The thread’s purpose was, and remains, an effort to provide accurate, honest, and non-commercial information to those interested in making the most effective form of colloidal Silver.
The biggest problem with colloidal Silver is its name. If we call something colloidal, it merely means that it is held in suspension. For example, milk is colloidal butterfat. As it is homogenized, the fat particles will tend to stay in suspension because the particles have been agitated to the point where they are small enough to not combine and rise to the top.
Now, what does this have to do with making colloidal Silver? It’s not hard to understand why we want the smallest possible particles of Silver. Let’s face it. We don’t want any more metal of any kind in our body other than what we need to stay well or heal a wound or infection. For a given total weight of the metal, small particles will result in a much greater surface area than large particles. For Silver to affect the microbe, it has to come into contact with that microbe. For the sake of simplicity, let’s consider our particles as spheres. If our particle is 100 nm in diameter, it will weigh the same as about 10,000 1 nm particles. What would have a better chance of getting to the bacteria we want to kill? 10,000 or one?
“Colloidal silver” is sold with ratings of parts per million “PPM.” That is the ratio of the water’s weight versus the Silver contained and suspended in the water. This measurement is made by the method of atomic absorption spectrophotometer. A sample is burned, and the light emitted includes spectral lines for Silver, the amplitude of which gives an indication of the parts per million, by weight. There is nothing in this method to distinguish between ions, “charged” particles, and uncharged.
It is straightforward for unscrupulous colloidal Silver manufacturers to make and advertise “colloidal silver” with strengths of 20, 30, 50, or 500 PPM. All they have to do is generate large particles and coat them with a substance lighter than water to stay in suspension. These solutions will have a color as the larger particles will block out portions of the ambient light, trying to shine through the water. The larger the particles, the more color, beginning with light yellow. There is real evidence to suggest that these solutions will do you harm, leading to a condition called argyria.
As you read through the thread, you will find numerous citations of serious, peer-reviewed studies illustrating silver ions’ superiority in killing bacteria to silver particles. The number of silver ions is measured in terms of electrical conductivity. When this thread started, the only instruments with the ability to measure this were quite expensive. The price of these has come down to a remarkable degree. A device capable of measuring ionic PPM within one or two ppm is now available on eBay for less than $10. If you’re going to make colloidal silver “ionic,” one of these should be the first thing you purchase. The second thing is to make sure that you get genuine 9999 pure silver wire with a certificate of analysis from a reputable source. Other than that, all you need is a voltage source and a resistor to limit the current. A multimeter with the 2 V scale and an additional 1K resistor will allow you to measure your current in microamps. That is all you need to make perfect, clear colloidal Silver. With a certain amount of experimentation, you will be able to make your colloidal Silver of a quality equal to commercial manufacturers’ offerings.
At last some honest research and testing of ionic silver. Note that electrically produced ionic silver outperforms silver compounds by a wide margin.
Antibacterial Activity and Mechanism of Action of the Silver Ion in Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.
The antibacterial effect and mechanism of action of a silver ion solution that was electrically generated were investigated for Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli by analyzing the growth, morphology, and ultrastructure of the bacterial cells following treatment with the silver ion solution. Bacteria were exposed to the silver ion solution for various lengths of time, and the antibacterial effect of the solution was tested using the conventional plate count method and flow cytometric (FC) analysis. Reductions of more than 5 log10 CFU/ml of both S. aureus and E. coli bacteria were confirmed after 90 min of treatment with the silver ion solution. Significant reduction of S. aureus and E. coli cells was also observed by FC analysis; however, the reduction rate determined by FC analysis was less than that determined by the conventional plate count method. These differences may be attributed to the presence of bacteria in an active but nonculturable (ABNC) state after treatment with the silver ion solution. Transmission electron microscopy showed considerable changes in the bacterial cell membranes upon silver ion treatment, which might be the cause or consequence of cell death. In conclusion, the results of the present study suggest that silver ions may cause S. aureus and E. coli bacteria to reach an ABNC state and eventually die.
The mechanism of the antimicrobial action of silver ions is closely related to their interaction with thiol (sulfhydryl) groups (1, 5, 9, 10), although other target sites remain a possibility (27, 34). Amino acids, such as cysteine, and other compounds containing thiol groups, such as sodium thioglycolate, neutralized the activity of silver against bacteria (18). By contrast, disulfide bond-containing amino acids, non-sulfur-containing amino acids, and sulfur-containing compounds, such as cystathione, cysteic acid, l-methionine, taurine, sodium bisulfate, and sodium thiosulfate, were all unable to neutralize the activity of silver ions. These and other findings imply that the interaction of silver ions with thiol groups in enzymes and proteins plays an essential role in its antimicrobial action, although other cellular components, like hydrogen bonding, may also be involved (10). Silver was also proposed to act by binding to key functional groups of enzymes. Silver ions cause the release of K+ ions from bacteria; thus, the bacterial plasma or cytoplasmic membrane, which is associated with many important enzymes, is an important target site for silver ions (9, 22, 25, 29).
