Colloidal Silver: Benefits and Side Effects?

Is ingesting colloidal silver helpful for any condition and is it safe to use? I'm seeing it promoted for many applications.
Benefits and Risks of Colloidal Silver? -- dropper bottle of colloidal silver
Colloidal silver (a solution with silver particles) has antiseptic activity, and for this reason, has been promoted for a wide number of uses, from treating sinus infections and ear infections to boosting the immune system. It has also been promoted to help treat diabetes, arthritis, thyroid conditions, and even cancer.

However, there is no clinically-proven benefit from ingesting colloidal silver, and there are potential risks. The FDA banned the use of colloidal silver in over-the-counter products in 1999, although it is still legally sold as a dietary supplement. An analysis of colloidal silver products sold online found that few contained the concentration of silver claimed on the label. 

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terry 18533   October 16, 2019
All I keep hearing is, " BUT IT HAS NOT BEEN CLINICALLY PROVEN"... Let me say this to that...For 1000's of years their have been hands on proven benefits of silver, and has been clinically tested many times by other countries, and proven affective and safe when administered properly; and is still being used by numerous doctors and hospitals throughout the world...That 'blue' [argyria ] disease so often talked about is always relative to improper doses of improperly mfg. methods, such as using 'saltwater' or other contaminated liquids...And the UK is currently testing a silver based Chemotherapy Drug right now with very promising results...The problem as I see it in this country is negative misinformation being spread for what ever reason, I'm not sure why, but it seems somebody doesn't want all the facts presented...   October 16, 2019
Hi Terry - The issue, from our perspective, is not that "somebody doesn't want all the facts presented," as we very much try to present all relevant facts. The issue is that there are no good facts to present that support ingesting colloidal silver.

Marji18176   August 4, 2019
After reading multiple brochures from a leading nano particle silver company that CS would cure a wart, I tried it topically on my daughter's wart. I went through 2 bottles and saw no changes. I have also tried it for other ailments such as sinus infections and stomach bugs and had no positive effects. I am a great believer in herbal and natural medicine and was really hoping this would help, but it did not. A "Triple Tumeric" salve by a local company got rid of the wart.

terry 18540   October 16, 2019
Thank you Marji for sharing; Colloidal silver is not for warts, and should never have been suggested to you for such. As far as nasal infections, many are triggered by exposure to allergens, which may not result in a bacterial infection by nature, so (Ag) will usually not be affective. As a farmer most of my life, I had suffered for 40 years from nasal infections from Ragweed and fallen Maple leaves every year...tried shots, oral serums, sprays; nothing helped. When I started spritzing CS into my nose 3 years ago during my bad seasons, I have had no nasal infections for the first time in my life; or some would say: maybe I just finally grew out of it / is certainly a possibility, but I'm taking no chances...

Ruth18172   August 4, 2019
A friend of mine nearly died of a blood infection she got from a bruise. In the ICU they used silver bandages on the bruised area.

I used colloidal silver for several years and had no problems with it. I also made a little generator to reduce my cost. I did note that some literature said internal use had its limits as the silver colloid particles were neutralized by the body shortly after ingestion, and that the particles would become bonded to a microbe they killed and unable to attack other ones. This would require frequent dosing to control microbes.

I later discovered what's called silver sol, which is made using a laser as opposed to electrolysis. It is said to bond silver atoms onto water molecules. In this state they are said to persist in the body and able to attack microbes repeatedly. I bought my first product from Costco and had very good results. I now buy 6 bottles at a time (to reduce cost) from whoever has the best price online (not seeing it in stores yet) and keep them on hand year round. If I have any cold or flu symptoms, I add the SS to a water bottle and drink it all day. (I will also add some syrup of elderberry, another antiviral herb.) Symptoms go away within hours. Because the silver is not rapidly destroyed by contact with microbes or body chemistry, the dosage of silver is much lower than with colloidal silver. Also, it is claimed that silver atoms bonded to water will leave the body when the water leaves so no chance of developing agyria. I used to get colds and flu every winter, but I seldom do now. I also will swish in my mouth for problems with teeth and gums, and have a nasal spray bottle of it. I also got some silver gel from one of the suppliers and use it for external treatment. Got rid of the annoying, under the bra itch with it.   August 4, 2019
Thanks for sharing your experience, but please note that the efficacy and safety of your approach have yet to be clinically proven.

