Colloidal Silver vs. Ionic Silver Facts
Note: Colloidal is often mis-spelled as collodial or coloidal...
We must first state that most texts refer to a colloid as "suspended particles in the 1 to 1,000nm (0.001 to 1 micron) size" ...but practical colloids include sizes up to 10,000 to 100,000nm (400 millionths to 4 thousands of an inch) - many paints being good examples! Natural milk is a unstable colloid, with the large fat globules rising to the top in a day, while pasteurized milk (with smaller fat globules) is much more stable, until it sours, rapidly forming large particles.
A colloid is not in fact a suspension, as the definitions state:
a suspension is particles larger then 1 micron (1,000 nanometers) colloidal particles are defined as 1 nm to 1,000 nm a solution (ions) is defined as particles less then 1 nm in diameter.
You will learn below that you need ions of silver, not particles of metallic silver!
Milk is a combination of all of the above mixed together Solid particles of the parent material suspended in water are the most common colloid, but they can be solids or liquids (droplets) suspended in liquids or gasses, such as dust in air! Thus, we can use the phrase "Ionic Colloidal Silver" to accurately describe the ionic form, versus the usual metallic form (colloidal silver), most make.
There is a negative surface charge (voltage measured as Zeta) on metallic particles, that keeps them separated, due to repulsion between like charged particles. While the smaller particles are too light for gravity to take control, the very large particles mentioned will settle out quickly, due to gravitational pull overcoming the van der Walls, electrostatic and other suspension forces. Thus the need to mix your paint (and poor Colloidal silver), to help re suspend settled particles...Colloidal Silver Defined.
Everyone seems to mis-quote facts (as we used to) or gets generic (even we must) about colloidal silver. A wide range of products are sold as "Colloidal Silver", often containing one or a combination of silver and other ions, atoms, crystals and salts, so we must lump it all as colloidal although the most biologically available form is a solution of ions, not a colloid! The more precise medical name for a solution of silver in water is a silver hydrosol!
Since ions of all metals tend to cluster (silver ions at about 16 per cluster), discrete particles are formed and thus we can specify, Ionic Silver, which is clusters of ions of silver versus colloidal silver which is defined as particles of metallic silver. Only the non-thinking would consider metallic particles to have much bio-benefit but the trend by most is to try very hard to make pure metallic silver colloids, I guess because that is what the name says! To challenge them, ask if they would like to take their sodium and phosphorus in the metallic form! Only a fool will try, as they both burst into flames when they get wet!
Below we present the real researched facts about what colloidal silver is and should be, taken partly from our prior research on our colloidal silver web page, generally in the order cited.
Actually a true colloidal silver, is solid particles (of metallic silver) in a liquid (water).
An ion or atom of silver is about 1/4 nm diameter (0.00025 microns)! The ion of silver (missing one or more electrons) has a positive charge while the atom has none, except in a colloidal state it has a negative charge referred to as Zeta (a static charge).
One nm is a billionth of a meter or 1/1,000th of a micron (millionth of a meter)!
Thus, the largest allowed colloidal particle of 1,000 nm would contain about 45,000,000,000 (45 billion) atoms or ions of silver (Dia cubed X pi/3)! Think of your colloidal silver (ionic) as silver bullets for shooting at an army of bacterium - would you rather have one fat canon ball or 45 billion bullets?
Yes, some hopeless hackers make "medicine" 45 billion times less effective then it can be! Sadly, many still "preach" that your body uses metallic silver and not ions!
The ideal obviously, is to have as many ions as possible, since they could yield as many as 45 billion times more discrete particles, enhancing bio-activity from both quantity and size aspects, not to mention your body can only very weakly process raw metals, being designed to exchange ionic minerals via metalloprotein ligands!
It is said that an ounce of 5PPM ionic silver has over 1,000 trillion ions, which far exceeds our number of body cells! Thus, a tablespoon of 5PPM ionic silver is more then enough! On the other hand, when ill it is important to maintain a therapeutic dose in the blood and since the liver effectively removes silver ions in 2 hours, it is essential to take a small dose hourly! The EPA safe dose for 70 years for the sensitive individual is 14 teaspoons of 5PPM so there is utmost safety in hourly dosing.
The most typical, large colloidal silver particle of 200 nm, would contain 380 million ions or atoms! The very best (bio-effective) colloidal silver will be 100% ions, but in practice most produced has far less, due to lack of understanding of what variables must be closely controlled to prevent formation of atoms, crystals or salts! While a simple process, many variables must be controlled precisely to prevent the production of junk medicine.