In addition to their effects on bacterial enzymes, silver ions caused marked inhibition of bacterial growth and were deposited in the vacuole and cell wall as granules (6). They inhibited cell division and damaged the cell envelope and contents of bacteria (27). Bacterial cells increased in size, and the cytoplasmic membrane, cytoplasmic contents, and outer cell layers all exhibited structural abnormalities. Finally, silver ions interact with nucleic acids (35); they interact preferentially with the bases in DNA rather than with the phosphate groups, although the significance of this in terms of their lethal action is unclear (12, 24, 34, 37).
The following silver compounds and silver are listed in Martindale: the Extra Pharmacopoeia: silver metal, silver acetate, silver nitrate, silver protein, and silver sulfadiazine (26a). The silver ion can be generated by electrolyzing the silver metal or dissolving the silver compounds. It is known that the electrically generated silver ion appeared to be superior to the silver compounds in antimicrobial activity (3, 4). However, most of the aforementioned studies which determined a mechanism of action of silver used silver ions produced from silver compounds like silver nitrate or silver sulfadiazine, and thus there has been limited research on the electrically generated silver ion. Recently, a laundry machine that emits electrically generated silver ions was developed for hygiene, namely, in order to prevent easily transmissible bacterial and fungal skin infections from being transmitted by contaminated laundry. In particular, it can be beneficial to hospitals and homes in which immunocompromised people (the elderly, children, and medical patients) or pets may dwell. Our previous study demonstrated the antifungal activity of a laundry machine that electrically generates silver ions (14). In the present study, we used conventional plate counting, flow cytometry (FC), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to investigate the antibacterial activity and mechanism of action against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli bacteria of a silver ion solution generated from the laundry machine.It is known that the electrically generated silver ion appeared to be superior to the silver compounds in antimicrobial activity.
Since ancient times, the silver ion has been known to be effective against a broad range of microorganisms. Today, silver ions are used to control bacterial growth in a variety of medical applications, including dental work, catheters, and the healing of burn wounds (17, 30, 31). Silver ions are also used for a number of nonmedical purposes, such as in electrical appliances (14, 36). The slow-release “nanosilver” linings of laundry machines, dishwashers, refrigerators, and toilet seats are also marketed and advertised. It is clear that we are exposed to a wide range of mostly unfamiliar uses of silver-containing products intended to function as antimicrobial biocides. Therefore, it is necessary to elucidate the antimicrobial activity of the silver ion, which is widely used in these products.
In the early days, before graphical interfaces, there was a mailing list on the subject called the silverlist. It was there that I first began to promote the idea of limiting the current. That would allow the formation of individual ions to a certain level, preventing large particles’ formation. It was a free-for-all but useful. I have scanned the net for any forums that I could take part in regarding colloidal silver. These would be in the area of alternative health, which is an unfortunate circumstance. That is an area where snake oil salesman thrive. I avoid any association with this. I’m sure they have their purpose in the grand scheme of things, I don’t want the Association. Even the more legitimate forums in this area are compromised, perhaps corrupted, by accepting and soliciting advertising. I have had the experience of registering and initially posting the information on some of these forums, then discovering that my password for entry no longer worked. There is one colloidal silver maker, Frank Key of Mesosilver. He has started five separate forums of different names, with phony posts and replies, somehow resulting in his products’ endorsements. A great deal of deception exists in this market.
My employer, Atlasnova, has a Facebook page, mainly using it for the laser pointers. Atlasnova is reluctant to promote our colloidal silver generators, as it would inevitably lead to people asking for help with their health problems. We have been cautious from the start to not reply to any questions regarding a person’s particular health problems and the possible benefits of colloidal silver.
I’ve seen quite a few YouTube videos on making colloidal silver. I recall a fellow showing how to make a colloidal silver generator using a high voltage supply of a disassembled microwave oven. Does this come into the category of stupidity or depraved indifference?. Video is a bad idea. If you’re not willing to make an effort to understand the few principles involved, you’re better off buying it. Atlasnova sells colloidal silver of varying strengths.
How do you know what machine to buy.? If you don’t understand the principles involved, you will fall for the expert copywriting skills employed and paid for by those who put five dollars worth of parts into a $200 item. That kind of margin pays for a lot of marketing expertise and advertising. I prefer to deal with those willing to make an effort to understand what they’re doing.