Dean18180   August 4, 2019
I used to get colds and flu in the winter, too. But I no longer do. And I've never used colloidal silver. And never would.

tim17646   March 18, 2019
hi, I used to use cs as a backup immune system for a bunch of years im a type 1 diabetic and after a few years of constantly taking the silver (drinking a cap of it in a glass of water 2 to 3 times a day) I had friends and docters commenting to me that I was looking grey in my face. appart from being a bit offended by thier comments, I decided to do a silver blood test through SN pathology. my blood levels were at 73! the normal level is below 3. I stopped taking the silver because I dident want to get any more discolouration in my face. I did another silver blood test 12 months later and my level had dropped to around 13. its been around 3to 4 years since my last test and still don't take any more cs and very rarely somebody might notice im looking a bit grey and its usually under fluroesent lights. the silver I was buying was great to treat infections and when feeling nauses in the stomache. I think the particles in it were very small. thought this would be of intrest here. I now take acv instead.

Chaille17645   March 17, 2019
I had Coronary bypass surgery in 1998. My incision continued to weep while I was in the hospital for four days, nothing they put on it helped. When I got home I put colloidal silver on cotton swabs and left it on quite large incision for about 35 minutes. When I removed the swabs of cotton, it never showed any signs of infection again. A nurse called a couple of days later to check on the weeping, I told her what I did, and her comment was she had never heard of colloidal silver and I should not do that again. I told her, I didn't have to as it was totally cleared up. Now I have many more stories to tell as many friends and family have been introduced to (as my nephew calls it miracle juice) colloidal silver. And no, I did not give him the idea. It's just his personal story.

Nora17639   March 17, 2019
In my experience, colloidal silver rapidly cures urinary tract infections. It takes one to two days for the infection to clear up without returning, if the silver is taken soon after onset of symptoms. It works much better (for me) than sulfa drugs or antibiotics.

I would not take colloidal silver, however, as a preventative measure.

I have no financial interest in this type of product.

Luis17527   February 9, 2019
The article mentioned that colloidal silver supplements had no clinical evidence to effectively treat infections. A distinction should be made between ingestion and topical applications. The article mentions that 20 years ago the FDA banned it for external use.

It would benefit the readers to know that since 1999 there is ample research showing benefit to external use of colloidal silver applications. Below are only some of the medical journal articles published on the subject.

There is research showing the beneficial effects of extenally-applied colloidal silver combined with another product for diabetic foot ulcers
J Wound Care. 2018 Sep 1;27(Sup9a):S32-S36. doi: 10.12968/jowc.2018.27.Sup9a.S32.

Topical application of colloidal silver in gel has been found to be efficacious in prevention biofilm infection caused by both Gram + and Gram - bacteria:
J Wound Care. 2017 Apr 1;26(sup4):S16-S24. doi: 10.12968/jowc.2017.26.Sup4.S16

Silver-based products have been shown to have antimicrobial properties and help to inhibit antibiotic resistance compared to antibiotics. A case sample of colloidal silver topical application in a pellets wound J Family Med Prim Care. 2016 Jan-Mar; 5(1): 175–177.

Leukemia: while not an infection, this article demonstrates the possibility of using nanonized colloidal silver to help the efficacy of leukemia treatment: Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces. 2015 Feb 1;126:198-203. doi: 10.1016/j.colsurfb.2014.12.023. Epub 2014 Dec 31.

Colloidal silver sponge to help prevent dry socket (which can more easily lead to infections) after teeth extraction: Shanghai Kou Qiang Yi Xue. 2013 Feb;22(1):108-10.

In a study of 100 children with Upper Airway disease treated with colloidal silver and another product show significant over saline solution control group: Minerva Pediatr. 2011 Oct;63(5):347-54.   February 9, 2019
Our answer refers to the ingestion of colloidal silver. We have added the word "ingesting" to the question to clarify that point, although the answer did refer to "taking" or "supplementing" with colloidal silver.

