Silver in its various forms has had a long history of
reported therapeutic value. Recently, through the work of Dr. Bob Beck
and other researchers, it has become popular, both alone, as well as
part of a 4 part protocol advocated by Dr. Bob Beck claiming cures for
an almost astounding number of ailments from the cold and flu to lupus,
aids and cancer.
However, a search of literature has revealed that
there is no consensus on how it works, or even what it does. Most
discussions appear to be pure theories or speculation with little or no
supporting scientific evidence.
Silver colloids are analyzed from a nuclear,
chemical, catalytic, and physics perspective to determine what the
expected action is on various pathogens as well as its effect, if any,
on so called good bacteria.
The result is that what is being generally reported
by many people and researchers is exactly what is to be expected. This
is important, since winning the approval of medical professionals, and
even that of many patients requires that they understand just what a new
therapy does and does not do, and how it works.
Silver has been reported to have therapeutic value
throughout the ages. It has been reported that one reason the upper
class did not succumb to many of the plagues which almost wiped out many
villages was because they ate with silver utensils, off silver plates
and drank from silver goblets. Churches did, and still do, use cups made
of silver for communion, where one goblet is passed from person to
person. Earlier this century people put silver dollars in their milk and
wells to ward off spoilage and illness (4). The knowledge of the
miraculous healing powers of silver were so well known that legends of
werewolves required silver to kill the lycanthropy, and supposedly, evil
witches cowered at the power of silver to eliminate evil.
Even more recently, many researchers such as Bob Beck
have reported that silver in a colloidal state eliminates virtually all
known pathogens, viruses, fungi, bacteria, protozoa, and yeasts. Yet, it
appears that there is no effect on the good bacteria in the intestinal
tract, either because it does not attack good bacteria, or it is
absorbed into the blood stream before reaching the intestinal tract.
Silver is referred to as a transition metal in
chemical literature, along with copper and gold. They are metals that
are heavier than the life giving light metals, such as sodium, calcium,
and potassium, yet lighter than the toxic heavy metals such as lead,
arsenic and mercury. Gold and silver are considered noble metals because
they tend to not react easily to form compounds.
The transition metals are known for their catalytic
properties. Although ionic silver (such as any silver compound dissolved
in water) has very little if any catalytic effect, and macroscopic
silver has little effect either. However, very finely powdered silver
becomes a very good oxidizing catalyst. Starting with atomic or ionic
silver, the catalytic effect increases with particle size until it
reaches a peak at some value, then drops off to a much lower level when
the particles approach the wavelength of light.
This is easy to explain by examining how a catalyst
works. Each positively charged silver atom will attract one negatively
charged atom or molecule. Once they touch, the charge is neutralized. If
you have more than one positively charged atom of silver in a particle,
then each can attract a negatively charged atom or particle. If a clump
of silver atoms binds with two negatively charged particles, such as
oxygen and something else, these two particles will no longer
electrostatically repel each other, but will be brought together and
will react, oxidizing the particle.
The larger the particle, the more positively charged
silver atoms can attract oxygen and other negatively charged particles
to the surface. However, if particle size becomes too large, then the
amount of silver hidden in the center of the particle means that the
increase in mass, which goes up with the cube of the diameter, is
increasing faster than the active surface areas, which goes up at the
square of the diameter. The catalytic effect thus peaks at some particle
size and decreases with respect to the amount of silver if the size is
Bacteria come in two forms - anaerobic and aerobic.
Earlier this century it was discovered by Dr. Gram that he could stain
bacteria with a specially prepared Gram stain, and that in general good
bacteria stained, but pathogenic bacteria did not stain. It was later
discovered that the pathogenic bacteria are negatively charged.
Pathogenic bacteria are anaerobic, and if oxidized will die. Thus, to
prevent oxidization, they carry an enzyme to specifically repel
negatively charged oxygen. If this enzyme is disabled so that they lose
this negatively charge, or if oxygen is supplied in a form such that it
is reactive to negatively charged pathogens, such as ozone water or
hydrogen peroxide, the bacteria will be oxidized and the reaction is
ultimately lethal to the pathogen.