The main problem is the fact that no standard exists for what we call “colloidal silver.” There are all sorts of concoctions that can be made and legitimately called colloidal silver. The word colloidal only means suspended in liquid, that’s all. For example, homogenized milk could be called colloidal butterfat. That’s what it is, globules of fat suspended. It could be whole milk or skim milk, and you would know the amount of fat within the milk. You can be confident that it will contain a certain butterfat amount when you buy a certain kind of milk. That is far from true when you purchase so-called colloidal silver. There is some colloidal silver sold with instructions to “shake the bottle.” The particles are so large, and this that they rest on the bottom until shaken. Many of these preparations have silver particles coated with substances which hold them in suspension. Silver ions kill viruses, fungi, and bacteria. The silver ion is a single atom of silver, positively charged. A single atom is the smallest possible particle.
When a situation exists that a person cannot count on getting the same thing twice, you can’t blame them for staying away. That’s too bad because silver can improve people’s quality of life in many ways. The fact that there is no money to be made from it. Pharmaceutical companies cannot patent it. Some of us are willing to understand a few principles and abide by them. It is to these people that “the art of making colloidal silver” is addressed.
Stay away from all the snake oil salesmen. Very few of them have any idea what they’re making and selling. There is no need to buy any particular thing from any specific supplier. Here is a source of authentic, well-reviewed, accepted information with no commercial activity allowed:
Clear is good – Color is bad
A clear colloidal silver solution signifies that there is no agglomeration to form larger particles. Agglomeration means that some of the particles are starting to share electron rings and are no longer repelling each other. This, in turn, may render the colloidal silver less potent.
By University of Arkansas | Science Daily
The antimicrobial properties of silver have been known for centuries. While it is still a mystery as to exactly how silver kills bacteria, University of Arkansas researchers have taken a step toward better understanding the process by looking at dynamics of proteins in live bacteria at the molecular level.
Traditionally, the antimicrobial effects of silver have been measured through bioassays, which compare the effect of a substance on a test organism against a standard, untreated preparation. While these methods are effective, they typically produce only snapshots in time, said Yong Wang, assistant professor of physics and an author of the study, published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
Instead, Wang and his colleagues used an advanced imaging technique, called single-particle-tracking photoactivated localization microscopy, to watch and track a particular protein found in E. coli bacteria over time. Researchers were surprised to find that silver ions actually sped up the dynamics of the protein, opposite of what they thought would happen. “It is known that silver ions can suppress and kill bacteria; we thus expected that everything slowed down in the bacteria when treated with silver. But, surprisingly, we found that the dynamics of this protein became faster.”
The researchers observed that silver ions were causing paired strands of DNA in the bacteria to separate, and the binding between the protein and the DNA to weaken. “Then the faster dynamics of the proteins caused by silver can be understood,” said Wang. “When the protein is bound to the DNA, it moves slowly together with the DNA, which is a huge molecule in the bacteria. In contrast, when treated with silver, the proteins fall off from the DNA, moving by themselves and thus faster.”
The observation of DNA separation caused by silver ions came from earlier work that Wang and colleagues had done with bent DNA. Their approach, now patent pending, was to put strain on DNA strands by bending them, thus making them more susceptible to interactions with other chemicals, including silver ions.
The National Science Foundation-funded study validated the idea of investigating the dynamics of single proteins in live bacteria, said Wang, an approach that could help researchers understand the real-time responses of bacteria to silver nanoparticles, which have been proposed for fighting against so-called “superbugs” that are resistant to commonly prescribed antibiotics.
“What we want to do eventually is to use the new knowledge generated from this project to make better antibiotics based on silver nanoparticles,” said Wang.
Materials provided by University of Arkansas. Original written by Bob Whitby.
Aug 8, 2020#857
The Atlantic is making vital coverage of the coronavirus available to all readers.
TI found the information on immunology very useful.
I found one of the articles should be unusually even-handed in discussing colloidal silver.
it is by and Atlantic staff writer OLGA KHAZAN
“The state of Missouri recently filed suit against the televangelist Jim Bakker for promoting a “Silver Solution” for the coronavirus on his show. And last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration went to court to stop an Oklahoma company called N-Ergetics from allegedly touting colloidal silver as a cure for everything from the coronavirus to yeast infections. (“Jim Bakker is being unfairly targeted by those who want to crush his ministry and force his Christian television program off the air,” Jay Nixon, Bakker’s attorney and the former governor of Missouri, said in a statement. “Bakker did not claim or state that Silver Solution was a cure for COVID-19.” And in a statement to the Tulsa World, N-Ergetics said, “To the best of our knowledge, we are in compliance.”)