David18170   August 4, 2019
Luis 17527 is correct about colloidal silver's TOPICAL use. Unlike triple antibiotic ointment it will kill resistant staph, fungi and inhibit a wide spectrum of bacterial infections. The gel has no odor and will not cause pain. I have used it very successfully with a large scraping
abrasion on my knee covering it with a colloidal dressing. The gel can be effective for 2-3 days with one application. I left it on for a week until the colloidal dressing naturally came off.
Use it sparingly as you would any antibacterial ointment.
Also be aware that some colloidal dressings come embedded with silver doing dual purpose.

Dorothy18177   August 4, 2019
I REALLY appreciate your post and am so glad you took the time to share this information. I have used topical colloidal silver products and and am glad for your elucidation on this subject.

Jane16956   July 15, 2018
I have no interest in taking colloidal silver internally. However, silver is an admirable mold & germ killer. I put silver items in a water jug and it can be left unrefrigerated without going green or black. (in ancient times they threw a silver coin into the water barrel.) One of my contact lens cases has silver in it. I also add a drop to my solution. I believe that it has been added to paints and coatings to retard bacteria growth, especially in Japan..
Therefore, even though I don't recommend internal use, I am glad to have access to it for other purposes.

Dean18181   August 4, 2019
In ancient times they also thought ingesting lead was healthy.

Angela16806   May 9, 2018
Which brand Colloidal Silver do you recommend? Which one pass the test you did?   May 10, 2018
Hi Angela - We have not tested colloidal silver products, and the study referred to in the answer above did not give the names of the products tested. As noted in the answer above, there is no clinically-proven benefit for taking colloidal silver, and there are potential risks.

Larry16798   May 9, 2018
I have researched the benefits of colloidal silver and have used the product for a long time. Here are some observations and comments:

1. I did a controlled experiment in which I took three petri dishes with growth medium. Two of which were infused with swabs from the same areas of my kitchen. One was the control. Tw had the infusion of bacteria. One one of the infused dishes was sprayed with colloidal silver before it was sealed. As expected, the control remained free of growth. The infused dish was filled with growth. The one sprayed with CS remained free of growth.

2. It has little to no effect when taken internally with one exception. If infected with a "stomach flu" (virus or food poisoning) and about 1/4 cup of the product is taken as soon as possible and every hour thereafter for a total of 6 doses, the symptoms disappear. within about 6 to 12 hours. If one waits until after the disease has progressed too far, it seems to be ineffective.

3. CS is most effective when used topically. Wounds heal quickly and without infection.

4. It is an excellent remedy for pink eye. A drop or two directly into the eyes used every few hours usually takes care of the problem within 24 hours.

5. It is also an excellent remedy for a sore throat. Place CS into a sprayer and spray directly into the back of the throat and into the nasal passages allowing it to flow down the back of the throat. Symptoms usually disappear within 12 hours or so.

6. I have also tested the product on animals and it is effective topically. Further, I have tried the experiment in which two dishes of water were set out for several cats in one case and several dogs in another. After both dishes were used for a period of time so that the animals became accustomed to using both, one was infused with a small amount of CS. Within several hours, all animals preferred the dish with CS.

The bottom line: CS is nothing to be afraid of and it is helpful for certain conditions and under certain circumstances. Like with any other medicine, it is subject to abuse and overdose.   May 9, 2018
Hi Larry - Thanks for sharing your experiences. Please note, however, that the uses you list are not supported by clinical evidence.

Mark18175   August 4, 2019
A vast portion of "clinically confirmed", FDA approved drugs have resulted in harm, sickness and even death to people who accepted them with faith and confidence in the AMA and evidenced by a daily dose of class action law suits against drug companies pedaling FDA approved drugs. A new one pops up everyday. Silver has been used since the beginning of human time. There is more evidence supporting the use of silver solution for certain human pathogenesis than most FDA drugs in use today. A person should use it when ill...not ingest daily doses of a nano-metal for 10 years or more. I use when necessary. I will continue to make it and use it regardless of what the "the bribe based FDA" has to say about it. I've used it for 53 years, both topically and internally. Again, I use it only when it is absolutely necessary internally, or externally. A little bit of common sense goes a long way in this world. I do enjoy ConsumerLab information and choose to pay for the subscription...great info. Keep up the good work!

