In the early 1950s Hoover were one of the first companies to become dominant in the market for domestic vacuum cleaners. Their success was so great that a new verb was added to the American English language, thus was born “hoovering” in parallel we no longer bought a vacuum cleaner, we bought a hoover. This was true even if the brand was General Electric or other.
What has this to do with colloidal silver, you may well ask?
Actually this story illustrates perfectly how languages evolve to include common misconceptions, and this is especially true of the term “Colloidal Silver”
The term is now used to describe any liquid containing silver ions or particles, but the differences between these numerous products are significant.
In the hoover illustration above, it does not really matter to anyone, it is a quality issue, there are good hoovers and less good hoovers, end of story.
When it comes to silver, the differences actually do matter, depending on therapeutic use, so when someone says colloid silver is either good or bad for any reason the statement is meaningless.
Silver is a fascinating and very useful substance, it has the highest thermal and electrical conductivity and the highest light reflectivity of any metal, and also has antimicrobial properties. .
It is true that the antimicrobial properties of silver have been known for thousands of years, but why and how, is even now still being debated. However we are some way ahead of our Greek and Roman ancestors in terms of our knowledge and our understanding of chemistry and physics, so I shall go with the current prevailing understanding in trying to explain.
When it comes to using silver in a therapeutic case, a basic understanding of the theory may be helpful in making a purchasing choice. In any case certainly more useful than the reams of brand based disinformation you are likely to come across on the internet.
A list tof the types of product you will encounter, called colloid, or colloidal silver can be broken down into 3 main types. 1) Ionic silver solutions. 2) true silver colloids. 3) gel or protein based silver containing colloids.
In order to properly discuss the differences between them some basic understanding of chemistry is required, but I shall try to make it painless. But before we can go down that rabbit hole we need to understand what solutions and colloids are, and why they are different.
Simply put, things in solution are dissolved in the liquid, usually water or tea, coffee if you prefer.
So the sugar you put in your preferred hot beverage will be dissolved in it. The correct definition is “ a homogeneous mixture of two or more substances “. A solution will not scatter light, and you cannot separate its components by simple filtration.
So what is a colloid? A colloid is a homogeneous mixture of an insoluble substance suspended in another such as they will not separate. In the tea or coffee analogy, the hot water is a solution of tea and sugar, the milk you may add to it is a colloid, the proteins in the milk are not dissolved in water containing them.
What follows may at points seem counter intuitive, but bear with me. Back to silver, silver as with many substances can exist in several forms and states, but the most common are either particulate or ionic. Particles and ions although being chemically considered the same material have very different properties. These differences result from the number of electrons in their atomic orbit. The concept of atomic orbits may be considered outdated, but it is a simple means of explaining the differences between substances. Silver has 5 electron orbits (shells) of 47 electrons total. The fifth and last of these known as the valence shell contains 1 electron.
Though silver atoms do not exist in isolation, a normal silver atom would be neutral in electrical charge, however If the valence electron, is lost during the process of electrolysis the electron imbalance would make it positively charged, and it would become a silver ion which is soluble in water.
In the electrolysis process used by most so called colloidal silver manufacturers some silver particles are formed by the recombination of silver ions and electrons close to the anode + but these will quickly form variable sized particles, becoming larger as time progresses.
The vast majority of silver products on the market are produced like this and are simply ionic solutions. They are relatively cheap and easy to manufacture.
Ionic products are not without merit, and this is the counter intuitive bit, it is silver ions that are thought to be so lethal to single cell organisms. In external application where blood and salt are not present their effectiveness is superior, but only until they dry.
This is because silver ions can only exist while dissolved in water
In short silver ions cannot exist for long in the human organism, and therefore have little therapeutic use. They quickly form insoluble non active compounds, or once evaporated form silver oxide.
True silver colloids do not suffer from these limitations, nanoparticles of silver can travel through the body and when in contact with microorganisms release the microbe killer silver ions thorough a process known as oxidisation.
True silver colloids are much more difficult to manufacture as in order for them to be stable the particles must all be of identical size. These silver particles do have a small charge but it is negative, and known as zeta potential. In a true colloid with no additives this is what keeps the colloid intact. Particles of identical charge will always repel one another. See the link for more detailed explanation of this and other terms.
There is one more important factor in relation to silver colloid effectiveness and that is the size of the particle. Oxidisation happens only at the surface of the particle, the smaller the particle the greater the surface area for any given weight. The larger the surface area the greater the release of ions will be. In vitro testing has shown that particles larger than 10 nanometers are very ineffective as antimicrobial agents. Mesosilver TM available in the UK through our clients website this contains the optimum concentration of the smallest stable silver particles possible on this planet.
Mesosilver TM has a greater than 90% content of pure nano particulate silver with a size of 0.65 nanometers. It outperforms any other silver product on the market, by a factor of hundreds of times. It will not cause argyria, and has an indefinite shelf life if stored correctly, it is not affected by light, and so does not need to be stored in a brown or blue container.
Just a word about ARGYRIA. This is a cosmetic condition caused by the overconsumption of IONIC SILVER. Mention of it can often be found in so called fact checking sites, laden with disinformation, about colloidal silver. Whilst it is possible to get the condition through using IONIC products, in reality the dosage required to do so is massive, and has to be for a prolonged period.
How do you tell the difference? If it is clear it is IONIC solution, another method is to put a crystal of pure salt (sodium chloride, dishwasher salt is perfect) in the solution. IONIC solutions will cause a white cloud of insoluble silver chloride to form that is easy to see with the naked eye.