Letters—Colloidal silver: Modern day snake oil

Colloidal silver: Modern day snake oil

“Is colloidal silver a good alternative to present-day antibiotics?”
-C.L.P., Gainseville, FL d

The silver scam has been going on for over a century, despite the fact that there is no evidence that it works. In the 1800s, it was recommended for tetanus and rheumatism. These days, colloidal silver has been touted as a miracle for everything from aches and pains to diabetes to cancer to bubonic plague. However, the oral form of silver has no place in good medicine. It is a fairly good topical antibiotic, but hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is far superior for skin infections and costs practically nothing.

Advocates of the colloidial silver con claim that it has no side effects and is safe even for pregnant women and children. This is simply not true. Prolonged use of oral silver will lead to argyria, a condition in which the silver collects in your tissues. Argyria is characterized by a darkening of the gums, giving them a blue-grey appearance, as well as a bluish discoloration of the skin. If this is what happens to the visible parts of your body, which are barely being touched by the silver, imagine what it’s doing to your insides, which are actually attempting to absorb the stuff!

There are no known health benefits in taking silver internally. If there were, it would have appeared in some responsible journal-or even an obscure one-as we desperately need new and more powerful antibiotics, especially in light of current circumstances.


“Silver products for medical indications: risk-benefit assessment.” Journal of Toxicology and Clinical Toxicology 1996; 34(1): 119-126.

“Colloidal silver proteins marketed as health supplements.” Journal of the American Medical Association 1995; 274(15): 1,196-1,197