What’s happening here seems deeper than snake-oil salesmen foisting useless potions on people. All of these silver peddlers are tapping into a real interest in the stuff. Colloidal silver enjoys a devout following online among people who believe it can cure a number of diseases. Before the site was shut down, demand for My Doctor Suggests’s products was surging, and Pedersen was paying a separate company an average of $10,000 a week to fulfill orders.
Unlike Pedersen’s or Bakker’s, though, most colloidal-silver brewers are homespun operations in which people make the silver themselves or buy it in small quantities from a trusted source. Devotees say its effects have been nearly miraculous for various ailments, including suspected COVID-19 cases. They flock to Facebook groups to discuss the best ways to prepare the solution and share success stories.
Though topical silver can be used in wound care, almost all mainstream scientists say colloidal silver doesn’t do much of anything—except, in extreme cases, turn a person’s skin blue. Most doctors would say these individuals’ positive experiences are most likely the result of a placebo effect, or of the disease resolving on its own. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, silver has “no known function or benefits in the body when taken by mouth.”
Nevertheless, people’s deep faith in colloidal silver speaks to how the uncertainty of COVID-19 has fueled a desire for alternative remedies. Crises such as the current pandemic are a prime time for sham cures, fraud experts told me, because people are isolated, afraid, and willing to do whatever it takes to protect themselves.
More so now than normally, people feel let down and ripped off by medical professionals. There’s no proven treatment for the coronavirus, and advice about how to stave it off seems to shift from week to week. Some people now look at “natural” remedies such as silver and think, At least this won’t hurt me.
In April, Alyss H. had spent weeks gasping for breath, and she was desperate for relief. Alyss, a 34-year-old who lives in Oklahoma City, had been following the spread of the novel coronavirus since it was first identified in China in December. (She asked me to use only her first name and last initial to protect her family’s privacy.) She learned about the R0 number, and understood that quarantines were a possibility in the United States. She was worried about her family.
Her nightmare, it seemed, had come true. Alyss had body aches, a bad sore throat, and a persistent burning in her chest, and antibiotics weren’t working. She started researching colloidal silver in medical journals, and she began corresponding on Facebook with a British man, Jim Ryan, who appeared to have a lot of information on the subject.
She followed the instructions for making colloidal silver the way Ryan suggested. She placed two strands of silver wire in a flask of water on top of a hot plate set to 160 degrees. She hooked a battery to the silver, and kept the wire submerged until the water turned urine yellow. This process, Ryan said, releases the silver particles into the water. Then, Alyss drank the water, making sure to keep it in her mouth for a few minutes and sloshing it under her tongue.
Two days later, she told me, she felt better. She still drinks about 20 milliliters of colloidal silver two or three times daily—five times a day if she’s feeling sick. Alyss seems to understand why the FDA is cracking down on colloidal-silver manufacturers. But, she said, what other options are there? She’s still not sure whether she had COVID-19, but doctors sent her home to convalesce alone for weeks. “My recommendation is to fight it,” she said. “Fight it with everything you have.” Including silver.
Ryan, the man who taught her about the silver, has been into colloidal silver for more than two decades. A 48-year-old tattoo artist and a helicopter pilot from Devon, Ryan blasted me with a torrent of silver’s glories during our phone call. “It doesn’t actually kill the virus,” he explained, sounding like a rapid-fire Ozzy Osbourne. “It literally stops, it prevents the bacteria or the virus from doing its job, which is to cause that chest infection that leads to pneumonia.”
He and others I interviewed wanted to let me know that the infamous “blue man”—Paul Karason, who appeared on the Today show in 2008 with violet skin from a supposed silver overdose—was actually drinking too much of it, and in the wrong formulation, and for decades. But, they were sure to add, he didn’t get sick.
Ryan, too, used a colloidal-silver solution on himself and his daughter when they had what he thought was COVID-19. “It turns COVID into a mere sniffle,” he assured me.
Perhaps expectedly, doctors push back against this idea. David Gorski, a surgical oncologist at the Karmanos Cancer Institute and the managing editor of the pseudoscience-debunking blog Science-Based Medicine, told me via email that Ryan and others are simply confusing correlation and causation. “Without a placebo or no-treatment control, there’s no way of knowing if the person would have gotten better anyway,” he said. “This is particularly true for a disease with such a variable level of severity as COVID-19, which can range from asymptomatic to mild symptoms to life-threatening.”
