You may have seen the advertisements bouncing around social media.
“Wellness!! Vital Silver!!! Simple!!! Go on the offense this year against viruses including the Coronavirus – it’s simple!”
“Structured Silver allows a silver particle-cluster of silver to kill multiple bacteria, viruses, and yeast/candida pathogens throughout the body until it is safely excreted.”
Those aren’t hypothetical claims made to illustrate a point. That’s the actual company language cited in a warning letter from the United States Food & Drug Administration to the company Vital Silver Wellness.
Earlier this month, the FDA and FTC issued warnings to seven companies, including Vital Silver Wellness, to stop making claims that their products could help in the prevention or treatment of the coronavirus COVID-19.
To make it clear: Colloidal and ionic silver do not prevent or treat COVID-19, hence the warnings.
But what is colloidal silver, anyway? Is it safe? Is the supplement good for anything?
Here’s the truth about colloidal silver.
What the heck is colloidal silver?
The word “colloidal” means “a mixture that has particles ranging between 1 and 1000 nanometers in diameter, yet are still able to remain evenly distributed throughout the solution.”
(If that sentence was scintillating to you, there’s plenty more here.)
So, “colloidal silver” is a mixture that “consists of tiny silver particles in a liquid,” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institutes for Health (NIH).
Tons of companies sell this stuff as a dietary oral supplement and the products all look relatively the same: a brownish, semi-transparent bottle, fitted with an eye dropper. The mixture inside often appears pale yellow.
Can colloidal silver help with disease prevention?
“Scientific evidence doesn’t support the use of colloidal silver dietary supplements for any disease or condition,” according to the NIH. In fact, the institution goes on to reinforce their stance with the following statements.
- Silver has no known function or benefits in the body when taken by mouth.
- Silver is not a nutritionally essential mineral or a useful dietary supplement.
- Colloidal silver and other complementary products or practices that have not been proven safe and effective should never be used to replace conventional medical care or as a reason to postpone seeing a health care provider about a medical problem.
And if you read that last one closely, now you might be wondering…
Wait, hold up, is colloidal silver even safe?
Harvard’s Medical School warns that taking colloidal silver may cause brain, nerve, and kidney damage, as well as cause stomach distress and headaches.
Harvard: “The most common problem associated with silver exposure is argyria: The skin turns a bluish gray as granules of silver accumulate in the body. The conjunctiva (the membrane that covers the eyes) and internal organs may also be affected. Once silver is deposited, there’s no way to get it out, so the discoloration may be permanent.”
Soooooo should I be taking colloidal silver to prevent or treat COVID-19?
“In the most basic sense, if colloidal silver was the cure for this seemingly mysterious disease I can say with 100 percent confidence that we would not be in a worldwide pandemic right now,” says Chris Mohr, Ph.D., R.D., a Men’s Health nutrition advisor and co-owner of Mohr Results. “Don’t let fear dictate decisions. You should never make any decisions based on fear, fatigue or, if you want to be honest, when drunk.”
What can you do to prevent COVID-19?
Follow national, state, and local government guidelines. And “control any modifiable risk factors to reduce the risk of disease: nutrition, movement, sleep, don’t smoke, etc. I call these ‘complements’ vs. ‘supplements,'” says Mohr.