Naturally Rockford: Is silver a metal, currency or cure-all?

Some claim silver colloid can cure cancer and AIDS

Silver is usually seen as a metal used in jewelry, coins, tableware, and photography. But it has properties expanding far beyond any of these material uses. Since the time of Hippocrates, “father of medicine,” the health benefits of silver have been known.

Silver in modern times is used as an antibacterial and disinfectant in the medical world. Upon birth, babies’ eyes are treated with drops of aqueous silver nitrate to eradicate gonorrhea, which can cause blindness. Silver nitrate is also used to burn off warts. It is a corrosive substance. It does not harm babies’ eyes because a minute, diluted amount is used for this instance. Burn victims have their wounds swathed in silver ionic compounds to ward off infections. Silver’s ability to absorb oxygen causes bacteria to oxidize on contact, a reason why silver is also used to disinfect pools from algae.

Some claim “silver colloid,” a colloidal base containing a suspension of submicroscopic metallic silver particles, can do much more, including cure cancer and AIDS. In studies done at Brigham Young University, silver has shown antimicrobial abilities. It has reduced pathogens, which can prevent disease. But these studies were done in vitro, in a test tube, not in vivo, inside of an organism. The researchers at this university stated, “This study cannot be extrapolated to indicate effectiveness in human systems.” In simple terms, while silver does show anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-microbial effects when administered topically, there is no evidence it has these same abilities when ingested.

Silver taken orally, in any form, also poses some problems. Silver doesn’t leave the body; it builds up in it. Taken over a long period of time, silver ingestion can lead to a disease called argyria. This is a darkening of the skin to a blue-gray color, due to accumulation. Argyria is a perceived permanent condition, leading to ostracism and self-esteem problems. Skin exposed to sunlight is darkened the most, an offshoot of silver’s darkening when exposed to light, one of the reasons it’s used in photography. The small amount given to babies is of no esteem. Some burn victims have experienced argyria due to silver treatments.

It is a person’s personal choice whether to take any form of silver to combat a disease. But its full effects are not known. There even have been claims it can cause ulcers, and in rare cases, death (University of California-Davis). More research must be done before people start to medicate themselves with this remedy. Talk with your doctor before stepping into the unknown realms of silver treatments.

From the Oct. 12-18, 2005, issue

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