JAMES16822   May 10, 2018
Excellent post. I concur with your findings. I have personally been using CS for 30+ years. I ingest it, I use it topically on myself and my animals with amazing success. I use it with a nasal spray and diluted in my Neti Pot. I have never had an adverse effect and I am not turning 'blue'or gray. I make my own with a CS generator that I designed and built myself for less than $30. I measure the ppm with a TDS digital testing device at about 18-22 ppm. I have been using the same two 1oz silver ingots that I purchased for under $5 ea over 30 years ago along with the same generator.

George16869   May 29, 2018
I, too, have made colloidal silver (CS) using two "Three 9s" silver rounds, three 9-volt batteries, some wire, alligator clips, and distilled water. I have performed my own tests and found that my CS prevents the occurrence of mold in a test similar to that already mentioned by Larry16798. Further, drinking my CS relieves the heartburn / upset stomach that I occasionally get. I have also purchased CS sold by Costco.

As mentioned in the article, the problem with orally-taken CS is that it is an indiscriminate killer: both good and bad bugs are targeted. It is for this reason that I no longer rely on CS to fight stomach / gut issues. However, if you search for intravenous CS and "MS" or "Lyme," you will find numerous success stories. And CS can be extremely effective topically.

I believe that the "blue skin" stories are 1) real; 2) a result of using finely ground silver rather than colloidal silver; and 3) promoted to scare people away from trying colloidal silver. It's not a conspiracy if a cheap product (like CS or Stevia, for that matter) competes favorably against a company's more expensive / less healthy product upon which that company's profits are dependent -- it's just business as usual to try to smear the competition.

raymond17648   March 18, 2019
I just talked to an older BLUE woman at a health screening event. She blamed her blue skin on Rx meds for MS, and not silver...sadly. So, human nature being what it is makes it tough to assess what brands and internal doses are dangerous.

Dorothy16797   May 9, 2018
My mother took large amounts of colloidal silver over several years (at least 10 years that I know of). She is now 91 years old and never has viral or bacterial infections. However, her complexion does has a permanent blue/purple cast that didn't appear until long after she stopped taking CS. The family will be glad to know the reason for her coloration is not harmful and is called argyria.

Elizabeth9788   June 14, 2016
I'm interested in colloidal silver because I'm resistant to antibiotics. I'm also wary of this product because of negative reviews. Seems I'm between a rock and a hard place.

JAMES16823   May 10, 2018
I have personally been using CS for 30+ years. I ingest it, I use it topically on myself and my animals with amazing success. I use it with a nasal spray and diluted in my Neti Pot. I have never had an adverse effect and I am not turning 'blue'or gray. I make my own with a CS generator that I designed myself. I measure the ppm with a TDS digital testing device at about 18-22 ppm. I have been using the same two 1oz silver ingots that I purchased for under $5 ea over 30 years ago along with the same generator.

john17637   March 17, 2019
I completely agree! Yes I believe it is very disingenuous to state and over simplified single incidence especially without stating the dosage ! Kind of like "Caution: Drink Water Causes Fatal Brain Bleeds" which it does {in massive dosages} get my point ? !!   March 18, 2019
Hi John - Unfortunately, the dose used by this patient was not reported. However, as noted in the answer, there are potential risks associated with chronic ingestion of even small amounts of silver.

terry 18537   October 16, 2019
Buying a commercially mfg. product is safe as long as overdosing is not undertaken; such as the infamous 'Blue Man' that Pharma companies love to project...The truth is this idiot produced his own colloidal silver for years using saltwater instead of distilled; plus he drank 6 ounces a day for 14 years... I became sold on its benefits, when I cut my shin once and got flesh eating bacteria in it for six months got worse and nothing would heal it...Some told me about Silver Wound dressing that troops use on the battlefields in Europe, I tried it...In 4 days the redness started to subside, was healed completely in 25 days, leaving on a scared hole in my leg yet today...