Still, there’s an element of seeing-for-yourself-ness among the silver stans. Ryan emphasized that he likes to research “both sides of the coin” and to question official narratives. His daughter is unvaccinated. He and others said they did months of research before they jumped into the silver world. They had this sense that there was a body of information that experts don’t want you to know, and they were lucky to have figured it out.
In central Wisconsin, Dawn Louise—who also didn’t want me to use her full name for privacy reasons—says she found success using colloidal silver for her Lyme disease and shingles. When her 40-year-old daughter started having COVID-19 symptoms recently, with plummeting oxygen and shortness of breath, Dawn gave some to her. In 48 hours, Dawn told me, her daughter could breathe again.
When I told Dawn that Pedersen and others had been shut down because they were considered fraudulent, she wasn’t surprised at all—nor was she daunted. In her mind, it was a sign that the substance works, but there wasn’t an opportunity for Big Pharma to capitalize on it. “They don’t want that found out, the truth that it actually does work,” she said. “They want to get their patent on it so they can make it a prescription.”
COVID-19 is a brand-new, deadly condition about which little is known, which can appear to strike at random, and which has no cure. “It’s very fear-arousing,” Michael Goldstein, a sociologist and a complementary- and alternative-medicine expert at UCLA, told me. That kind of situation primes people to seek out unconventional remedies, to try to regain some of the power that’s been stripped away by a scary new menace. Or as Alyss put it to me, “we all wanted to have control in our lives, and it felt like a possibility to have control.”
People who are into untested treatments such as colloidal silver—or even ever-so-slightly-more-evidence-based treatments such as Reiki or acupuncture—are commonly derided as crackpots. But in many cases, experts say, they are drawn to these New Age-y cures because of bad experiences they’ve had with conventional medicine. “Most people don’t start by going to some kind of alternative provider,” Goldstein said. “They start by going to the doctor, and they find that whatever the doctor has to offer doesn’t really help them in a way that they want to be helped. So that skepticism is one of the things that leads people to say, Well, the next time I have this problem, I’m going to go to a chiropractor or an acupuncturist.”
This is especially true when people are weighing what seems like a safe medication—and silver does seem safe, to them—against the deadly consequences of certain prescription drugs, such as opioids. Though few responsible doctors would prescribe opioids for COVID-19, President Donald Trump has recently encouraged people to take the antimalarial hydroxychloroquine. When a man in Arizona tried to take a fish-tank cleaner with a similar name, he died.
Some experts warn that untested remedies such as colloidal silver may, too, become more damaging once a coronavirus vaccine becomes available. If people begin rejecting the vaccine in favor of “alternative” treatments, it will greatly reduce our ability to reach herd immunity and reopen society. “One of the things that I will be monitoring is whether or not some of that group that plans to refuse the vaccine is doing so because they think that other treatments—alternative treatments—will get the job done,” Matthew Motta, a political-science professor at Oklahoma State University, told me. “That to me is potentially very scary.”
Compared with prescription drugs, silver might seem more “natural” to some people, Maria Chao, the associate director of research at the University of California San Francisco’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, told me. People tend to be drawn to such organic-seeming cures because they see illness as a violation of the natural, healthy state of the world, according to Alan Levinovitz, a religion professor at James Madison University and the author of the recent book Natural, about people’s faith in nature. “Naturalness represents that which is good, and that which will return us to health,” Levinovitz told me.
Simmering a pair of silver wires and drinking the resulting mixture also serves as a kind of ritual, and rituals can help us feel better about things when little else can. (Just think of all the “morning ritual” literature out there.) “It’s about symbolic empowerment,” Levinovitz said. “These are rituals that people can do when they’ve lost confidence in an establishment.”
And why wouldn’t they have lost confidence in conventional medicine? Pharmaceutical companies actually did lie about the addictive nature of prescription opioids. People get rushed to hospitals, only to face confounding, towering bills later. Less nefariously, but still significantly, some public-health experts were telling us not to wear masks as recently as a month ago. The internet brims with misinformation, such as the kind Keane, the blogger, stumbled on, about what can and cannot kill the coronavirus.
None of this means that unscrupulous silver scammers shouldn’t go unpunished, or that even more people should consider taking colloidal silver for COVID-19. But it should, perhaps, help us understand why people believe in something dubious at a time when there isn’t much to believe in.
At one point in our interview about colloidal silver, Chao, a professor who has multiple advanced degrees from Columbia University, admitted that while she doesn’t know when she would ever actually take silver, “I have a bottle of it in my medicine cabinet.”
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OLGA KHAZAN is a staff writer at The Atlantic and the author of Weird: The Power of Being an Outsider in an Insider World.