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Why do people take colloidal silver?

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Your body doesn’t need silver. It isn’t an essential mineral.

But many companies market colloidal silver supplements as cure-all products. They claim it can boost your immune system, ease chest congestion, and treat or prevent viral infections like the common cold or COVID-19. You might also hear that colloidal silver helps treat conditions like cancer, HIV and AIDS, shingles, herpes, or eye problems. But these statements are not backed by research.

Here’s what scientists know:

Cancer. The claim that silver can help treat cancer comes from the belief that it is able to kill cancer cells and prevent their growth and spread. In scientific tests though, colloidal silver was not able to kill any cells or stop them from spreading.

HIV and AIDS. There is no evidence that colloidal silver can treat HIV or AIDS. The most effective treatments are antiretroviral medicines that attack and kill the virus.

Silver is an ingredient in some treatments you put on your skin, such as bandages or creams that treat burns, wounds, or skin infections. But unlike colloidal silver supplements that you take by mouth or inject into a vein, these skin treatments are approved by the FDA.

SOURCES:

Harvard Medical School: “Taking Silver could give you the blues,” “Silver Supplement Warnings,” “How to boost your immune system.”

Antibiotics : “Antimicrobial Silver in Medicinal and Consumer Applications: A Patent Review of the Past Decade (2007-2017).”

Mayo Clinic: “My dad takes colloidal silver for his health, but is it safe?”

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: “Colloidal Silver.”

Journal of Wound Care : “Colloidal Silver as an Antimicrobial Agent: Fact or Fiction?”

Journal of Nanomedicine & Nanotechnology : “Use of Silver Nanoparticles in HIV Treatments Protocols: A Research Proposal.”

Journal of Applied Microbiology: “The silver lining: towards the responsible and limited use of silver.”

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on June 23, 2020

SOURCES:

Harvard Medical School: “Taking Silver could give you the blues,” “Silver Supplement Warnings,” “How to boost your immune system.”

Antibiotics : “Antimicrobial Silver in Medicinal and Consumer Applications: A Patent Review of the Past Decade (2007-2017).”

Mayo Clinic: “My dad takes colloidal silver for his health, but is it safe?”

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: “Colloidal Silver.”

Journal of Wound Care : “Colloidal Silver as an Antimicrobial Agent: Fact or Fiction?”

Journal of Nanomedicine & Nanotechnology : “Use of Silver Nanoparticles in HIV Treatments Protocols: A Research Proposal.”

Journal of Applied Microbiology: “The silver lining: towards the responsible and limited use of silver.”

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on June 23, 2020

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