Those who "salt the water" or "look for a cloud of ions" are doomed to producing very few to no free ions of silver and thus "a very very weak medicine" with exaggerated side effects - I.E. Argyria
"Tissue deposition of silver results from precipitation of insoluble salts such as silver chloride and silver phosphate. These may be transformed to soluble silver sulphide albuminates and bind with amino or carboxyl groups in proteins and nucleic acids. They may also be oxidized to metallic silver by ascorbic acid or catecholamines." Ions on the other hand are cleared from the blood by your liver in hours and 98% discharged in 24 hours."
"Argyria, silver deposition, occurs in all organs. Common deposition sites for people who have no history of therapeutic use are the liver, skin, pancreas, adrenals, glomeruli of the kidney, brain, bone marrow, walls of the blood vessels, thyroid, mesenteric glands, choroid plexus, spleen and testes. Generalized argyria is indicated by slate-gray skin and hair colouring, silver finger nails, a blue halo around the cornea and in the conjunctiva of the eye, disturbance of dark adaptation and turbidity of the anterior lens capsule. The tissue content and distribution pattern of silver deposition is a function of the intake route, quantity and chemical form. The discoloured skin in argyric patients exposed to ultraviolet radiation is likely caused by photoreduction of silver chloride to metallic silver, which is then oxidized to black silver sulphide and bound by tissues. If the diet is high in selenium, the silver sulphide is converted to silver selenide which may result in higher silver deposition rates than with silver sulphide."
No cases of Argria could be found, caused by the ingestion of ionic silver and are not expected, since their size are so small and the liver so rapidly removes them.
What is popularly referred to as colloidal silver is in fact usually a combination of ions (dissolved), atoms (colloidal), crystals (suspended but usually settle out) and salts of silver (rarely dissolved and usually settle out). Most minerals we ingest are in the soluble salt form but only a few silver salts, like silver nitrate, are soluble and do provide free ions of silver but also dangerous nitrate ions! (The very young convert almost all nitrates to deadly nitrites!)
The best bio-availability is from the ionic form, with rapidly decreasing biological benefits from the other forms, "the ionic form being 300 times more effective to 17,000 times more effective then silver chloride or thiosulphate salts", in fresh water! In your blood, silver chloride salts have lower silver bioavailability, as "At a salinity of 25 parts per thousand, which is almost the natural concentration in the sea (twice your bloods level), only about 1 part in 16 000 parts of the silver (in silver chloride) would exist as the free ion".
Put another way, you would need a daily dose of up to 60 gallons of "poor quality" "Colloidal" silver to equal the free ions in a tablespoon of 5 ppm ionic "Silver Infusion"!
Ion of silver - an atom, missing one (most common, monovalent) or more electrons. It has distinctly different properties then metallic silver and is actually in solution, and thus not colloidal, although free ions cluster and they could be colloidal. Ions carry a positive charge (ionic electrical charge) being short one or more electrons and thus very bio-active.
Atom of silver - the smallest particle of silver and it has a negative surface charge in a colloidal state. This charge is like a static charge, and has no reported biologic benefits.
Crystal of silver - many silver atoms chemically bonded together. They may have a negative surface charge in a colloidal state but are usually too large (will continue growing) and will settle out.
Salts of silver - chemically bonded silver ions to other materials that were dissolved in the starting water. Silver salts are usually poorly soluble and thus form crystal growths and settle out.
nm = nanometer or billionth of a meter. 1/1,000 inch is roughly 25,000 nanometers!
A popular measure of the existence of a colloid, such as colloidal silver, (but not milk, which is also a colloid) is the:
Tyndall Effect and Fallacies- Tyndall effect is "the dispersion of a light beam shown thru the liquid". A cloudy path of the light beam will be evident if there are colloidal particles in suspension! It is visible in colloids as weak as 0.1 PPM, while ions, the preferred form of silver, are NOT visible, even with a high powered optical microscope! Since visible light is in the 400 to 700nm range, only particles over 400nm sizes will defract the light. Quoting the American Institute of Physics;
"The diffraction of light waves normally limits spatial resolution of nearby objects to no better than the wavelength of the light source", so the popular red laser (LED) used for viewing the Tyndal effect will show only particles over 670nm while a flashlight (white light includes all colors) will only show particles over 400nm.
Only recently has the "urban legend" that high Tyndall effects means good Colloidal silver, started to have the opposite proponents, as it is exactly the opposite - more Tyndall effect is bad!
The current rage of using a red laser pointer, displaying mostly the larger 670nm particles, indicates very large particles I.E. not exactly a therapeutic colloid. White light is better, defracting all sizes from 400 to 700nm, but still none of the predominate 100-200nm particles the average Colloidal silver contains. Any visible effect usually means poor Cs!
