the final solution may be different depending on the amount of voltage. Watch for cloudiness and bubbles forming on silver. This process when using five 9-volt batteries (45 volts) yielded a colloidal silver solution that was over 700 parts per million after only 30 minutes of processing! Always test the concentration of your colloidal silver several times after processing is complete. Concentration and color can change as solution cools and sediment settles to the bottom.
What is the Tyndall Effect?
The Tyndall Effect is the scattering of light in a colloid solution that is filled with tiny particles that are invisible to the naked eye. As particles become bigger and bigger, they scatter more and more light. As explained in by his Khan Academy video on the Tyndall Effect, if a particle size is less than 1 nanometer, you won’t see a beam of light when you shine light or a laser through it, this mixture is called a solution.
Particles larger than approximately 1000 nanometers will settle to the bottom; this type of liquid is a solution. The Tyndall Effect is best seen in colloidal solutions which have particles greater than 1 nanometer but less than 1000 nanometers.
Is Colloidal Silver Safe?
Whether or not colloidal silver is safe for you is something only your own research and your personal physician can help you determine. Right now, there is not much, if any, documented scientific evidence of colloidal silver use in humans. But CBD oils were in a similar position not too long ago. Will the medical community one day sing the praises of colloidal silver? Only time will tell.
In truth, like with anything, there are risks and the potential for side effects with colloidal silver. Argyria is one of the more serious potential side effects associated with using excessive amounts of colloidal silver in a short time or smaller amounts regularly over a period of a year or longer. It is a typically permanent, but benign, blue-gray discoloration of the skin, fingernails, eyes, and other mucous membranes. It is not known to be fatal to humans.
According to the Mayo Clinic excessive amounts of colloidal silver have in rare instances been associated with neurologic problems (seizures) and irreversible damage to kidneys.
Other less serious side effects include:
- Skin Irritation
Colloidal Silver Warnings and Precautions
Colloidal silver solution and its use is a controversial alternative therapy that is not standardized, and which can have serious side effects. This is why monitoring concentration level and dosage of colloidal silver is so important.
Colloidal silver has the potential to block absorption of certain antibiotics including tetracycline and penicillamine, as well as thyroxine, a thyroid disease medication.
Before using colloidal silver, discuss your medical needs and risks with your physician or specialist.
The FDA has issued a significant amount of warnings to companies making unsubstantiated claims about the use of colloidal silver. Keep in mind these warnings are issued because the FDA does not have clinical documentation and has not approved colloidal silver as a medical treatment.
According to Consumer Labs, using colloidal silver in OTC products was banned by the FDA in 1999. This does not mean colloidal silver is or is not an effective treatment. It simply means there is not evidence or standardization of the drug to warrant the approval of colloidal silver for health treatments.
Neither companies nor individuals can make unsubstantiated medical claims about a product without sufficient testing and approval by the FDA. The lack of human testing as well as the numerous variables in the processing and composition of colloidal silver make it difficult to patent or get approved by the FDA.
What If I Just Want to Buy Colloidal Silver?
Just like any other industry, you can purchase colloidal silver from just about any health food store. The things to pay attention to when purchasing colloidal silver is who you are buying from, how the product was manufactured and tested, and what concentration level the solution is that you purchase.
Don’t Be Fooled by False or Misleading Advertising!
Know exactly what you are buying. Make certain what you are buying is colloidal silver that is made up of particles of silver, not silver ions. Metallic silver particles provide the actual benefit to the body and are believed to kill pathogens because they are capable of reaching the bloodstream unaffected by things such as stomach acid.
Other Names That Advertisers and Manufacturers Use to Imply Their Product is Colloidal Silver Include:
- Covalent Silver
- Silver Hydrosol
- Monatomic Silver
- Silver Water
- Ionic Silver
None of the above names are actually true colloidal silver. When evaluating a colloidal silver purchase, look at the parts per million rating. This can indicate how much of the solution is silver particles. 10 parts per million (ppm) means 90% ionic silver and only 10% silver particle form. Only 1 ppm of silver particle is in a product that is 10 ppm. Before using ANY colloidal silver solution, you should measure the ppm yourself using a TDS-3 meter.
Ionic silver does have antimicrobial properties and there may be instances where you would want a higher concentration of ionic silver than silver particles. But know what you are buying and do your research so you understand how it will work in your body. Ionic silver is also more likely to bind to other particles within the body and is not easily eliminated by the body which means a greater likelihood of accumulation in the body over time. True colloidal silver is not ionic and therefore is more naturally excreted from the body.
The truth is there are a ton of DIY videos out there on how to make a colloidal silver generator. You have to do your own research and decide for yourself which process you want to utilize. Below is a very detailed video about how to make your own colloidal silver generator from Healthy Wyze. It covers many of the safety concerns you need to be aware of when making your own colloidal silver generator.
Have you tried to make your own colloidal silver generator? Are you using colloidal silver with success? Share your detailed experiences in the comments below.
Sources for Additional Information
Studies Found Regarding Colloidal Silver and Antibacterial Properties
Akram Raza M, Kanwal Z, Rauf A, Nasim Sabri A, Riaz S, Naseem S. Size- and shape-dependent antibacterial studies of silver nanoparticles synthesized by wet chemical routes. Nanomaterials. 2016;6(4):74.
Franci G, Falanga A, Galdiero S, et al. Silver nanoparticles as potential antibacterial agents. Molecules. 2015;20(5):8856–8874.
Agnihotri S, Mukherjiabc S, Mukherj S. Size-controlled silver nanoparticles synthesized over the range 5–100 nm using the same protocol and their antibacterial efficacy. RSC Adv. 2014;4:3974–3983.
Lu Z, Rong K, Li J, Yang H, Chen R. Size-dependent antibacterial activities of silver nanoparticles against oral anaerobic pathogenic bacteria. J Mater Sci Mater Med. 2013;24(6):1465–1471.
Hajipour MJ, Fromm KM, Ashkarran AA, et al. Antibacterial properties of nanoparticles. Trends Biotechnol. 2012;30(10):499–511.
D’Costa VM, King CE, Kalan L, et al. Antibiotic resistance is ancient. Nature. 2011;477(7365):457–461.
Samberg ME, Orndorff PE, Monteiro-Riviere NA. Antibacterial efficacy of silver nanoparticles of different sizes, surface conditions and synthesis methods. Nanotoxicology. 2011;5(2):244–253.
Jung WK, Koo HC, Kim KW, Shin S, Kim SH, Park YH. Antibacterial activity and mechanism of action of the silver ion in Staphylococcus aureus (bacteria found on skin and upper respiratory tract) and Escherichia coli. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2008;74(7):2171–2178.
Lok CN, Ho CM, Chen R, et al. Silver nanoparticles: partial oxidation and antibacterial activities. J Biol Inorg Chem. 2007;12(4):527–534.
Studies Found Regarding Colloidal Silver and Antimicrobial Properties
Saeb ATM, Alshammari AS, Al-Brahim H, Al-Rubeaan KA. Production of silver nanoparticles with strong and stable antimicrobial activity against highly pathogenic and multidrug resistant bacteria. Sci World J. 2014;2014:704708.
Wiegand I, Hilpert K, Hancock RE. Agar and broth dilution methods to determine the minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) of antimicrobial substances. Nature Protoc. 2008;3(2):163–175.
Rai M, Yadav A, Gade A. Silver nanoparticles as a new generation of antimicrobials. Biotechnol Adv. 2009;27(1):76–83.
Kim JS, Kuk E, Yu KN, et al. Antimicrobial effects of silver nanoparticles. Nanomedicine. 2007;3(1):95–101.