jess246   October 23, 2014
I have been taking and topically using colloidal silver for going on 20 years now and have found numerous benefits. For instance, I can stop a toothache indefinitely until I can get in to see a dentist. Gargling it stops a sore throat and/or keeps it from getting worse. I have had two diabetic friends with open sores on their legs that had existed for over 3 years who used it both orally and topically and both sores healed within 3 weeks after over 3 years of suffering. I have my own colloidal silver generator in order to get a consistent product. I have a friend who is a microbiologist and he verifies that he saw the stuff work in the lab when he was in medical school. I believe argyria is mostly myth and has only been experienced by one person who took and still takes excessive amounts of CS. After surgery I never take the antibiotics because of apparent allergies but take CS instead.

Lanada250   October 25, 2014
I have been taking CS internally for 7 years and it has not given me argyria. It's the only antibiotic I take and always gets me well. You have to take it like it says, not overuse.

Dennis242   October 22, 2014
I've used and researched c-silver for over a decade now. True, direct ingestion-- at least at the minuscule quantities I've tried-- does little good for internal fungus, virus or bacteria problems. However, for EXTERNAL, topical applications, its effectiveness is unquestioned! For example, tooth/gum inflammation is cleared up in a matter of hours by a good oral soaking-swishing a la Listerine. I've cut a nasty abscess down to less than half its size within a half-hour with just one dose of col-silver concentrated at to at least 4ppm! They've used silver thread in appropriate garments to eliminate jock itch and stinky feet since World War I. But, one of the surest results of this stuff is in HUMMINGBIRD FEEDERS! A couple of teaspoons of this mystical juice in a half-quart feeder will cause that sugar solution to remain bacteria-free and tasty/healthy for the birds for over 2 months (or as long as they take to drain the bottle)!! Otherwise, one has to dump the fluid and waste most of it--along with time and bleach-- about once a week, as recommended by those who $ELL the red-mix. I'll bet not one of MY birds ever gets Ebola!!

Peter17314   November 27, 2018
Birds get and spread thing like H5N1 and H7N0.   October 21, 2014
Hi Maxine and Jasmin - It is true that "nano silver" is being used in a very small study as an experimental treatment for Ebola, but this is just an experiment and there is no clinical research suggesting it is safe or effective for this use (see article on LiveScience at

In fact, the FDA recently issued a warning letter to a company who promoted a silver supplement for this use (see

joyce252   October 26, 2014
Does the FDA letter mean anything other than that the treatment has not been FDA approved for the condition?

Jasmin237   October 20, 2014
I read an article that the have proven that nano silver (colloidal) can cure Ebola. Apparently there is medical research that Medical Doctors have written.
I use it for the common cold and flu and it works for that. So who knows

Larry234   October 20, 2014
This is not totally factual. Yes, silver has been used for centuries for various "health" areas, but there have been break throughs in recent years that have/are being suppressed by special interest organizations. And yes, there is much "hype" that is NOT true. Hence significant due dilligence is required, but benefits have a potential of being very significant   October 21, 2014
Hi Larry - We have looked into this carefully and do not believe that our answer is factually incorrect. We also do not believe that there is a conspiracy to suppress positive information about silver.

We are aware of a study in mice (Morones-Ramirez, Science - Translational Medicine 2013 which suggests that silver may help improve antibiotic activity, but these are very preliminary findings and should not be the basis for recommending that people ingest silver.

Anthony14073   June 2, 2017
Whenever I see "may help" I add brackets stating ["and may not help"]...

Jerry18182   August 5, 2019
i have been taking colloid silver for over 5 years no side effects or other problems. it has cured my jock itch -tooth aches sores and other assorted problems .the reason iam writting is that my wife was prescribed levofloxacin tablets for her persistant cough .the list of side efffects are terrible tendon rupture -possible nerve damage-serious allergic reactions -liver damage-aortic aneurysm and dissection-intestine infection-serious heart rhythm changes and others. this medicine was approved by the fda there is no way that colloid silver has these side effects.. no she did not take the medicine.

Maxine227   October 19, 2014
Could colloidal silver be help for Ebola

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This CL Answer initially posted on 10/16/2014. Last updated 8/3/2019. members may submit questions to We read all questions and try to answer those of popular interest.



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