Thus, a strong Tyndall effect is an indication of larger silver particles and thus less bioavailability while a weak Tyndall effect indicates more ions or smaller particles of silver, assuming you are comparing the same PPM. PPM, by the way, is a measure of "parts by weight", so it is a total of the ionic, atomic, crystalline or salts of silver and thus is not an indicator of quality nor effectiveness.
IONIC SILVER PRODUCTION and MEASUREMENT
Ion Specific Electrodes can be used to measure the ionic particles only, while atomic absorption can measure them all. A centrifuge can separate out the particles of a colloid, leaving the dissolved ions. The common measurement of solution conductivity, using low cost PPM meters, will measure only the charged particles. These will include colloidal silver particles (atoms or clusters of atoms with a charge), silver ions and dissolved salts (which disassociate into charged ions), but will not measure any crystals or non-charged atom clusters. The measurement is in microsiemens/centimeter and for colloidal silver converts at 1.6 uS/PPM. The conversion for ionic silver is 1 uS to 1 PPM.
Ions are inherently produced, by well controlled low voltage electrolysis, but when they reach the negative electrode they gain an electron and become an atom of silver and/or join to others to make crystals of silver. These are weak crystal structures, like snow flakes, and may fall off the electrode if disturbed. If current density (uamp/cm) is not controlled properly, there will be few ions stripped off the silver electrode and the disruptive energy will knock off mostly atoms or chunks (crystals) of silver. Further, if circulation is not used, a conducting string of ions/atoms will bridge between the electrodes and crystal growth will proceed in between the electrodes! This then leads to very high current density (point discharge of current), negating any current limiter (constant current) benefits!
Ion and Particle Charges
The measure of the stability of a colloid is the zeta potential or particle charge! It is a negative surface charge, unlike the positive ionic charge (due to loss of an electron) of ionic silver. Since like charges repel, the particles stay separated, for good stability. It is possible to have both positive and negatively charged particles in a solution, just as salt disassociates into + sodium and - chloride ions. In the solvating action of water, ions are surrounded by micelle of water, greatly reducing their mobility and preventing them all from getting neutralized at the negative electrode!
In summation, the ionic (positively charged) form will have the highest bio-availability and bio-activity of any form of silver. It can not be manufactured in high PPM due to the limited solubility of silver ions in water (metallic silver is not soluble in water but can be suspended in colloidal form). That is, when the saturation point is reached (about 15-20 PPM) precipitation will occur. Higher concentrations (to 500+ PPM) can be made if bound to protein, but the ions are surrounded and thus have their bio-activity masked, allowing mold growth on the protein surface.
The only real measure of quality of Silver solutions is its effectiveness or bio-availability and bio-activity!
Basically the particles must have an active charge, be of minimal size and occur in large quantity!
A purely "silver colloid" (metallic) would have no ions and would thus have very low bio-activity. It is the missing electron of a silver ion that is thought to provide the "killing" power of so called colloidal silver. Properly manufactured "ionic" silver (Silver Infusion) can penetrate your tissues and kill off most viruses or bacteria or stop an immune system reaction from irritants like poison ivy or a burn!
Purity of Silver Electrode Required...
Another persistent urban legend is the purity of silver which must be used!
Normal silver refining yields 99.9+ purity silver, so total impurities would be under one part per thousand. Meaning at 5PPM, electrode contaminates released are less then 5 parts per billion! Since copper and dissolved oxygen are the main contaminates and PPB is defined as micrograms/liter, you might get up to 3 micrograms of copper and oxygen per liter consumed. So, with a typical daily dose of one tablespoon you get 0.05 micrograms copper per day, far far below your daily required minimum!
The other metals (gold, etc.) would be below 1 PPB or 0.005 microgram/day, well below safe EPA levels. Even drinking a quart a day would provide less then 1 PPB of gold and even less of a few other metals alloyed in silver. These are all so far below trace mineral levels, they mean nothing!
The usual marketing hype is that they use is...that you need silver with purity of up to 99.9995 purity, without realizing that, that purity costs over $1,000/ounce, yet as we just showed, it gains you nothing.
As there are generally 20PPM of dissolved gases in silver, 99.9980% silver is the best possible, even if all other metals could be removed! Sure it can be made gas free but then you could not ever touch it or expose it to air! The high cost of specially processing small lots, expensive test equipment to certify it and handling and packaging costs actually puts high purity silver beyond the abilities of most refineries.
Water treatment applications!
Research with colloidal silver and hydrogen peroxide in water treatment for public pools and drinking water, as a substitute for chlorine as the biocide.