It thus follows that negatively charged bacteria, and
negatively charged oxygen will both be attracted to and will bind with
silver particles. Since the negative charge is neutralized through an
electron transfer with the particle of silver, each can now easily
combine with the other, and will do so, oxidizing the pathogen and
Specifically it has been determined that with
anaerobic bacteria and viruses oxygen reacts with the sulfhydryl (-S-H)
groups surrounding the surface and removes the hydrogen (converting it
to water) so that the sulfur atoms form an -R-S-S-R bond. This
interferes with the organismís transport or membrane proteins and
Not only will it result in the catalytic oxidation of
the bacteria or other pathogens, but since almost all pathogens are
negatively charged and the silver is positively charged, the silver and
pathogen are attracted to each other via a static attraction causing
interactions much faster and at much larger distances than would be
expected by pure chance of collision.
However "good" bacteria, those that breath
oxygen, do not carry a negative charge. This enables the good bacteria
to attract oxygen which they require to breathe. One would expect that
aerobic bacteria would not be killed by silver. However testing done at
University of Tennessee under our directions has shown that colloidal
silver is also quite effective in killing aerobic bacteria. The method
by which the aerobic bacteria are killed is still under investigation.
It has been previously thought that the reason that
colloidal silver does not affect the good bacteria in the intestines was
because it did not kill good bacteria. We have proven this to be false.
Further investigation indicates that colloidal silver is unable to move
around and interact with bacteria when in a gel or solid matrix. This in
conjunction with the fact that most if not all of the silver, when
particle size is correct, will get absorbed through the stomach lining
and into the blood stream, most likely accounts for the lack killing the
good bacteria in the intestines.
It should be clear now why silver colloids are
extremely effective at destroying pathogenic bacteria, yet do not affect
good bacteria in the intestines or mammal cells. Yet the reports on the
effectiveness of silver colloids, when compared with normal antibiotics,
still seem to call into question why silver is so much more effective,
often effecting a cure in hours, when powerful antibiotics may take days
There are a number of reasons why silver seems to
have much more effectiveness than normal antibiotics. Here are a number
1. Colloidal silver is positively charged; most
antibiotics do not carry a strong positive charge. This causes
silver to virtually seek out and destroy pathogens, instead of
simply having to move around until they happen to bump into each
other. This effect is quite appropriately referred to as the
"Silver Bullet" effect by Dr. Beck.
2 Silver kills immediately by oxidizing the
pathogen. Antibiotics do not affect viruses at all, and for bacteria
will only kill the bacteria when it tries to divide (penicillin type
antibiotics) or will prevent the pathogen from dividing
(tetracycline type antibiotics). In the first case, it may take the
bacteria several days before it attempts to divide; and in the
second case the bacteria is not killed at all, but just prevented
from replicating. In both cases, the immune system must take care of
most or all of the pathogens. With silver, they are killed outright
3. Silver is a catalyst. Thus, as soon as a
particle of silver has oxidized a pathogen, the pathogen loses it's
negative charge and floats away, and the silver is free to attack
another pathogen. Antibiotics usually bind with the pathogen and for
each pathogen destroyed, one particle or molecule of the antibiotic
is used up.
The result is that silver will usually give a much
faster kill than an antibiotic. The down side of this is that the high
and rapid kill rate can result in Herxheimer's reaction or healing
crisis (1). The body simply does not have time to eliminate the huge
amount of toxins and dead pathogens that can result from silver water.
Other therapies which work along similar lines such as ozonized water
are reported to the same problem. It is highly recommended to never
initially give therapeutic dosages of colloidal silver to a severely ill
person, but to give small amounts initially and work up to therapeutic
dosages in a couple of days. This allows the kill rate to be maintained
where the body can eliminate the dead pathogens and toxins without undue
stress. Of course, drinking large amounts of liquids can help flush the
toxins and should be encouraged.
Other Possible negative effects.
As most people know, silver is used as the
photo-sensitive ingredient in almost all photographic processes. Silver
compounds, when exposed to light, will often result in the silver being
reduced to atomic or metallic silver. Then in the presence of a
developer, any silver compounds that contact the silver particles will
also undergo a reduction reaction, enlarging the silver particle.
