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NEWSLETTER 18 : Silver, A Beneficial Heavy Metal (Edited: April 2002 Updated: October 2002)

Introduction
History
Use of Silver
Silver in Solution
Colloid Silver
Possible Toxicity

Introduction

The term "Heavy Metals" is generally interpreted to include those metals from periodic table groups IIA through VIA.

At trace levels, many of these elements are necessary to support life. However, at elevated levels they become toxic, may build up in biological systems, and become a significant health hazard.

Visit the web site of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. US Department of Labor (OSHA) for more information on heavy metals

As examples of the toxicity of heavy metals, see a note concerning Lead, and another note concerning Cadmium.

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History

Silver under the form of colloidal silver, has a long history of use in human health.

Orally, colloidal silver is used to treat ear infections, emphysema , bronchitis , fungal infections, Lyme disease, Rosacea, sinus infections, stomach ulcers, yeast infections, chronic fatigue syndrome , AIDS , and tuberculosis. It is used orally for antibacterial properties, for food poisoning, to promote rapid healing and subdue inflammation, and to treat gum disease. It is used to improve digestion, and to prevent flu and colds. Colloidal silver is used during pregnancy to aid the baby's growth and health as well as the mother's delivery and recovery. Topically, colloidal silver is used for acne, burns, eye infections, fungal infections, throat infections, skin infections, and Staphylococcus infections.

Traditionally, colloidal silver has been used for allergies; appendicitis; arthritis; blood parasites; bubonic plague; cancer; cholera; colitis; cystitis; conjunctivitis; atopic dermatitis (cradle cap); diabetes; dysentery; eczema; gastritis; gonorrhea; impetigo; hay fever; herpes; leprosy; leukemia; lupus; lymphangitis; malaria; meningitis; parasitic infections; pneumonia; pneumococci; psoriasis; prostatitis; rhinitis; ringworm; scarlet fever; septic conditions of the eyes, ears, mouth, and throat; Salmonella; septicemia; shingles; skin cancer; syphilis; tonsillitis; toxemia; trench foot; viruses; warts; and yeast infections.


Natural Medicine Comprehensive Database. Fourth Edition 2002

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Use of Silver

Today, silver is still used in medicine. Silvadene is a cream containing silver combined to the sulfamide sulfadiazine.

Silver sulfadiazine has a broad antimicrobial activity. It is bactericidal for many gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria, as well as being effective against yeast.

Sufficient data have been obtained to demonstrate that silver sulfadiazine will inhibit bacteria that are resistant to other antimicrobial agents and that the compound is superior to sulfadiazine (Emphasis added)


Physician Desk Reference. 55 edition, 2001

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Silver in Solution

Dissolved silver salts produce silver ions. Silver ions are caustic. An example is silver nitrate used to destroy skin tumors.

Silver ions have a high affinity for proteins resulting in precipitation. Proteins precipitated by silver ions are white and thereafter become gray or black. The action of Ag ions on proteins is limited by the chlorine ions always available in living tissue.

Concentrated silver solutions are caustic, diluted solutions are antiseptic.

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Colloid Silver

However, colloid silver in much less caustic. An example is the diluted colloid silver solution used as mouth wash.

A solution of silver combined with albumin (a colloid) has a lower ionization gradient, resulting in a reduced causticity. Colloid silver preparation are unstable and light sensitive.

Natural Medicine Comprehensive Database. Fourth Edition 2002.

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Possible Toxicity

Colloidal silver is safe for internal use in amounts that do not exceed a total intake of 14 micrograms of silver per day and per kilo, or 400 micrograms per day for a person of 185 Lbs.

The critical effect in humans ingesting silver is argyria, a medically benign but permanent bluish-gray discoloration of the skin. Argyria results from the deposition of silver in the dermis and also from silver-induced production of melanin. Although silver has been shown to be uniformly deposited in exposed and unexposed areas, the increased pigmentation becomes more pronounced in areas exposed to sunlight due to photoactivated reduction of the metal.

Although the deposition of silver is permanent, it is not associated with any adverse health effects. No pathologic changes or inflammatory reactions have been shown to result from silver deposition.


Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

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