Biologic Actions of Colloidal Silver
"Silver is a disinfectant for non-spore forming bacteria at concentrations about 1000 times lower than the levels at which it is toxic to mammalian life. This extreme mammalian-to-bacterial toxicity differential is the definition of an oligodynamic material. The low concentration necessary for oligodynamic activity allows silver or one of its insoluble salts to be used indefinitely in contact with sterile liquids without silver levels building up to concentrations harmful to people."
Why Do You Only Make 5PPM?
Ionic Silver at 5PPM, has more ions per tablespoon then you have body cells!
New Zealand's Health Board (like our FDA) passed this year a law with fines of $20,000 for the marketing of Colloidal silver over 10PPM!
Medical texts clearly state taking excessive doses of anything will cause your body to develope a protective rejection mechanism against it, reducing its effectiveness!
The number of silver ions at 5PPM in an ounce of ionic silver (Silver Infusion) is computed at 1,000 trillion, so a tablespoon has more then you might ever need. If you are talking about poor product, with larger particles, you have a different story! Since the volume of a sphere is Pi x Diameter cubed/4. Thus, a colloidal particle of 1000 nanometers (40 millionths of an inch), the largest allowed in a colloid, would need nearly 45 billion ions or atoms to make it! Wouldn't you rather fight an army of pathogens with 45 billion arrows rather then just one canon ball!
Silver protein, long the preferred silver ion delivery material, can be of very high PPM but unfortunately the protein surrounds the silver ion and thus allows mold growth on the protein surface - rather annoying to have your medicine grow what you may be trying to kill! I am sorry to report a few of our customers tried marketing a colloidal silver cream containing protein and had to do major recalls after they molded on the shelvs.
Suppression of Immune Responses!
Colloidal Silver has for decades been classed as an antibacterial, antifungal and antivirual agent. The popular theory is that its taking of an electron (the positively charged ionic form is missing an electron) from the surface of the pathogens either ruptures it or inhibits its ability to use oxygen. (The later is of course valid only for an aerobic bacteria!) Our friend Frederick Peschel was the first to point out the apparent anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive benefits of Ionic ssilver, as below.
A web search in year 2000 showed no references to the immunosuppressive effects of Ionic Silver but certainly should have and now does, since that page became listed!
Immune Responses of Colloidal Silver...
The truly amazing results it has given with many conditions often go's beyond antibiotic actions! The basis of ionic silvers immunosuppressive and antiinflammatory action appears sound, based both on its excellent efficiency on skin burns (severe physical tissue damage) and on poison ivy, oak and sumac (immune system induced tissue damage)! There are also numerous references on the web of its efficiency against fire ants,bee stings, spider bites and the auto immune diseases like AIDS and MS.
I have often mentioned my personal amazement in its ability to suppress both pain and blistering responses when I have burned my skin with a 350+ degree soldering iron. A burn, causing both smoke and the smell of burning flesh, becomes trivial if I apply Silver Infusion within a minute! Clearly, its skin absorption gives a signal to the immune system, to suppress the normal protective actions of producing pain and an insulating blister! As would be expected, there is skin damage, but it is limited to a white dry spot, where the skin oils and some tissue were literally vaporized.
In a diverse mode of tissue damage, from the immune systems reaction to poison ivy and sumac, I have had users state that even day old sumac poisoning, with its oozing sores, cleared in a day vs. the norm of weeks! Further, week old poison ivy itching was suppressed quickly with a Silver Infusion spray. Again, the immune systems action was suppressed! The urushiol (absorbed irritating oil) clearly not being effected, but by the immune systems reaction being turned off!
Read the following description of the "Exaggerated Immune Response to Poison Ivy/oak", so you better understand the immune systems complex response and often collaterally induced tissue damage.
Extracting from the Univ. of Mass immunology web site:
Allergic inflammations, also called hypersensitivities, are caused by three underlying mechanisms. The one which is responsible for the reaction to poison ivy is called delayed hypersensitivity.
Delayed hypersensitivity does not start to be noticeable until several hours to a full day after exposure to the antigen. It may last for over a week. T lymphocytes recognize the foreign substances, usually after the antigen is eaten, degraded, and presented (in pieces) by so-called antigen-presenting cells such as Langerhans cells in the skin, or macrophages. Urushiol metabolites are presented by this and other mechanisms.
The T lymphocytes pour out inflammatory signal substances called cytokines. These call in armies of white blood cells called monocytes, which become macrophages. The macrophages become activated by the cytokines and attack everything in the vicinity, and can cause severe tissue damage.