While this process is essential to photography, it is
undesirable in the skin of a person. It is thought by many that the
reason that the royalty long ago were called blue bloods is because the
silver from the goblets and wares would react with acids in their drinks
and foods, then precipitate out in their skin giving them a bluish
color. It is known that consumption of silver compounds, such as silver
nitrate, followed by exposure to sunlight can result in a graying or
bluing of the skin, a medical condition called Argyria (2). As it turns
out, a number of chemicals that can appear in the blood make quite
effective developers. Caffeine and tannin are just two of them (3).
Fortunately, colloidal silver, when made by the
electrolytic process in pure distilled water without any salts being
added, produces no silver compounds. Thus, silver plating out of
colloidal silver is not possible; the silver particles are already
reduced to pure silver, and are mutually repulsed, because of their
However, if the colloidal silver is made from silver
salts by reduction chemistry, (as the high ppm level products are)
traces of silver salts can remain. Although silver metal is non-toxic to
mammals, silver salts are poisonous because of the associated cat ions,
and can result in Argyria (2). Also, when colloidal silver is made by
the electrolytic process and salt or sea salt is added, silver salts
will be produced as well. Although, in an emergency, one would be wise
to make one's own silver water using techniques previously given by Dr.
Beck, for long term use all exposure to silver salts should be avoided.
The use of table salt (sodium chloride) will produce
some Silver chloride. This is undesirable, and although the amount of
silver chloride is limited by it solubility in cold water to 0.89 PPM
(6), this is still a significant amount of silver compound compared with
the amount in the colloid itself (5 to 10 PPM).
The use of sea salt which many people recommend is
especially disturbing. Sea salt contains many compounds, including
various nitrates and fluoride. Many of the compounds can combine with
silver to produce silver compounds. Specifically silver can combine with
nitrates forming a highly soluble and toxic silver nitrate salt and with
fluoride producing highly soluble and toxic silver fluoride. Nitrates in
sea salt can run as high as 20 ppm, and fluorides are typically 40 ppm
(7). Therefore colloidal silver should be only made with pure distilled
water to prevent the formation of any toxic silver compounds. If one
must use an accelerating agent, then adding a small amount of previously
produced colloidal silver is recommended, over adding any type of salt.
Effectiveness verses particle size.
Several publications indicate that for absorption
through the stomach wall, particles must be .015 micron (15 nm) or
Traditionally particle size has been determined by
electron microscopy. This technique is quite slow and tedious, resulting
in a procedure which is both slow and inaccurate.
The absorption band of silver colloids increases in
wavelength as the size of the particles increase. This allows a
qualitative measurement on the particle sizes in a colloid by use of a
scanning photo spectrometer. Ionic silver has an absorption band in the
uv, and thus is virtually clear. As more atoms aggregate into a
particle, the absorption band moves from the uv into the violet, blue,
green, yellow, orange and red. Since the color of a substance is the
complement of the color absorbed colloidal silver will go from clear to
very light yellow, gold, orange, red, blue and green. (Colloidal
Chemistry pages 65 and 68*). Colloids that contain a broad range of
sizes can absorb wavelengths across the spectrum resulting in brown and
black. These will be of the lowest possible quality. It is generally
accepted that only clear to light gold silver colloids have particle
sizes small enough to be effective, and to be able to reach the blood
This paper is provided as a research tool for those wanting to
research and understand colloidal silver. No claims are made to it's
accuracy or suitability for any use. If there are any errors found we
will be happy to correct them.
More information on Colloidal Silver and how it works can be found in
our Theory paper.
1. FUNGUS The species specific understanding of, and
difference between bacterial phase and fungal phase developments in
blood pictures. Michael Coyle. Explore! 1997.
2. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics 76th Edition
1995-1996 CRC Press. David R. Lide Editor in Chief. P 4-27.
3. A Use for that last Cup of Coffee: Film and Paper
Development. Dr. Scott Williams. http://www.rit.edu/~andpph/text-coffee.html
4. Health Consciousness Magazine Vol 15, No 4.
5. The Development and Functions of Silver in Water
Purification and Disease Control. The Silver Institute. Richard Davis
& Samuel Etris.
6. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics 52th Edition
1971-1972 page B-135
7 ibid. F-165
*. The book COLLOID CHEMISTRY appears to be the one
authored by sved-derg and the 2nd edition published in 1928. We are
acquiring a copy to be able to get a proper bibliog. on it.