In addition to poison ivy/poison oak, a good example is the skin reaction to injected tuberculosis antigen. In fact, when tuberculosis bacteria infect the lung, it is the delayed hypersensitivity against them which destroys the lung. Although delayed hypersensitivity is responsible for the reaction to poison ivy/poison oak, here, for comparison, is a brief introduction to the other two mechanisms of hypersensitivity.
Immediate hypersensitivity occurs within minutes of exposure to the foreign substance, also called the antigen. Hay fever or allergic rhinitis is an example. Some people also have immediate hypersensitivity to bee stings, and this can be life threatening if not treated immediately. Immediate hypersensitivity occurs when the body produces a special kind of antibodies, called immunoglobulin E (IgE), to the antigen.
Mast cells and basophils bind the IgE on their surfaces. When antigen binds to (and cross-links) the IgE, these cells pour out vasoactive amines, such as histamine. It is these vasoactive amines which cause the inflammation. Antihistamines are usually an effective treatment for localized reactions. [Ed: Ionic Silver Infusion appears to be more effective in less time!]
Complement-dependent hypersensitivity occurs within an hour or so of exposure to antigen (more slowly than immediate hypersensitivity, but faster than delayed hypersensitivity). It usually starts when the most common kind of antibody,
immunoglobulin G (IgG), reacts with the antigen. This triggers a complement reaction. (Complement is a series of blood proteins which aid in defense against microorganisms.) This in turn brings in white blood cells (especially neutrophils) which attack everything, and can cause severe tissue damage.
An example of this kind of reaction is serum sickness, which occurs after a foreign antiserum or other protein is injected. Other examples are a reaction to a large injection of penicillin (penicillin depot) or to inhaling plant dusts over a long period of time ("Farmer's lung").
Complement-dependent inflammations require a relatively large amount of antigen (milligrams). In contrast, immediate and delayed responses can be severe even with tiny amounts of antigen (micrograms).
Urushiol is a mixture of catchol derivatives. The major catechol on poison ivy/poison oak leaves is pentadecylcatechol. If urushiol is washed off the skin within an hour or so, the reaction can be largely prevented. However, if left on the skin, some diffuses through the skin, where it is metabolized to quinone derivatives. These form covalent complexes with skin proteins such as keratin. These complexes appear foreign to the immune system, which therefore attacks them.
Godfrey, H. P., H. Baer, and R. C. Watkins. 1971. Delayed hypersensitivity to catechols. V. Absorption and distribution of substances related to poison ivy extracts and their relation to the induction of sensitization and tolerance. J. Immunol. 106(1):91-102
Won't Stomach Acid Ruin Ionic silver?
The popular theory that orally taken silver ions reach the stomach and will complex with your stomach acid to form useless silver chloride is just plain not true!
In order to move mineral ions about your body, for delivery to the area where needed, your body uses proteins to envelope the ions and render them inactive, until they are delivered to the cell or area needing them. Numerous essential biological functions require metal ions, and most of these metal ion functions involve metalloproteins. One-third of all proteins are "metalloproteins", chemical combinations of protein atoms (carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, sulfur) with ions of metals such as iron, calcium, copper, zinc, etc.
Hemoglobin, for example, that carries oxygen in the bloodstream, is an iron-containing metalloprotein. For a full report on Metalloproteins click here
If this were not the case, few minerals would remain useable by your body, including essentials like calcium, iron, etc. as they would join other free anions and in many cases make insoluble salts (no bio-availability). Your saliva has over 200 different proteins and thus they can capture metallic ions before they get near the stomach acid! Also, silver ions are so small they can be absorbed sub lingually, thru your skin, to directly enter the blood stream, with the help of proteins.
SILVER BIOACTIVITY and ARGYRIA EXPLAINED
"The biological effects of silver are apparently due to reversible bonds with enzymes and other active molecules on the surface of cells. Due to its sulphydryl binding propensity, biologically-available silver disrupts membranes, disables proteins and inhibits enzymes. The ionic form of silver is necessary for biological activity and the lipid phase of the membrane appears to be important in adsorbing silver ions to living cells. The active sites on enzymes which are affected by silver are apparently the electron-rich functional groups such as-SH groups. Silver combines with plasma proteins, is removed by the liver and over 90% is eliminated in the bile; most of this in the feces with very little in the urine.
That silver which is not excreted is deposited in the skin and mucous tissues. Tissue deposition of silver results from precipitation of insoluble salts such as silver chloride and silver phosphate. These may be transformed to soluble silver sulphide albuminates and bind with amino or carboxyl groups in proteins and nucleic acids. They may also be oxidized to metallic silver by ascorbic acid or catecholamines".